You probably have helped change the oil, switched out an old car battery for a new one, and changed a flat tire or three. But, when your brakes go bad, or the car heater wont work, or you hear a clunk, and the car refuses to go anymore, you not sure what to do. You may approach some of your more mechanically inclined friends, and ask them if they could address what is wrong with your car. You can buy parts and a 6 pack of beer for your mechanically minded friends, and let them have at it. The problem is, after a day of drinking and pulling apart your car, then another day of more drinking and putting your car back together, it still may have a problem. Often, good intentions are not a substitute for an auto technician. Some weekend mechanics will be able to pull it off. They may even get close to effectively completing an auto repair, but something they did not anticipate or have a grasp on will manifest, and send you to the auto technician before everything is said is done.
For those who are mechanically astute, and really can enact a quality auto repair, good for you. But, even someone with solid mechanical skills needs to consider a few things before popping the beer can tab and cranking up their favorite tunes with a wrench in hand. If you are able to repair cars yourself, take a few moments to consider if this repair would be best done by you, or by an auto technician.
Has your car been recalled?
Perhaps we should sub head this question, “is your car a GM?” General motors seems to issue new recalls almost daily lately. If your car is one that is being recalled, you will only waste time and money fixing it yourself. Check online or at your auto shop.
Is the car under warranty?
If no, proceed. If you’re not sure, check before you begin any auto repair. If yes, close the hood, slowly back away, go in the house, and call your service center or auto center. You can still drink your beer. It is a really bad idea to mess around with auto repair if your car has a warranty. Most warranties will be voided by either the car manufacturer or the warranty company if anyone but a certified mechanic messes around with the vehicle. You paid for the warranty, you might as well use it,. take your car to the service center or shop and get your money’s worth.
Do you have the right tools?
Part of the reason we pay mechanics what we do is because of their inventory of not only diagnostic equipment, but the appropriate range of tools to effect auto repair. If you lack the right tools, it is probably not worth it to invest in a mini mechanical shop to fix, for example, a busted axle. This tool list includes not only high ticket items, but smaller ones, like the right wrenches and gadgets specific to individual repairs. Without the right tools, you won’t get anywhere very fast. If you improvise, chances are you won’t be able to proceed with a safe or quality repair job. Another thing to consider is work space. Do you really want to do that to your garage or driveway? does it make sense to tie up the area with grease, noise, and dangerous items for an unknown amount of time while you repair your car? If you have the right space and the right tools, please go ahead and fix your car. If you don’t, you should call your auto shop and set up a date between your car and the mechanic for repair.
Do you know what you’re doing?
A subheading for this could be, “Is a repair manual or the internet a good substitute for a car mechanic? The internet is a good place for advice, particularly if you are very specific and know what you’re doing. If you’re not a mechanic, it is not a substitute for a quality repair tech, anymore than surfing the web for a medical diagnosis is a substitute for just going to your doctor. Likewise, an owners manual is not the equivalent of a repair manual. And, a repair manual is not the equivalent of a mechanic with training, education, experience and the vast area of equipment and tools carried by any Fort Collins auto repair shop.
If by this time you have determined your well equipped to repair your car on your own, please proceed. If not, give Fort Collins Foreign Car Service a call, and let them fix your car.