How to avoid problems when fixing your car? A common question, especially among DIY enthusiasts.
Although car repairs are generally considered as fun, a good pass time, or even a passion, that picture quickly changes when a problem occurs.
Sometimes it can even get to the point that you regret even starting the whole thing. Not to mention that it can be costly.
This article should give you some advice on how to avoid that situation and stay out of trouble altogether.
At the end of the article, you can find a video that you can also watch on our YouTube channel.
1. MAKE A GOOD ASSESSMENT OF THE REPAIR
This is perhaps the most important factor if you want to learn how to avoid problems when fixing your car.
Your assessment should contain factors such as: how hard the is the repair, how much time will it take, how much money will it cost, and else.
Of course, recognizing and knowing this depends on experience, how much you know about cars, car parts, and other important factors.
But know that the estimate doesn’t have to be that precise. Usually, a rough overview of the problem is enough to tell you if should you proceed any further.
One more huge help is the abundance of free knowledge on Google, Youtube, and elsewhere that will additionally help make the estimate.
In most cases, you get a free preview of the whole repair which is priceless.
Also, a key factor is to make a good and accurate diagnosis of the problem as possible. Use an OBD tool but also use common sense. Some experience also comes in handy.
If you want to read more about how to use an OBD tool, click here.
All in all, with all this at hand, you should be able to paint a good picture of what lies ahead of you.
Sometimes it’s better, safer, and more economical to immediately drive the car to a mechanic or you can completely save yourself from getting into trouble.
One of the best ways to avoid problems, especially in car repair, is to try and make a possible scenario of what can happen.
2. MAKE A GOOD ASSESSMENT OF YOUR CAPABILITIES
After you’ve concluded what lays ahead of you in terms of repair, think about whether are you actually able to do it.
One of the last places where you want to have a large ego is in car repair. Trust me, if you’ve overestimated yourself, you may pay a hefty price in terms of money, not be able to finish the repair, or even worse, do a sloppy and low-quality job.
Besides this, it is also good to assess if you need help during the repair regarding manpower. Some repairs are impossible to do on your own.
All of this may sound a bit discouraging, but in car repair, it’s better to be realistic than sorry later on.
3. PREPARE ALL THE SPARE PARTS
You can’t learn how to avoid problems when fixing your car if you haven’t prepared all the spare parts.
As all people know who’ve done some car repairs, finding a spare part can be somewhat complicated.
Sometimes the part is hard to find, there are lots of categories of spare parts (original or aftermarket), the price for the same part often varies, and so on.
Then you have the possibility of buying a similar part but not exactly the same. This is especially tricky when buying electrical components, for instance.
Besides this, various car parts have several parts within one mechanism. For instance, a CV joint usually comes complete with the rubber boot, clamp, and grease for the joint.
You should make sure to have all of them because without one part, installing the others is not possible or is pointless.
All in all, finding the part may involve some serious time and research and you should consider this a serious factor.
The last thing you would want is to start the repair, dismantle everything, and conclude you’re missing something, the part isn’t a match, or else.
4. PREPARE ALL THE TOOLS
So, the repair isn’t that complicated, you’re able to do it and you have all the spare parts. But do you have all the tools?
It’s common practice to prepare all or the majority of tools you’ll need. You can’t learn how to avoid problems when fixing your car without doing this.
By preparing all the tools, you’ll have all you need at hand and also avoid constantly interrupting the repair because you’re missing a spanner or socket, for instance.
Also, there’s a good chance you’ll notice if any tools are missing that are crucial for the repair so you can get them on time.
Sometimes you might even need special tools that you’ll have to rent or have to additionally search for.
Just like with parts, you don’t want to dismantle everything only to conclude that you don’t have the right tool.
Also be sure to gather all the tools once you’re finished, any tool that is left behind, especially in the engine bay can be dangerous not to mention the loss of tools.
5. TAKE ALL NECESSARY SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
No need to say that, when talking about how to avoid problems when fixing your car, safety is the most important factor.
If you’re jacking up the car, make sure to pull the handbrake, use wheel chokes and properly secure the car once it’s raised.
Take the minus battery clamp off when working around the electrics and electronics.
Take the key out of the ignition to avoid someone from accidentally staring at the car while your hands are in the engine bay.
Make sure you tighten everything properly when you’re finishing the repair.
Wear proper clothes, shoes, protective glasses when needed, and wear gloves whenever you can.
These are just some of the precautions and the list goes on.
But the mother of all these precautions is to think about yourself, your safety, what you’re doing, and then about the repair.
Never go head over heels into any repair because oftentimes your safety will depend on thinking first and doing later.
There’s no such repair or saved money that’s worth your safety trust me.
All of these tips may seem dull or even annoying but, trust me better safe than sorry.
It’s all fun and games until the problems start. Due to some minor moment of carelessness or ignorance, you may render the car useless or pay a big amount of money to repair it.
Worth mentioning again is: avoid a big ego. A big ego often causes big problems. Knowing your limits is very useful and valuable in car repair.
Don’t get me wrong, DIY work around the car was and still is a favorite pass time, hobby, or even a passion for millions of people worldwide.
It should be that way, but a car repair should primarily be safe, successful, and functional in the long run.
Thinking things through before you start anything is often a key factor in achieving this.
In the end, and like with many problems in life, preventing a problem from happening in the first place is often the best solution.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO AVOID PROBLEMS WHEN FIXING YOUR CAR? YOUTUBE VIDEO