United Garage Services

Should I try and fix my own car?

by Approved Garages | 28 Jun 2019

At some point, you’ve probably noticed something wrong with your car and wondered ‘should I try and fix it myself’?

Fixing your own car can save you money, but trying to tackle something beyond your skill level could end up costing you a lot more than just cash. Continue reading to see what we think you should take on yourself and what to leave to a trained mechanic.

Can I fix my own car?

Firstly we must stress; if you have absolutely no idea what you are doing, always play it safe and take your car to an approved garage. With that said, if you’re a dab hand with the old toolbox and are no stranger to getting your hands dirty, then we encourage you to get stuck right in!

Before you get started on anything, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Check you have a well-equipped toolbox, stocking it with:
    • An adjustable wrench
    • A torque wrench
    • A socket and ratchet set
    • A set of pliers
    • A set of Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers
    • A jack
  2. Read your car manual thoroughly.
  3. Check to see if there is a Haynes manual for your car make and model. Get it.
  4. Make a record of everything you do, you may need it when it’s time for a professional to step in.

What you can fix yourself

  • Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel and air in your car’s internal combustion chamber, but over time they can wear out. Learn the signs for when and how you should change a spark plug.
  • Flat tyres always seem to happen at the worst times. Knowing how to replace a flat tyre is a handy skill to have, especially if you can’t wait for a mechanic or if you’re in an isolated rural area.
  • The wrong tyre pressure can reduce car safety and make fuel consumption inefficient. Check your car manual for the correct pressure level and be sure to keep an eye on the tread and overall condition every two weeks.
  • Air Filters prevent dirt and other harsh particles from entering the engine. Due to a build-up of matter, the filter can become clogged after time and may need changing.
  • Windscreen wipers can leave marks and streaks when they’ve been neglected for a time, making visibility poor and driving dangerous. It can be handy to learn how to change them when it is time to do so.

What you should take to an approved garage

There are times when every car needs the attention of the professionals. Either the issue requires specialist knowledge, a specific tool or is just too dangerous to do yourself. Plus, if you are worried about issues with the warranty, it may be better to leave it to someone with experience:

  • Changing a clutch is very fiddly, something this complex and dangerous is best left with the experts.
  • Air bags contain small explosives so it’s best not to risk losing a finger or two.
  • Gears can be incredibly complicated and require a high level of precision work. They should be seen to by a mechanic.
  • Windscreens should always be fitted by a professional, the last thing you want is a face full of glass.
  • Air conditioning systems have a lot of components and generally require specialist know-how with regards to thermodynamics and pressure.
  • The electronics in modern cars grow vastly more complex year on year and tinkering with them without the proper training is an easy way to void your warranty.

After all is said and done, prevention is better than any cure and making sure you know what regular maintenance your car needs, how to fix the basics and knowing when to leave the job to a mechanic at an approved garage could save you a lot of cash and a lot of stress.

Of course, don’t forget that when it IS time call in the professionals, the best available mechanics and garages can be found by searching the database at approvedgarages.co.uk.