For many, learning how to fix your own car can seem like a daunting task. There are so many different parts, that identifying the issue, let alone fixing it, seems impossible. However, if you can learn how to fix your own car, you’ll be rewarded with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Not only that, but because mechanics often charge so much, you could safe yourself a decent amount of money.
If you’re the type of person who likes to do things for themselves, or if you’d like to become that person, it’s time you learned how to fix your own car. Here are the things you’ll need to know to get started.
Finding a Good Spot to Work
First up, you need to have a place in which you can work on your car. If you live in the city, you’re going to have some trouble fixing your car if you must do it on a crowded street. Or, if you live in a less populated place, but you have a sloped driveway, this isn’t great for fixing cars either.
What you need is a flat, spacious, protected place from which you can repair your car. Garages work best, but for many of us our garages are either being used for storage or simply aren’t big enough to hold the car. If you can’t use your garage, you need a flat space outside your home. The street is fine if you don’t get much traffic, but a flat driveway would be better.
Another option you have is looking into metal carport kits. If you have the yard space, you could build a metal carport and give yourself all the space you need to start working on your car. It’s a little more work, but the added benefit is you’ll now have someplace safe to park your car once you’re done.
Assemble the Right Tools
Next, you need to have the right tools for the job. Unfortunately, the tool you need will largely depend on what you’re trying to fix. You’ll need different tools to replace a broken brake light than you will a worn down brake pad. Still, there are a few basics you should invest in to get stared.
A good socket set will come in handy, as will screwdrivers of different sizes. If you ever need to get underneath your car, a good car jack will really help, and you’ll want to get some jack stands to keep yourself safe. Finally, you’ll probably come across some jobs where you need a good pair of pliers, so add one of these to your tool boxes. As you go on you can add the tools that you need for specific jobs, but this list should give you a good base to work off.
Learn to Identify the Problem
Next, you need to figure out what the problem is with your car. Ideally, the first fix you try will be the correct one, but you can’t do this without knowing the problem. Guessing will only waste your time and money, so you want to be as sure as you can before you start fixing something.
If you’re having a problem with your car, jot down the symptoms you’re experiencing. Is there a bad smell? A loss of power on the highway? It won’t start? Then type these symptoms into Google, along with your car make and model. This will give you a good start, and you can begin your search for the problem.
Read and Watch Tutorials
Once you diagnose the problems, it’s time to learn how to fix it. Luckily, there are thousands of tutorials and guides online that can help you out. For every problem out there, there’s probably a video of someone fixing something similar. All you need to do is watch a bunch of tutorials, then try to follow along with your own car. It’s going to take some time, and you won’t always get things right, but if you keep at it and keep trying to learn, you’ll get a lot better at fixing your car over time.
Get Replacement Parts
In many cases you’ll need to order replacement parts to fix your car. When ordering replacement parts, it pays to do your research to make sure you are getting the right thing. You don’t want to spend money on a part you don’t need, or on a part that doesn’t fit your vehicle’s make and model. There are plenty of online stores that can help you find the right part you need, or you can visit a local auto parts store. If all else fails, or you want to save some money, head to a local junk yard and see what they have available.
Know When to Ask for Help
Finally, sometimes you won’t be able to do everything on your own. When this happens, it’s important to recognize you need help. Either call up a buddy who’s good with cars and can help, or give in and take it to a pro. At the end of the day you want your car to be safe to drive, so if you’re unsure of what you’re doing, let a professional handle it.
Hopefully this guide was able to show that it isn’t hard to get started with fixing your own car. You just need to be willing to do the research and try some things out. The worst case scenario is that you end up having to take it to a mechanic anyway, so you might as well try to fix it on your own first. Good luck!