The Problem with Do It Yourself (DIY) Car Repairs

Little knowledge can be dangerous. We have all done it at some point. We take on something that’s beyond our capabilities and regret halfway into the job. Then, there are those seemingly simple repairs or installations that went horribly wrong. Most of the time, we can get away with it by calling in the right professionals. But, in some cases, for example, plumbing problems, it can turn into an embarrassing nightmare.

Some things are best left to experts and car repairs is one of them. Even a small fix that goes wrong can set you back by hundreds of pounds. Here are some reasons why DIY vehicle repairs can land you in needless trouble.

Wrong Diagnosis And Wrong Repairs

Wrong diagnosis is a common problem with DIY “mechanics”. The diagnosis is usually a conclusion from some gut feel, internet research or asking the neighbour or a friend who has a mechanic friend and so on.

Thanks to the internet, there is no scarcity of “experts” these days. The problem is acute and it’s not limited to car repairs. Recently, a doctor put up a sign at his office that said: “Those who have already diagnosed themselves on Google and are here only for a second opinion, please go to!”

Every garage that has been in business for some time would have come across cases where a needless major repair was performed that did not fix the problem! Here are some examples: clutch changed when the problem was with a linkage socket, battery changed when the problem was a loose connection in the charging system, etc. … the list just goes on. The tragedy is that by the time the owner decides to bring the vehicle to the garage, a lot of time, effort and money has already been wasted on useless repairs.

Repairs That Lead To Bigger Repairs

Things like changing the timing belt or replacing the head gasket is a challenging job and takes hours even for a good mechanic with the right equipment. Yet, people believe that they can do it with a few spanners and screwdrivers. Such repairs have led to bigger problems like engine overheating and engine damage, which cost thousands of pounds to fix.

DIY mechanics often misjudge the complexity of a task. With today’s automobiles, something that seems very simple like replacing a bulb can also go wrong. There are cases where customers attempting to replace a bulb damaged the headlamp assembly. The only option was to buy a new one, which cost hundreds of pounds.

Some areas of a car like the brakes and the exhaust system are too dangerous for any sort of DIY repairs because it can have disastrous consequences. Poor DIY brake repairs can lead to serious accidents and legal problems for the owner. A poorly repaired exhaust system may allow dangerous gases like carbon monoxide into the cabin.

Underestimating The Complexity Of Modern Vehicles

Your car costs thousands of pounds and vehicles these days are far more complicated than they were in the 60s and 70s. Cars these days have many more sensors, electrical systems, hydraulic systems and computers, which were unheard of in cars a few decades ago. Many features like power windows and ABS, which were optional add-ons a decade ago, are now standard equipment. So, what was doable during grandfather’s era may not be doable now.

It’s not easy for a layman to determine if a problem falls within the scope of DIY. Even for expert mechanics working with the latest equipment, some problems are still challenging to diagnose and some repairs are complicated.

It takes a lot of education and years of experience to become an expert mechanic. Even after all the education, mechanics have to regularly upgrade their knowledge. Without constant learning and training, it’s not possible to work on the latest cars. It pays to make use of that expertise instead of relying on questionable information and trying a DIY repair. Besides, repairs done at a good garage come with a warranty.

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