Some people think that cars will just work forever without needing any regular maintenance. Of course, we all know that’s just silly! You might get surprised by the amount of people who think vital engine fluids never degrade over time and lose its efficiency.
And a few of those misinformed folks believe that you don’t need to maintain your car as much if you don’t drive it a lot! Regular servicing and maintenance is essential to the wellbeing of any car, regardless of how often it gets driven.
Because of the rising costs of car maintenance, many people opt to service and maintain their cars at home themselves. If you are handy with a spanner, doing this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in labor costs.
Of course, servicing and maintaining your car at home can be just as annoying as it is rewarding. Reflecting on my own experiences, I thought that I would share with you the less-glamorous side to DIY car maintenance.
If you repair and maintain your cars at home, I’m sure you will doubtless share some, if not all the following “annoyances” that I do! Got a few car maintenance bugbears of your own you’d like to share? Feel free to let us know and we’ll update this blog post!
Not having the right tools for the job
Imagine the following scenario. You have to remove some failed part deep within the depths of your engine bay. Everything is going well so far until you get to something you need to remove before you can access your dead part.
“No problem,” you tell yourself. “I’ll just use a different sized socket to remove those securing nuts.”
But then you realize, to your horror, that the item you have to remove needs some weird anti-tamper socket that you don’t have! At this point, you will either emit a loud sign and start feeling depressed. Or you will soon be spitting out many choice words from your colorful vocabulary!
If you don’t have a spare car to go out and buy the socket you need to remove this item, you will have to put your car’s engine back together again. And in some extreme cases, you might need to order the socket in from somewhere. That could take days or even weeks to reach you!
I’ve been in this quandary many a time in the past. And I have to say, it doesn’t make you feel happy in the slightest! Especially if there was no reason to assume you would have to buy a socket set accessory that you don’t have.
Simple jobs that take you hours to complete
I must admit; I like to take my time when performing complex repair work on my cars. Of course, that’s not to say that I take three hours to complete a thirty-minute job, for example! But if I screw something up by rushing the job, I only have myself to blame.
If I’m doing a job that I’ve done countless times before, I can get the work completed just as quick as a seasoned auto mechanic. Let’s say that you have to remove the alternator from your car’s motor. Not quite a complex and difficult job, right?
The truth is; on some cars, it is! Today’s modern cars used many different engine configurations. And with so much stuff to cram into a small engine bay, things can get a bit crowded under the hood.
That’s bad news for you. If your alternator is at the back of your engine, you might have to spend time removing many other engine parts just to gain access to it!
Dealer-only parts that cost a small fortune
One thing that often grinds my gears is how some parts cannot get obtained through your local auto parts center. Carmakers always use certain parts in engines that only they can produce and sell to you. Those parts usually have a massive markup on the price and can leave you feeling ripped off.
The prices some main dealers charge for certain parts is obscene! My friend Phil from Junction 17 Cars was telling me about how he needed to get a set of high-pressure hoses for a Ford Focus once.
I can’t remember what they were for, but they were a dealer-only part. Because he needed the hoses in a hurry, he had no choice but to order them. When he showed me what they looked like, I was in shock by how much he got charged.
Poor old Phil. If he got an auto engineering company to make him some custom hoses, he might have only paid one-fifth of the price that he paid to the dealer! When I get faced with such a situation, I often buy a used or reconditioned part instead for obvious cost reasons.
Limited information on complex repairs
You would like to think that all car engines work the same at a low level. In reality, that’s not always the case. Carmakers introduce all kinds of weird and wonderful technology when they develop engines.
The way of doing things on most engines might not suit others. Sometimes we DIY mechanics find this out at great expense. You would assume that we would research how to carry out certain jobs before we do them.
Unfortunately, the information for some repair jobs isn’t in the public domain. Main dealers don’t use Haynes or Chilton repair manuals to work on cars. They use a state of the art TIS (Technical Information System) on a computer system to guide them as they work.
These systems give them step-by-step instructions and can even tell them how long the job will take – for time and billing purposes. Of course, the general public aren’t allowed to use these systems. Only organizations like auto shops can use them. And even in those cases they have to pay a lot of money for a license to use a TIS.
Well, that just about wraps up my blog post today. Thanks for reading it!