Repairs :: DIY mechanics |

How much enthusiasm do you have for looking after your car? After your house it’s probably the second most expensive possession you own. Most homeowners will give DIY a bash, after all, how hard can it be to give the living room a fresh coat of paint. But when it comes to DIY mechanics, you need a level of expertise or you could end up riding DIY your bike to work on Monday morning.

Prepare yourself

DIY mechanics is not at all like home DIY. Basic repairs and maintenance probably won’t save you money in the short term. You’ll have to shell out for tools and course fees. And there’s the time you need to invest attending the courses. If you’re serious about DIY mechanics, don’t look at it as a way to save money, rather view it as a details for your garden hobby. One way you could save money is on your car insurance. You can source and compare car insurance quotes online.

Good preparation is key to the success of any project. Buy a reputable car manual. Haynes publish manuals for most car makes and models. The manual explains how to service and repair your car, what tools you need and roughly how long it will take to complete a particular job. There are even diagrams to help you. Take the time to read the manual before you start tinkering about under the bonnet. Immerse yourself in the book in preparation for the task ahead.

Reality check

Ok, so you have bought the tools, read the manual and you’re energy suppliers ready to go. Before you start, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re 100% ready to tackle the task you have in mind. Know your limitations. If you’re just starting out, don’t try to change the exhaust or clutch plate. If you run into trouble, down tools immediately. If plants you keep going you may end up doing more damage than good. Contact a qualified mechanic and get professional help.

Most modern cars are far more complex that older, simpler models. When you take your car in for a service, most garages plug your car into a diagnostic computer to identify a fault. So if you drive a relatively modern car, your DIY mechanics may be limited to small problems and maintenance.

DIY car maintenance

Build up your confidence with minor tasks like changing the oil, replacing the spark plugs or the battery, and changing bulbs. Investigate taking an evening class in basic car maintenance at a further education college. Learning the tricks of the trade from a professional will help get you started.

Keep your car in prime condition by giving it a weekly check-up. Not only do they help extend the life of your car, check-ups also enable you to spot any potential repairs before they get too serious.

oCheck all the lights are working

oCheck the tyres for pressure, tread depth and signs of damage

oLift the bonnet and inspect the car belts and hose for any cracks or tears

oCheck the oil levels when the engine is cold. Look for any signs of leaking fluids i.e. the radiator, oil compartment etc.

oCheck battery cell water levels (if the battery is not sealed)

oCheck for corrosion on the battery connections (if accessible). Use a wire brush to get rid any corrosion.

oCheck the brakes. Most brake master cylinders are mounted on the firewall directly in front of the driver’s seat. Lift the cap off and check the brake fluid levels. They should be full. If not, consult your car manual for the correct fluid grade. If you have to keep topping up the brake fluid, you may have sprung a leak. Fix the leak immediately.

Give yourself enough time to complete the job. You don’t want to be working after dark. If you don’t have enough confidence in your ability to complete a job, leave it to a professional mechanic. For a car insurance quote and more DIY Safety information about the types of car insurance available from Privilege, visit


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