Want To Be Your Own Mechanic? 5 Ways to Get Started
Posted by: Lydia on 6/06/2018
When it comes to being your own mechanic, there are usually two approaches among Aussie car owners. If you’re someone who really feels cars are just a good way to get from A to B, you may be a bit worried about ongoing maintenance work. If you’re a confirmed car fanatic, on the other hand, you may love getting a tune-up done.
But no matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s a real advantage in getting started on your own DIY car repair.
An ‘A to B’ driver may never love the idea of spending hours in the garage, but the amount of money they could save doing quick 10-minute jobs will be appealing. While some drivers may be wary of letting anyone but a professional mechanic service their car for fear of messing something up, with the right information, it’s definitely possible to do minor jobs well.
So whether you think cars are just for commutes, or you spend every day and night thinking about cars, becoming your own mechanic is a solid idea. It can save you time, money, and offer other benefits, as well.
Here are 5 easy ways to get started.
1. Watch videos and comment
It’s true that YouTube may be most famous for its videos of cats doing cheeky stuff. But with over 5 billion videos watched each day on the site, it’s no surprise that there’s an incredible amount of useful information too, posted by a smart bunch of passionate car fans all across the globe. They’ve got their own cars, their own YouTube channels, and they regularly post ‘How to’ mechanic content.
They also usually have a devoted fan base, so comment on videos if you need help. The video’s creator or one of their many fans is likely to respond to your comment and chip in with some sound advice.
2. Google it
When it comes to fixing a car problem, it’s always a good idea to seek out a video first –
that way you have clear, visual instructions to follow. This can make it easier to fix a problem and avoid making a mistake because written instructions weren’t clear.
But when you’ve searched on video sites and can’t find a clip to deliver you a quick fix,
go ahead and Google it. You don’t need to make it a fancy search, either – just something simple like, ‘Why is my [car model] making a strange sound every time I start the engine?’ That should give you a great start and some really helpful tips for finding a fix.
3. Get the right tools
Once you’ve identified a problem or routine service chore you can take on, it’s time to check your tools – because if there’s one surefire way to quickly turn a working car into a troubled car, it’s by using the wrong tool. This doesn't mean you need to spend lots of cash on expensive tools for every single job. Just be sure when it's recommended that you use a spanner, you actually use a spanner – even if you have to borrow the right one from a friend.
4. Ask your friends
Speaking of friends … having a few who know something about cars is a huge advantage when you’re trying to learn for yourself. Even in this day and age of online videos and articles about anything and everything, there’s still a whole lot of car knowledge that’s transferred by word of mouth. This stuff is not exactly top secret – sure, you could go ahead and spend two hours looking for it in an online forum or boring car manual – but if you’d rather spend that time actually fixing the issue, building up a network of trusted (and smart) friends is a good idea.
5. Ask your mechanic
Becoming your own mechanic will allow you to do minor maintenance tasks, saving yourself time and money. You can also save a lot of coin doing some detail jobs that a professional might charge you a high price for.
It might seem a little odd, but there’s no reason you can’t ask your regular mechanic for help. A good relationship with your local mechanic should be built on communication and mutual respect. Just as you should listen if they say, ‘Hey, I really should take care of this issue for you’, it’s also OK to say, ‘Hey, I’d really like to do this minor task myself – could you give me a couple of tips?’ Good mechanics recognise that you doing minor jobs could prevent major headaches for them – and keep you coming back for those larger jobs – so most will be happy to give some advice.
Don’t go in reverse
As you can see, it’s fairly simple to get started as your own mechanic with minor jobs. Being proactive and developing some DIY mechanic skills that you can use at home is a great way to save time and money.
But while it’s good to be enthusiastic in this area, it’s also important to keep safety in mind. If there’s ever a moment when you think something could be unsafe to do, remember: if in doubt, don’t.
If you find you really love DIY work, consider taking some mechanic’s courses and getting professional accreditations. Once you’ve been trained by an expert, you can tinker to your heart's content.
Starting the engine
Becoming your own mechanic has many advantages, one being that you’ll be much more aware of what’s happening with your car. That will ensure you spot issues sooner. It also equips you with a greater understanding of how cars work and a new sense of confidence, so you’ll find yourself ‘cool under pressure’ the next time an issue arises.
Then there’s the money and time-saving aspect. Rather than waiting 3 days to get a minor issue fixed, you can get it done in 30 minutes in your garage. And finally, there’s the connection you build with your car. Once you start doing your own work under the bonnet, the odds greatly increase that you’ll turn into a total car fanatic. That’s always something to celebrate, so enjoy your DIY!
What other tips do you have for DIY mechanic work? Let us know in the comments below: