The products that you use to wash and wax your car will have a significant impact on how long the paint on your car looks nice. If you use products containing certain ingredients, the clear-coat can fail and leave your car looking terrible. So, what ingredients should you find by reading the labels on each product? What should you be looking for to protect the finish of your car and what should you avoid using at all times? These and many other questions about the care of your car's paint can be found right here on my auto body blog.
The last time you drove away from an auto repair facility, you may have sworn to yourself that the next time your car needed repairs of maintenance, you would do it yourself instead of paying the mechanics' fees. This a noble ambition -- and it fact it does make good sense to learn basic repair and maintenance techniques, in the event that you find yourself stranded somewhere without aid. But is it really all that sensible as a general practice? Here are three reasons that it probably isn't.
1. A Crash Course Can't Equal Years of Experience
These days people are used to relying on the Internet as a kind of all-knowing oracle, a font of information on everything from ancient history to how to fix your toaster. DIY articles and videos abound, including those addressing specific aspects of automotive mechanical repair and maintenance. But it bears noting that non-experts are just as free as experts to post their thoughts on these subjects -- and you may not be able to tell the genuinely accurate information apart from the incomplete or just plain wrong information. Even a small maintenance error can make all the difference between a successful procedure and disaster on the road, so when in doubt, hand the job over to the professionals.
If you're really serious about becoming the master of your vehicular fate, of course, you can take a basic training course in mechanical repair and maintenance from an accredited educational institution. But even a sound introduction to these subjects can't equal a lifetime of experience in the field. A veteran mechanic can identify common and not-so-common mechanical issues with a glance that you might never recognize from your classroom lectures.
2. You Can't Guarantee Your Own Work
No matter how much money you might have to spend on a major automotive repair, you still have the great reassurance of knowing that if the work wasn't performed to correct specifications, you can get the situation righted under the shop's warranty conditions free of charge. No such reassurance awaits you when you do your own work. If you install a part incorrectly, and the resulting malfunction destroys your engine block, transmission or other major system, you've got a "You break it, you bought it" scenario on your hands.
By contrast, when you're shopping around for an auto shop, you can choose one that offers a guarantee on its service and quality of work performed. Many major auto repair chains offer this kind of warranty protection, and your local dealership is likely to guarantee its work as well. But don't assume that this coverage is a given; ask for a written copy of the shop's policies and guarantees before you sign off on the job.
3. You May Lose Money Instead of Saving It
One of the most tempting notions about DIY auto repairs and maintenance is that you'll save lots of money by avoiding the labor charges you'd have to pay a professional. But this "savings" can turn out be false economy in more ways than one. No only could you end up doing more harm than good to your vehicle -- without the benefit of a service warranty, as noted above -- but you could actually ending up losing more money than you save.
Auto shops command the hourly rates they charge because of their expertise. That same expertise, coupled with their full complement of tools and equipment, means that they can diagnose and fix a problem in a tiny fraction of the time an ill-equipped, ill-informed "civilian" ever could. If you have to take time off work to fix your car, and you're paid by the hour, think about how many hours of wages you'll lose as opposed to what you might pay for a quick, effective professional repair. If you're in a salaried position, or you own and operate your own business, think about how much productivity you'll lose to your auto repair project -- and how that loss of productivity might affect your performance rating or your business's revenues.
Last but not least, your DIY repair project may spiral out of your budget range because you failed to estimate the job's complexity with any accuracy. Auto shops are able to give you a written estimate beforehand; in fact, many states require auto shops to not only provide such an estimate but also keep the final charges within a certain percentage of it.
As you can see, in many cases it's just not worth it to take a DIY approach to mechanical repair and maintenance issues. Unless you happen to be a talented "wrench" in your own right and you really love working on cars, let a local automotive center, such as Central Body Co Inc, take that job off your plate and do a professional job of it!