It can be difficult to make your own vehicle repairs, especially if you don’t know the auto repair basics.
So, the first thing you should do is, get your hands on a good auto repair basics repair manual.
Also, getting a repair manual that’s specific to your model of vehicle, can give you great insight. Because, it will show you where parts are located, along with any special functions or techniques you need to use.
Furthermore, most auto repair basics repair manuals, are step-by-step guides on how to fix things. Remember, while many vehicles are essentially the same; different makes and models do have subtle differences.
Also, remember to read your owner’s manual, because it is specific to your vehicle. But remember, one of the biggest steps to any DIY project; is knowing when not to do it yourself.
Above all, be sure that you know your experience level. And, don’t try a DIY project that’s too big to handle.
Once you’re comfortable fixing minor vehicle problems and doing your regular maintenance; you’re likely going to want to try more complicated repairs. With the exception of major engine work; you can do many repairs from the comfort of your own garage or street. Diagnosing the problem, is the hardest part of more difficult repairs.
Auto Repair Basics
So, mechanics require tools and there are a few essentials; that you’ll need to make most vehicle repairs. Consequently, a beginner’s set of tools can include; screwdrivers, a few wrenches, pliers, and a good pair of channel locks. Add a jack, penetrating oil, and a little safety gear and you’re good to go.
Diagnosing Common Problems:
- What’s leaking under my vehicle?
- Is the color of my exhaust okay?
- Should my engine sound like that?
So, we’ve all asked these questions; so you can get a pretty good idea; of what’s causing many problems without going to the mechanic.
When it comes to fluid leaks, you can usually identify them by color. Grab a paper towel and dab it in the leak. If it’s green or pink, you’re probably looking at coolant. Power steering fluid is yellowish and transmission fluid, is a redder color. Every fluid has a distinct color, so this is a pretty easy one to diagnose.
White, blue, or black smoke coming out of your exhaust will each point you in a different direction. It may be a problem with engine, valves or your head gasket. So, it’s best not to delay when you see these problems, because they can get worse.
In addition, you should be listening for unusual sounds and which part of the vehicle they’re coming from. There are also common signs, that you’re low on power steering fluid. And, when something may be wrong with your brakes. Other common vehicle problems include; overheating and that unbearable moment when, your engine simply won’t turn over.
The good news is that, there is a reason for everything in auto mechanics. It’s just a matter of narrowing it down to the real problem. That is why mechanics-pros and amateurs alike-use; onboard diagnostics (OBD) to help them find these problems quickly.
Consequently, many parts on your vehicle are interrelated. So, ignoring maintenance can lead to trouble: specific parts – or an entire system – can fail. Neglecting even simple routine maintenance, like changing the oil or checking the coolant; can lead to, poor fuel economy, unreliability, or costly breakdowns.
Learn To Detect Many Common Vehicle Problems By, Using Your Senses:
The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you’ll be able to head off repair problems.
You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses:
- Eyeballing the area around your vehicle
- Listening for strange noises
- Sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles
- Noticing unusual odors
Looks Like Trouble
Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle, may not mean much. But, wet spots deserve attention, check puddles immediately.
You can identify fluids, by their color and consistency:
- Yellowish green, pastel blue or fluorescent orange colors, indicate an overheated engine. Or even an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator.
- A dark brown or black oily fluid means, the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak.
- A red oily spot, indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.
- Also, a puddle of clear water usually is no problem. It may be normal condensation, from your vehicle’s air conditioner.
Smells Like Trouble
Some problems are under your nose. You can detect them by their odor:
- The smell of burned toast – a light, sharp odor – often signals; an electrical short and burning insulation. To be safe, try not to drive the vehicle, until the problem is diagnosed.
- The smell of rotten eggs. A continuous burning Sulphur smell. Usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices. Don’t delay diagnosis and repair.
- A thick acrid odor usually means, burning oil. Look for signs of a leak.
- The smell of gasoline vapors after a failed start, may mean you have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes before trying again.
If the odor persists, chances are there’s a leak in the fuel system. Consequently, a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention:
- Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor, may signal overheated brakes or clutch. Check the parking brake. Stop. Allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads. Light smoke coming from a wheel indicates a stuck brake. The vehicle should be towed for repair.
- So, a sweet, steamy odor indicates a coolant leak. But, If the temperature gauge or warning light does not indicate overheating; drive carefully to the nearest service station, keeping an eye on your gauges. If the odor is accompanied by a hot, metallic scent and steam from under the hood; your engine has overheated. Pull over immediately. Continued driving could cause, severe engine damage.
So, every vehicle is going to have quirks and there will inevitably be; a few things you can’t figure out. The main point to remember is that, vehicle repairs are not as difficult as they look; and it’s pretty hard to screw things up. Even newer vehicles with more electronics, have parts that can be repaired in your driveway. Finally, it’s just a matter of trusting yourself to do it.
Thank You !