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The Pros and Cons of DIY Car Maintenance

After the recession of 2008, there has been a veritable explosion of interest in DIY projects for personal vehicles, from specialized DIY auto repair to standard vehicle maintenance. Because car maintenance and repairs are one of the most costly (and unavoidable) expenses people have to deal with, it’s also one of the primary ways a lot of folks are trying to cut corners and save a few dollars.

There are pros and cons of DIY car maintenance work. Consumer Reports explains the conundrum in a nutshell: “Today’s cars, with their specialized electronics, computerized internal controls, and long-life fluids, offer fewer and fewer opportunities for do-it-yourselfers to roll up their sleeves. It’s a mixed blessing. Cars need much less maintenance than they did in the good old days, and they last longer than ever. But some services that used to be routine now require the attention and tools of a highly trained specialist.”

The Pros of DIY Car Maintenance

Obviously, the primary benefit of DIY auto repair and maintenance is saving money. When you do your own work, you’ll only have to pay for the parts. Mechanics often charge $75 to $100 an hour, and if you do the work yourself then these costs disappear.

Another reason some folks do car maintenance and repair work themselves is because they enjoy it. If you enjoy working with your hands, then DIY car maintenance may be a perfect hobby. “For people who consider themselves to be automotive enthusiasts of any type, simple enjoyment is often a big part of their decision to do repair work on their own,” explains Autos.com.

The Pitfalls of DIY Car Maintenance

First, auto mechanics is a field that changes rapidly. Advancements in electronics and engineering make it hard for the weekend auto enthusiast to master more than replacing parts. Plus, most people don’t have the tools or space necessary to perform certain tasks.

Autos.com explains that there are three main drawbacks to DIY auto repair and/or maintenance:

  • Time – Working on your car will take time – and a lot of it if you don’t know what you’re doing and need to learn everything as you go. If you enjoy spending your time on the car, then great. If it’s drudgery, however, it might not be worth the pain.
  • Reliability and Liability– If a mechanic makes a mistake and you get into a car accident because of a faulty repair, then the mechanic will be liable. But if you were the one who made the repair, and it caused an accident then you will be wholly responsible (barring that the part wasn’t defective).

DIY Car Maintenance Tasks You Likely Can Handle

There are certain tasks you probably can handle on your own. Investopedia explains that the following five maintenance tasks are safe to complete on your own if you read and carefully adhere to the manufacturers’ instructions:

  • replacing a battery;
  • changing the oil;
  • replacing your windshield wipers;
  • changing the headlight bulbs; and
  • installing a new air filter.

This list doesn’t include temporary tasks that you may perform prior to taking your vehicle into the mechanic, like changing a flat tire if you break down on the road. Your car’s owner’s manual should include a suggested schedule for maintenance tasks that you can use to plan DIY car maintenance. If you decide to try to tackle moderately difficult tasks on your own, Consumer Reports suggests purchasing a detailed repair manual, searching the Internet for tips and articles provided by mechanics, and watching instructional YouTube videos.

Have legal questions? Call Our Indianapolis Law Firm

If you were in an Indianapolis auto accident or have any other questions related to liability or fault, feel free to contact us at the Hensley Group. Call us for a free consultation at your convenience: 888-505-8232.