DIY automotive maintenance and repairs are easier than most people realize, and can save you a pile of cash. This month, we provide links to a variety of useful articles, along with tips to guide you through basic projects. Impress your friends and family, save money and become more self-sufficient by learning to become your own auto mechanic.

Start Small

As with learning any new skill, it’s helpful to start with the basics. Once you get your feet wet and have a sturdy foundation, you can progress to more advanced projects. The links we included below are relatively simple, even for newbies, and they don’t require a dedicated garage. All you need is a handful of basic tools and the following advice:

Equip Your Garage

With a few simple maintenance tasks and repairs under your belt, it’s time to level up your garage to suit bigger projects that require a sheltered space and more tools. Your garage space should allow you to work as efficiently as possible and not get bogged down by clutter. Allow for plenty of storage for tools and parts, as well as a dedicated chemical storage cabinet for flammable and hazardous liquids.

If you don’t have access to a garage, consider joining a local garage co-op where, for an hourly rate or membership fee, you can reserve shop space and use tools alongside other DIY mechanics. A quick search in your area may reveal a hidden gem you never knew about.

Challenge Yourself

Having a dedicated workspace outfitted with the proper gear will surely light a fire to hone your new skills. Offer to help out a neighbor or friend with vehicle maintenance to gain more experience, and don’t be afraid to try new and incrementally more difficult projects such as changing your car’s oil and fluids.

Take it Slow

Learning to be your own mechanic requires diligence and patience. Be prepared to put in more time and effort than a professional mechanic – the goal is to complete projects correctly and save money on labor. Rushing can do damage to your vehicle and be downright dangerous. Take every safety precaution seriously, and keep the following top tips in mind as you embark on becoming your own auto mechanic:

  • Take notes and photos of everything. As you disassemble parts or unplug wires, snap photos, jot down notes, and use tape to label everything. The documentation will be very handy as you reassemble things. Be sure to check your work against the above references multiple times during a project.
  • Keep resources on hand. Don’t delete the notes or photos you take during each project. File them away in an organized fashion so you can access them later. Be sure to bookmark your go-to resources for future reference.
  • Shop around for parts. It may take more time, but you can save a significant amount of cash by shopping around for the best deals on parts. Always save your receipts for possible returns, as well as future reference.
  • Stay positive. As with any new skill, you’ll likely encounter frustrating situations. Don’t get discouraged, channel that frustration into finding solutions. You may need to backtrack a few steps, review your vehicle’s manual, or consult fellow DIY mechanics, but successfully completing a challenging project should give you the confidence to tackle the next one.

Source: Bob Vila                                  

Article by Black Car News

Black Car News provides breaking news, editorial, and information to drivers, owners, and other key players in the New York City for-hire vehicle industry.

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