It’s important for all car owners to be familiar with basic repair practices, but sometimes it’s not appropriate to tackle these projects alone. Whether it’s a safety issue – brake repair comes to mind – or a project with too many moving parts, knowing when to call a mechanic is an important part of responsible car ownership. When you encounter these 6 projects, pick up the phone and call a professional.
Keep Your Cool
Summer arrives and you’re not feeling the breeze in your car – the air conditioner is on the fritz. If you check and clean the vents and that doesn’t solve your problem, this may not be a DIY repair. The problem with trying to repair your car air conditioner on your own is that even the easiest step – adding more refrigerant – can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Refrigerant is dangerous if inhaled and since it’s relatively unstable, the odds you’ll breathe some in is far higher than with other fluids, such as oil or wiper fluid.
Even if you can safely add more refrigerant without endangering yourself, it can be hard to ensure that this will be a long-term fix. Full system repair may involve evacuating your system using a special pump and resetting the system back to its factory setting – and unless you’re a specialty mechanic, you’re unlikely to even know what those are. This isn’t a task for amateurs or weekend warriors.
Finally, if you have a leak in the AC system, then a mechanic is a must. These can be hard to find and you’re almost guaranteed to suffer refrigerant exposure at the very least. When you’re feeling the heat, head straight for professional help.
There is no such thing as minor brake repair. The fact is that properly functioning brakes are an absolute necessity for both your safety and the safety of others, so even if you’re willing to risk your life with a brake repair project, you should never put others in danger. Proper brake maintenance, then, is an ethical responsibility and not just a technical one.
When a professional works on your brakes, they not only have to be knowledgeable about the proper process, there are also numerous phases of testing your brakes will need to go through before you can get back on the road. Unless you’re a mechanic, you simply don’t have the necessary knowledge to do this job on your own.
Out Of Alignment
Are your wheels a little out of whack? You can’t realign your tires in your home garage – it takes a lot more than a jack and a wrench to set this situation straight. To do a proper wheel alignment, you’ll need several pieces of equipment including special adjustment tools, an alignment rack, and a caster gauge. You won’t find these in your standard toolbox.
A Million Little Pieces
Your transmission is a very delicate piece of equipment and it can be damaged easily. In fact, it’s rather inaccurate to even speak of the transmission as a single piece – although it works as a whole, an automatic transmission has thousands of parts. Start taking your transmission apart and you may not be able to put it back together.
Besides having a vast number of pieces, one of the main reasons you shouldn’t work on your own transmission is that even cleaning it improperly can cause problems, whether immediately or down the road. Even if you think the transmission only needs a fluid change, accidentally getting a bit of dirt into the system could destroy an automatic transmission. Transmissions are expensive to replace, but by leaving this task to the professionals you reduce the likelihood that it will all need to go, saving you time and money.
When your car isn’t starting, the problem could just be the battery – not an easy home repair, but one you could do yourself. But if you swap out the battery successfully and still find your engine dead in the driveway, the problem may be the ignition system. Unlike a battery, you can’t fix this one on your own.
Before the automatic ignition, you could sometimes check out the ignition on your own. Sparkplugs aren’t harmless, but they’ve got limited voltage and you know they’re working if there’s a spark.
Unfortunately, fussing with an automatic ignition could expose you to enough electricity to kill you, an unlikely outcome with old fashioned sparkplugs. Much as you probably wouldn’t rewire your entire home on your own – you’d hire an electrician – you should call on a professional to work out your ignition issues.
Release The Clutch
Repairing your clutch isn’t an especially easy job on its own – you need special tools and getting the alignment right can be tricky – but one of the worst parts of the process may actually be the fact that you have to take out your transmission if you’re going to repair your clutch.
As discussed earlier, you should never touch your own transmission. It’s a recipe for trouble. By extension, clutch repairs are also poorly suited for the DIY treatment. If you have to go digging around deep under the hood, you’re likely to end up with a mess you can’t put back together.
Know Your Limits
When car troubles start, your first response might be to take a look at things yourself, and for the basics that can be okay. But a car is a complicated machine and there are a great number of tasks you shouldn’t undertake on your own. When that happens, it’s time to call RC Auto Specialists.
At RC Auto Specialists, we know our way around even the most complicated projects, and what’s more, we own all of the necessary equipment to perform even the most specialized jobs, unlike your corner oil change shop.
Car troubles are a drag and can slow you down for days. We aim to get you back on the road as quickly as possible, but solving your car problems starts with you. Choose RC Auto Specialists – the car care professionals you can trust.