Look, we get it. Working on your own car can be a really interesting way to spend a weekend, get down and dirty, learn a new skill or even to save a few bucks. Should you though? And how can you be safe when working on your own car?
Put simply, there's a lot of arguments on each side of this debate. While many car owners are incredibly passionate about their own cars and want to modify or maintain it in a way that they think is best, there's also a lot of very complicated systems in modern cars that can put yourself and others in danger if not repaired properly.
After all, there is a reason the trade "mechanic" exists. Diagnosing, repairing and maintaining these complex modern machines is a very risky business and it seems like all too often that we (as mechanics) are called to look after a car that's been held together with hopes, dreams and broken bolts. Much the same as horror house flipper stories.
In fact, this is such a problem that many mechanics will refuse to work on cars that have been DIYed and have even started calling for the very practice to be made illegal.
While harsh, there is probably some sense to this argument as a faulty repair doesn't just put you in danger but also other road users and pedestrians.
So, should we as a society make it illegal to work on your own car? In our opinion no.
Instead of stopping people from working on their own cars, it would be a better solution for everyone if there was a short course DIYers had to do before working on their own cars. One that covered safe lifting, torqueing bolts, basic repairs like changing the oil and what should and shouldn't be done at home.
On top of this, it would might be a very healthy idea for all of these repairs to be checked by a qualified mechanic once done.
However, until that happens (i.e. never), we think DIYers should take some small steps and own some simple tools for every project to make sure the job is done well.
Try to take a basic repair course at TAFE or buy the repair manual for your car.
Research every job from start to finish before you attempt it - Google, YouTube and even forums can be helpful.
Buy (and please use) a torque wrench wherever possible to prevent broken bolts and things falling apart.
If you aren't sure what you're doing, stop. Then take the car to a mechanic or at least call them.
Is this the perfect solution? Not at all. In fact, many mechanics (ourselves included) would prefer people didn't DIY anything due to the danger it can put yourself and others in.
However, in our opinion, stopping people from working on their own cars completely is a solution that will never work. Until there is a proper licencing and training system to make sure DIYer's are doing things safely, these 4 steps might make all the difference on the road.
If you have any questions about this blog post, would like a second opinion from a mechanic or would like to find an honest mechanic in Brisbane, check out Kashy here.