Taking care of your car with regular maintenance can help keep it in top shape and extend its life on the road. While regular trips to the mechanic may appear to be an unavoidable expense, with the right tools and knowledge, you can perform some services on your car yourself. However, before you decide to go under the hood, you should weigh the benefits and drawbacks.
What car maintenance can I perform on my own?
You may be able to perform some basic routine maintenance checks on your car. According to RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Andrew Kirk, these could save you money and help reduce your risk of a car breakdown. These maintenance checks include the following:
- Weekly oil and water level checks You can change the oil if you have the knowledge. However, this will necessitate the use of a suitable jack, stands or ramps, knowledge of where to jack the vehicle, and disposal of the old oil.
- Tyre pressure, condition, tread wear, and depth are all checked.
- Checking and replacing any blown light globes on all exterior lights.
- Look for oil or coolant leaks beneath your vehicle, as these could indicate an impending problem.
- Checking the wipers and washers for proper operation and refilling the windshield washer fluid.
- Testing the handbrake in a safe manner to ensure that it ‘holds’ the car correctly on steep hills.
- If necessary, replace the air cleaner element.
More complex maintenance, according to Mr Kirk, is often best left to a licenced mechanic. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, there’s a chance you’ll end up with a much larger bill than if you took your car to a mechanic and sought professional advice.
Checking brakes or tampering with your car’s steering, suspension, and safety systems should be avoided by DIYers, according to Mr Kirk, because you could end up seriously injuring yourself or others by tampering with the car’s core mechanics. Mr Kirk cites fitting brake pads backwards and draining gearbox oil instead of engine oil as examples of mistakes that can be made. If you have any doubts about your car’s safety or maintenance, seek professional advice from a licenced mechanic.
One of our go-to recommendations for vehicle owners is AVR Automotive. As we are located on the north side of Brisbane, AVR is a local high-quality mechanic in Brendale that provides the best possible service. They are experts in a variety of vehicle maintenance, repairs and modifications with third-party parts. They perform lift kit installs, suspension checks and other upgrades you might be considering. If you’re ever worried about if something might void your warranty when you complete actions to it on your vehicle, visit AVR Automotive to get their advice first.
The benefits and drawbacks of DIY vehicle maintenance
While there is the potential to save money and gain familiarity with your vehicle, it could be financially disastrous if you cause damage or get out of your depth with the repairs, or it could cause you or others harm if there are any safety-related issues.
Insurance, legal, and warranty implications may also exist. Modern automobiles are far more complex and require extensive specialised knowledge to repair. To correctly diagnose problems, the proper tools and equipment are required. Misdiagnosis may result in the installation of unnecessary and costly parts.
Concerns about insurance and warranties
If you opt to undertake automobile repairs yourself rather than having your car serviced by a professional technician using approved components and according to the manufacturer’s requirements, your car warranty may be forfeited. You normally have the ability to pick who maintains your automobile under warranty (i.e., a dealership, a private mechanic, etc.), but if you have a warranty and are unclear what’s permitted, it’s crucial to carefully study the terms and conditions in the product disclosure statement (PDS). Authorised service centres and qualified technicians frequently have access to testing equipment and speciality tools that can assist them in completing automobile repairs to the appropriate standards.
Basic automobile maintenance may not have an effect on your car insurance unless it is determined to have led to engine damage or been the cause of an accident. It’s a good idea to contact your insurer before beginning work to confirm what’s covered by your insurance, and to read the terms and conditions in your PDS. If you perform incorrect repairs to your automobile or use non-genuine components, the resale value of your vehicle may suffer. You should keep this in mind if you want to handle your own auto maintenance.
DIY automotive modifications, such as changes to the exhaust system, bodywork, or wheels, may potentially void your car insurance. Car modifications might also have an effect on the resale value of your vehicle if you decide to sell it in the future.