In a perfect world everyone would be able to afford brand new cars and cars would last a lifetime without any need for repairs or maintenance. However in the real world, car repair is a fact of life for most of us. Even new cars need on ongoing maintenance to keep them in good running order and older cars even more so. If you are considering buying an older car you should budget in the cost for car repairs with the initial price tag to buy the car. Some repairs are obvious like a cracked windshield or worn out tires that will need to be replaced. Other car repairs can be less easy to spot such as a bad alternator or a starter that is about to go out. Still, it is important that you do some basic research before you buy to ensure you won’t be rebuilding a car from the ground up after you purchase it.
One of the most expensive things to replace on the car is the engine and if the car has a bad engine, it won’t be something that can easily be concealed. Other things though like bad brakes, faulty wiring, or a clogged fuel filter may not be as easy to spot if you don’t know what to look for.
Obviously if you are considering an older car because you have a tight budget you cant expect to get something that is perfect. But you want to try and get a car that will last as long as possible. The best way to know what you are getting before you take the pink slip, is to take your potential new car to a trusted mechanic for a once over.
Sure, you will be out a little money for the time and diagnosis but in the long run you won’t be wasting money on a car that can quickly turn into a money pit. Ideally if you have the current owner’s car repair records and receipts your mechanic and get a good idea about what has and hasn’t been done to the car recently and they can tell you what kind of care the car has been getting. This is also the best way to find out if your potential new car is about to need massive repairs or a new engine or any of the other millions of things that an older car can need to keep running.
With a little mechanical help before you buy, you may be able to ensure your car repair bills of the future are as realistically in your budget as possible.
In today’s society, DIY projects have become a necessity for many. This is also often applied to car repair. Some people think that because they have knowledge of cars and their working components, many of what they consider easy projects can be done in their home garage. However, a lot of these projects aren’t nearly as easy as they may seem.
Fixing a clutch. Simple enough, right? It seems to be. However, most people don’t realize that fixing a clutch is more complicated and can be a delicate procedure. The biggest hurdle one would find is that many times it involves dropping the engine. This is not something that most can do in their garage.
Recharging the A/C
Every automotive store carries A/C recharging kits. If they do that, then it must be something a novice could do, right? Wrong. Not even counting the added complications of Freon, there is so much more to it. Working with the A/C system involves very high, specific pressure, specialized tubing, and odd components – most of these allusively buried in the dashboard or tied into an incomprehensible computer – not to mention many other things related to the first law of thermodynamics. If that word is not recognizable, you more than likely have no business even being in there.
Working around or on the airbag
Though thankfully this particular area rarely needs to be worked on or around, it is still a good idea to know what the possible outcomes could be. The most important thing to think about if working on or around this area – including any close by panels – is that there is a significantly sized explosive charge tucked away in there. Does ‘explosive charge’ sound a lot like a bomb? It should, because that is essentially what it is. Definitely make sure that someone with training in that particular area works on that part of your car. A hand being blown off isn’t worth the extra money saved by doing it ones-self. It is guaranteed that the hospital bill for that would be significantly more expensive than just having a professional do it for you.
Rebuilding a differential
Anytime someone is messing around with gears it can lead to disaster. It takes a delicate, sensitive touch. Differentials are even trickier. If the gears are even slightly off, your car will sound like it has been taken over by a disgruntled poltergeist. Not to mention that in a very short time, the teeth will completely wear out and disintegrate. The contact patch between the gears has to be so carefully aligned that it is mathematically perfect.
Even the seemingly simplest of jobs are so involved that many times doing your own car repair can cost more than taking it to the shop. A car repair technician can do the job right the first time and save lots of time and energy.