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Learn to Repair Your Own Car

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 20 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Car Repairs Maintenance Engine Problems

It isn’t too hard to learn the skills needed to conduct basic car repairs and maintenance. There are a number of different sources available from which to learn the fundamentals, and acquiring these skills can save a lot of money.

Don’t be Intimidated by Car Repairs

For some people repairing a car can be a daunting task. One look under the hood is enough to have many people running to their nearest garage. Beginners should never attempt complicated car repairs such as engine problems. This can be both dangerous and end up costing more in the long run. But learning basic car maintenance and knowing how to repair common problems are useful skills to have. It will also stop costly visits to mechanics simply to have the oil, spark plugs or battery changed.

Start Learning Basic Car Repair Skills

A complete beginner will of course have to start from scratch and this can be daunting. The best way to learn is to get under the hood with a ‘hands on’ approach. If members of the family or friends regularly undertake their own car repairs ask to join in and help out. Learning by doing is one of the quickest ways of getting to grips with the fundamentals. Ask to undertake common maintenance techniques and to fix basic engine problems and these skills will soon become second nature.

Undertake Car Repair Research on the Internet

It’s fair to say that almost anything can be found by scouring the internet, and car repairs are no exception. There are specialised internet websites that deal with car repairs and maintenance such as the Free Online Auto Repair website. These sites provide step by step tutorials, easy to follow videos and have forums where learners can ask questions and gain advice about specific repairs. The advice is in-depth, easy to understand and is an inexpensive way to learn basic and more complicated car repair skills.

Learn Car Maintenance through Local Colleges

Night classes and part-time day classes are an excellent and inexpensive way to learn basic car maintenance and repair skills. Colleges can teach students the basics up to more advanced skill levels. Technical colleges will have workshops and will be able to teach practical skills rather than theory. Searching on the internet should bring up courses in local areas and these courses may come under vehicle repair and maintenance. Part-time car maintenance courses can include working towards a diploma such as a City and Guilds qualification.

Learn By Reading the Car Manuals

Car manuals supplied by companies such as Haynes are one of the most popular ways to learn car maintenance and repairs. Car manuals can be supplied for every type of car and will include a step by step guide to many common engine and bodywork problems. Companies such as Haynes also supply accompanying DVDs that act as visual guides for easier learning. The big plus point is that as much time as needed can be taken when learning these skills. Some car manufacturers will also supply manuals and common trouble shooting problems on their company websites.

The Actual Cost of Common Car Repairs

Those who think that learning basic car maintenance and repair skills is too much effort should consider the prices charged by mechanics. Examples of common car problems and prices to repair (not including VAT) by a qualified professional:

  • Repair a medium size dent - £70 to £120
  • Changing four sparkplugs - £82
  • Repairs to brakes - £97
  • General repair - £234
  • Car service - £145
  • Average labour for a mechanic per hour - £85

Rent Garage Space and Tools to Conduct Repairs

It may sound a strange concept but many garages are now renting out workshops and tools to customers for as little as £10 per hour. The equipment available for hire can include ramps to lift cars and any of the tools needed to complete basic jobs. At least a basic level of car maintenance skills will be required. When compared against the prices charged by mechanics for simple jobs this would seem like a very good deal.

With the average cost of car repairs and maintenance increasing every year it is cost effective to learn basic car repair skills. Once these skills have been acquired they can last a lifetime and should drastically reduce the cost of maintaining a car. With self service garage space and tools available to rent it has never been easier to put those newly acquired repair skills into use.

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