How to decide whether you can tackle car tasks yourself

Car repairs and maintenance can be very expensive, and whats more, costly repair bills generally seem to turn up when you can least afford them. It is not very surprising, therefore, that many car owners turn to making repairs without professional help. This can be a risky strategy, however, and could end up costing you more. So what factors can help you decide when you need professional help?

Practical experience. If this is your first car and you have to refer to the manual to find every different gadget or function, then you may not be the right person to work on your car. If, however, you are an experienced driver, with many years on the road, you may be in a better position to do some repair work. Consider how complex the repair is, and whether you have done anything like it before.

Equipment and facilities. If you live in an apartment block and your car is parked on the road outside, you may not have the space to work freely on the vehicle. Likewise, if you do not even own a wrench, then you may be rather limited in what you can do. Consider how practical it is for you to work on the car before embarking on any repairs.

Availability and time. If you work long hours, you may not want to spend a lot of time working on your car in the evenings or on weekends. Similarly, if you have young children to look after, working on a car may not be too practical. Remember that many repairs have to be completed in one session. You cannot simply work for a bit and then carry on a few days later.

Risk. Carrying out a repair could be an exercise in balancing risk. Check like-minded car owners online to see whether the repair is very easy or whether there is serious risk of doing further damage. Likewise, if you rely on your car for your job, can you afford it to be off the road for any period of time if you make a mistake? If you go to a professional, then you may also be offered a courtesy car. Can you risk being without your car?

Carrying out repairs on your car can save a lot of money, but it can also cause a lot of grief. Think carefully before setting out on DIY maintenance, or you may regret the decision.

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