Many people will tell you that you should never do any of your own work on your car. While we see where they’re coming from, we’re not going to sit here and tell you you can’t do your own basic service if you want to. What we do agree on is that there are certain jobs you should leave to a trained professional. The following four are the ones that carry the greatest risk if you try to do them yourself.
Installing Replacement Parts Or Aftermarket Mods
While it’s perfectly safe to source your own car parts online (as long as you go through a reputable seller), installing them yourself could spell a death sentence for your ride. This is especially true if you’re adding aftermarket mods since the rest of your engine will need to be attached and tuned correctly. But even replacing original parts yourself could land you in hot water if you’re not sure what you’re doing. If your shiny new toy doesn’t come with explicit instructions that you’re 100% comfortable following, head on down to your mechanic.
Anything To Do With Your Brakes
The braking system on your vehicle is arguably even more important than your engine. It’s all well and good to be able to go, but if you can’t stop once you’re moving, you’re screwed. For this reason, we strongly suggest staying well away from anything more complex than attaching new brake pads. It might seem simple in theory, but is it really worth the risk?
You’re probably not going to destroy your engine if you do your own basic servicing (just make sure you know what kind of service your car needs or a dead vehicle is a very real possibility), but tasks that are bigger than an oil change should probably be left to the professionals. There’s simply too much that can go wrong when you’re messing with filters, sensors, and belts all at once. A good rule to live by is this: if it takes you more than one read-through of the instructions to feel like you understand how to carry a job out, leave it to the professionals.
Playing With The Computer
Thinking about doing an at-home tune-up? Don’t. The computers in new cars are far more advanced than our smartphones, and one single piece of incorrect coding can cause a whole host of electrical gremlins that can disable your car and send you on a wild goose chase replacing this that and the other thing under the hood (usually to no avail).
Once you’ve got computer problems, they can be hard to fix, even for professionals. In fact, if you mess it up badly enough, you may end up just having to give up on your car. Unless that’s a risk you’re willing to take, leave anything to do with the electronics to the professionals. And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re looking at those of you who like to install aftermarket head units as well. If you can get a plug and play system designed for, and coded to, your vehicle you should be fine, but if anyone wants to sell you one that’s a complete DIY job, run away.
It can be tempting to save a few bucks by doing maintenance work yourself, especially when it comes to something as fun as tinkering with your car, but if you’re not 100% confident doing the job, the safest option is not to.