When it comes to automotive repairs, if you have the tools and the knowledge, you can make things happen. For the weekend mechanic, however, there are some auto repair jobs to leave for professionals. Here are the jobs your trusted mechanic should do.
Changing out the clutch
While Jalopnik argues that this may not be too tall an order for some home mechanics, there are some situations in which replacing the clutch will require complete engine removal. That kind of heavy lifting is better in the hands of a professional mechanic.
Repairing or recharging your car’s air conditioner
Think high pressure and lots of tubing. Throw in an array of components hidden beneath the dashboard and tied in to your car’s internal computer. Plus, there’s the heat and Freon. Move along if you aren’t thoroughly comfortable with all of this.
Repairing or replacing an airbag
When working with steering wheel or dash panel airbags, remember how airbags work in the first place. There are explosives nestled inside an airbag unit that help create the gas that fills the bag upon impact. That’s how the bags inflate so quickly and why you shouldn’t mess around with them unless you are a trained professional.
Replacing a seriously damaged windshield
Installing large sheets of glass requires precision, which is difficult to maintain for a non-professional when heavy glass must be swung around and into place. Consult an auto glass specialist, because the calking job required must be done correctly or you’ll mess up the entire job.
Rebuilding the differential
Gears require a delicate touch, and with a differential, this is even more true. If the placement isn’t perfect – mathematically perfect – the gears will grind and quickly disintegrate, leaving you with an even more expensive task at hand. Professionals can measure for perfect placement, because they’ve been trained to do so.
Pounding out the body or frame
If you don’t care about how the body of your vehicle looks, feel free to pound away with a sledgehammer until the dents are gone. It won’t be pretty, though. If you do care about how your car looks, employ a body shop to do the work. As for the frame, the amount of force required for straightening is tremendous. Don’t try it at home.
Mounting and balancing car tires
While the concept here isn’t difficult, the way to do this right is with dedicated equipment you probably do not own. Sure, you may get the tire on the rim, but how will you balance it properly? By calling a professional, that’s how.
Repairing automatic transmissions
An automatic transmission is a precision-tuned machine. A modern eight-speed transmission requires more power to operate than the original moon mission, notes Jalopnik. As such, perhaps a factory technician should take care of things from here.
Electronics, if the warranty is still on
If your car’s warranty is still valid, don’t attempt to open up computers, clutch controllers or anything in the ballpark. More than likely, you’ll void the warranty just by cracking the case for a peek.
Lauren Fix on what car repairs you should and shouldn’t do
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