There are some basic car repairs that even a novice can perform, such as replacing light bulbs or wiper blades, filling in minor scratches or chips, and keeping tires filled. However, when you start getting into more advanced repairs, you may end up causing damage to the vehicle that will end up costing you more money while also being potentially dangerous. Some repairs are better left to professional auto technicians.

Replacing Belts

Replacing Belts

Image via Flickr by Nick Nguyen

Your car has various belts that connect to the engine with the most important of these being the timing belt. Inspecting and replacing the timing belt is a common part of the 60,000-100,000 mile maintenance process. It is an expensive repair, often ranging from $450-$1000. The belt itself isn’t too expensive, so replacing it on your own can be tempting. However, this belt is crucial in keeping the engine running, so if you do it wrong, you may cause serious damage to the engine which is an even more expensive fix.

Transmission Issues

Transmission Issues

Image via Flickr by kanonn

Your transmission is what controls the speed and torque in your vehicle, but it contains thousands of tiny working parts that allow fluid to pass through. If your transmission goes out, it often costs thousands of dollars to repair or replace, but the amount of labor and expertise that a technician must perform and have makes it well worth the cost. When an inexperienced person starts opening and altering the components of the transmission, it can cause irreparable damage that may require total replacement. Even routine cleaning can let in dust or dirt particles that can do damage.

Overheating

Overheating

Image via Flickr by Kai Brinker

If you have some knowledge about auto repair, you might be able to replace hoses with no trouble. However, if your engine is overheating, the next step is always to take it into a professional for diagnosis and repair. If you try to poke around and figure out the cause of the problem, you could potentially cause further damage costing you thousands in additional repairs, or the hot metal could burn and severely injure you.

Solving the Mystery of the Check Engine Light

Check Engine

Image via Flickr by Alan Levine

Most newer vehicles have a panel that gives warnings when something is wrong, such as the check engine light. When you take the car to an auto repair shop, they should have a machine that connects to the engine and provides an error code, which tells the technician what is going wrong within the engine. Without the ability to check for the location of the issue, you may try to perform repairs on parts of the vehicle that are working properly.

A Non-Starter

Non-Starter

Image via Flickr by Lance Fisher

If your car won’t start, there are a number of things that could be wrong. You could have a faulty starter or a dead battery. If you notice stalling or surging, this can be a result of power problems in the engine. Anytime you have an issue that directly affects the drivability of your vehicle, you should have a professional check it out. Your car could suddenly surge or stall and cause a major accident, or you could get stuck somewhere.

You probably rely heavily on your car for getting to and from work, school, and other errands, so if you take care of problems before they get out of control, you can enjoy the benefits for years to come. Take care of yourcar and it will take care of you.