Do-it-yourselfers take pride in the fact that they can fix practically anything around the house, from garden equipment to the family car and everything in between. As a DIYer, you might know how to check and replace your brakes, but the question is: At what point should you take your car to the mechanic?
For most small and medium car issues, a well-equipped DIY garage, some YouTube videos, and maybe a manual or two are all that is necessary. Hopping on the NAPA KnowHow blog is another easy way to review the best way to complete any number of repairs, such as basic electrical diagnosis and repair, changing engine oil, replacing brake pads and rotors or even dealing with minor flood damage.
On the other hand, there are some car repairs that you should really consider taking your car to your local NAPA AutoCare Center for, and it’s not a matter of DIY pride.
Taking Your Car to the Mechanic Is NOT Failure
Sometimes you just have to realize that a certain project is just over your head, not in your experience or not in your toolbox. So it’s a good idea to leave it to the professionals. This isn’t failure, but simple recognition of your limitations. For example …
- Limited experience: If you’ve never replaced a timing belt or a cylinder head gasket, the time to start practicing probably isn’t on the daily driver. If it’s the second car or the winter beater, maybe you can afford to take your time. The last thing you want is to miss work Monday morning because your car is still in pieces.
- Limited tools: Even if you have the time, a transmission rebuild is not for the faint of heart. Additionally, you’ll need a number of specialty tools, which could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, which wouldn’t make sense to purchase for one-time use. Some modern vehicle repairs require computerized scanners to diagnose or even program replacement components.
- Limited time: If you’re a weekend warrior, you’ve got a lot on your plate when you get home from work, such as mowing the lawn, tiling the garage and hanging out with the family. Even if you have a well-equipped garage, do you really have time to rebuild the engine in your commuter?
How to Talk to Your Mechanic
If you do come to the realization that you need to take your car to the mechanic, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with them. Tell them your concerns and why you feel your car needs a certain repair. Report any diagnostic steps that you’ve taken, so they’ll have a good idea what to start with once they get their hands on your car.
Still, don’t be surprised if the mechanic insists on diagnosing the problem on their own before making recommendations. They may find your diagnosis was spot-on, and the overhaul will be well under way. On the other hand, because your mechanic fixes cars for a living, they might find something that you overlooked, so expect a phone call with a good explanation.
Remember, it’s totally OK if you need to take your car to the mechanic. It doesn’t make you any less of a bona fide DIYer. Maybe, while your car is in the shop, you can do the next best thing, like teach your kid how to adjust the brakes on their bike, ushering in the next-generation DIYer!
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on DIY car repair, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Foter.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.