Your first time working on a car can be intimidating. Cars are complex machines with lots of pieces that all function together…somehow. But if you take your time and work carefully, even the most complex repair is within your grasp. Here’s 4 tips for first time automotive DIYers that will help make your project a success.
Before picking up the first tool, you need to familiarize yourself with your vehicle. Start by taking out the owner’s manual and reading through the maintenance section. There is usually a diagram showing the location of the most common underhood maintenance points. Next get a repair manual for your exact year/make/model vehicle. You can get a traditional paper manual, or go high-tech with a digital version.
Create a work space
You already know you need a car size space to work, but you should also make it a good place to work. Start by clearing any junk off the ground. Bust out the leaf blower and clear off the driveway, or get a broom and sweep out the garage. Even if you are just working on grass it pays to clear away any dead leaves or sticks. The idea is to reduce clutter if you drop something, making it easier to find. A clean work space also makes it easier to move around the vehicle.
Organize your tools
Take a few minutes to get your tools in order. Whether you have a tool bag or a big rolling toolbox, try to put things in a logical place that suits your needs. Simple things like sorting sockets by size and type can make a repair move smoothly. If you did your research on the repair as mentioned earlier, go ahead and set aside the tools you will need.
Prepare your parts
If you can get your repair parts ahead of time, do so. Open up the box and make sure it looks like the part you are about to replace. If you are not sure what you will need to replace that is okay too. Make sure you know where your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store is located along with the phone number. When you have the broken part in hand you can quickly head over and get a replacement or order online for pickup later.
Following these four first time automotive DIYer tips are a great way to set yourself up for success. That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems ahead. But when those hiccups occur, your project preparation will pay off. And if you just aren’t comfortable with a job, your local NAPA AutoCare Center is always there to get you back on the road.
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 tips for first time automotive DIYers, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of this many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.