Disastrous Car Repairs You Do Not Want To Try At Home

There is nothing more annoying than fixing an automobile problem, only to later discover it was done wrong and requires an expert. Many videos have been posted on YouTube and other websites that teach people how to fix their cars rather than taking them to a mechanic, but it is advisable to hire an expert to do it. When deciding to take a car to the mechanic or repair it at home, it is essential to understand what the problem is and what needs to be fixed. If the issue is complicated, hiring a licensed and certified mechanic is the best decision. Here are some repairs that are generally beyond the scope of your average DIYer.

Head Gasket Repairs

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A blown head gasket can take a qualified mechanic up to twenty-five hours to repair, which is half of an average work-week. The cost of replacing a head gasket is between $1,3000 and $1,800. Of course, this price will fluctuate depending on the vehicle. The head gasket works as a seal for the internal combustion process of an engine, as well as prevents the coolant and oil from mixing when the two fluids are moving from the cylinder head to the engine block. Headgasket failure will result in a severe decline in performance of your vehicle, causing the vehicle to lose power, burn fuel faster and can lead to a complete failure of the engine.

Brakes System Repairs

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Replacing a car's brakes is doable at home. However, missing a step or improperly doing a step can lead to future problems, some of which could be catastrophic. That said, if an unskilled person decides to repair, he or she should do it right and find the appropriate tools and manuals for their vehicle. Replacing the brakes involves replacing the brake pads, calipers, and rotors, as well as replacing and bleeding the brake fluid. While it may not be the most labor-intensive repair on this list, it is certainly one of the most tedious. For the sake of the safety of those who share the road, just hire a professional to do the work.

Fuel Pump Replacement

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The fuel pump supplies fuel to the injector in the engine, Because of the growing amount of sensors and equipment being packed into the pump itself by manufacturers, it is expensive to repair once it breaks, and almost always requires an outright replacement. Having a new fuel pump installed can cost from $600 up to $2,000. Because of this price, many people try to repair or replace it themselves. Improper replacement of the fuel pump can result in a poor mixture of air and fuel in the engine or blockages in the fuel lines, which will require a professional to flush. Keeping adequate amounts of fuel in the tank and using good quality fuel and cleaners will help avoid fuel pump burn out.

Transmission Fixes

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The transmission, which contains thousands of complex parts, engages the car in forward-drive or reverse. Due to its complicated nature, a transmission should only be replaced by a knowledgeable mechanic. Amateurs who have tried doing their own repairs have experienced disastrous results. Other activities such as changing the transmission fluid must also be done by an expert since it involves complicated and specialized procedures. Repairing a transmission costs $2000 to $6000. Considering the problems that can be caused to the car by doing it improperly, it is worth paying a professional. Choose to either take the vehicle to a licensed mechanic or decide to buy another car rather than repairing it, but do not try to fix it on your own.

Radiator Repairs

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The radiator prevents overheating, and if it is not working correctly, it can lead to a major malfunctioning of the engine, which is expensive to repair. It is simply the heart of the cooling system of the vehicle, and if it is not working, then the car should not be driven. Although many videos on YouTube try to explain how one can replace the radiator in the car just as professionals do, it is essential to be careful. Repairing a car radiator is not as easy as the videos lead one to believe. If done incorrectly, the engine could overheat and seize completely, making what would have been a $500 to $1000 radiator replacement into a several thousand dollar engine replacement.

Engine Diagnostics

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It is hard to know the problem with the engine when the check engine lights pop on the dashboard unless if one has specialized automotive diagnostic equipment. The two main reasons that can make light to pop on the dashboard may include a gas cap that is not screwed tight or overheating of the car’s engine, and as a result, the engine is about to blow. The best thing is to contact a mechanic so that he or she can connect the car to a diagnostic machine and identify the source of the problem. The test cost between $100 and $130.

Windshield Repairs

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A cracked windshield is a safety hazard and should, therefore, be repaired immediately by a professional. If action is taken quickly, there will be no need to replace the whole windscreen, which is expensive. If you buy a can of glue from a hardware store and try for fix a chipped windshield, it will cost about $10, and if taken to a garage, it will cost $75, but with a guarantee of a better job. Replacing a windshield can cost up to $500, and if you do the calculations, it is better to repair it early.

Shock Absorbers Replacements

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Some people think that they can replace the shock absorber by themselves, but the truth is, if done wrong it can result in a serious safety hazard that can make the car unfit to drive. Crawling underneath the vehicle to replace or repair a shock absorber is dangerous, and many people have had their hands, or worse, crushed. Much caution is to be taken when repairing a car that involves jacking up and crawling underneath it. Replacing shock absorbers cost about $750 if done in a garage, which is money spent well.

Timing Belt

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Anyone who has owned a vehicle for a long time is likely aware that it is essential to replace the timing belt periodically. Many try to do it themselves, but this is not advisable. The timing belt ensures that the engine is operating effectively, and when it needs replacement, the entire engine has to be disassembled to get the timing belt that needs replacement. It is also recommended that certain parts be replaced with the timing belt, including flywheels and pulleys. Failure to ensure the timing belt is in good condition can do irreparable harm the car’s engine. Replacing a timing belt usually costs between $500 and $1,000. However, these costs can quickly climb to $2,000 or more if the belt damages the camshafts or valve heads.

Upgrading or Installing a Radio

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Installing or upgrading a radio involves electrical wiring, and if a person decides to do it on his or her own, it is better to do it right. Improper wiring can cause an electric fire in the car or short-circuit the electrical system.  Hiring a qualified mechanic to upgrade radio or DVD player is the recommended was to avoid the frustration of finding out that your deafening sound system is mute. Costs can range from $20 for a basic speaker install into the hundreds of dollars for more complex systems. 

Bodywork and Paint

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Applying paint is not only expensive and time-consuming but also a messy process which makes it essential to hire a qualified body shop. A dent or scratch can take away the sleek appearance of the vehicle, but a lousy paint job looks plain old bad. If you want a couple of areas touched up with paint or just a scratch smoothed out, be assured that the situation may look worse if you decide to do on your own. If the whole car or entire panels are to be painted, it is crucial to hire a bodywork professional.

Air Conditioner Repairs

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Have you ever owned a car that has been used for a long time? If so, you have experienced the blasting of an air conditioner before it breaks down completely. Never try to fix it, even in the midst of heat wave, since these devices are as complicated as the air conditioner in homes. The whole dashboard will have to be dismantled to repair it, which can result in more problems if not done correctly. Air conditioners work by pumping hazardous chemicals through the system. Avoid getting burned, either by the weather or by fluids under pressure, and call a professional to look after the A/C.

Spring Removal

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For a spring to be removed, it has to be compressed using a spring compressor, which means one will have to find a compressor that is strong enough to handle the spring. Even if there is the appropriate compressor, one will have to handle the compressor spring from the start to the end which requires much experience. If done wrong, the spring can loosen and slingshot forward with terrifying force. If you do not know how to handle springs, visit a professional who will do the task.

Ignition System Repair

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If the ignition system of the car is not working properly, it is not possible to start the car. Ignition system failure has become complicated with the improvement of car technology for it is no longer as easy as looking for a spark after pulling a spark plug wire. Amateur mechanics should beware of the shock risk when working with the ignition system. Failure to properly diagnose and mend an ignition system could result in additional damage to the to the car's electrical systems.

Wiring Harness Repair

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The wiring harness is the nervous system of the modern car, it sends electrical signals to and from all parts of the vehicle. If there is a connection problem in the harness or an insulator breaks, there can be major problems. The repairs can usually be done at home, but since the wiring extends throughout the entire vehicle, figuring out where a broken connection is, if a wire is grounding out, or where a short is located, can be both time-consuming and difficult. Having an expert work on the electrical system will keep further repairs and nuisances from cropping up.

Working on or Around Airbag

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You should not try to repair a detonated or defective airbag on your own. It is easy to unplug everything properly and remove the old airbag out, but it is difficult to fit and wire the new airbag correctly. Repairing on your own may save money if you are not covered under warranty. Relying on a professional will give not only peace of mind, but also fulfillment without all the headaches. Remember that unsafe and improper work around the dashboard an airbag can cause the airbag can explode and, therefore, hiring a trained mechanic to do it is essential.

The hardest thing with DIY car projects is knowing when to swallow the pride and ask for help from a professional. The above information does not mean that you do not take on any of the discussed tasks, but if you lack experience in handling a given part, do not be afraid to ask for help.

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Kelsey Rawson