Years ago if you were feeling a bit cash-strapped you didn’t need to pay a garage to service your car. Instead you could invest the money you would have spent on a manual and some tools along with a few hours to get the job done yourself.
How things appear to have changed. It’s a frequently repeated that cars are now so mechanically complicated it’s impossible for all but a qualified technician to work on them; and with owners increasingly reluctant to spend money on servicing, car care is falling by the wayside. Figures from the AA prove this point with half of the 3.4 million call-outs it attends annually being caused by poor maintenance!
But drivers who can’t afford regular servicing at a garage, or even want to attempt it themselves as a hobby, shouldn’t be put off!
According to the AA’s patrolman of the year, Keith Miller: “The fundamentals of looking after an internal combustion engine haven’t changed over the years, so it’s actually a bit of a myth that you can’t service a modern car yourself,” he says.
On modern cars a lot of the time they go wrong because of sensor problems which can be both simple yet difficult to fix at the same time. All you have to do is find out which sensor it is and reset the car so it’ll drive with a redundant sensor; but the professionals that have a computer with a fault code reader can of course find out what’s going wrong quicker than the average motorist. Although in some cases it could be possible to figure out what the issue is from either on-screen messages or in the car handbook and fix the issue yourself E.g. Tyre Pressure Sensor alerts/ Low Oil warnings.
One of the main barriers to DIY car maintenance is often the engine cover and undertray which can intimidate anyone wanting to have a go themselves and needs removing before you get easy access to the recognisable combustion engine underneath. Even for the straight forward task of changing the oil you will likely need to remove the undertray of your car in order to drain out the old oil which will lengthen the process. But as they’re designed to be removed why not see what’s underneath and get familiar with the car handbook/manual of where everything is and what you can work on.
So yes, it might be trickier these days to access those basic parts in the covered and smaller engine bays, but not much has changed when you do find them. Get out there with some tools and enjoy tinkering while you can; in a few years it could be nigh-on impossible!
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