DIY Auto Repair: What Can I Do at Home

Not all DIY auto mechanics can do every repair at home. We will outline the levels of experience and what he or she can do at home.

Do-it-yourself auto repair—simply called DIY auto repair—is when a vehicle owner performs his or her own auto repair and auto maintenance. There are literally thousands of components on a vehicle that can break and only certain ones should be done by a DIY auto mechanic.

We will break these down into three categories of DIY auto mechanics:

  • Beginner (oil change, checking fluid levels, etc.),
  • Intermediate (brake pad maintenance, fluid flushes, etc.) and;
  • Advanced (replacing parts such as engines, transmissions and suspension repairs).

Beginner DIY Auto

The beginner DIY auto mechanic can handle most of the basic maintenance items on their car. A person with this level of DIY auto experience can handle changing the oil in most cars. He can also check and fill most of his own fluids, such as: washer fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant. He can also change his own wiper blades with relative ease.

After getting a good grasp of the basic DIY auto services, he can move on to more advanced procedures.

Intermediate DIY Auto

An intermediate DIY auto mechanic has consistently performed all of the beginner items and has developed a nice supply of tools. She can now check and change her own brake pads. While replacing the brake pads, an intermediate DIY auto mechanic can also replace the brake calipers and rotors. She is also able to perform more advanced DIY fluid changes, such as: coolant flushes, brake fluid flushes and transmission services. He should also be able to cope with a basic automotive paint job.

As a precaution, always have a more experienced mechanic nearby in case there are small problems.

Advanced DIY Auto

An advanced DIY auto mechanic is able to do nearly anything on his car. He can replace the engine or transmission, if needed. He can also rebuild smaller components, such as: carburetors, brake calipers, master cylinders and wheel cylinders.

He can also perform DIY suspension repairs, such as: shock replacement, strut replacement, wheel bearings and springs. He has the knowledge to handle steering components and linkages, as well.

No matter how advanced a DIY auto mechanic may be, there are just some things that cannot be done at home. Rebuilding of large components, such as the engine and transmission, requires a lot of space and special tools, which a DIY auto mechanic probably would not have. Heavy electrical work should be handled by a trained professional, as one false move and the vehicle’s entire electrical system can be compromised.

So, next time you are looking to do your own mechanic work, make certain to properly gauge your experience lever prior to attempting it and always have a repair manual close by.