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DIY or Mechanic? Vehicle Maintenance You Can (and Can’t) Do Yourself

Doing your own vehicle maintenance can be a great way to save money, especially if you drive an older vehicle that seems to need endless repairs.

But even a great self-taught mechanic can’t do every repair on their own. Some projects take a professional’s skills and resources to get the job done.

If you’re trying to figure out what vehicle maintenance you can and can’t do on your own, check out this list of a few of the most common repairs.

Replacing air filters: DIY

If you’ve ever taken a car to a mechanic for repairs, you’ve likely been told that you need a new air filter.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that replacing the air filters regularly is important.

Just as replacing the filters in your home will keep your air clean and fresh, replacing the air filters in your car keep debris and dirt from entering your car’s air intake system.

But another reason that a mechanic will try to convince you that you need new air filters is how easy they are to replace. Less than a minute of work can mean extra cash in your mechanic’s pocket.

Instead, keep that money in your own pocket by replacing these yourself.

Installing new headlights and taillights: DIY

While this will take a bit more time than replacing your car’s air filters, installing new headlights and taillights is a task easily completed by even the most novice car owner.

The biggest challenge may be buying the right light bulbs. Double check which bulbs are right for your car’s model, year, and the specific light that you’re replacing before you buy.

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Transmission work: Leave it to the experts

Transmissions are full of thousands of tiny parts, each of which must be operating properly in order to keep your car running.

When you’re having trouble with your transmission, it can be almost impossible to narrow down exactly which part needs to be repaired. Trying to decipher what the problem is on your own may lead you to try to fix the wrong part. You may even cause even more damage.

Leave the transmission repairs to the professionals.

Trouble with navigation systems, radios, and other tech: Leave it to the experts

New cars are full of fancy technology. From satellite radios to navigation systems and more, what was once a costly addition has become standard.

If you start having problems with any of the high-tech gear in your vehicle, it’s best to leave this vehicle maintenance to the professionals.

A trained Jeep Renegade or Toyota Sienna mechanic will know exactly how to keep your radio blasting, your nav system instructing, and all of your car’s other special features running properly.

Think twice before you DIY

Performing your own vehicle maintenance can be a great way to save some money.

But before you take on a project, make sure that it’s one that you have the skills and resources to properly complete. Otherwise, that simple DIY job could quickly turn into a much more costly repair.