Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

Cars are dirty, complicated, and even dangerous, so why you even consider getting involved with them at home? Most people only consider paying a mechanic or dealer to do their car maintenance and repair. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact there are multiple rewards for doing it yourself.
Financial savings
The most obvious benefit is avoiding the labor costs of your mechanic, which can be significant – especially if the job is tracking down a particularly difficult fault and you’re being charged by the hour. There are some jobs that require serious maintenance, but a significant proportion can be done at home.
You can also save money by acquiring the parts directly, where a garage may charge you a higher fee. You can buy many car parts from major automotive chain stores but they often only stock the most common parts – although they often will order parts in. More and more people are turning to the Internet due to ease of searching for even the most obscure part as well as more obvious cost savings.
Other advantages are the fact that being skilled in basic preventative maintenance can actually help you avoid problems altogether. The attention you give your car can often exceed what you might expect elsewhere, such as proactively treating rust problem areas even before symptoms start to materialize.
Maintenance will help you appreciate how cars actually work. Many claim this will foster respect for your vehicle and in turn, make you less likely to abuse it, as many drivers undoubtedly do.
What work can be done at home?
You’re unlikely to be reconditioning gearboxes at home, but safety checks, oil changes, battery changes, various filter replacements (air, fuel, air conditioning, and more), and replacing countless other consumable parts that have a finite lifetime, are all jobs that are very achievable at home.
How do you get started?
Be enthusiastic, but definitely don’t rush in if the last time you touched a tool was a wooden mallet in school. Ask around your family and friends for someone that knows the ropes and can help you out. There are some great car maintenance magazines and even popular TV programmes, but the Internet is the biggest and most accessible resource out there to find information and ask questions.
Things to consider
Some people are scared off from doing maintenance in case it affects the resale value of their car. Keep good records of the work you do, just like a mechanic would, and the savings and self-satisfaction will be worth it.
Car manufacturers have put some extra hurdles in the way in recent years. The maintenance indicators your car will flash up are not always easy to reset and they are not even written in the instruction manual. Fear not, as there is usually a secret combination of steering wheel buttons for your model of car that will actually reset this; you’ll almost certainly be able to find these by searching online.
Brian Cuff takes a look at maintaining your car at home, writing for Euro Car Parts Ltd