Managing Your Auto Service At Your Home
Is your garage well suited to allow you to do your auto service at your home? It should be. The fact is right now it is estimated that about 77% of the vehicles on the road are in need of vehicle repairs, and maintenance.
What is keeping people from getting their vehicles in top condition? What keeps people from getting the maintenance their vehicles need? There are a few reasons that people are ignoring the need for maintenance that COVID 19 has compounded.
The number one reason people fall behind on their vehicle maintenance is the cost. It can get really expensive fast keeping up with all the maintenance that a vehicle needs. If you could do your auto service at home, just think about how quickly the savings would start to add up.
Some auto repair you need to see the experts for but other repairs, and maintenance you can do it at home. There is a litany of things you can do to help keep your vehicle in top running condition at home. Auto service at your home can include projects like:
- Oil changes
- Changing belts and hoses
You can put in your own windshield wipers, battery, and other easy to replace parts with a minimal skill set, and some basic tools. Performing your own auto service at your home will save you a ton of money.
Most of the cost associated with taking your vehicle to a mechanic is a labor charge. For example, brake repair is a good study in how much of a markup you are going to pay to a mechanic. You can buy new brake pads for about $120 for all four tires. If you call around and ask your repair shops how much it will cost to do a brake job you will likely get responses from the $300 to $400 range.
You can expect to pay around double whatever the price of the parts are. In some cases, it is worth taking the vehicle into the shop, especially in cases, where you would have to invest a big chunk of change in a specialty tool.
Auto service at your home will help to ensure you never miss out on maintenance and that auto care for your vehicle is something that you can always afford. Of course, you may have to take some steps to prepare yourself and your home to be able to provide auto service at your home.
Get Your Space Ready For Auto Service At Your Home
Ideally, you want to have a dedicated space for auto service at your home. Of course, that ideal location is in a garage. If your garage is in disrepair, for example, the door is not functioning properly, contact garage door experts to help out.
Typically garage door issues stem from minor things like malfunctioning garage door springs, problems with staying on the track, or they are unstable. In other cases, the doors are simply at the end of the lifecycle and you need a complete garage door replacement.
Whether it is garage door spring repair, or your garage has bigger problems if you want to be able to safely use the space your first step is to get those repairs done. If you are handy, you may be able to DIY the repairs.
It is important if you plan auto service at your home, that you have a space that is out of the elements and that can house all the tools you will need, your garage is the best space. What if you do not have a garage?
Your carport can work as a space to work on your vehicle. While you will not have the four walls to protect you from the element, as long as the roofing is stable on your carport it will protect your vehicle while you work on it.
If you want to invest the money, you can enclose your carport and have garage door installation to make your carport into a garage. It may be a worthwhile investment.
Of course, if you have neither you can easily work on your vehicle in an open air space, but then the weather will play a key role. You do not want to start taking apart your vehicle in the pouring rain, or when the temperatures are too hot or too cold. It is not only bad for your vehicle but it will make the process miserable for you.
Getting your garage in order, or clearing some space in the carport, will give you the room that you need to take care of auto service at your home. Once, you have space together, it is time to start stocking it with the supplies you need to manage auto service at your home.
Some Basic Tools
Anyone that wants to manage their own auto service at home, should have some basic tools on hand. The beauty of managing your auto service at your home is that the money you save initially for services that you would have paid the mechanic for can be invested in the tools that you need to manage the projects.
Initially when you start taking control of your vehicle maintenance and service, you will not realize as many savings, because you will be investing those savings into the tools that you need. However, this is an investment that will come with a tremendous return. Once you purchase the tools, you will always have them, and always be ready for the next maintenance, repair, or service on your vehicle, and will realize tremendous savings moving forward.
You can start out with some basic tools and build your tool arsenal from there. Here are some tools your garage should have:
- A good socket set. A socket set in the garage is a must. It will likely get more use than any of the other tools you purchase. Be sure that you purchase a set that has both standard and metric sockets to ensure you are ready for anything.
- A high-quality torque wrench. You will get a lot of use out of a torque wrench as well. Investing in a quality torque wrench will ensure that you have the power to manage to set things to the proper torque.
- A good set of wrenches. You will always need a good wrench on hand, and you want to make sure you have the right sizes. Investing in a set of good wrenches will ensure that you have the right size to get the job done.
- Complete set of screwdrivers. You will always need screwdrivers no matter what project you are taking on. Invest in a set of high-quality screwdrivers.
- Pliers, wire cutters, and a mallet. To round off the list and get you ready to start managing your auto service at your home, you will need pliers, wire cutters, and a mallet. You also may want to invest in some vice grips.
Make sure you have portable lighting that is bright so you can easily see those dark areas that are tucked away in the back. Safety goggles are also a good idea. Investing in the basics is very affordable, and it will ensure that you have the tools on hand that you need.
Parts and Supplies
Tools are not the only thing you should stock your garage with if you plan on performing auto service at your home. There are some supplies that you will want to keep on hand including:
- Oil and other fluids. To make the job easier of managing your car care at home, you should have a back stock of fluids. Oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and any other fluid that you may want to top off occasionally.
- Kitty litter. Yes, kitty litter. Kitty litter is great at absorbing fluid messes in the garage. In case of an accidental spill, just sprinkle on some kitty litter, wait a while, then sweep it all up.
- Car care supplies. Consider stocking up on car wash supplies, wax supplies, interior cleaning supplies. Keep hand wipes handy. Paper towels and old rags for cleanup. It is always a good idea to be prepared in the garage.
When it comes to parts typically you want to buy them when you need them. Of course, if you find a great deal on windshield wipers, go ahead and grab an extra pair. It is usually easy to find most parts even for an older used car, which of course means, you do not have to hoard them, you can buy as you go.
However, in some cases, finding parts for some cars can be difficult. For example, you need Pontiac firebird parts, which can be difficult to come by, stocking up when you do find them can make life easier. In most cases, it is not necessary to stock up, because the parts will be available when you need them.
Let’s keep in mind that the goal of auto service at your home is to save money. That means you are going to have to find a reliable source for your car parts. The fact is, that can seem a lot easier than it is, especially if you are a novice.
The knee jerk reaction is to shop for car parts at a big box discount type store, where help is limited, but pricing is low. If you shop in this environment as a novice, you will likely have to make a few trips back and forth to the store to get the right part.
A better option for finding the parts that you need can be as simple as looking online. There are tons of options online for car parts, and typically it comes with the added value of being able to get support from people that know their stuff.
Another advantage of shopping online is that you can easily compare costs. In some cases, the same exact part will vary greatly when it comes to pricing. Novice mechanics often make the mistake of overpaying for parts because they believe that they will get better quality. That is not always the case. Sometimes you are overpaying for a part simply because the markup is higher.
Another question a lot of new at-home mechanics have is centered around OEM parts. OEM parts or original equipment manufactured parts are parts that are made to the manufacturer’s specifications for your specific vehicle. You should always purchase OEM when the function of the part is really going to matter. In other cases, like accessories, OEM is not as important.
OEM parts assure that the part will fit your vehicle. It is important that you use a reputable resource for your parts because not everything marked OEM is actually OEM. Typically, if a part just seems completely out of alignment when it comes to pricing, buyer beware.
You have to do your homework when it comes to comparing parts. Don’t make the mistake of overpaying.
Ask for Help
In the beginning you will have a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to look for help. There are plenty of tutorials out there that give you step by step directions for auto service at your home. You can literally find tutorials for every single service and repair that you want to make to your vehicle.
If you find yourself up against something that you just cannot solve on your own, there is no shame, in taking the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to manage the part of the project that you just cannot manage. A good example is a wheel alignment. You can change the tires, repair the brakes, but when it comes to alignment you will have to get a pro involved.
There will be some things that you will need help with but the basics you should be able to manage yourself. Over time you will build your confidence, your tool arsenal, your skillset, and auto service at your home will just be the way you do things.
If you have not started your journey into managing auto service at your home, now is the time to get started. There is plenty of money to be saved, and there is nothing more satisfying than knowing a job was done right because you did it yourself.