A great mechanic is like a great hairstylist, dentist, lawyer, or accountant. They’re one of those skilled people that you can’t get by without. But look, we get it. When you’re a handy person looking at car repair services, it’s easy to wonder whether it would be easier to do the repair yourself.
However, there are some car repairs that you should absolutely never undertake in your own garage. At least, not if you’re in the business of avoiding an engine breakdown. Here are four car repairs that you should always leave to the professionals:
1. Radiator Problems
Car engines generate a lot of heat–most cars have a maximum heat capacity of 250°F, although some race cars can run hotter for a short period of time.
The problem is that your car doesn’t like running hot. Heat + friction + metal components = fire or engine breakdown, most of the time.
That’s where your radiator comes in.
The radiator is responsible for keeping your car from overheating. As such, it falls firmly in the category of vital engine components.
Unless you’re a trained mechanic, you shouldn’t try to fix your radiator yourself.
The biggest problem with trying to fix the radiator at home is getting the hoses on the radiator secure enough. Those hoses are what connect the radiator to the engine. Without them, you’re looking at one nasty mess.
Plus, if you try to fix the radiator and bungle it, you’ll have to take it to a garage to get the radiator replaced, which is about five times more expensive than getting the radiator fixed by a professional.
Save yourself the trouble. Go to a mechanic.
2. Brake Replacement
Full disclosure: brake replacements are by no means the most complicated engine repair on the planet. Many people can and do fix or replace their own brakes.
Here’s the problem: if you don’t fix your own brakes properly, you may find yourself hurtling down the highway without any means of slowing down.
If you’re going to try to fix your own brakes, you better be 100% sure that you’ve got it right.
For the sake of your own peace of mind, don’t gamble on getting it right. Take your car to a garage to get your brakes fixed properly. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth risking the alternative.
3. Transmission Repairs
The transmission is one of the most important components of your car. It’s also the most complex.
Picture a Rubik’s cube. A transmission is essentially the Rubik’s cube of engine components.
The transmission is the part responsible for changing gears in your engine. But to do this, it needs to make use of thousands of complex parts.
If you’re thinking of fixing your transmission at home, don’t. Without a working transmission, your car is basically a two-thousand-pound paperweight. Even changing the transmission fluid is a complex procedure that should only be undertaken by a trained mechanic.
If your car is experiencing transmission problems, you have two options: cough up the couple thousand dollars needed to repair the transmission or scrap the car and get a new one.
4. Head Gasket Replacement
Have you ever heard the expression “blow a gasket?”
Your engine is the source of that saying, and it’s worse in real life than it is as a metaphor.
Technically, your gasket isn’t that complex. They don’t even do a complex job–gaskets are responsible for holding two other parts together. The problem is that when a gasket blows, the parts it holds together are no longer, you know, held together.
Without your head gasket, the internal combustion is no longer sealed, which means coolant and oil are free to mix on their way from the engine block to the cylinder head.
So, in layman’s terms, when your head gasket blows, you will not be able to operate your vehicle until that gasket gets fixed.
Given the simplicity of the part, you might think it’s also simple to replace, right? Wrong.
A qualified mechanic has to do 20 to 25 hours of dedicated labor to replace a blown gasket. That’s half a week of work dedicated to fixing a single engine part.
If it takes a trained professional half a week to fix something, that should tell you everything you need to know about trying to fix it in your home garage. (Don’t do it.)
Need Car Repairs?
If you need any of these car repairs, now is not the time to DIY. The health and safety of your loved ones are well worth paying a little extra to get the job done right.