Consider These 6 Things Before Starting DIY Automotive Repair & Maintenance

Things to Know About DIY Auto Maintenance - Service Questions Answered by the pros at Carlsen Subaru

May 17, 2019

At Carlsen Subaru, our authorized service center is always here for any car repair, service, and maintenance you may need in the San Francisco Bay Area. We specialize in all things Subaru, and we're also happy to help with most major automotive brands. However, we also salute those who take care of their own vehicles. If you're thinking of expanding your horizons into the world of DIY car repair and automotive maintenance, you're likely to find it a rewarding experience. Before you get going on that first oil change, there are some things to consider. Below, our authorized service center looks at six things we think you should know before turning your own wrench.

If you have any questions about fixing your car, we'll try to help. It's best that we're able to see the vehicle, so schedule a service appointment online or simply swing by our service center just down the road from San Mateo. You'll find us at 480 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063.

Closeup of DIY mechanic looking at a laptop and holding a multimeter by car battery.

6. Get The Information You Need Before DIY Auto Repair

As with any project on something that you may not be familiar with, DIY car repair and maintenance means getting the information you need to ensure everything goes smoothly. Fortunately, the internet is full of helpful information to get you started. However, not everything you see in an internet article or video should be trusted. Checking your information with someone you can trust goes a long way in avoiding problems. We recommend speaking with an authorized dealership service center like ours when planning your next weekend car repair, even if it's a simple DIY oil change.

Picture of cluttered workbench with many tools and an engine cylinder head.

5. Make Sure You Have The Right Tools

There are a lot of car repair and maintenance things for which a basic socket set is enough. However, there are many other car repairs and services that require specialized tools. In many cases, the need for a special tool will make a visit to your local authorized service center far more affordable than buying the tool. In some cases, brand specific tools aren't even available for the public to purchase.

If you're just looking to get started with an engine oil change, you'll probably want to have a jack and jack stands available to help provide access to the oil drain plug. In fact, these tools and a comprehensive socket set are a great way to get started on a wide variety of DIY car repair and maintenance projects.

4. Set Aside Some Extra Time For DIY Automotive Work

Once you have the information and tools necessary for your first oil change, you may be thinking that this simple project couldn't possibly take more than 30 minutes or so. In many cases, you'll be right. However, even veteran DIY mechanics will tell you that things come up and simple projects will often take a lot longer than you expect.

It's also a good idea to have a good car standing by in case you need to visit the parts department in the middle of your project. This might even mean asking a friend or neighbor to hang out or be available while you're working on your vehicle. Of course, it can also help to have an extra set of eyes handy, which brings us to our next point.

DIY mechanic standing in front of toolbox with arms folded.

3. Have Some Help Available For DIY Car Care

If you're especially ambitious and looking to replace something like a clutch, you may find that an extra set of hands are required since that involves removing a large and heavy transmission. Though, even if it's a basic brake job, having some help on hand could make a huge difference in how smoothly a DIY car project goes. Ideally, your helper would have some experience with wrenching on cars. However, even having an extra set of eyes can really help.

2. Always Be Safe When Working On Your Own Car

This may seem obvious, but if you're not experienced or comfortable around automotive repair, there are a lot of dangerous things that might surprise you. Depending on what kind of vehicle you're working on, you'll be dealing with somewhere around 3,000 pounds of complex machinery. Cars can roll off the jacks, hair and loose clothing can get caught in an engine while it's running, and there's always the infamous 'knuckle-buster.' Remember to always be acutely aware of what's going on around you, never get under a vehicle that's not properly secured, and never take chances. If you're not absolutely certain about the safety of something, walk away and arrange to have the vehicle brought to the pros at an authorized service center. Trust us. It'll be cheaper than a trip to the ER.

1. Know When To Call In The Experts

It's never easy to admit defeat, but sometimes it's necessary. If you get in over your head with DIY automotive repair or maintenance, it's better to simply retreat and call in the experts. Even if this means calling a tow truck and arriving at the dealership service center with a box of parts, it's better (and usually more affordable) than ruining your vehicle with work that wasn't done right. What's more, not getting something like a brake pad replacement done correctly can put you and those around you on the road in serious danger. As you improve upon your mechanic skills, you'll find more confidence in new car projects. However, stay in your comfort zone and don't be afraid to admit when you need to have a factory-trained technician take over the project.

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
Directions Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Sales: 650-365-6390
  • Service : 650-365-6390
  • Parts: 650-365-6390
  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916

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