Do you work on your own cars?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by G51989, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. G51989, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013

    G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #1
    The tool question had me thinking.

    How many people actually work on their own cars.

    My current collection includes a 2012 Corvette Grand Sport, 2003 Mercury Marauder, 2008 Ford F350 Super Duty, 2001 Porsche Boxster, and a 2009 Crown Victoria, 1969 Camaro, as well as a TR6 in the middle of being restored.

    I work on all them besides the Corvette, I let the dealer worry about it as it comes with the warranty. I do all my oil changes, filter changes, preventative maintenance, timing belts, carb rebuilds on the Camaro, and almost every performance modification.

    I really enjoy getting my hands dirty, its good fun.

    It does disappoint me that newer cars don't need nearly as much attention as old cars.

    After I finish the TR6 I plan on getting a 57 Thunderbird to restore.

    I also keep repair manuals of all my vehicles.

    All of them are modified in some way besides the Crown Vic. That one is still mostly stock except for deleting the catalytic converters ( besides my Corvette, all my cars lack them, its the first thing I remove and the TR6 and Camaro clearly don't have them to start with.), and putting a decent exhaust on it.

    But I just love working on cars, for my friends and family, if they aren't in the best financial position, and need expensive work done on cars, they're always welcome at my house, I can repair almost anything, besides transmissions, I lack special tools for that job. But I have rebuilt engines before. Tho I tend to avoid that kind of thing.

    Recently, a young family member of mine bought his first car, a 1998 Honda Civic Coupe, 1.5 Liter, I think? We did the timing belt, water pump, all the suspension bushings, clutch, new linkage, oil change, gear oil change, brakes all around, rear disc brake conversion, installed a new AC compressor, spark plug wires and new spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, oil pan gasket, new fuel filter. And finally new CV Boots. Car has about 75,000 miles on it, and its in good condition. Runs great. Very good first car for my 16 year old nephew.

    I enjoy working on cars, and I made a deal that I would pay for half the cost of replacement parts if he would be willing to work on it with me and learn, and give me a hand chopping firewood for my mancave fireplace. and he did. The cost of the parts wasn't really that much and I got a helping hand with firewood.

    We also added a nice cold air intake, engine tune ( I had a guy I know make one up ), and a not ricer loud free flowing exahust that give it just a little bit of extra noise while not being a fart pipe, threw it onto a local Dyno at a shop, it produced 137 horsepower, not bad considering it only made 115 from the factory, great fun little gas saver for a kid, I also blown away it had independent rear suspension, I told him if he wants to put new suspension on it for some corner carving, I'll show him how to install it.

    Most importantly, I also created a person who knows how to work on his own car, rather than wasting money on a mechanic for simple repairs.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    Yes I generally do my own car work. Ford Rangers don't take much in the way of it and are fairly easy to tear down.
     
  3. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    NorCal
    #3
    That's a lot of cars...you must be rich.

    (No sarcasm intended)
     
  4. TedM macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #4
    I have in the past. But not always. If it sounds like something I can accomplish, then I'll try or at least ask a friend to help.
     
  5. G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #5
    Probably not as rich as you think, as I save lots of money but not living in the middle of the city, nor did I waste time and money on children.
     
  6. Fezwick macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2002
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    #6
    Yes I work on my 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Easy to work on and there is a ton of documentation online if you don't know how to repair something.
     
  7. RITZFit macrumors 65816

    RITZFit

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    In my Corner
    #7
    I started doing all my own maintenance and repairs back in college; the day I caught some jack-off at the dealership peeling out of the garage bay with my car. To be fair, the management did follow-up after I complained, but this was my motivation to go the DIY route...and I have NO regrets.
     
  8. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #8
    Actually, it sounds like you do have children: the four-wheeled variety.
     
  9. G51989, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013

    G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #9
    I love then to death, they don't complain and are actually fun, and they're way cheaper, I have a pretty large garage, a full Snap On Automotive tool set, air compressor with all the air tools I need.

    I also have 2 multi point lifts in my garage, so I can easily get any car into the air and work on it fairly easily.
     
  10. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #10
    Of course! I frequently put gas in the tank. Sometimes if the light on my dash comes on, I put air in the tires. And ummm...

    Oh wait...you mean like fixing engines and changing oil? Naahhh...I like to stimulate the economy. ;)
     
  11. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #11
    I work on my Suburban 2004, Toyota Matrix 2003 and Mini Cooper S 2005. But my real pleasure to work on is my 2005 Yamaha R1. I enjoy the truck and cars but the bike is so much more fun to tinker with.
     
  12. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #12
    Have to say, I'm pretty much the same way.
     
  13. G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #13
    I have a couple of bikes myself actually, I enjoy working on them, I prefer the old British Bikes.

    My long time GF/wife at some point she thinks loves my obsession with my cars and bikes, she would rather I come back from my garage smelling like motor oil and gasoline rather than cheap perfume ;)
     
  14. G51989 thread starter macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #14
    Cmon, its not that hard to maintain your own car, and it saves you money to!

    The main reason I don't touch my Corvette much is that maintenance comes free for 3 years from my dealer, so why not let them do it?

    Plus when your dealing with a car capable of almost 195mph, you let the dealer balance the tires and do the alignment ;)
     
  15. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    #15
    Yes, to an extent. My limit is at things like internal engine, transmission, clutch and diff work. A lot of that requires special tools I don't have. But I can disassemble suspension arms (eg, to take a knuckle to a shop to have the bearing pressed out and a new one in), rebuild brake calipers, change diff, transmission and engine oils, replace a radiator, replace coilovers and exhaust... I like to do as much as I can myself. I don't trust most mechanics unless I know them personally. Bike stuff to - remove and clean clogged carbs, replace subframe and other parts damaged in an off, replace fairings, etc.

    My next task I really need to do is replace all suspension bushings - the car has 125k miles and is getting sloppy - but I don't have the garage space or a press so I might have to farm this one out.
     
  16. wvuwhat macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #16
    Condo living is not conducive to working on your car...

    Other than installing a head unit, a few oil changes (I'd rather pay 15 bucks and not have to worry about getting rid of the oil), and replacing bulbs I haven't worked on my car.

    But, I've only had Honda's and have had zero problems that needed fixing.
     
  17. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    Jul 8, 2011
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    Somewhere!
    #17
    I know where your coming from.
     
  18. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #18
    We tackle a lots of stuff ourselves...if you own a vintage car you have to. The dealer only gets his hands on it for jobs that are too tough..or inaccessible. They charge a fortune anyway.
     
  19. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #19
    Neither of our cars have required any maintenance. My wife's car is 10 years old and hasn't spent one day in the shop. I've replaced the battery a few times, but that's about it. My Kia is only two years old, and the dealer does all the basic oil and tire stuff for 4 years or something. I might figure out how to change the air filter or fill the window washer fluid or something like that, but I have no desire to do oil changes, tinker with belts, adjust engine parts, etc. That is just not fun for me in the slightest bit. I admire the guys who do it, but it's just not for me.
     
  20. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #20
    For a lot of the simple maintenance stuff, my car goes up on the 2-post in my garage:

    [​IMG]

    That includes oil, brakes, tires, etc. If the work is warranty-related, I'll drive it to my favorite Chevy tech. If I'm performing some intricate mods that I'm unsure of at first, I'll find a race shop I'm comfortable with.

    (I always say: if there's any possible way to **** it up, I'm just the man for the job!)
     
  21. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #21
    This ^^^^ says it all for me...and so well!:D

    Bending over, lying on my back, disposing of icky oil and... my goodness... filthy hands and crap under my fingernails....nope, that's why god made mechanics!
     
  22. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #22
    This is pretty much where I am. I'm not SUPPOSED to do work on my vehicle where I live, but with the garage door closed how are they to know? For the $15 extra it would cost me to have someone else change the oil and dispose of the waste, worth it to me. Since my vehicle is still under warranty (for 10,000 miles yet) any work goes to the dealer, though I haven't had any of that yet.

    Don't get me wrong, I'll do air filters (cabin and engine), adjust tire pressures, wash and wax and would consider the brakes (done them on my last 3 vehicles) but anything major or a pain in the butt will go someplace better equipped.
     
  23. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #23
    Not anymore. I used to do all the maintenance on my car when they were user serviceable. Now, the typical car is designed so that you need special equipment to do anything.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #24
    Bravo, I laughed aloud. Very, funny and very nicely put. :D
    Yes, Hondas tend to be trouble free, or, on the few occasions when they are not trouble free, then, repairing them can be rather expensive.

    I recall that my dad used to love tinkering beneath car bonnets; that was all very well until the time he bought a large Renault around 30 years ago (the only Renault - or indeed, French car - he ever had, as he normally bought German, or Japanese, or, in the earlier days, had bought British cars).

    Anyway, this car's - the Renault's, comfortable and elegant though it was - engine was far too complicated to allow the inspired amateur to work on it unsupervised, and was far too moody and capricious to escape frequent trips to the garage for what seemed like endless maintenance (which turned out to be quite expensive, of course).
     
  25. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #25
    Easier said than done for the average person. I enjoy learning how to do stuff and have friends who can help me out. It does definitely save money and I feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete a project. However, I recognize that I am only able to do this because I know someone who has the knowledge, the tools needed to do the work and, the willingness to spend the time required to help me do it. For the average individual with no mechanical knowledge and no experience with "fixing" anything, doing an automobile repair is extremely difficult. It's no different from other threads on this site where people say doing their own computer work/upgrades is simple and cost saving. Cracking open a desktop or laptop is fun for some while extremely overwhelming for others. You can say, just follow the manual or watch a step by step online video, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy for everyone.

    On our cars I've recently replaced break pads, a rotor, and a tie rod. I have another actual mechanic friend who does other work for us at his house for extremely reasonable rates. He's recently done some AC work for us.

    Like anything, experience/education + the necessary tools + practice = the skill set needed to accomplish something. Don't take the skills and abilities you have for granted because not everyone has them. :)
     

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