Common Car Repairs You Should Not Do Yourself

Mechanic Car Repairs

Years ago, passenger cars were much simpler to repair, or maintain than they are today. This is why some drivers in decades past worked on their own vehicles. Modern automobiles, however, are extremely complex machines, requiring specialized tools, training, and experience to repair them.While it is tempting for some car owners to try to save time and money by repairing their own vehicles, it is not advisable. People who work on cars, but are not qualified to can jeopardize not only their safety, but also the welfare of other motorists on the road.

In this blog, let’s look at 5 common car repairs that you should not do yourself.

Common Car Repairs by Mechanics

Brake Repair

 A car’s brakes seem pretty simple. You press the pedal, and the vehicle stops. However, what is behind that process in modern cars is extremely complex. Brakes are made up of many individual components, all working together. These include brake pads, calipers, rotors, brake fluid, electronic sensors, motors, and a master cylinder.

With the introduction of Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), your car’s brakes are likely part of a network of computer modules, electronic sensors, motors, and software that run the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Lane Departure System (LDS) or Collision Avoidance Systems. Many of these safety features require post repair calibration to operate correctly.  Because a vehicle’s braking system is such a critical part of its safety features, be sure to have a qualified technician repair it.

Transmission Repair      

Automobile transmissions have always been complicated, but this is especially true today. Because modern transmissions are part of the powertrain control network, classic symptoms like slipping, erratic or hard shifting are generally not transmission malfunctions but rather a sensor providing incorrect data to the powertrain control module and/or transmission control module. Discovering the root cause of these symptoms usually requires advanced specialized training.

In fact, not all mechanics are qualified to do it. If you sense your transmission is slipping, or not shifting correctly, be sure to take the car to a technician who is qualified to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Engine Diagnostics

Today’s vehicles have multiple onboard computers that help monitor and control their performance. If the  “Check Engine” light appears on your dashboard, this is your car letting you know that something needs attention.

Well-meaning parts store employees can plug a diagnostic reader into a port under the dash and learn from a series of codes why your engine light is glowing. While some people try to interpret a code by looking it up on the internet, correctly repairing the issue is an entirely different skill set. A qualified technician will use specialized tools to analyze which sensors are reporting outside of their acceptable parameters then perform tests to discover why it is occurring.  Pro Tip: The root cause is generally not the sensor which illuminated the “check engine light”.

Car Electrical Repair

Automobile electrical systems are more complicated today than any other period in the history of vehicle manufacturing. The science of electricity hasn’t changed since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm. But the strategies employed to control nearly every component of a modern car is changing with every model year.  Even simple light bulb functionality requires knowledge of advanced electronic networks.

Be sure to take your car to an experienced, trained mechanic to address any electrical system problems.

Suspension Repair   

Like your car’s braking system, its front and rear suspension play a critical role in keeping you safe.

They are designed to support the weight of the car as it travels down the road. In addition, your car’s steering is dependent upon the front suspension operating properly.

Over time, a vehicle’s suspension parts will wear, and need to be replaced. Because your safety is literally riding on your car’s suspension, be sure it is serviced by people who have been formally trained to repair, perform an alignment and calibrate any affected sensors such as SAS,

Car Starter Issues

One of the most often used components on your car’s engine is the starter. Without it, your vehicle won’t be taking you anywhere.

Starters in most modern cars are attached to the engine in hard-to-reach spots. In addition, many vehicles require that other parts be removed before the starter can be accessed. If your starter is not performing as it should, be sure to take the car to a qualified mechanic who can fix it properly.

You should consult your mechanic if you experience any of these common car problems.

  • Grinding sounds, or poor stopping performance from the brakes.
  • Transmission shifting issues.
  • The “Check Engine” light comes on.
  • Something goes wrong with the electrical system.
  • The car begins to ride rough, or not steering like it should.
  • The starter will not engage the engine.

Car-X is Here to Help!

You rely on your vehicle to keep up with your busy lifestyle. For more than 50 years, the highly knowledgeable team at Car-X has been helping our customers stay safe out on the road.

Whether it be for any type of repair or preventative maintenance, you can count on us to take care of it promptly. Visit your local Car-X today!

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Why You Should Avoid Potholes on the Road

The months of December- April are considered pothole season. Potholes are formed in the pavement due to the expansion (freezing) and contraction (thawing) of ground water from rain and snow, and from heavy traffic.

While potholes usually only develop to a depth of a few inches, if they become large enough, they can cause damage to your car’s tires, wheels, suspension, and undercarriage.

How Potholes Affect Your Car

Tires and wheels Potholes typically have rough edges which can compress the tire. The impact could cause tread separation of the tires or even a flat. Running over a deep pothole can scratch the rims or bend and crack the wheels.

Suspension Repeated jolts from potholes accelerate the rate of wear and tear on your steering and suspension system. Your car’s suspension is made to absorb impact but sometimes an unruly pothole can cause damage. Misalignment, broken ball joints, or damaged shocks are all possible outcomes. Look out for any strange noises, vibrations, or pulling in one direction while driving.

Undercarriage Smaller cars are lower to the ground which makes damage to the low-hanging bumpers and sidings more likely. While this damage is mostly cosmetic, it can be a costly repair.

Exhaust pipes Your exhaust pipes are one of the lowest-hanging parts of your car. This makes them a perfect target for potholes. Damage to the exhaust system includes scraping or puncturing of the pipes. You’ll know right away if the exhaust system is damaged from a lot of noise and possibly loss of power. Concerns about the exhaust system should be addressed as soon as possible.

How to Avoid Potholes

Sometimes running over a pothole is unavoidable- they can come up quickly and are sometimes impossible to maneuver around due to surrounding traffic. Swerving or braking quickly can do more harm by causing a collision with other cars on the road.

Your best bet is to slow down while driving and if you must go over a pothole- keep your wheel straight. If there is no surrounding traffic, carefully check your mirrors and maneuver around it.

Avoid flat tires or bent wheels by making sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your vehicle’s proper inflation level on the sticker found in the driver-side doorjamb or owner’s manual. If you notice any loud noises, uneven rolling, or a bulge or dent in your tires, get your vehicle inspected immediately at a local Car-X Tire & Auto.