10 Things You Should Always Go To a Car Dealership For
Skilled DIYers can tackle many car problems – but there are some issues that should be taken to a professional mechanic with experience in your car brand. Here are the top problems that call for a car dealership repair instead of your own garage.
Automatic Transmission Problems
Modern automatic transmission systems are complicated and can vary greatly between vehicles. This is a repair job that's beyond DIYer car work. It will require the attention of an experienced professional mechanic.
An Electrical Short
You can often tell an electrical short by an acrid 'hot" smell as the wire insulation burns. This creates a serious fire hazard, but wire failure can be a difficult problem to locate if you don't have intimate knowledge of the vehicle model. If you can't find the problem right away, take your car to a professional.
Changing a Clutch
Depending on the vehicle design, the clutch and other important auto components may be hard to reach without removing the engine. In this case, you should take your car into the shop for professional work for one good reason: You don't want to disconnect and lift the heavy engine on your own, in your garage, without specialized equipment.
Manufacturer-Specific Engine Components
This is true not only of your engine, but also your brakes, transmission and other important systems. If you need a manufacturer-specific part, don't try to use a generic part instead (this substitution could be dangerous). Instead, ask a repair shop that specializes in your vehicle manufacturer to locate the right part. They will be able to find it much more dependably that you would.
Windshield replacement can be a DIY project, however, it's best left to the professionals. Since the windshield is a structural component of the vehicle, if it is improperly installed it is a serious safety hazard. The windshield is an integral part of proper deployment of the passenger-side airbag, as well. Focus instead on the fixes you can handle at home.
Sulfur Odors or Other Bad Smells
A sulfur smell indicates a problem with your catalytic converter. Other nasty smells can indicate burning oil, coolant leaks and other serious problems. While you can buy a diagnostic kit to run tests, these odors indicate serious problems that are best left to professional who can quickly pinpoint the issue and replace the necessary parts.
Some bodywork is a potential DIY project. However, if there is frame damage to the car, that's a whole other issue, and you should take it in for professional work. Remember, damage to the frame can compromise the entire car's safety.
Air Conditioner Repairs
It may be tempting to try air conditioner repairs on your own. However, without a lot of experience, car AC units are a pain to work with. There are many different connections that must be properly managed, and a small mistake could make the problem much worse. You can do basic AC maintenance yourself, but if there's not an obvious solution to an AC issue, take your car in and have a professional do the work.
Working With the Air Bag
Think twice about working around the airbag, especially if you need to dismantle anything near the steering wheel or dashboard. Remember, every air bag in your car is powered by a little pack of, well, explosives. Air bags can cause harm even when working as intended. Messing around with them is too dangerous for the average DIY, so leave it to a professional.
The differential is the device that makes sure your car can turn properly by adjusting the speed of the wheels. If something goes wrong here, don't try to fix it. Differentials are delicate components that need careful adjustment from skilled mechanics.
Are You a Novice DIY Mechanic?
If you have little or no experience working on cars, play it safe and let the dealership work on your car until you have the chance to shadow someone who knows what they're doing. Have them show you and then let you try the fix or replacement for yourself. After you've gained some experience and confidence you'll be ready to tackle some projects on your own.