5 Car-Maintenance Tasks You Should Never DIY


Cheapism/Worayuth Kamonsuwan/istockphoto

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Cheapism/Worayuth Kamonsuwan/istockphoto

Just Steer Away

It can be wildly tempting to attempt doing your own car repairs to save money. The cost of living just continues its steady climb. To make matters even more tempting, there are a seemingly infinite number of online videos that can walk you through just about anything when it comes to even the most complex car maintenance tasks. 

However, the risk for many of these — should you make an error along the way — far, far outweighs the monetary reward. Here are five routine car maintenance chores that the average car owner should make sure to never attempt on their own. 


1. Repair Or Recharge Your AC

The moment that your AC starts malfunctioning, you’re bound to leap to trying to frantically find the quickest and maybe cheapest solution possible. You might be tempted to purchase an over-the-counter AC recharge kit for the quick fix, but slow down, and think it over. First, take note that refrigerants are toxic. Even though their overall toxicity levels are on the lower side, the misuse or improper handling of AC refrigerants can prove to be dangerous to your health and environment as a whole. 

Second, your vehicle’s AC system is closed, which means you shouldn’t have to refill your refrigerant. If you find that your vehicle is low on refrigerant, there is usually a troubling leak or a far more serious issue to blame. Stick to the experts for this one. 


2. Repair The Transmission

Your transmission is a vastly complicated system, which could make the repair of a vehicle transmission the most legendary DIY feat of all. On average, an automatic transmission has about 800 parts that include gears, pumps, clutches, a torque converter, and more. If you detect any signs that your transmission is in rough shape, it’s best to phone in the professionals.

Related: Cool Gifts for Men Who Love Cars


3. Replace Suspension System Components

Your vehicle’s suspension system is what’s responsible for holding your vehicle up, and it helps to protect it from unexpected dips and unforeseen bumps in the road. When you have damaged suspension parts, you’ll often notice that your car becomes quite bouncy, and the vehicle’s handling might feel off. There are certain parts of your vehicle’s suspension system, like the coil springs, which are under an incredible amount of pressure. So, the mishandling of something like that can result in major injury or even death. 

Want money-saving tips and hacks in your inbox? Sign up for our free newsletters.


4. Replace Brake Pads, Rotors, Or Brake Fluid

Brake pad replacement is a necessary and routine maintenance service for every vehicle. While the temptation to service this yourself and save money is high, were you to end up replacing any of those brake components incorrectly, you would have a major safety hazard on your hands. This can create a dangerous driving environment for yourself and any other vehicles around you. 


5. Replace Timing Belt Or Chain

There was a day long when swapping out an engine timing belt might have seemed simple. However, modern cars are far, far more complicated. If a timing belt or chain is even a tad bit off due to a miscalculated replacement, it can result in pistons colliding with valves. Translation? A catastrophic engine failure. Leave this one, too, to the pros. 

Next Up: Car Expenses That Are Really Worth the Money