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View Poll Results: How much mechanical work do you do yourself on your car?
The Whole Thing: I cast the block myself. 17 19.10%
The Majority: Brakes, radiator flushes, tranny service, timing, etc. 25 28.09%
The Minority: Oil change, Air filter, Spark Plugs, etc. 37 41.57%
The Nothing: I don't even air my up my own tires. 10 11.24%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-18-2008, 07:22 PM   #1
talleymonster's Avatar
Dec 2005
Posts: 2,142
Liked 22 Times on 12 Posts

I just wondered what range of do it yourself mechanics we've got here on HBT. I'm getting my hands dirty and doing some maintenance and repair on my 2002 Saturn SL2.

I'm doing the routine oil change, air filter change, and overall check on the engine.

I'm also replacing my water pump. It's a small engine so I have to remove the front passenger side wheel and inner splash guard to do it. Fun times.

Generally, I do a lot of my own vehicle work.

When it's something real in depth and it requires specialty tools, or it could be disastrous if I screw it up.......I'm more prone to take it to the shop.

What about the everybody else?

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Old 10-18-2008, 07:27 PM   #2
McKBrew's Avatar
Oct 2006
Hayden, Idaho
Posts: 8,204
Liked 35 Times on 30 Posts

Not too much. I'm sure I could change oil, etc... but I lack a garage it's against the rules to do an oil change in base housing. I could rent a stall at the auto hobby shop, but Firestone is much quicker. I have changed spark plugs and air filters on my truck, installed a stereo, and sucessfully diagnosed and repaired a check engine light on a previous vehicle. (Cheap piece of rubber hose burnt through. 60 bucks from the dealer or $3 from a car parts store).

If I had the space, I'd do more of my own work for sure. I love working with tools and getting my hands dirty.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:44 PM   #3
schneemann's Avatar
Jun 2008
AA County, MD
Posts: 885
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

On my 80 camaro: everything
My 1951 Roadmaster: everything
My wife's 96 Toyota Corolla or my 2003 Durango: basic maintenance

I probably have the most tools out of any non-professional mechanic I've ever met, so I can do darn near anything. The lack of a lift is what holds me up most times.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Sea's Avatar
May 2007
Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,478
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I used to do it all, but the older (and busier) i get, the more I appreciate the extra time and lack of profanties afforded in just letting the shop take care of things for me.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:23 PM   #5
bad coffee
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Jun 2008
Posts: 5,138
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I don't have a car! I rent one when I need, and it's cheaper than parking in NYC.

Tally, you can also do a transmission fluid change on that saturn. the filter is a screw on just like the oil filter. I miss my saturn.

I could do most of the work by myself on most of the cars I've owned. I've swapped out exhausts, redone breaks, pulled new wiring, body work, ect.

I kinda miss it when I see a garage type show on the boob tube.

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Old 10-18-2008, 09:30 PM   #6
Bullbythehorns's Avatar
Dec 2007
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Posts: 150
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts

I live on a farm so over the course of the years I have had to learn how to do it all. Plus in my past life, I went to the John Deere Technical Institute for 2 years and worked as a service technician repairing the large chasis row crop tractors. I still have all of the tools, and some of the knowledge I acquired during those 9 years with Deere. Now it is a good excuse to go to the shop and do some repairs/fabrication, 'specially since that is where the keezer resides
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
menschmaschine's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 3,272
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I pretty much do anything that doesn't require special tools and go beyond the Haynes book (I know, they suck!). But I'm sure as I get older, the work will be less and less worth the trouble. I've changed a timing belt, radiator, starters, alternators, etc. But as long as I have the free time and know-how, why pay someone $100 an hour (or whatever the going rate is) doing something I can do myself.

I just have a skepticism with many auto repair shops (nothing against mechanics). I took a car into a shop for something (can't remember) and got a call saying the radiator was leaking. I knew the car pretty well and was confident the radiator wasn't leaking when I took it in there. Come to find out it was leaking on the top... like, maybe someone dropped a tool on it? So, I told them no don't replace the radiator. I showed up to pick up the car with a replacement radiator in hand and told them I'll do it myself. Yeah, it took me a week (not a lot of room for hands and wrenches in the depths of an '89 Civic engine compartment), but I showed them! (I think.)

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Old 10-18-2008, 09:46 PM   #8
talleymonster's Avatar
Dec 2005
Posts: 2,142
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Originally Posted by bad coffee View Post
Tally, you can also do a transmission fluid change on that saturn. the filter is a screw on just like the oil filter.
Yessir. I learned that one the hard way.

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Old 10-18-2008, 09:59 PM   #9
Chappell Brewery
HBHoss's Avatar
Jul 2008
Mariposa, CA
Posts: 8,220
Liked 125 Times on 123 Posts

On older cars (pre '73 or so) I used to do it all, including engine swaps and stuff but on these new cars it takes a computer and someone with real small hands to work on them. I had to take off the intake manifold on my 2003 Escape just to change the spark plugs. I had a '71 510 Datsun that was easy to work on. Liked the fact that all the L-series engine parts were interchangable.

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Old 10-18-2008, 10:12 PM   #10
bradsul's Avatar
Sep 2006
Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,898
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On my current truck I just do basic maintenance (under warranty right now). On my last vehicles I did everything unless some specialized tools I couldn't rent were required.
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