Pitfalls of DIY

After some convincing from a friend to try our hand at car maintenance, specifically an oil change, I started Sunday all excited to learn something new. So an oil change is apparently one of the easiest things you can do to maintain your car yourself.

If you watch a video of youtube you can see someone completing this in a half hour or so. I had the thought that if it takes a mechanic 30 minutes to change the oil, it would take us 2 hours at the most. Boy was I wrong!

First trouble started when we tried using a hydraulic jack. It took us half an hour to prime the jack before we could even use it. It came with instructions including pumping and tightening some screws. It would have helped if the instructions were more clear(overseas product).

Now, every car is different and can require a different approach. This was the case with this car, it had a hard to reach oil filter which took a lot of work. Also the drain bolt was jammed as the oil had probably not been changed in 2 years.

Eventually, we managed to complete the task in around 5 hours.

This got me thinking into why people pay a mechanic $40 an hour. We had worked 5 hours each, so if we were earning minimum wage this would have cost $150. Not to mention the tools that we had bought, which cost over $100. A mechanic charges about $50 to do this.

I came away from this with a new found respect for mechanics. Also, I realised how much more efficient it is to have an expert do a job as opposed to beginners.

Recently I have received a few machines in which the issue was made worse by a user attempting to fix the issue. One was a customer who had bought a laptop second hand. The previous owner had opened the laptop(i assume) and not but all the screws back. One screw was left inside the laptop which was causing a short circuit, but it took some troubleshooting to find this issue.

Another was a customers son attempting to replace a hard drive, but in the process yanked a ribbon cable running to the power button off of it’s chip. This means a new power button and ribbon have to be ordered form overseas.

So, the lesson here is, if you are attempting to DIY, it may actually be cheaper to and less time consuming to have an expert do the job. Also if you do DIY, do the job properly after doing a lot of research on that particular model online.