Basic DIY on cars makes sense by Pakanui Tuhura

The costs of owning and driving a vehicle over its lifetime usually far exceed the original purchase price. In addition to fuel and oil the cost of repairs and maintenance adds to what can be a very expensive form of transport.

In July 2015 the Automobile Association (AA) of New Zealand posted an article on its website that outlined the reasons (logical and economical) why owners should get their cars serviced regularly. They argued (and rightly so) that by having regular maintenance and servicing your car you will significantly reduce the chances of incurring more expensive repair bills and get a higher price when you sell.

When a household budget is under pressure maintenance of vehicles usually drops to a low priority. Unfortunately this usually means repair bills start to become more frequent and more expensive. I think that part of the answer comes back to DIY. Learn the basics for giving your car visual checkups. If the tires look flat and bald then chances are they are and air should be added or the tire replaced (even if the next WOF check is still 3 months away).

Check your battery terminals are clean and free of corrosion etc. If you learn how to do the basic labour for things like changing the oil (including filters) or cleaning the wipers etc you will only have to pay for the parts and not the labour. A few years ago I went to Super Cheap for a replacement headlamp bulb. They not only sold me the bulb at a good price they installed it for me. Sometimes the people at car parts stores can help you for small jobs like that.

Of course there are some jobs such as wheel alignments, brake pad replacements etc, that can’t be done DIY because they require specialized equipment and mechanical skills. For these jobs always go to a mechanic you trust to do the best job for the best price you can get. This trust can only come from a relationship built over time. Rotorua is blessed with a lot of excellent mechanics and usually it comes down to working with the one who you get on with best.

Pakanui Tuhura
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service