For some, a vehicle is just a way to get from point A to point B. It’s merely a mode of transportation, and maintenance is just something that you pay to have done for you. For others, it’s a point of pride to be able to service their own vehicle without taking it to a repair shop.
The satisfaction of being able to say “I fixed it myself” is extremely confidence-inspiring. Fixing a car yourself also means avoiding a hefty bill and the possibility of being upsold on items that aren’t really required.
Then there are those who choose to modify their car from stock, or perhaps are trying to restore an old vehicle that they purchased. The time it would take for a shop to complete the work would rack up an enormous bill, and most of the reward of restoration is doing it yourself anyway.
But even the most basic of modifications can sometimes be too much for the inexperienced. Things like wheels, tires, and exhaust, are some of the first items that enthusiasts look to change on their pride and joy. On the surface, they seem like simple jobs, but without the specialized tools and skills of a mechanic, things could take a turn for the worst.
Try installing a set of tires on rims yourself, and you’ll realize why there’s a reason repair shops have tire machines and not just somebody with arms like Popeye and a set of size 14 Timberland boots. While it might be fun to try and seat the bead of a tire with a can of Axe Body Spray and a lighter, the reality is that eyebrows take a lot longer to grow back than you might think.
Front-engined V8 muscle cars are likely the most modified car on the planet, and still the desire of many enthusiasts today. One of the most popular upgrades is a set of header exhaust pipes, which can usually be completed in just a few hours – at the hands of a professional. However, when met with years of neglect and minimal maintenance, those rusty bolts holding those pipes onto the engine become weak and are prone to breaking. Everybody remembers the first time they snapped off a header bolt, leading to a verbal flood of expletives. Your 2-hour job just turned into several days, or perhaps longer.
In the end, you probably should have just taken it to a shop. What repair do you most regret trying yourself, instead of taking it to a professional?
Photos courtesy Mopar and Ring Brothers