Step 1: Research and prepare for the worst. Make sure you have everything needed for the do it yourself auto repair before the actual procedure begins.
This can make the difference between success and failure. Before you start, triple check you have everything required to complete the assignment from start to finish.
Many people get excited and jump into the repairs without researching what's involved. Then they find out they're missing a key component to finish the task.
If you're lucky enough to have two cars you're still forced to stop working and start driving. If you only have one car and it's now disassembled, it can be difficult picking up the remaining pieces of the puzzle.
Even if you're a two-car family and get the missing items needed, you've still broken the rhythm of the auto repair. And this can lead to mistakes. When you start a do it yourself auto repair job you'll be more successful if you are able to continuously work on the vehicle until it's finished.
Step 2: Sweat the details and the little things. If you stop and leave the repair site to get rags and razor blades, not only do you break the rhythm of the repair, but you might also forget something very important when you return.
The best chance for success is to start and finish the job in one motion. This will take some research before work begins. Unfortunately, many will skip this thinking they will address problems as they come up. Don't fall into this trap.
Here are a few helpful tips to assure that everything you need is at the repair site. First, you need to double-check the replacement parts. On the first glance it may seem this is the right car part for the job.
I recommend taking the replacement parts out of the box and holding it next to the part to be replaced or as close as possible.
This can assure you have a direct replacement part that doesn't require modification. You don't want to leave or stop to switch out car parts.
Sometimes replacement parts like water pumps come with a new gasket in the box. Make sure it's in there. In some cases these can be removed or wind up missing.
I like to use gasket adhesive to assure everything stays in place when reassembling components. Make sure you have your favorite brand on hand and it's not all dried up in the tube.
Lay out things like rags, silicone, coolant, razor blades and other tools needed before removing the first bolt. I don't start pulling stuff apart until I feel confident I will not have to stop and you should do the same.
This is the main reason I recommend a quality online service manual before the job begins.
If you have the step-by-step procedure you can examine the complete repair from start to finish and make a list of all the items needed to complete it successfully.
Many online repair manuals supply a list for you of the things you'll need for any given automotive operation. Often on the list will be surprises that indicate removal of other components is necessary to complete the procedure.
My favorite online manual also includes the ability to print out the steps so you can take the blueprint and diagrams to your local parts store and use it on the job site.
Another benefit of having a quality online auto repair manual is that this step-by-step guide will notify you if any special tools are required. Sometimes an auto repair will seem straightforward and easy, but when you get half way through it you realize it's not.
The difference between success and failure in the do it yourself auto repair world is being properly prepared to complete the job from start to finish.
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