- You can still repair that on the car yourself
- "We need the diesel"
- The oil dipstick is often no longer where you think it is
- Doing repairs yourself is often not cheaper
You can still repair that on the car yourself
Measure the oil yourself – that works in most cases. The corresponding dipstick can be found in the engine compartment even without specialist knowledge
Changing the carburetor, adjusting the valves, swapping the throttle cable – in the past you could do a lot on the car yourself with mechanical empathy. In the electronic age it is said more and more often: Don’t do it yourself!
D.he oily fingers hopefully embrace the ignition key. A twist of the wrist, the starter turns briefly – with a healthy clearing of the throat, the engine starts and burns the first drops of fresh fuel: everything is repaired by yourself!
And most likely on a classic car. Because you can do less and less yourself with modern cars – modern technology is to blame. "This is due to the increasing complexity of the components and the increasing networking," says Jurgen Wolz, technical director at TuV Sud.
In addition, new technologies would sometimes also bring new dangers with them. You should keep your hands off xenon light because of the high voltages. “There’s a burner with 20,000 volts in there,” adds Thomas Caasmann from the Society for Technical Monitoring (GTu). "I wouldn’t touch that."
"We need the diesel"
VW boss Matthias Mueller calls for a complete clarification of the affair. He declares diesel engines to be the technology required to meet the CO2 targets. Source: The World
Even otherwise, supposedly simple tasks, such as changing the starter battery, can become unsolvable on your own. "After that, the window lifters on some cars have to be reprogrammed, or the electronic ignition key," says Dietmar Clysters, head foreman and spokesman for the Rhein-Neckar-Odenwald motor vehicle guild.
Of course, not every car is equally complex. According to Clysters, a simple small car has a greater chance of being able to carry out repairs on your own than a luxury sedan. But even that is not certain, says Caasmann.
“Electronics are often cheaper than mechanical solutions, so the components are partly the same.” But at least he trusts halfway experienced contemporaries to change the spark plug in almost every car.
The oil dipstick is often no longer where you think it is
But even the headlights can pose unsolvable tasks for hobbyists. “They are often installed in such a way that you have to remove everything possible before you can get to the light bulb,” explains Caasmann.
The suspicion that the manufacturers build components in a complicated way so that their authorized workshops and the manufacturers of original parts can do good business is obvious, says TuV man Jurgen Wolz. In many cases, however, the difficulties are also due to design priorities.
And: "Things have gotten a little better with the lamps since an EU directive stipulates that they have to be relatively easy to replace.".
But, he points out: "The oil dipstick is often no longer where you think it is, and in some cars the water tank is attached under the bumper.".
Changing tires is one of the few tasks that drivers without much knowledge can still do themselves on modern cars
Wolz also believes that minor wear repairs and maintenance work are feasible. This includes air filter, oil filter and oil changes. The coolant can also be exchanged or topped up. However, professional disposal is required here in each case.
According to Clysters, changing the cabin or pollen filter is usually straightforward. The experts also consider changing the exhaust silencer to be a simple repair. "At best, it can be so firmly baked that you can no longer get it off with home remedies."
The brakes are an ambiguous topic. While changing a brake disc or brake pad is not in itself a challenge, Clysters believes it is risky to work on it. "Basically, I advise you to keep your hands off all safety-relevant parts!"
Doing repairs yourself is often not cheaper
Jurgen Wolz is not quite as rigorous, but also believes that hobbyists should bring a good amount of knowledge with them. It looks similar with the chassis. “It’s challenging, but feasible,” says Caasmann.
Since the springs are under tension, you have to be very careful and have the appropriate tools. "You should keep your hands off it with chassis with electronic damper control," warns Wolz.
So today there is little left for the hobbyist that can be solved with a little manual skill and mechanical knowledge. On some cars not even changing the wheel anymore. Because electronics has also found its way here.
Replacing a lightbulb can be tricky. In some modern vehicles, the lamps are difficult to access
Tire pressure monitoring systems (RKS) are now mandatory and can cause difficulties. "Passive systems are still not a problem, but with active RKS it may not be able to communicate properly with the vehicle afterwards," says Wolz. Then all that remains is a visit to the workshop.
And that comes at a cost. “A lot of people lend a hand precisely because they want to save money,” says Clysters. A calculation that often doesn’t work out because you start the work and cannot finish it.
He advises asking the workshop for a repair that is fair value before you get your hands dirty and possibly charge more than you can shoulder.
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