It’s wonderful to do things yourself. It costs you less, it gives you a sense of power to know that you did it on your own, and you know that the job’s been done right. Nevertheless, to avoid getting in over my head, I always ask myself the following questions before undertaking any job:
Do I really want to do this? Will it be fun — or horrendous? (I try never to do anything that doesn’t feel good anymore (unless it’s absolutely necessary).
Do I know how to do it? If not, where do I go to learn?
Does it require such expensive tools that it would cost less to have someone do it for me than to buy those tools? Can I borrow the tools I need?
If I goof, can something be seriously damaged? Can I?
How long will it take, and what is my time worth? How much money will I save by doing it myself?
You’ll be happy to know that almost every job in this topic should pass these tests. If you find one that doesn’t, don’t hesitate to turn it over to a professional — after you read enough to know that the job is definitely necessary, what it entails, whether the work has been done properly, and how to get satisfaction if it isn’t. With that in mind, let’s get on to the very first thing you need to know in order to work on your vehicle.