Berlin – Oily fingers turn the ignition key in the lock. The engine starts to whine briefly, then the engine starts. If you’re smiling proudly because you fixed everything yourself, you’re probably sitting in an old car. then There is little to do yourself on modern cars.
“Responsible for this is the increased complexity of components and an increase in networks,” says Jürgen Wolz, Technical Director at TÜV Süd. In addition, new technologies may sometimes bring new risks with them. So you should stay away from the xenon light because of the high voltage. “There is a torch with 20,000 volts,” says Thomas Kasmann of the Technical Monitoring Association (GTÜ). “I won’t touch it.”
Replacing the battery can be a daunting task
source: Image Alliance / dpa
Otherwise, tasks that are supposed to be simple, such as changing the starting battery, can become unsolvable on your own. “After that, the window lifters on some cars have to be reprogrammed, or the electronic ignition switch has to be reprogrammed,” says Dietmar Clijsters, chief operator and press spokesperson for the Rhein-Neckar-Odenwald Automotive Union.
Of course, not every car is equally complex. According to Clysters, you have a better chance of being able to do repairs yourself with simple mini cars than you do luxury sedans. But even that’s not certain, Kasman says. “Electronics are often cheaper than mechanical solutions, So some of the components are the same. “However, he still believes that anyone with reasonable experience with nearly every car is able to change spark plugs.
But even headlights can present amateurs with unsolvable tasks. “It is often built in such a way that you have to extend everything possible, Before you get to the light bulb, “Caasmann explains. If you’re not sure if you can change the bulb yourself, Clysters advises you to look at the manual.” It shows how to change the lamp if you can change it. “
Simple lamp replacement is the norm
TÜV man Jürgen Wolz says the suspicion is that manufacturers install components in such a complex way that certified workshops and OEMs do a good job. However, in many cases, difficulties are also due to design priorities. And the: “I got a little better with the lamps, Because EU directives say they should be relatively easy to replace.”
“Check the air and water pressure and the oil level – of course you can still do all this yourself”, Clasters says. But he points out: “Often the oil dipstick isn’t where you’d expect it to be, and on some cars the water tank is under the bumper.” Wiper blades for windshield wipers can also be found without a guide, and replacing them is not a problem.
Wolz also considers light wear repairs and maintenance work as possible. This includes the air filter, oil filter, and oil change. The coolant can also be replaced or filled. However, professional disposal is required here. According to Clasters, changing the cabin or pollen filter is usually uncomplicated. Experts also consider changing the muffler to be a minor repair. “It can at best be baked so hard that you can no longer get rid of it with home remedies.”
Trust the experts when it comes to security
source: Image Alliance / dpa
The brakes are a mixed bag. While changing brake discs or pads isn’t a challenge in itself, Clásters believes the work is risky. “Basically, my advice for all the safety related parts: hands off yourselves!” Jürgen Volz is not entirely strict, but he also believes that amateurs should bring a good deal of knowledge with them.
The situation is similar to the structure. “It’s a challenge, but it’s possible,” Kasman says. Since the springs are preloaded, you have to be very careful and have the right tools. “You should stay away from suspensions with electronic damper control”warns Wolz.
Today, the hobbyist has little that can be solved with a little manual skill and mechanical knowledge, not even changing the steering wheel of some cars. Electronics also found its way here. Tire pressure monitoring systems (RKS) are now mandatory and can cause problems. “Passive systems are still not a problem, but with active RKS it can happen that they no longer communicate properly with the car afterwards,” says Wolz. Then the only thing left is to visit the workshop.
This has a cost. “A lot of people are reaching out precisely because they want to save money,” Clasters says. An arithmetic operation often doesn’t add up because they start the work and can’t complete it. It is advised to ask the workshop for a fair fix to the current market value before you get your hands dirty and maybe charge more than you can afford.
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