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The pros and cons of servicing your own vehicle


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

3 min read

Owning a car provides you with convenience, from heading to the shops to going on a spontaneous weekend trip to your favourite beach. But there are also costs associated with vehicle ownership, such as keeping up with car loan repayments and paying for ongoing maintenance. But should you cut down on costs by servicing your own vehicle?

Australia's backyard mechanics

In any given three months over the last year, 16 percent of individuals across the country worked on a car — that's more than one-in-ten backyard mechanics tinkering with their vehicle, according to new findings from Roy Morgan Research. Perhaps surprisingly, those who engaged in self-servicing were also more likely to get their car professionally serviced, suggesting such individuals take a selective approach to their vehicle maintenance.

"Whereas 24 percent of the total population agree with the statement, 'I regard myself as a bit of a car enthusiast', this figure jumps to 56 percent of people who work on their cars at home. While these 'revheads' obviously enjoy a bit of backyard tinkering, they would still rely on the professionals to do the serious work, keep their service schedules up to date and their beloved vehicle performing to its maximum capacity," said Warren Reid, Roy Morgan Research Group Accounts Director.

Middle-class Australians with a family focus, living in medium-sized regional areas or outer suburbs in the city are more likely to service their own vehicles than the average Australian.

Is it time to get out the toolbox?

Whether or not you fit into the car-enthusiast demographics identified by Roy Morgan Research, have you considered reducing the strain on your savings account and servicing your own car?

You need to carefully weigh up the risks and benefits. A trained mechanic will need to complete certain tasks, while you may be perfectly capable to complete other jobs yourself.

If you're short on time, it may be worth paying for the convenience of a full vehicle service. However if you're trying to slash your expenses, there are some basic maintenance tasks that you can complete yourself.

Which tasks could I complete?

Always call a mechanic if you're unsure about a vehicle maintenance task you're about to embark on. That said, there are a number of maintenance tasks that you may be able to complete with your own two hands. These include:

  • Replacing your car's battery
  • Changing the oil
  • Replacing worn windscreen wipers
  • Replacing blown fuses

Remember to keep your car's body in good condition, by washing it and applying a protective wax on a regular basis, too.

Always check your car warranty agreement as some new car purchases come with an extended car warranty but in order to keep the warranty you have to service your vehicle at the service centre where you purchased the car.

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