Imagine living in a time when the choices in automobiles were limited to choosing regular and deluxe models, with black or brown paint. That era is at least three generations past. Back then, once a vehicle was purchased, it only took a tiny bit of mechanical knowledge to address problems that arose in every system.
Everyone has heard their father or grandfather look at a modern car commercial and exclaim, “Back in my day, all you needed was a screwdriver and a strong back to fix a car.” Things have changed a bit, but even if you are driving a limited new model, many of the maintenance and fixing solutions are well-within an owner’s reach. Some are not, and it takes a little research and caution to let go of some of Grandpa’s ideas to know the difference.
The major factor in modern auto systems that determines self-fixes and pro-fixes, is technology. In order to be competitive, auto manufacturers must constantly come up with ways to integrate popular technological innovations into late models. GPS mapping systems, tire sensors, climate control, interior convertible features, and hybrid engines didn’t just “emerge.” They went through incredible amounts of testing and efficacy studies in light of consumer demands to be integrated in a universally beneficial way. It’s safe to say that the family car, truck, or SUV now has the features to be considered a four-wheeled home away from home.
There might not be latte makers in newer vehicles, but the cup holders can be placed well, and have anti-slip contours. Flat screen TVs are too big, but backseat DVD players and gaming systems are regularly included for passengers. The engine might look like something out a Transformers movie, but with the right driveway and creeper, it’s still possible to change the oil.
Digital interfaces are the key to finding out which auto systems are OK to service at home, and which should be looked at by dealers and certified mechanics. Virtually every system in a brand new automobile is connected with a relay system that goes straight to the car’s on-board computer. Both performance and service is recorded in the car’s computer core as a series of codes. When things happen contrary to optimal performance, codes are recorded for later diagnosis. DIY jobs, when performed according to manufacture specifications, normally do not get recorded as warning codes.
Is a love of fixing your own vehicle causing diagnosis and computer problems? They won’t if you are tackling the jobs that should be tackled. Some jobs that could be performed in a snap, now radically affect the performance of modern vehicles. Grandpa knew a lot, but in some respects, he still has much to learn. So if you have auto ac repair see if you can fix it yourself. If you can’t let the professionals do it.