In a perfect world, everyone would be able to go out to his or her vehicle and make necessary repairs without any input from professional automotive technicians. Unfortunately, thousands of people begin making repairs on their vehicles alone, and often end up causing damage to their vehicles. When a vehicle has been brought into an automotive repair shop, it’s always best for the auto technician to evaluate the mechanical condition of the vehicle. This countdown of problems will help automotive technicians identify any problems that may have occurred as a result of self-made repairs by the vehicle’s owner.

5. Over-the-Counter Remedies to Problems

The auto stores and corporate giants have created many different at-home methods of dealing with vehicle problems. However, several of these solutions result in additional problems that may cost hundreds more to correct than the original problem. For example, several metallic shaving compounds have been designed to effectively plug a leaking radiator, and owners need only pour the contents into the top of the radiator. Although the heat will melt the shavings and plug the holes, the fix is temporary at best and may cause clogs throughout the vehicle’s entire cooling system. If the auto technician notices any strange colors or shavings appearing to have come from the radiator, it’s a signal this at-home trick has been used.

4. The Wrong Firing Order

For vehicles using a standard distributor cap for transmission of electricity to spark plugs, the issue of nonaligned spark plugs to the distributor cap comes to light. Although replacing spark plugs on many vehicles remains a very easy process, improper labeling of the spark plug wires will result in this problem. Auto technicians can quickly check the prescribed firing order against the vehicle if the vehicle has stalled or appears to have a misfire. Furthermore, the spark plug gap may not have been set to the needed size for the given vehicle. This should be checked after reviewing the firing order.

3. Caught on Fire

Believe it or not, at-home repairs have been known to cause fires within the vehicle due to the presence of explosive or flammable materials near the vehicle.

2. Failure to Refill Fluids

After completing simple maintenance repairs, such as changing the oil or brakes, owners may have forgotten to refill the appropriate fluid. Auto technicians should check the fluids of all incoming vehicles immediately to rule out low fluid levels as the cause of the problem.

1. Attempted Repairs and Stripped Bolts or Nuts

The most common owner-caused problem in making vehicle repairs occurs when one of the bolts or nuts has been stripped. This may be a result of failure to apply sufficient force to the part in question or the attempt to remove bolts and nuts quickly. Auto technicians may need to use special tools, including drills or alligator pliers, in order to removed the stripped piece. Stripped bolts and nuts are especially common when an owner attempts to repair intricate parts, such as wheel bearings or accesses the wheel assembly.

By checking for each of these owner-caused problems at the beginning of every repair service, auto technicians can determine whether the resulting problem has further damaged or increased the cost of the repair. Furthermore, this prevents auto technicians from making unnecessary repairs and encountering additional problems during the course of finding the problem.

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