I originally paid mechanics do the majority of basic maintenance tasks on my car until sensors got replaced with old ones, damage was done to my steering rack, money was taken from my secret stash in the car..WHAT THE HELL! Now there are good honest mechanics but I got burned from early and this is why I have educated and trained myself on the maintenance of my car. No disrepect to any honest mechanics out there!
At this point I vowed to do as much of my own maintenance at home. To date I do EVERYTHING except going into the internals of the engine.
I'm proud that I handle almost every maintenance and upgrade aspect of my car. Any problems I know immediately how to approach and fix. It's a level of ownership that I believe all car owners should experience however so few are brave enough to get their hands dirty.
You can read onwards on how I took my first steps into doing full car maintenance in the comfort of my home garage....provided of course if you are bold enough. Buwahaha.
Step 1: Get the Service Manual!
The very first thing I did after feeling the anger over being swindled, was to obtain the service manual for my 1999 civic. Luckily I got a copy from an online forum. You can buy a hard or softcopy for your vehicle. Don't proceed without the service manual since OEM instructions lay the path for proper maintenance works.
As a bonus I have included the service manual pdf of my 1999 civic. Also I have a stripped down, bookmarked version only for my D16Y7 engine model. Enjoy my fellow civic hobbyists!
Online searches will provide information but having the full manual is a wealth of guaranteed information.
Step 2: Get Your Tools and Materials!
Socket sets, spanners, rachet drives and extensions, screw drivers, lubricating oils/greases, torque wrench etc are basically half the work! Try doing a job without the right tools..headache!
Proper torquing prevents damage to threads. Make sure to read the service manual to get the right torque values.
Step 3: Plan Your Task.
Whether its a routine oil change, electrical works or replacement of suspension control arms, read the service manual and plan for the job. Schedule a date and possibly a helper. I do all my work solo but help is always good to have.
Any additional materials needed or consumables, you should get this ahead of time so when the job starts there wont be any obstacles.
Step 4: Safety First and Always.
Have your gloves, eye protection, head protection (if practical), hearing protection readily available for you and any helpers. Use safety stand when raising the car off the wheels in conjuction with wheel chocks.
Dont skimp on your personal protective equipment! Even the slightly mishap will have serious consequences. Recent I knicked my middle finger near the knuckle doing some under dash wiring like I have done so many times before. A slight slip off a wire harness and I cut a vein on that finger against a metal bracket and bled like never before. Wearing a glove would have prevented a serious situation and allowed the job to be completed. My complacency doing that "simple" job almost cost me my life. Wear your protection!
Step 5: Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labour.
What's the point of all this hard work?
1. Money savings! That same fee for your mechanic can go towards gas or food.
2. Knowing the quality of work performed. Isn't it better knowing what was done and how well it was done? No surprises!
3. Peace of mind with your car.
4. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment!
Once you are an active, take charge sort of person then car maintenance if quite feasible to do at home. Many great mechanics started off this way (Wink)! I hope I have influenced you in some way.