Thing To Check Before Working On A Car

I have had a couple of experiences now that I have volunteered to work on one of my friends cars and things have gone south.  I don’t believe that either instance was any fault of my own, but I always have that nagging thought in my head that maybe I’ve done something wrong or that something could have been prevented.  Unfortunately, I usually trust my friends and I never checked anything before just jumping in and fixing what they told me needed to be fixed.  Hindsight being 20/20, I’ve come up with a list of things to check before doing any work on any car other than your own.  (Because you know your car is maintained and these are not issues)

Check all the fluids!  You want to make sure that the vehicle that you are about to work on is well maintained, or at least has the correct amount of fluid in it.  This may be a no brainer to all of us, but to the everyday driver, they do not think of these things.  Check the Oil and the Transmission fluid to make sure the levels are proper.  You may not be able to check the Transmission fluid, but if you can, do it.

Listen to it run!  I’ve made this mistake, my friend pulls up and parks the car, I’m in my house, we go out and start working.  I never even turned it on to hear it, just blindly went to fixing whatever needed to be fixed.  Don’t do this!  Turn it on and listen to it.  Make sure you are both there listening and checking to see if there are any noises present.  You don’t want to finish working on the vehicle and then have them say there was a noise there that wasn’t there before.  You want to know as much as possible about the vehicle before working on it.

Confirm what the issue is!  This is something else that I’m guilty of, just blindly accepting whatever solution my friends have come up with.  I trust my friends, so this is not that big of a deal, but when things go south or the fix does not resolve the issue, they are looking to you to know why.  I think confirming the problem is good practice and I will definitely start to implement that.

Set expectations!  I’m pretty good at this, but it is good practice to let them know that things can go wrong.  Anything can happen when working on vehicles and you want to clear yourself of any un-needed responsibility.  Of course, you will always be taking on some because you have volunteered to repair your friend’s car, but make sure they know that you are not a shop (unless of course you are) and you have no insurance so there will just be hard feelings if things go wrong.

Helping your friends out is always a good thing; just remember that by working on your friend’s car, you are taking a chance on that relationship.  When things go wrong, they will be pointing the finger at you so be ready for that outcome.  Of course the more expensive the car, the more likely there will be hard feelings if things go wrong.  Happy fixing!

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