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!