Risky used car repairs that you should never attempt yourself

Whether you’ve bought yourself a “fixer-upper” from one of our online car auctions, or just a used car that needs a couple of repairs to get back on the road, it’s fair to say that there are quite a lot of repairs that you can teach yourself how to do, or enlist the help of friends and family. But even if you consider yourself an experienced amateur mechanic, there are still some repairs it’s always best to leave to a professional!

Altering your in-car electrics

Electrical systems in cars are often more complex than many people give them credit for. Even if you’re doing something as supposedly simple as fitting some aftermarket in-car systems yourself, it’s still wise to exercise a lot of caution, and far better simply to get a professional mechanic to do it. It requires a little more investment, but is generally worth the cost! There is, of course, the danger that you may be left with a system that’s not functioning at all after the attempted repair. Even worse than that, though, you could even potentially short-circuit the entire electrical system in your car. In the worst case, you might actually end up starting an electrical fire. There are lots of install-it-yourself kits out there, but unless you’re qualified, it’s often best not to risk it.

Windscreen repairs

This is one that’s underestimated particularly frequently, mainly because amongst all the complex and heavy machinery going on in your car, something as simple and inert as the windscreen can seem facile in comparison. After all, it’s just a bit of epoxy in the corner, right? Well, actually no. Attempting to fix a chip or crack yourself can all too easily end up making it larger, or even necessitate an entire new windscreen to be fitted - which is a lot more expensive! Again, it’s best not to gamble with it, as the repair could ultimately end up being more expensive than you think. 

Replacing the shock absorbers

Here’s where things can get especially dangerous. This is because while many people think that replacing the shock absorbers is an easy enough task in itself, it can be deceptively complex, and complicated by the fact that the car needs to be raised off the ground in order to achieve it. This can present a whole host of hazards right off the bat, not least of which is the risk of accidentally crushing your hand (which is not an unusual scenario!). 

Fixing issues with the airbags

It’s no secret that airbags are designed to, essentially, blow up. But what people sometimes forget is that this is true in multiple senses of the phrase. Airbags make use of actual explosive charges to activate, which is something you don’t want to be messing about with under any circumstances. We’re not talking Wile E Coyote levels of dynamite here, but certainly enough to do you some serious harm. You wouldn’t fiddle with any explosives normally, so don’t make an exception for your used or salvage car! If you suspect that there’s a problem with your airbags, draft in a mechanic ASAP to get things sorted. 

Engine repairs or diagnostics

If your engine warning light comes on, it’s not something to be taken lightly - even if you think it’s only a minor issue. Newer models of consumer cars have on-board diagnostic systems that note what sort of damage the car is suffering from. If you’ve got your own diagnostic equipment (which is unlikely, unless you’re a professional mechanic yourself!) you can take a look at the issue, but only to gain extra information to take to the mechanic. Don’t attempt to fix things yourself, as it’s such a large and crucial component of your car that you could all too easily only end up doing more damage.

It’s generally a good idea to trust your instincts about what sorts of car components you can and can’t attempt to repair. And if you’re looking for a used car to get started on, you can find a massive range of salvage cars amongst our stock right here at RAW2K, including those from major manufacturers like Vauxhall and Renault. Feel free to browse to find something you like!