If there's one thing the internet has changed, it's car repairs. There are hundreds of web sites, forums, and YouTube videos that can show you how to do just about anything to any car. In fact, a recent study showed that 48% of people were likely to repair their own car using the web.
Unfortunately, the easy availability of information can lead to some false confidence. Far too many people end up taking on car repairs and quickly find out they're in over their heads, especially when it comes to auto body repair.
Your car's body is the only thing most people notice, and if you make a mistake, it can have lasting effects. Here are three of the most common mistakes people make when doing their own auto body repair.
Mistake #1: Trying to simply match a paint color
One of the most common auto body repairs people attempt on their own is fixing the paint. It seems like an easy fix on the surface — just find the code inside your glove box or wheel well, buy that color paint, and match it up. But it's not quite that simple.
If you've had your vehicle for several years, there's a great chance the color has changed a little from the original. And if you put your bright new paint next to the old paint, it's going to look pretty bad. A reliable auto body shop can actually take fading into account when they match your paint color.
Mistake #2: Not attaching paneling precisely right
In general, replacing a panel or bumper seems easy — you just put the new part where the old one was. However, most cars today have panels that fit together pretty snugly, with only a tiny gap in between the pieces. And if you attempt to replace a panel or bumper on your own, there's a decent chance you're not going to hit that gap exactly right — especially if you don't have experience.
Auto body shops not only have employees with a lot of experience doing this very thing, but they have specialized equipment that makes the process easier. Replacing a panel is definitely a job you should leave to the professionals if you want your vehicle to look good in the end.
Mistake #3: Not being extremely cautious with wiring
When it comes to a car's wiring, one thing becomes quickly clear. There are a lot of wires in a car. And if you start unplugging wires without being very cautious about what you're doing (and taking notes or referring to maps), you can cause trouble in a hurry. And it can be the kind of trouble that's not evident right away. Your car's headlights, power windows, locks, wipers, and more are all wire powered, and are all things you might not notice are wrong immediately. This is an area to trust to the professionals.
In short, if you're attempting to do auto body repair on your own, you're usually better off letting the professionals handle things. They do this sort of work day in and day out, and you're not only saving time, but you're also making sure your car stays looking as good as possible.