DIY Detail vs. Paying a Professional

Second to purchasing an entirely different or new car, there is not much that can replace a detailed cleaning to reinvigorate the bond with your car. Above just driving through an automatic carwash and simple vacuum, a detail will have your car looking just about as clean as when it rolled off the assembly line.

But whether to do it yourself is a decision that you will have to make. Both certainly have their pros and cons. Depending on how much time you have and what specifically you are looking for the detail may sway your decision one way or the other.

Here are some areas to consider when deciding whether to do a DIY detail or have it done by a professional service.

Cost

This is likely one of the major areas most people think of when deciding whether or not to get a professional detail. There might be a bit of a sticker shock when you are quoted for a detail by a professional company. This is especially true with either a larger vehicle or a deeper overall cleaning.

However, when you consider the specialized cleaning solutions and tools you would need to buy to achieve similar results, may make the professional detailing more appealing. That said, if you plan on detailing your car often, the initial cost of the supplies and cleaning solutions can be considered an investment.

There is a chance the initial costs could be made up for, but it would take several cleanings.

Winner: Professional (initially)

Time

Along with the high cost of a quality detail, a good one will also take more time. Professional companies often charge a premium for their services as their experienced employees know how to efficiently flow through the interior and exterior of a car, as well as what order things they should clean in.

Even if you are a “seasoned vet” with cleaning your car and know it like the back of your hand, nothing can match the teamwork and experience of a professional detailing crew.

If you enjoy the work and you get a sense of pride looking at the results of your own hard work, you might consider a DIY detail.

Winner: Professional

Convenience

This is very similar to time but belongs almost on its own. The time actually spent on detailing your car might be significantly less than if you did it yourself. However, if you factor in getting to and from the detailing location, as well as any other transportation while the car is being cleaned, the total time might be closer. It is the ability to find an opening in the schedule, as well as coordinate supporting rides that make the convenience of the DIY detail edge out.

Winner: DIY

How Dirty the Car is

There is only so much, even a professional detailing crew can accomplish and clean in a certain amount of time. If your car is incredibly dirty or filled with odds and ends from a recent car trip, it might be worth taking some time to remove all of the straw wrappers, empty water bottles or anything else that might make whoever will do the detailing easier.

Not unlike giving food-covered dishes a quick rinse before adding them to the dishwasher, this initial cleaning will only help in the end.

It is the specific type of dirt and grime you are trying to get up that may move your decision to a professional service, vs. DIY. If it will take just throwing away any refuse that has built up with little grime left over, it might not make sense to pay for someone else to do that.

However, if you are looking to clean up spills or remove built-up pet hair, a professional service can save a lot of money, time, and frustration.

Winner: DIY (for the most part)

Warning Lights You Shouldn’t Ignore

Seeing a warning light come on in your vehicle’s instrument cluster can cause an uneasy feeling. Whether you are just about home from a daily commute or halfway through a cross-country road trip, these indicator lights get your heart racing, and you wonder just how much it will cost to repair whatever caused the light to come on.

However, not all indicator lights are the same. Some are alerting you to temporary conditions of the vehicle that will go away after a few more miles. Others are giving you a head’s up that a service is needed to maintain the best functioning of your car’s engine.

Some fit neither of these categories. These indications must be taken care of immediately to prevent potentially irreparable damage to your vehicle and its power train.

Cautionary Indicator Lights (think “yellow”)

Depending on your particular vehicle, several indicator lights are common across brands and others are not. Regardless, there are some of these lights that, while they show something is wrong or abnormal, are more friendly reminders, suggestions, or things to add to your list of things to do. These include tire pressure, service interval, and traction control system lights. These usually show temporary conditions where driving can continue until a convenient time for a more thorough inspection. Along with walking around the vehicle each time before driving, and doing a short pre-drive check, paying attention to these and taking care of them when you can, may save you money.

Warning Lights (almost always red)

As the color would show, if you see one of these lights, it is almost assuredly a good idea to stop as soon as safely practical. There still is a chance it is just a temporary condition that might resolve itself. The alternatives and what might happen if these are ignored are far worse and much more costly than the inconvenience of stopping and a tow to the nearest mechanic.

In each of these, the best course of action is to stop when you are able and have it checked out. As with every electronic indicator, there is a chance of a malfunction in the indicator itself. Only a check by a mechanic will you know for sure.

Oil-Pressure Warning

Your engine oil not only provides the proper lubrication between parts, some moving at thousands of rotations each minute, but it also provides an essential layer of thermal cooling to the piston and cylinders. Without the proper flow around these critical parts, the metal would heat to the point of possibly fusing once stopped, if not develop catastrophic cracking beforehand.

Whether a red image of an old-fashioned oil can, or red letters reading “OIL”, this light shows the oil is not flowing as it should. This light could mean you’re overdue for an oil change but it could indicate you’re leaking oil which will very soon ruin your engine.

Transmission Temperature

Not unlike your car’s engine, the transmission has many small parts moving rapidly with extremely small tolerances. All the same potential issues apply within the contained until of your transmission. Although the movement of the transmission components themselves is enough to circulate the transmission fluid without added pressure, issues with the supply, or leaks in the system itself, can create high temperature and pose similar risks of part fusion or thermal fatigue.

An engine that gets too hot has the potential to crack and, if extreme, requires complete replacement.

Engine Temperature

Issues with your engine temperature are usually indicated by a red light of a thermometer in a wavy liquid. This means your engine is overheating and attempts should be made to cool it as soon as possible. There are several reasons this might occur, but the main goal to prevent catastrophic damage to your car’s engine is to remove the heat from the engine area and get the motor turned off as soon as possible. As you look for a safe place to pull off, turn off your air-conditioner (if on) and crank the heat to the passenger compartment. This will help to draw the heat from the engine bay.

Once you pull over and turn off the motor, wait at least 15 minutes, if not more, to open the hood. This will help prevent scalding hot coolant or other fluids from splashing on your hands or face.

A punctured radiator is a likely culprit and not a terrible expensive fix compared to replacing the engine, which is required if it overheats too much or too long. However, there are many other reasons a car might overheat so have a professional check it.

What Do Car Smells Mean?

Although something chemical smelt when taking a trip doesn’t always mean you are in imminent danger, it’s always best to know what the most common odors mean and what you should do next…

Serious Smells…

If you detect a rotten egg smell it’s sulfur gas or hydrogen sulfide leaking from the catalytic converters or maybe the fuel filters. If the fluid in the filter isn’t changed it can create a rotten egg smell throughout the system.

A mold or mildew smell could be a problem with the air conditioner, possibly items like leaves or sweet wrappers blocking it. This may in turn lead to water flowing onto your carpets or mats. The air conditioner should be run every month or so for about two minutes, but most people forget—especially in the winter.

A strange syrupy or candy smell is the odor of the coolant, also known as ethylene gycol, the same substance used in antifreeze. It may mean that your car is in danger of overheating. It shouldn’t be driven but taken immediately to a repair shop.

The smell of smoke or burning oil is probably an oil leak. If the oil leak hits the exhaust a fire will result, so it’s vital that this is dealt with immediately.

Should you encounter something similar to burnt paper especially when moving the gears could be the result of pressing down the clutch pedal too much. Not many people know that the clutch is sensitive to overuse and as a result could fail.

Burning plastic may be a short circuit, for example a wire being worn down, or alternately, chewed by a small animal. Another explanation would be an item such as a plastic bag entering the exhaust. It’s best to take it to be repaired as both of these are too dangerous to be dealt with by most regular car owners.

A smell of gas a long time after you fill the tank should be cause for concern. Sometimes gasoline does spill onto shoes, coats etc. so it’s always best to check. It could be something like a faulty gas cap or fuel injector. As always, it’s best to take it to the garage.

If you can smell what seems like the exhaust when you are sitting in the car the best thing to do is to roll down your window and take it to the garage immediately.

Lifestyle Smells…

Here are some handy hints to remove smells which you may encounter in everyday use, apart from the item most commonly used–air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror!

A smell from the car’s carpet may be removed by a car vacuum, especially if it has steam clean or a wash function.

Baking powder shouldn’t be placed on the upholstery for instance but placed in a bowl and left in the car overnight to attack any smells in the vicinity.

Those tumble dryer sheets can do miracles if it’s a hot day. Just leave a couple in the back window to replace smells and leave a fresh scent. Or you could use a freshly washed cushion or towel, as long as you remember to remove it after about a day.

A water and vinegar mixture can remove the smell of vomit – and remove it with a vinegar smell but pick your battles, eh!

So now that you’ve cleared your car of bad “lifestyle” smells, you have no excuse to miss an odor that indicates a mechanical issue.

Tesla and Mercedes Reliability

You can always rely on Tesla and Mercedes Benz right? Wrong. Despite an increase in their technical ability these are two cars which sit at the bottom of the Auto Reliability Report.

It gets worse though. The report investigates in excess of 300,000 cars and compares how they perform.

To be fair, the list is not comprehensive to all cars. They’re attempting to compare Apples to Apples, so they only include car models that were introduced within the past three years. (Any car brand which has had a major redesign can only have the redesigned car or cars investigated.) So basically this isn’t attempting to compare the reliability of new Tesla to a 1969 Ford Pinto or something. We’re talking about reliability issues when compared to other new model cars.

There appears to be problems with high technology – the digital controls are a headache for some people to understand. Exactly why some fairly inconspicuous things such as door handles keep being redesigned seems to be another mystery. In other words, designers and engineers still struggle with what the public will consider user friendly.

The study of making something intuitive is called UXUI and it’s been a chronic struggle in all technology reliant fields for many years.

So with all excuses, er, valid reasons, and caveats now listed, here are the findings.

The Tesla Model Y has the unfortunate honor of being one of the 10 least reliable cars, which includes how the paint reacts to stimulus, the climate system and so on. Yet many people still want to buy a Tesla.

There have been complaints of various scratches on the paintwork, creaking doors and even rattling heard while driving. These aren’t major issues, but they will be annoying for any owner. Certainly, it’s not what you may expect from a luxury car.

The noise problem specifically, may be a symptom of another common complaint– “panel gaps.” A panel gap happens during the car’s construction. The car’s various panels, such as the roof, each of the doors, the hood and so on can only have so much room between it and the next panel or it will result in weird noises when driving. There is a special instrument which measures how much panel gap there is.

RepairPal marks the Mercedes Benz as average, which although makes it a typical car isn’t what you expect from a Merc. They cost an average repair cost of $908 per year which is, it turns out, the average cost of repairing a car. One might expect to pay more to fix a luxury car, but to have less frequent cause to repair them. Only 13% of all repairs are severe but that’s generally the case with all repairs from all makers studied.

Again, this is a new car, not one you bought off a teenager who modified it for street racing or something.

The cost of ownership is related to reliability – how likely it is to break down – and how much it costs when it does. To put a spin on the problems with Mercedes, at least people aren’t experiencing out of the ordinary repair bills. It’s the normal repair bills which are the problem.

In tests the BMW performs better than the Merc. According to the Reliability Index, the Mercedes Benz is rated about the same as a Jeep, which sounds all right, until you realize that a Jeep isn’t a luxury brand, so it could be argued that paying more for prestige didn’t also buy you a better vehicle. Based on these numbers you’re better off buying a Jeep and saving up the rest for repairs.

So, if the prestige is what you care about, you are still okay. So that means Mercedes Benz neither overdelivers nor underdelivers.

Not everyone agrees with this assessment – after all the Mercedes E-class was the 2021 Car of the Year including quality of the ride. The ride quality is to do with how well the car deals with road surface looks, rather than the aesthetic nature of the dashboard or how comfortable the car seat looks. So, we aren’t being very fair if we indicate that Merc buyers are only going for prestige. Quality is in the eye of the car buyer and your decision could be based on your own list of criteria.

Our only challenge is the perception many buyers have, that luxury cars are “better quality,” which may or may not be true if you’re viewing it through the lens of the repair bill.

Heavy Duty Car Equipment

Not all car equipment you find in garages and workshops are easily managed, some of them by design need to be massive both in size and in weight. But why are they so large? Let’s see…

An engine hoist is a device or machine to use lift the engine out of the car—some places can only be access with the engine out. And it gives you a look at the engine close up. These machines are not always mechanical in nature, but they always take up room. Although simple ones can raise 2 tons the more complicated chain block hoists can raise as much as 5 tons and go up as far as 78.7 inches, the equivalent of 6 feet 7 inches.

A load leveler is there to hook to something like a crane, or in this case a hoist and helps compensate when the load is off level.

You can remove a car engine without a hoist by parking on a level surface and applying the brake. Next you place a jack under the chassis at the front so the vehicle is high enough to work under it comfortably.

As you may have guessed by the name, a car ramp lifts the car up a sloped surface which makes repair easier – alternately it can just lift the front wheels. If your car has low ground clearance – for example sports cars – they need a special kind of ramp.

A scissor lift creates a platform which can rise almost effortlessly for objects as heavy as 20 tons. You need to make sure it fits all the required standards and may include items such as guardrails. There are also double, triple and even quadruple scissor lifts out there. For longer vehicles you may need to acquire a tandem scissor platform lift.

A more flexible device but still quite heavy is a trolley jack. This can also fit in low level cars such as sports cars. For safety’s sake it’s best to use it in combination with axle stands in case something goes wrong.

Other fairly large items you need include tool chests and cabinets as well as battery chargers or starters – also known as jump starters and electric tire inflators. It could be a problem storing electrical items in the winter as many have problems if there is frosty weather outside and least when you plug them in but if your garage is fully insulated there should be no problem.

Bulky Replacement Parts:

It might seem like keeping enough parts around to account for any part that’s likely to fail or wear out is going to require a lot of storage space, but in reality you can stock a lot of parts in a smallish space.

However, some parts are going to take up room. Radiators can be large and take up space unless you only work on one type of car. Exhaust systems are long and difficult to store in a shop. Best to acquire these as needed.

You can get replacement car batteries for your vehicle if necessary. Most people don’t realize that they tend to last a mere five years or so, hence the need for battery checks.

If a car battery has to cope with extremes of temperature, inactivity or the number of rough journeys. The chemical reactions in the car battery tend not to work. A parasitic drain causes it to wear out before its time.

Batteries don’t seem that bulky if you have an I.C.E. car because you only need the one to start the car up. However, modern electric cars take many which makes for a very expensive service every five years—or less. The disposal casts alone (core charge) is pretty costly.

You may not be aware of what fume extraction is, it’s to do with removing the smoke that comes from constantly starting cars up. Some are fixed in one place while others allow for greater flexibility. Parts such as nozzles and hoses can be replaced if need be.

If you’re running your own shop, say out of your home, space can be an issue. You’ll need a safe place to keep entire cars while you wait for parts you order. While on your property these cars are your responsibility so a good fence is a must. Also, upgraded insurance.

Sunroof Problems

Sunroofs are seen in the most higher end cars and their ability to allow more fresh air to circulate is a desirable quality, but what are the downsides of having a sunroof?

Most people don’t realize that having a sunroof increases the cost of insurance.

Some Types of Sunroofs

Cars like the Honda Civic have a pop-up roof where the window tilts up. Which only seems to be another access point for criminals or water, but the bigger challenges come with panoramic roofs.

A panoramic roof is a much larger roof going all the way from the front to the back where part of it can slide open. There will also be an additional amount of heat on the seats on hot days, so that’s another problem with this type of roof.

Unsurprisingly panoramic roofs aren’t very good in a rollover crash. No one wants to learn this, but your sunroof is another way you might exit your car in a crash if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, but the moral of that is to wear that seatbelt. Fortunately, only 1% of all crashes are rollovers.

Exploding Sunroofs

An exploding sunroof sounds unbelievable, but it does happen, it’s just the sunroof shattering but it’s traumatic to people who experience it. There’s usually no reason and unfortunately it’s more likely to occur if you own a panoramic sunroof. Several lawsuits have been made against car companies over exploding sunroofs.

This kind of accident fortunately doesn’t happen that often. It’s more common to encounter things like cracks or chips which cause it to be replaced. Just one more window to get hit with rocks and road debris.

Gas Mileage

Driving at speed with the sunroof down creates additional drag and means that the fuel consumption is higher, as bizarre as it may seem.

You may even not use your sunroofs for months on end, especially if they are driven in a cold environment. A panoramic sunroof can even weigh as much as 90Kg.

They can also remove the headroom as cars without sunroofs just have more room for the tops of the seats. 

Regular maintenance of the workings – the electrical components, the glass and so on – is required. The electric problems could be something like a broken motor or a fuse going. The annoying part is that they may be stuck in the open position. Even something like dirt getting into the works can affect it, so it’s best to keep a car with a sunroof in a garage or similar.

Older and Cheaper are more Prone to Problems

They is especially a problem in older cars as they are more inclined to leak. Seals get old over time and the sun ages them. Sunroof seals are in the sun whenever there is sun to be had. Though this is less of a problem with the more expensive cars.

Problems with the rubber rim aren’t too expensive to repair, it’s just time consuming. It’s advisable not to take a car with a sunroof into a car wash. Rust can also form around the sunroof’s rim as it gets older.

To add to the problems, they are also much harder to sell. It’s desirable for buyers to have but it’s not always that desirable.

Lastly, the scientists have wondered if there should be an airbag in the sunroof? The research is mixed on how much it would help.

Different Types of Car Jobs

Your ideal car job may involve racing round a track or chauffeuring a famous A-lister, but what other car jobs are there?

There are a huge number of driver jobs available. Many couriers are self-employed, as are Uber and Lyft drivers – working on behalf of other companies.  Some are employed chauffeurs or over-the-road semi drivers, pounding the pavement for a living.

An automotive technician looks at robotics, automotion, quality testing, and assembly planning.

They plan all aspects of the assembly, look at the tooling – how the car is built. There is a massive amount of analysis involved, sometimes a review of time and motion, sometimes to improve the quality of a vehicle’s safety system. This isn’t working on the factory floor, at least not all the time. 

Also attached to a factory is a sales manager specifically focused on fleet sales, more of a business-to-business salesperson.  They concern themselves with specialist accounts – like dump trucks, delivery vans, taxi cabs, police cars, and so forth.

A paint technician works with robotics to ensure the best kind of finish but is involved in all aspects of production which affect the car’s color palette.

A car fleet manager looks after a business’s fleet of company cars, checking in and checking out cars, and ensuring the proper use and maintenance of the vehicle.  They are responsible for ensuring that the vehicles are fit for sale once the company is through with them.

A used car stock preparation manager makes sure that the showrooms are fully stocked as well as updating digital sites – the virtual showroom. According to job specifications, this is more of a job for a people person rather than a consultant.

A diesel truck mechanic helps handle repairs of large transport vehicles, sometimes alone and others as a member of a team. The vehicles are typically handled in a large garage or maintenance yard.

Product owners of connected vehicles (those with driver connected applications/tools) look at the requirements of relevant businesses. What are their goals and how could connected vehicles help them? They liaise with different teams and work out what is feasible. There’s typically some involvement in business analysis.  They look at the requirements for each individual business as regards connective vehicles. Some experience in business analysis is required as you need to work out how the industry is fluctuating.

The After Sales Manager supports the customer after the sale takes place, checking in to see how they are enjoying their new vehicle, sometimes getting feedback about the purchasing process. They supervise the car after sales team and ensure they are competent and that they maintain customer service standards. They look at various marketing campaigns which focus on current owners.

When it comes to pit stop jobs (vehicle repair or maintenance shops) there are positions for tire carriers, tire changers, mechanics and so on, everything necessary to ensure the smooth operation of a mechanic’s ship. It’s definitely all about being a team player.

So, is your dream job listed above? Maybe you have found your secret vocation? Why not take time to apply or maybe take a training course to get you closer?

Interior Repair and Improvement

Do you look at the bodywork and how a car runs, or do you look at the interior?

There are upholsterers who can restore a car to its original version, possibly relying on pictures taken at the time of classic and vintage vehicles.

Material Options

If you have a sedan and wish to re-upholster cloth seats you are looking at around two thousand dollars. If you are looking at leather it is even more expensive.

The cost includes removing the current upholstery, possibly repairing the springs, replacing the foam – the cushion like substance which produces the comfort in a seat – and finally re-upholstery of the outer fabric itself.

Haptex, a type of synthetic leather (colloquially known as leatherette) has been used in some cars and is said to be both durable and comfortable. BMW uses a different form of leatherette called Sensatec. Pleather is another brand name used.

Leather seats, although they may form part of the original interior and create a brilliant look, aren’t that good for sitting on. Leather can leave you with the feeling of sliding down, depending on the seat design. But it’s your car and you can choose the right textile for you.

Budget Friendly Options

A cheaper way to improve the car is buy colourful seat covers or even a blanket. You can obtain tiny toys to decorate your dashboard too. Should the steering wheel be the same colour as the gearstick? You can get matching covers for both. It’s certainly one idea.

You may like to tint the windows to improve the feeling of sitting in the car.

Do you require specialist coasters or car phone accessories?

Possibly you want to decorate your keychain?

Maybe you want to decorate your car for a specific season or holiday?

Are racing pedals better than ordinary pedals? Perhaps, but will anyone notice them? Still if you’re going for extras and you like the appeal of them, why not?

There are so many design ideas out there, some people might think too many ideas; just go for what works for you.

One thing most people don’t consider when restoring a vehicle is to obtain the original floor mats, but everything is possible to obtain online. Even if you don’t require the original style it is worth changing them every so often to keep the interior fresh.

From the floor to the ceiling…

The interior roofing fabric is known as the headliner. It’s positioned there by means of a polyurethane glue and it consists of both foam and fabric, even though most people only see the fabric.

After a number of years, the headliner can fall apart, or the glue can lose its adhesiveness. If you leave the car outside for long periods the moisture can cause the headliner to go blotchy or it can start to droop.

Some headline repairs can be made with several pieces of double-sided tape. Others may require glue or pinning the fabric back into position.

The cost of changing the headliner is dependent on the size of the vehicle and which fabric the headliner was originally made from. The other problem here is that car insurance doesn’t include these types of running repairs.

Reusing and Recycling Car Parts

A car is actually made of 30,000 distinct and different parts, though you would be hard pressed to name them all. For starters there’s the headlights and the other lights, all the seats and upholstery, mirrors, engines, hubcaps and so on. We think these parts disappear when they are crushed but it’s vital as many parts as possible are recycled. More so with some parts than others. Many of these must be reused or destroyed.

Let’s look at the pieces that make the car up one by one:

The windows are difficult to recycle due to having layers of plastic.

The car battery is a problem: they are toxic and so cannot be placed in the public waste. There are various other plastic parts which are also tricky to recycle, the only thing that can be done is to grind them down.

There are small metal parts that can be melted down.

Second-hand Market

There’s no reason why the carpets and so on cannot be sold off. There’s value in selling off items such as alternators too.

Watch out for used car parts, they could be made on the cheap meaning they are worn out easily. Anything from seat belts to spark plugs could be counterfeited. The other problem is that should something go wrong it can’t be recalled. You’re having to deal with parts which are more worn than the rest of the parts, meaning you have uneven wear in the car, not a good selling point. And in the worst-case scenario they could be from a car which has been involved in an accident, even scrapped. The only thing to avoid this is to attempt to go to the best dealer as possible and don’t go for cheaper prices.

In order to get the item you require you can search by the make and model of car. Going for the actual model is important especially if the car brand produces a range of cars.

Aftermarket vs Used

You will find references to aftermarket car parts online. This may have been covered before but it simply means parts which aren’t made by the original car brand. They aren’t made with an intent to deceive. They are used as replacement parts when bits wear out or become damaged. It can mean your insurance is affected if you install aftermarket parts though.

The opposite of aftermarket parts are also known as OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer. Even mechanics prefer the original parts as many aftermarket parts do not even fit some models. The range of parts can be confusing too, so try to go for original parts if you can.

Some of the Wackier ReUse Ideas We’ve Discovered:

A 12 volt car battery can be used as a portable lighting system or as a power source for making medium sized robots, powering an electric car, running a radio studio and so on. You will need a power inverter though which will change the battery from direct current to alternating current. Remember that all household devices work on a different voltage-the quicker the voltage the quicker the battery will be drained.

Other transformations include a car hub to a beer table, assembling tires to create an assault course or, more simply, turning them into swings. Let’s face it, it’s your car, you can do what you like with the parts!

Garage Care

From the U.K. Desk

Looking after the car is all very well, but consider the garage.

Not all garages are outbuildings, there are also garages which take up the whole of the ground floor with apartments on top, called garage apartments or garage loft apartments. To save you from going outside there’s a special covered walkway; a breezeway, designed for walking between the two structures. Generally speaking, it is unheated.

Garage Doors

Then there’s the main door of the garage. If it’s too loud when opened, it could do with some lubrication. Some doors have rusted up so much you can’t open or close them. Wooden garage doors are prone to becoming warped and then incapable of opening. Or the garage door opener is broken or lost.

One reason for a garage door sticking is that the tracks haven’t been cleaned for some time – a long scrub should fix that. If sticking still occurs, some kind of lubricant is needed.

Garage door repair is best left to professionals. The spring that helps compensate for the door weight can kick out with enough force to break your arm.

How we Hurt Ourselves in a Garage

It’s not exactly the safest place in the world and many things can go wrong. There are so many opportunities for slipping and falling in a garage especially if you leave equipment lying around or leave cables dangling. You should always lock tools up after use.

Many people tend to use the garage as a general outbuilding which might contain such items as rat poison, pesticides and antifreeze. It’s not a good idea to leave these items on the floor nor should they be stored in empty bottles or similar, just keep them in the original container.

Large items such as ladders could even fall onto the car if you’re not careful.

Carports

Car ports have been mentioned before, it is simply a shelter which provides open access across one or more walls. The quickness of exiting and entering is a main selling point as there is no need to pull up garage doors. A few elaborate ones have cantilever style roofs which float across the cars. You no longer have the large storage space of a garage. This doesn’t mean they don’t need maintenance. The support columns and the concrete should be inspected for damage and the roof, like all roof, will dry out and begin to leak if not maintained.

Other Uses for a Garage

This is the curious thing about garages: 60% of people don’t even use them to store cars. There is a tendency to store utility equipment in them too, such as washing machines. But it seems a waste to just use it to store these items when you could turn it into a games room or a man cave or whatever you like.

Adding a New Garage

Timber framed garages have an advantage over concrete ones in a conservation zone. They are also quick to assemble with no fuss, which must be the best selling point if you have to any kind of home construction.

Depending on its actual usage – Does it have a spare bed? Does it have a first floor? – the planning permission becomes more complicated. If you are storing a car and it’s all on one floor, no problems. You’ll need to check local codes but expect to have to install a metal post in the concrete if there are utilities or HVAC installed in the garage. Also you’ll need proper ventilation against a build up of carbon monoxide.

Conversions

Then there are those people who convert a garage to living space may encounter difficulties with load bearing walls and connecting the electricity with the rest of the house. But any self-build or self-conversion may run into difficulty. It gives you a break from thinking about maintaining the car in any case.