Really? Struts? Dangerous even in a shop! We should encourage this?
Quick struts are a good choice but still a major undertaking, not
for any amateur.
You show a lot
of knowledge but have maybe come up short on wisdom. Do-it-yourself
days are over; get used to it.
prices from the Internet gives the impression that the dealer and
repair shops are ripping people off. You know this is not true.
should add that Johnny is an ASE master technician and shop owner
who certainly knows his stuff. He brings up several points about my
recent column that are well worth addressing.
mechanic-turned-auto teacher, Iíve come to believe thereís both
an art and a science to fixing automobiles. The art part involves
ever-evolving hands-on experience in such things as how hard you can
hit, twist or pry something without breaking it; learning the
difference in sound between a connecting-rod rattle and a cracked
flex plate; distinguishing a shudder from a shimmy; drilling out a
broken stud without destroying the surrounding part; and knowing
when a job is over your head or has a high chance of going sour.
part requires training in electronics, physics, vehicle components
and systems, information gathering, and creating/implementing
productive diagnostic strategies and repair validations. To a point,
this second category can be gleaned from books or the Web, unlike
the pre-requisite skinned knuckles and burnt forearms of the first.
right: Renewing struts is not a job for an amateur. But there are
many folks out there who fall between those who have trouble
screwing on a gas cap and a professional technician. I spend a lot
of time in Alaska. In the Great Land, you learn to take care of
business because the nearest auto repair shop isnít, um, nearby.
Probably 8 of 10 neighbors there could pull off this job without
breaking sweat or uttering more than a few choice words.
tackling a strut replacement? Here are some things to consider: If
you need to buy the tools to do this, or yours arenít yet
sufficiently greasy, this job isnít for you. Will you safely
support the vehicle on jack stands rather than just a floor jack,
and wear eye protection when appropriate? Is there someone
experienced you can call should things go awry? Do you fully
understand the physics and safety concerns involved in removing this
nut versus that one? (For example, the large nut atop a strut should
never be removed without a spring compressor in place.) Do you
understand the importance of cleaning, then tightening fasteners
with a torque wrench to specifications? Do you have a Plan B if
something breaks and you need to drive the car to work tomorrow
Auto parts can
certainly be purchased at prices less than those charged in a repair
shop. A shopís parts markup includes the time they eat to renew a
defective part ó ever do a Cadillac or Lexus V-8 starter twice,
because the remanufactured part failed during the warranty period?
It also includes choosing the most appropriate part ó say, out of
six choices of brake pad composition, and the Chinese manufactured
brake rotors versus the far more expensive OEM version. Is there a
service bulletin or redesigned part available that better fixes this
pattern failure issue? And electrical/electronic parts are typically
not returnable. Itís nice when someone else becomes stuck with an
expensive part that was vaguely catalogued or didnít fix the
changed a lot and require a much more skillful, professional
approach to virtually all service needs. But I believe there are
still many ways an owner or home mechanic can participate in
servicing a vehicle, if homework is done and limitations are