Car repairs can be a real pain, especially if the cost of the repair work starts to add up. Some car body repairs can be relatively quick, easy and inexpensive while others can be much more extensive in every sense.
The problem is that a lot of car body repairs are essential to keep the car on the road both physically and legally. In the United Kingdom there are laws in place relating to the condition of a vehicle and whether or not it is deemed to be roadworthy. It is also a legal requirement to have an annual MOT that checks over all of the essential car parts to make sure that they are working to the required standard.
In order to pass an MOT and to keep your car in the best possible condition to avoid a lot of problems – both legally and in terms of the amount of repair work needed – there are a number of things that you can do as a vehicle owner.
Some of these body repairs are strictly cosmetic and will help to restore the car to an almost showroom-fresh appearance, while others are more related to the performance of the vehicle along with its safety.
Car body repairs – external cleaning products
From a cosmetic point-of-view, the majority of car body repairs relate to cleaning the car on the inside and out. This may sound like a relatively unimportant task compared to replacing key car parts that are struggling, for example, but cleaning your car and removing any signs of minor damage can help to extend the life of the chassis, bodywork and interior.
There are a range of car cleaning products that you can buy for your vehicle specifically along with some high quality generic car cleaning materials. Car polish and car wax are two of the most common, and most effective, products for cleaning your car; and are usually applied after the vehicle has been washed and after the water has dried naturally or with the use of cleaning cloths.
Being involved in a small bump or scratching your car in a car park can leave marks on the vehicle and in some cases can remove the paint from the various panels. These can be an eye-sore for some car owners, especially those who take pride in the appearance of their vehicles, but some minor scratches can be erased by using a combination of scratch remover products and car polish.
It can be a relatively simple procedure and just involves plenty of time and elbow grease – but it’ll all be worthwhile when you stand back and see the scratch disappearing before your eyes.
Your car’s wheels can also be subjected to serious scratches and damage, and they are also prone to picking up dirt and grease off the road. This can cause the wheels to look much older than they are and some grease picked up can start to corrode the wheels themselves – and in some cases the brake parts and suspension components located nearby.
By using products like alloy wheel cleaner that has been designed specifically for use on car wheels to help you to remove stubborn grease and dirt from your wheels, and tyre shine to keep your rubber looking fresh and in the best possible condition, you can quickly and easily rejuvenate your car’s wheels.
Car body repairs – external car parts
When it comes to the performance, and safety, of your vehicle; a nice shiny exterior won’t be of too much use. Sure, it will help to prevent the potentially harmful fluids and grease picked up on the road from penetrating to the key car parts but it won’t actually affect the performance of the vehicle.
This is down to the components themselves and your own ability to maintain and repair them when necessary. Many car owners will perform routine car maintenance checks on a weekly basis – or at the very least they will do so when they wash their cars (something more of us will be doing now we’re in British summer time).
These checks can highlight potential issues that can be resolved quickly and easily, before they have the chance to develop into something more serious, and also any damage that may have occurred through stones hitting the vehicle, going through potholes in the road or other small, seemingly insignificant incidents.
If you realise that your car body parts cannot be repaired using scratch remover and car polish then you may find that the solution is to invest in a completely new panel. You can buy new car parts for all makes and models from our online collection, and the product range includes everything from wings to bumpers, mirrors to badges and emblems.
The majority of smaller car parts are easy to change and require little more than a few screws to fix them; while the larger car body parts like doors and wings will require a number of tools and accessories to move them in and out of position before you can fit them to the vehicle.
Exhaust systems are the car parts located closest to the surface of the road (excluding the wheels of course), and as such they are subjected to all weather conditions and the uneven road surfaces. Puddles, bumps in the road and moisture from the road can all take their toll on your exhaust parts and can either corrode them or cause serious damage. This can affect the overall performance of your exhaust system including the emissions and the sound of the engine, and – as mentioned previously – this may be highlighted during an MOT.
Repairs to damaged exhaust parts can either be done in a workshop (a wise idea if the damage is seriously and completely new exhaust systems are required), or at home in the case of relatively small repairs.
Oxygen sensors are a common problem relating to exhaust systems, and given their purpose it is important to change or repair them at the earliest opportunity. Also known as lambda sensors, their job is to monitor the levels of oxygen in the fuel used by your car and to send information back to the engine management system.
The issue with these is that they are located in the heart of the system and will need to be diagnosed, and repaired, by those with access to diagnostic tools and either a vehicle ramp or an inspection pit. This means that it is not the type of work you can do on your own in your garage, and you will probably need to pay for professional assistance.
However, when you consider just how important a Lambda sensor is to the overall performance of the fuel and exhaust systems, it’s a worthwhile investment.
In terms of what you can do at home, you can pay close attention to the sound of your exhaust parts and their condition. If you notice any sign of your exhaust parts hanging off the bottom of your vehicle it may be down to worn or tired exhaust accessories like brackets and the bolts that hold the various components onto the underside of the car.
Another thing that you can do is to listen to the sound of your exhaust while the engine is running, to see if there are any noticeable changes. If the noise from your exhaust changes when you rev the engine then there may be a hole somewhere in the system. This could be caused by anything from a stone striking it as you drove along to corrosion; and can be repaired by welding a new piece of metal onto the system or by using exhaust repair pastes – or even jubilee clips depending on the nature of the damage.
Elsewhere on your car you may develop problems relating to the engine. If it just won’t start then it’s best to get the vehicle seen by an expert who has experience in working with car engines and engine parts; but there are some repairs and modifications that you can do to avoid these issues developing.
Cheap engine parts such as air filters can stop potentially harmful materials from working their way into the engine in the first place; while new spark plugs will help to ensure that the essential spark from the electrical supply reacts with the fuel to start the car.
These can all be changed in little more than a few minutes and you will only require very basic tools such as screwdrivers and spanners to change them. On a slightly more complex note, your timing belt is one of the most crucial engine parts. It works to ensure that all of the cylinders in the engine open at the correct time.
However, as this is only a rubber belt it can wear over time. Every belt has a lifespan of roughly 30,000-miles depending on the manufacturer so it’s worth checking your service history to see if yours could be due for a change in the near future.
Again, this can be changed yourself if you understand car engine parts and you will only require a few basic tools. It is the kind of job that needs to be 100 per cent accurate in order to work effectively as it can have a knock-on effect on the whole engine if it is not done correctly. You could always get the help of a mechanic you know, as changing the timing belt yourself could save hundreds in labour costs.
For more advice and assistance on car body repairs, come back to the Euro Car Parts blog soon. You can browse our full collection of new car parts on our website with all parts available for free delivery or you can click and collect from any of our 200+ branches across the UK.