I’m lucky enough to have learnt the basics of car mechanics from a close friend of mine who’s the most practical person I know. In his time, my buddy Gareth has single-handedly fitted a new engine into an old E36 325i coupe, changed an automatic Peugeot 306 into a six-speed manual road-rally car, and everything in between.
He has, without a doubt, saved himself thousands of pounds in the last few years and is always the guy I go to for advice when a rod comes knocking.
From him, I’ve learnt how to completely overhaul and bleed brakes, how to fix dodgy valve timings and, most usefully, that you stab an oil filter with a screw driver for leverage and hammer the crap out of it to get it loose during a service.
After servicing the car you see pictured - a 2003 Ford Focus TDCi Ghia - I’d estimate that I saved myself around £150. The new oil, oil filter and fuel filter not only made the car run better than before, it also made me feel like I’d fulfilled my job as a man; oil-covered limbs were just a bonus.
Knowing how good it feels to work on a car myself - if only for a quick service - I wondered how many of you guys and girls do likewise. To that end, I’d like you to vote in our poll below to let us know what work - if any - you carry out, or have carried out, on your rides. Feel free to leave a comment telling us what you’ve undertaken in your time as a practical petrolhead.