Alex Kersten profile picture Alex Kersten 8 years ago
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How Many Of You Work On Your Own Car?

I recently spent a weekend servicing an old Ford Focus TDCi, which not only saved me heaps of cash, it also made me feel like I'd done my job as a man. Who else works on their own ride?

Remind me later
Before you all chastise me for it, yes, I did drive the car up on bricks. No, I did not die, but it's really not good practice!
Before you all chastise me for it, yes, I did drive the car up on bricks. No, I did not die, but it's really not good practice!

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.

I stabbed the hell out of this filter and spent 20 minutes hammering it free
I stabbed the hell out of this filter and spent 20 minutes hammering it free

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.