The idea of tinkering with one's motor vehicle is as old as the idea of driving one. While there are many of us who are perfectly content with the simple knowledge of how to fill our gas tank or change a tire, there are other auto enthusiasts who can't wait to play with their cars.
Known as Do-It-Yourself-ers, or DIYers, this trend has been gaining more and more speed as of late. This DIY community can usually be broken into two groups:
- Those that are trying to save money: The average cost of labor at a mechanic is now anywhere from $65-$110 an hour! A simple job like changing brake pads and rotors can take anywhere from two to three hours. On top of that, the cost of the parts is cheaper when you buy them yourself, and you can buy recycled parts.
- Enthusiasts who enjoy working on their cars and like the satisfaction of knowing that the job was done correctly: While it will also save them money, that is not the primary reason that these DIYers repair their cars. Who better to diagnose and improve a car's performance than the one that is driving it?
Common DIY Jobs Involving RecyclingOil Changes
- Engine and Transmission Oil: This oil can be re-refined, reconditioned, or reprocessed.
- Oil Filters: Filters are made of steel and can be recycled.
- Use Earth911 to find out where to recycle filters and fluids.
- Brake Pads and Shoes: These are usually ceramic or metallic and can be recycled.
- Brake Rotors: These are steel and can be recycled.
- Batteries: These can be recycled and are often accepted back at your local auto parts store.
- Tires: Tires can be reused as a tire swing or for your compost pile, and they can also be recycled.
- Leaking Engine: This may be a DIY job depending on the location of the leak. If the oil is leaking out of the valve cover, then it is a simple seal replacement. However, if it is a more complex leak, the engine needs to be disassembled, and this may not be a job for most DIYers.
DIY Jobs to Avoid
- Air Conditioning Repair: The EPA mandates that a certified technician must service your auto's air conditioning system because of the potential for coolant to leak.
- Leaking Hoses: Coolant and power steering fluids also have the potential to leak during these repairs.
Making Your Repairs Eco-Friendly and Economical
- Try to purchase recycled parts. Check out the Automotive Recyclers Association's Directory of Members.
- Whenever safely possible, repair rather than replace.
What environmentally-friendly DIY car care tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!