We have all been there.  You’re driving your usual route – perhaps a work commute or school run – and you hear something unusual from the engine… a clicking, or perhaps a knocking sound.  Or maybe it’s more that the car just feels wrong: a  little sluggish, or pulling to one side.

It’s the last thing you need, especially when we’re all no doubt compromised by the twin pressures of a lack of time and a lack of money.

Put simply, you are really too busy at the moment to take time out to organise getting your car into the garage.  And secondly – and of course most crucially – what if the verdict comes back and it’s going to cost a fortune to fix?

Sometimes we would prefer to not think about it; to keep driving, to block out that strange noise or that pull to the left and pretend it’s not happening.  Even better than that… maybe it will just go away and the car will get better on its own, as though there was a magic fairy living under the bonnet.  Does this sound all too familiar?

The problem is that the very worst thing to do is to bury your head in the sand, rather than under the bonnet of your car, having a proper and genuine look at what’s going on.  And even in that case, you should only look if you really know what you’re doing.  If you start pulling random cables out you may be making things even worse.

Naturally, everyone appreciates how the rising cost of living affects household budgets and forces people into making some questionable decisions in attempting a DIY fix.  But it can really make things so much more complicated when, here at Duffy, we have to start off by undoing a repair that a customer has started themselves.

You wouldn’t believe the times we have had to unravel gaffer tape, or undo string, or remove stockings from car engines.  You might think of these as a quick fix but in reality, such bodged repairs only making things worse.  And the amazing thing is that one in five motorists admit to attempting these kinds of DIY repairs.

Unless you’re Rambo you would be unlikely to stitch up your own body, so why would you attempt your own auto repairs?  And this is especially true when we read how untrained customers are attempting to fix core issues such as steering, suspension and brakes.

It’s not only a matter of your own safety but that of others in your vehicle, and elsewhere on the road, when driving. Stockings really aren’t going to do it, when we have mechanics trained to a high standard who could do the same thing swiftly and safely.

We fully appreciate some households are concerned about the costs involved with taking their vehicles into a garage, but that really pales into insignificance when compared to the possible consequences of not doing so.  DIY home repairs could actually make things worse and the underlying issue is that rather than saving money, the longer you leave it before the experts have a look, the worse you are making it for your vehicle, and ultimately, the more expensive any repairs will be.

This is all brought into focus by a recent survey, which found out (bearing in mind these were the people willing to admit to their behaviour) that around one in five motorists said they were currently driving their car while fully aware something needed to be fixed, and further, they were leaving it for an average of 10 months before doing something about it.

Some of the issues were relatively minor – dents or scratches on bodywork, for instance, that nearly half of us leave unattended.  Going up the scale of importance, one in five leave electrical faults (we’ve all seen that light appears on the dash and, not recognising what it denotes, simply left it to do its thing).  However, well over 10 percent admitted the problem they were ignoring was ‘very serious’, from steering to exhausts and suspension, with 20 percent admitting the issues was to do with the brakes, which should obviously be fixed straight away.

It tends to be the younger drivers that, perhaps because of income, put off repairing their cars, although there is a decent number of over 55s that do the same.  For all of them, we say that this is a false economy.  As soon as you feel something is wrong, bring your car into Duffy’s.  The sooner we get to the problem, the cheaper it’s going to be for you in the long run.  So think Duffy not DIY!

Worried about the price? Speak to us on the phone and we can offer free advice. But remember, it will always be better to bring your car into the garage to get checked out by one of our engineers. Call: 0161 834 4168.

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