It’s cheaper to do your own car repairs, but watch out for these deadly hazards

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For some car owners, repairs and maintenance can be frustrating and expensive. But for others, working on their car is a fun hobby that helps them save money in the process.

There’s more to consider, however, when doing your own vehicle repairs or helping out friends and family with their maintenance problems. The truth is every handyman – no matter their level of experience – could be facing dangerous and deadly consequences when taking on vehicle repair and maintenance.

For example, some vehicles still have parts and components that contain asbestos, a dangerous ingredient that long ago was linked to the lethal cancer mesothelioma, and disabling asbestos diseases. While best known because of its deadly impact on industrial, manufacturing, and construction workers, asbestos also has been a key component in workplace machines and consumer products that exposed millions of more people to its risks, according to the Mesothelioma Cancer Network.

So every home-based auto mechanic or helpful handyman should be aware that many vehicles on the road today contain parts that were made with asbestos, including some brakes, clutches, and gaskets. That means extra precautions should be exercised before jumping into any repair or replacement job, including careful handling of the components, use of protective gear like masks and gloves, and proper disposal of any of the parts.

The popularity of doing vehicle repairs at home continues to skyrocket as owners look for ways to save money. Nearly one in three-vehicle owners admitted they couldn’t afford the cost of repairs, according to a study by the American Automobile Association.

It’s not just about repairing tires or changing the oil anymore. Owners are taking on bigger and harder vehicle repair jobs. And the COVID-19 pandemic forced some owners to do their own repairs on vehicles after shops closed or they lost their paycheck needed to cover the work.

For more ambitious self-repair types, trying to repair a fuel system can turn into an explosive disaster. Unless you’re a seasoned repair professional, the savings realized by doing the work at home is not worth the headache or likely injury of working on a faulty fuel system for the first time. This repair is not the one to learn on the job or from a YouTube video.

The same is true for repairing coil rings, which under extreme pressure are strong enough to kill if handled improperly. It’s best to leave that one for the mechanic.

If you feel the urge to take on those vehicle repairs, take some time to learn what’s required and what you can handle, Consumer Reports notes in an article on the subject. There are plenty of jobs you can do yourself on your vehicle, both safely and inexpensively. And there are other repairs that you should steer clear of, no matter how handy you think you are.