Thanks to the internet, the average car owner can now get tutorials on doing their own auto body work. Do-it-yourself videos are all over YouTube. Sites such as AutoMD.com offers DIY car repair information, too.
According to a 2011 article in AdWeek:
- Almost one in three vehicle owners who used to go to the repair shop now do the work themselves.
- 48% of car owners are more likely to use the web to make their own repairs.
- Between January 2010 and February 2011, about 500,000 people viewed how-to repair guides on AutoMD.
That’s a lot of do-it-yourselfers doing auto body repair, auto glass repair and touch-up paint jobs.
Just because you can, however, doesn’t mean you should. Cars are way more complex nowadays, and some processes that look simple can take hours or days.
It’s true that you might do an amazing job with DIY repairs if you have the skills and take pride in your work. But unless you enjoy it, it may be better to get Bemac to do it for you. For one thing, we can do it faster with our state of the art facilities and equipment.
What Can Go Wrong?
There are a lot of risks involved in DIY auto body repair, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
For instance, what looks like a straightforward paint or rust removal job can:
- Take away from the vehicle’s polished look.
- Further damage your car or truck.
- Pose a health risk. This may sound like a scare tactic, but chemicals you breathe in may harm you if you don’t use the right safety equipment. You can very easily go blind if a metal fleck flies up and get lodged in your eye.
Besides, the amount of car accidents appears to be holding steady in Ottawa. Your chance of needing a major repair is low. The number of reportable collisions has tended to hover around 15,000 since 2010. With almost 538,000 registered vehicles on the road in this city, you have about a 3% risk of an accident.
If you do need to make a repair, know that Bemac hires and retains the best expert auto body workers. We fix all makes and models. We offer extras, such as free car detailing and a wash with every repair.
If you’re still convinced DIY is the way to go, there’s plenty to think about that may change your mind.
DIY Auto Body Repair Takes More Time
This how-to article on removing rust says it took the person two days to do the job. If you use a trusted professional, that’s two days of your life you’ll never get back.
At Bemac, you can even wait in a world-class customer lounge with leather chairs, stunning décor, TV and refreshments. And, if the job is a long one, we’ll provide a rental. What would you prefer? Not having a car for two days, or having a car to use right away or in a few hours?
You Need the Right Skills
It takes a lot of expertise to get into the auto body repair business and do a job properly. One online article aimed at women breaking into the field spells out the skills that are needed to do repair work at a professional level:
- Technical skills. To be employed at an auto body repair shop, you need to either take:
- High-school classes.
- Trade school training.
- A two-year college degree.
- How frames are built.
- What power tools to use.
- How to make repairs.
- Look over a vehicle.
- Assess the damage.
- Find out what it would cost to fix.
You don’t really learn the craft overnight by watching a few online how-to videos. But if you’re prepared to put in the practice time and repair any mistakes, great. We love doing auto repair work ourselves and find it personally rewarding. If you don’t have the patience for the learning process, however, you’re better off hiring a professional.
Supplies Are Expensive
If you can’t borrow some of your materials, they can be costly. It may just be that the DIY route is about the same or more than going to the shop. For instance, one online step-by-step guide lists 27 tools needed to replace a rusted-out panel of your car or truck. There’s a lot of expensive stuff you’ll need, including replacement parts and an air compressor. (Low-end air compressors cost hundreds of dollars, and the more expensive ones are in the thousands.)
These expenses might set you back a fair amount, and then you might only use the tools once.
For a paint job, you’ll need more than just a can of car paint. You’ll have to get:
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Buffing cloths
That might not sound expensive, but you’ll also need a dehumidifier if you do the work indoors. (That’ll cost at least $100 or more.) You may also need heat lamps. These things can all add up. That’s not considering the overall cost to get things done professionally if you completely botch the job.
You’ll Need Safety Equipment
When you do auto body work, you need to stay safe — which adds a bit more to the cost. You’ll want to prevent exposure to fiberglass resin fumes, paint fumes and particles, and dry fiberglass particles. For a car paint job, some things you’ll need are:
- An approved respirator
- Eye protection
Following Auto Body Repair Safety Standards
Beyond that, you need to know and follow safety standards. For professionals doing spray painting, that includes:
- Cleaning and replacing respirator filters regularly.
- Storing no more than a day’s worth of car paint near a spray area.
We also can’t:
- Paint with the heat lamps turned on.
- Use compressed air to clean floors or clear dirt from clothes.
Auto body shops are highly regulated in Ontario. Check out what rules body repair shops have to comply with on hazardous and flammable materials, among other things. If we have to follow stringent rules, you will, too — if only to stay safe.
DIY Auto Body Repair May Break Bylaws
Some types of bodywork may go against Ottawa bylaws, or against your condo regulations if you plan to work in your communal parking area. This can be an especially touchy issue if you’re making a lot of noise, creating fumes or potentially disturbing neighbours. To be sure, check with your condo association and/or the Ottawa bylaw office before you begin.
You’ll also need to look into local environment regulations if you’re doing a car paint job. That means checking with the fire department or an auto-body supply store.
That All Said …
There are some jobs that you can do on your own. If you have a scratch, and no metal is showing, you can do a touch-up paint job. You could do your own auto glass repair if you only have a chip in your windshield.
Still, doing things yourself can be difficult. It can be hard to get dents out and make paint match exactly. In the end, you need to really research how to do your own auto body repair. That will give you the most complete picture of the skill, equipment and time needed.
Why take any chances, though? Something can always go wrong. Use a professional auto body shop such as Bemac to take the worry and hassle out of your life. The internet can sometimes only go so far, after all.