From self-diagnosis of health issues, to home improvements and even publishing your own book, the internet has spawned an explosion of do-it-yourself information, images and videos to create just about anything you can imagine. (Solar hot air heating system anyone?).
And DIY auto body repairs are one of the most popular online subjects of all.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with trying a do-it-yourself project. From making clothes to building a deck for your house, it can save you money and be a great way to learn a new skill or start an ongoing hobby.
But, unless you have certain training or education, not everything lends itself well to the DIY craze. For health issues, self-diagnosis on the web can be downright dangerous. A study by Harvard Medical School found than online symptom checkers were accurate in about 58% of cases. That’s pretty good, unless you’re one of the 42% who get the wrong diagnosis!
While getting bad online advice for DIY auto body repair is not as serious as misdiagnosing a medical condition, it could actually affect your health (see below for the consequences of not properly protecting yourself). And while it might not be “life threatening”, the consequences of bad body repairs due to bad DIY advice can end up costing you far more than if you took your car to a professional auto body shop.
How Big is Online DIY Auto Body Repair?
Way back in 2011 (that’s way back in internet terms) one report on car owners doing DIY repairs highlighted the extent to which the internet had become a trusted resource for DIY repairs. At the time, over 30% of car owners who used to go to body shops now did the work themselves. And almost half of car owners said they are more likely to use the web to make their own repairs.
Why You Should Avoid DIY Auto Body Repairs
Just like anyone can build a house, anyone can try to do the bodywork on their car. But just like you are best advised to let professionals construct your home, it’s best to let the experts repair your car. And here’s why;
1. Your Health
Repairing and painting the body of your car carries with it a number of threats to your health, including paint fumes, fiberglass resin fumes, and airborne particles from body filler, metal and rust. From an approved respirator to eye protection, body work is definitely not to be tried without the proper safety equipment in a well-equipped facility.
2. Bad Finish
Just like everything else you do, practice makes perfect. If you do body repairs only occasionally, you will not be getting enough practice for a perfect finish. That means even after all your efforts, your car still won’t look right.
3. You’ll Need Expensive Tools and Supplies
Starting with the approved respirator, the list of equipment and supplies you need to do even a middling job is long and expensive. Here’s one list of 31 different tools and materials you need for DIY body repair.
4. It Takes Longer than You Think
Between preparation, sanding and waiting for coats of primer and paint to dry, even a simple body repair to remove a spot of rust from your car can take a couple of days. A time during which you’ll not have the use of your car.
5. It’s Less Expensive than You Think to Use a Pro
Between the cost of equipment and supplies, the amount of time the job takes and the fact that you’ll end up with an inferior job – and potentially even add to the cost of properly repairing your car – it all adds up to making it more reasonable than you think to let a professional auto body repair shop do the job for you.
On a lighter note, if you want to see a great collection of some of the most creative DIY car and body repair projects ever assembled, check out this article from the UK’s Mail Online.