Top 5 self-service mistakes

Top 5 self-service mistakes

Posted: 6/02/2024
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Servicing your car yourself can be a great way to save some money and time. However, if you’re not a mechanic or someone who isn’t experienced working with cars, what starts out as a simple job can turn into a very long and expensive day. 

We see hundreds of cars come through our two service centres each month, here’s what our service team say are the most common self-servicing mistakes and the damage they can cause: 


1. Using the incorrect oil 

So many check the dipstick level is low and just pop out to the supermarket to purchase some new oil and top it up. What people don’t realise is that the manufacturer has recommendations on correct oil viscosity grades and type of oil (synthetic or conventional). Mixing oils is not recommended, as viscosities indicate how thick or thin an oil is and having two different kinds can cause multiple problems.  

The longer the incorrect oil is in there the more damage it can do. Sometimes it will take time before you notice something is not quite right, which can mean major damage is already done. This is the reason large oil viscosity numbers are put on the outside of the oil bottles, to make sure that you pick the correct one. 

Symptoms to watch out for; reduced engine performance, engine overheating, oil leaks, reduced fuel economy or increased wear and tear. 

Normally during a scheduled service, the critical fluids are checked and/or topped up to ensure normal operation continues for you on the road.  


2. Incorrect tyre pressures 

Because all cars are different and all tyres are different there’s not one tyre pressure for all. If a car’s tyres are improperly inflated (under-inflated or over-inflated), several things can go wrong. Not inflating them correctly causes significant tyre wear, shorter lifespan, thread loss, unwanted rigidity, increase in fuel consumption, and reduced braking and steering issues.  

Under Inflation – excessive shoulder wear 

Proper Inflation – best tread wear 

Overinflation – excessive innerwear 

3. Brakes 

Being able to stop your car is a pretty important function and something no one wants to have a failure. On the surface, brakes seem pretty simple, but for those new to changing brake components, it is crucial to know what exactly needs to be done to ensure proper installation and safety. 

We’ve even seen brake pads installed backwards. Don't laugh! It happens. And while most brake pad sets do not specify inner and outer placement, some do and failure to follow these important instructions can have a dramatic effect on how the system works. 

You also need to bleed the brakes after replacing any of the components as there can be air bubbles in the brake lines. If there is air, it can result in no brake pressure when you press the brake pedal.  

If your brake pads or rotors haven’t been fitted correctly, you run the risk of possibly not being able to stop your car when needed as well as causing steering issues and damage to your wheels. 

There are lots of guides and instructional videos online to help you replace your brakes correctly, however, sometimes it’s best to let a professional do the work. 


4. Fitting cheap wiper blades 

Fitting cheap wiper blades from your local auto centre means your windows won’t stay dry and clean or last as long as genuine parts. You generally get what you pay for!  

There can be a significant difference between genuine and cheap windshield wipers. Cheaper wipers, are often made with lower-quality materials and may not perform as effectively or last as long.  


5. Getting their mates to service their car at home

Without the right tools and equipment, you can miss valuable checks.  

When your car is up on the hoist it can be checked more thoroughly which prevents little issues from turning into big issues. For example, you might not be able to inspect the brakes properly on the ground, without the car being on a hoist and with the wheels off to have a decent look you can miss major warning signs.  

Mates are great help but are generally not qualified. Our team are qualified to service your vehicle and also spot any items which need attention either urgently or down the track. 

Avoid the hassles! 

Self-servicing is a great way to save money, but if you don’t have the right tools or the know-how you put yourself at risk of spending significantly more than you had originally hoped to save. 

At Sunshine Toyota, we pride ourselves on having state-of-the-art facilities, qualified technicians and genuine Toyota parts and accessories.  


Just some of Sunshine Toyota on the Sunshine Coast's advantages:

  • Toyota Access
  • Toyota Genuine Parts
  • Toyota Certified Advantage
  • Toyota Insurance Advantage
  • Toyota Fleet Specialist