Adulting Tips re. Cars!
I’ve probably done this before but I saw Some Shit recently and feel the need to post it again. Feel free to reblog and teach people a couple things to make car part ordering easier.
Anyways! You CAN do some of your own car repairs! People post videos online to show you how to do things, and retailers sell parts online. I know, I work for a company that does this, and lots of people save tons of money fixing things themselves. It’s intimidating if you’re new, but I have some tips to maximize your car part buying experience.
VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ORDERING CAR PARTS!!!!
Read all the details in the listing! Cars have lots of little things about them that can make parts not fit or not work. Honda Civics in particular are extremely fussy- those two letters after the word “Civic” can make all sorts of parts not fit correctly.
If you need to provide your VIN, first, do it, it helps guarantee the part will fit and work. And second, get it off the car itself (on the dashboard or driver’s door), not your insurance paperwork. People typing insurance paperwork can typo the VIN, so it’s best to eliminate a possible source of errors.
VINs are not private! They are not Social Security Numbers for cars! They are printed right on your windshield where any asshole can see them. You do not have to protect your VIN from your parts salespeople!
In fact, your can check your own VIN to check your vehicle equipment! VINs are like codes of your factory-installed equipment, so you can “decode” them and view your specifications. Vindecoder.net and Decodethis.com are just two of the many sites that will let you do that. Not every VIN decoder will work on every VIN, though; it depends on the manufacturer and the info they allow out.
When ordering parts, left/right is usually calculated based on Where The Driver Is Sitting, not Looking At The Car. When in doubt, use Driver/Passenger to refer to locations on the car.
Parts that are designed for US cars (driver on the left, or lefthand drive) won’t fit a European car (driver on the right/right hand drive) because the orientation of the driver and therefore many parts is flipped. Even things like headlights and mirrors are affected. So be careful when ordering from a different country!
Mirrors are a pain in the ass. Your mirror options (power controls, heat, turn signals/blinkers, etc.) all affect the wiring. If they don’t match up, your plug might be wrong and the part won’t work. If you want to change your options, look for the word “upgrade” otherwise the part won’t change your options; it will just fart out on you.
Pay attention to headlight bulbs types! Halogen are the default, yellow-ish lights. The common, bright, slightly colored lights are HID (High Intensity Discharge) or Xenon. They have extra equipment they need to work. HID/HALOGEN HEADLIGHTS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. You can convert Halogen lights to HID with a kit, but not vice versa. And the less common, annoyingly bright lights are LED, and they are theoretically interchangeable with the Halogen set up. But they do not give off warmth so you cannot clear ice, snow, or even just foggy lights by turning them on. And they are annoyingly bright so everyone on the road with you is now blind and hates you.
Some car manufacturers are just inherently more difficult to repair at home. This is sometime referred to as “over-engineered” and will needs three times as much bullshit to accomplish what a normal car can do in like, four bolts (Volvo, Subaru and Saab are particular offenders). There’s no shame in not being able to do work yourself. Like, I have a Subaru and I don’t even change my own lightbulbs. Fuck that.
When in doubt, email Customer Service BEFORE BUYING. DO NOT BUY IF YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!! Car parts are often heavy and terrible to deal with if you fuck up! Save yourself the trouble and if there’s confusion, ask someone first.