The nine most common car repairs
Living and working anywhere in Ontario outside of the biggest cities means you likely need to drive a car, and sooner or later, everyone needs their cars repaired. Becoming an expert at auto repair will get you a career many, many people need. Centennial College's School of Transportation offers a number of career pathways into becoming that kind of expert, including Auto Body Repair Techniques (a one-year certificate program) Auto Body Repairer (an apprenticeship program), Auto Body Repair Technician (a two-year certificate program), Auto Parts and Service Operations (a two-year diploma), or different Automotive Apprenticeship Programs. No matter the auto repair career, there's still a few common repairs you'll be learning. If you're interested in learning how to keep that car running, this is some of the more common stuff we'll be teaching you, because it's the stuff you'll be doing most frequently, sourced here from CarMD, Orinda Motors and autos.com. If a car is brought in, it's usually for one of these:
1. Spark Plug replacement
Spark plugs are a small part that can cause huge problems. Their job is to ignite the fuel in your engine, helping it start. The plugs themselves are cheap, and can be replaced on your own, if you know how. However, if installed incorrectly (or if you just don't get them replaced in time) they can cause damage to your car, so you're going to want a pro to take care of it.
2. Fuel Cap tightening
Loose fuel caps are actually a main reason why the "check engine" light in a car comes on. Not getting them fixed will cost you in the long run, because it'll make your gas mileage go down (meaning you burn fuel faster, and need to fill your tank more often)
3. Oxygen Sensor replacement
Oxygen sensors measure the concentration of oxygen in the exhaust gabs in order to optimize engine performance and emissions. It's actually something that you can sometimes fix yourself, but many manufacturers now have special covers over it, meaning you need a mechanic to get to it.
4. Brake work
We all know why brake work is important, especially because one quarter of all Canadian car accidents are caused by a failure to stop. Repairs can take the form of replacing brake pads, which naturally wear down as you use them, and aren't too costly to fix. This type of repair may also cover brake lines, disc, drum and rotor repair.
5. Oil changes
Every 5,000 kilometres or so, you need to change the oil in your car to keep your engine in the best possible shape. The reason is simply that dirt and debris build up in a car's oil over time, making its ability to lubricate your engine properly decrease. It's one of the most basic jobs you can learn how to do in an auto mechanic program. Not only that, but having records of frequent oil changes means your car is considered more valuable when you sell it. Some shops will even put a sticker on your windshield reminding you of when the next best time to do so would be.
6. Tire repairs and changes
Without good, inflated tires, you loose speed, control, and fuel efficiency, hence the need to get them patched if there's a leak (for example, if you run over a nail), or replaced if they're too worn. Better to replace them than risk a blowout on the road, which could lead to a major accident. It’s so important that an auto mechanic, you'll be trained to notice tire issues when a customer comes in for other matters, to address the problem before it starts.
7. The Ignition System
A car's ignition system includes its battery, starter, and the ignition itself. If they aren't working, the car won't start, or might end up stopping in the middle of the road. Luckily, swapping a battery out is simple.
8. The Electrical System
Along the same lines as batteries, other electrical components in your car that commonly need replacement are fuses and light bulbs. Luckily, these repairs can usually be done at home, and you just need to make sure you've gotten your hands on the right fuses or light bulbs.
9. Aftermarket Alarm removal
This kind of surprisingly common repair only happens when the owner of a car gets a bit too ambitious. It goes like this: A car owner tries to install an aftermarket alarm, tapping into their car's circuits to power it. However, that then takes power from something else in the car, and makes other systems fail (or even kill their battery.) Typically, this alarm winds up needing professional removal, and the car needs repair. This also sometimes happens with car stereos.
This is why, when it comes to repairs, they're best left to the professionals, and why taking an automotive program at our School of Transportation is a great way to get a useful, needed career.
By Anthony Geremia