I don't think duct tape is going to cut it this time.
December 21, 2012 9:22 PM Subscribe
After a theft, how much DIY car repair is too much?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
My car was stolen, then (thankfully?) recovered by the police. It looks OK under the hood, but the interior of the car was gutted and the wheels/tires were also taken.
The only way I can afford to proceed is by doing a lot of the repair work myself. Some of these repairs are minor, like putting in a new battery. Others will have to be done by a professional for safety reasons (the wheels). But a lot of the repairs fall somewhere in the middle, for instance installing new seats, a headliner, and sun visors, and fixing the mess the thieves made of the carpet and trunk. In my layperson's opinion, this stuff should be "easy" because it's not mechanical. It's more like sewing and upholstery and bolting things into place. All of which is firmly within my DIY wheelhouse on things that don't happen to be cars.
Am I deluding myself on this? Some family members think my car is basically ruined, the work is way beyond my abilities, and if I wanted to get it done professionally it would cost thousands of dollars. That said, I don't come from a DIY car repair type of family. These are folks who think it's a little bit wild to change your own oil.
The car in question is a Honda Civic hatchback from the late 90's. Prior to the theft, it was in great shape. It ran perfectly. The mileage is low for a 15 year old Honda. These are the reasons I'm keeping the car. I can't afford to buy another car, at least nothing that would be as good as this one. It's possible that, once I get a battery in it, I'll discover mechanical problems. In fact, I'm a little uneasy about exactly how the thieves started my car. But from where I'm standing right now, it seems like many of the problems are cosmetic and possibly affordable to fix if I do the labor myself.
Am I just completely delusional, here? Is it going to cost thousands of dollars to redo the interior of my car? Is there something big I don't understand because I don't know about cars? Is the SRS system compromised*? Am I going to need some kind of expensive tool to bolt the seats in place? Is there something key about previously stolen cars I'm not understanding?
How much is it worth lurking on forums dedicated to the whole Civic customizing subculture? Considering that the car is basically junk at this point I have no aversion to thinking outside the box.
My insurance does not cover this. There's no financing to worry about, and the car is no longer under warranty.
*In terms of a few specifics, the dashboard is intact, as are the seatbelts and I believe the rearview mirror. The steering column looks OK though I have not actually tried the ignition yet.