Question of the Week: What repair jobs do you absolutely hate?


Maintaining your own car can be both rewarding and frustrating. Yet even for experts who can size a bolt by eye and grab the correct box-end wrench by feel, a few repair jobs are just plain dreadful no matter how you come at them.

Adjusting the parking brake on this 1960 Plymouth Fury was a headache, but a lift made it less so. (Photo Hagerty)

Valve-lash adjustments are headaches for many motorcycle owners, and sometimes Volkswagen Beetle owners can empathize with the sentiment. Sunbeam Tiger owners lament spark plug replacement—Ford’s small-block is stuffed so far back into the British roadster’s firewall that the rear two plugs must be accessed from inside the car, rather than under the hood. Anyone with a modern car doesn’t relish needing to change headlight bulbs. Changing a spark plug might not be so bad.

We want to know the job you just can’t stand, so tell us about it in the Hagerty Forums below.

pinned globally #2

Removing the clutch hydraulic repeater from the clutch case of my Maserati 2.24v. Removing the clutch pump is not easy, but the repeater… It’s in the most uncomfortable position and it’s guaranteed to keep you entertained. Especially after doing it five times… only to find out that the problem was elsewhere :slight_smile:, a bent clutch lever :weary:

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Shifter or clutch adjustments on my Corvair drive me mad. I will put those off for months if the car is still drivable.

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Any time i have to get in and around the differential on the Vette or for that matter any car or truck whether it be changing the oil or a more challenging repair or replacement I cant get the smell off my coveralls and out of my garage for days,last time a change out of lubricant was needed my wife came in and said there has got to be a propane leak the shop smelled so bad.LOL Rob


This will probably draw some backlash, but oil changes and tire rotations are my hated job. It’s just not a good use of my time. My dealer constantly offers loss-leader deals for oil changes, tire rotations and multi-point inspections. They have a “quick service” lane, provide free snacks and beverages and since I don’t have a lift, I couldn’t do the work nearly as quickly, and certainly not save much money from the $25 I pay. Yes, I know the plan is to get me to agree to other service while I’m there, but I look at the multi-point inspection as a way to let me know what things I can take care of myself that are actually worth my time.


I owned a Sunbeam Tiger for many years. Changing spark plugs is not nearly as difficult as it is reputed to be. There is a plug in the firewall to access the rear plug on the left side. It’s not really necessary, you can get it from under the hood. I found changing plugs on a Chevy Astro van to be significantly more awkward.

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The one I have to pay for. Meaning I love working on all types of cars and trucks for others. Then take the money made form those repairs to restore my toys.

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I think bleeding the brakes on a car that has been off the road for awhile. The excitement of getting fluid out all 4 wheels is close to hearing it run for the first time in a long time.


Any job that requires me to take 2 or 3 other components off first before I can actually start into the job I’m trying to complete


I’m kinda with tmh on sending out for basic maintenance but I just can’t let go of doing it myself. Plus I love my garage time!

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Totally agree with you. Like the ford Escapes from the mid to late 2000 models when you need to change out an alternator. They are on the Back of the engine at the bottom. You need to pull off the plastic wheel well material, wheel, brakes, Drive Shaft and possible Ball Joint loosening to get at them for Removal and replacement!

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Bench bleeding master cylinders.
Working on anything under the dash.


I am not sure which was worse. Changing heater core on 1992 corvette or changing the Optispark distributor. Heater core is behind glove box, main cable to fuse panel and support bar which is riveted in place that requires rivets to be drilled out and replaced later. Optispark is behind water pump and with a corvette there is not much room to work with.

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Dropping a tranny pan, always a mess.

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Anything that requires me to drain the radiator. No matter what I do it splashes everywhere and some of it WILL end up on the floor. The stuff that splashed onto the radiator support or cross member or whatever other mechanical parts are up front will wait until you’re working right underneath for its final few drips, regardless of how well I’ve wiped everything down. And I absolutely hate the feel of antifreeze on my hands. And there’s no point washing up until you are completely done, because the damn stuff lurks in every crevice and cranny.


Bleeding brakes, nothing more time consuming and physically challenging!


I agree antifreeze related work as my least favorite.

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Any electrical problem that involves hunting down a short, I once actually junked a car rather than do this. Also any job that involves me getting a lot of fluid on me or the surface I am working on. Oil change is fine, but if that pan splashes I hate that. I hate an unnecessary mess more than anything.

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You nailed it. A simple water pump replacement requires 2 hours of removing crap just to get at it. The actual replacement takes 5 minutes. Then another few hours to put it back together.