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

The most difficult thing I ever did in my garage,which I do not have any sort of chassis lift, was replace the AC compressor on my 1991 Cadillac STS with the transverse 4.9L V8.I basically was back to back with the stater right behind the core support with only a few inches in between.Before I completed the task, I had to remove the right front tire and inner fender on a car that had 150K + miles, to remove and replace it.Repair garages say they only easy way to do it is to drop the engine trans axle assembly and lift the body up.Well my way only 2 days and a working time of approx. 12.5 hours.That is modern engineering and technology for ya!

The only thing I truly refuse to do by myself anymore at age 72 and having no chassis life is tire rotations on any of my 5 cars I presently own. It is simple but a back killer pain task for me now a days.

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Generally speaking, designers and engineers do not build vehicles with mechanics in mind. Many things appear next to impossible to accomplish and test the ingenuity of the person doing the work. The last thing that made me wonder about the motives of the designers was the eight or ten hours of misery required to completely remove the EGR system from a Ford Powerstroke engine. The efforts did result in success and resolving the coolant leak issues.


I recall changing plugs on dad’s 73 Chrysler New Yorker with 440 engine was a PITA.
His previous 65 with 409 was a better car.

Replacing a clutch on an MG B. The first action item in the Haynes manual is, “Remove the engine. See Chapter 3.”
Then, you get to do it all again after buttoning up the job only to realize you’ve reversed the throw-out bearing. Sheesh!


Changing oil filter on 2015 VW Jetta Diesel. Rocket science engineers put wire harness right where the filter canister drains when taken off. Not to mention splash pan that has to come off first. Nasty when you’re working on the ground.

OMG… I’ve owned some 75 cars and 15 bikes in my time, have down most all work on them myself, including rebuilding a Supra Twin Turbo straight 6, Jaguar XK engine, and several flatheads.

Without question, the most onerous task I’ve had to do (and dread repeating), is removal and reinstallation of the radiator in my '59 Jaguar MK IX saloon. As long as that hood is, space underneath is at a premium, and the process is guaranteed to be accompanied with my trying out every available curse word, and streams of blood. If I NEVER have to remove that radiator again, it will be my crowning achievement!camp%20lucy%20nigel%20day%20email


Changing spark plugs while tuning. Difficult enough when cold, they are now hot as well as hard to reach, and the headers burn the back of your knuckles if you aren’t very careful. Mechanics gloves make it worse, they melt when contacted by the headers, but if you’re lucky, they don’t melt into your fingers. The coating on the headers is flame sprayed aluminum, no rust, but the surface is quite rough, and grabs the skin, gloves, whatever touches it, so you can’t jerk your hands away without a burning scrape.

Oh, that’s easy - exhaust systems. All too often rusted together, and not wanting to come apart. At least they used to do you the favor of just falling off!

After that, it’s getting to things buried around the engine of many front wheel drive cars- accessibility is less than minimal.


Bleeding brakes. Messy and time consuming. And a close second is changing coil springs. Do it right, and it’s no problem. Do it wrong and you’re in the hospital.


Yes! And I tried everything I could think of to avoid “Step 1” … I actually thought of cutting the chassis …

Spark plug replacement on our 1996 Chevrolet El Camino on the right rear
Had to cut a hole in inner fender
Brake line bending and fitting on our 50 Chevy 3100 what a pain

Changing the oil filter on 1996 Chevrolet 1500 6.5 Diesel
The filter is up behind exhaust crossover pipe
It’s hard get a tool in to turn the canister
Then when you do Oil is running down your arm

changing a headlight switch, on a 72 Olds Cutlass w/ AC, is a pain!

Brakes. Anything to do with brakes. It’s a PITA and filthy, too. Especially rear drums.

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I have my heart in my throat everytime I have to do any job involving removing a coil spring. Ball joint replacement, spindle or control arm work or just restoring the parts. The coil spring has to be compressed and it becomes a deadly missile if it gets away from you. I restore old cars for a hobby and do my own repair work on the family sedan. It is a job that has to be done. I am always nervous of using spring compressors especially if I don’t know where the tool was manufactured.

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Timing belts. Wont buy a car with one. Chains worked for decades and would last the life of the motor. The idea of tearing down an engine with under a 100,000 miles when we average 20,000+ miles a year is rediculous to me.

I absolutely hate working on suspensions. Rusty bolts, compressing springs, multiple dammits that want to pinch your fingers.

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Try changing a clutch on a Cord, but it was an adventure. Pull the Northstar from the used El Dorado that your sister in law bought, stud the heads & reseal the engine, another adventure. I like most repair & maintenance jobs, but would say that heater cores are the things that I dislike the most.

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Changing or a $1.00 bulb behind the dash. I got to the point that I just drop the dash change them all and button it up. PAITA. Jim


Anytime I have to work behind or under the dash…