Car repairs are expensive. So, running to the mechanic for every little job can drain your pocketbook fast. There are a wide range of fixes that you can make to your car, even if you are a novice. All you need to know is how to hold a wrench. And I’m sure everyone knows how to do that!
The first step is to do your homework, especially if this is your first time. Research about the repair work on your phone or tablet. Ideally, watch a video guide and read the directions that’ll walk you through the steps. Repeat several times until you completely understand everything and feel comfortable to start. Keep your tech guide ready in case you need help. Or ask a car-savvy friend to hang out as you learn the ropes.
Every car is different, but nearly all cars use basic nuts and bolts. Make sure to use tools with hefty handles and a good grip. Here’s a list of standard tools that you’ll need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Torque wrench
- Socket and ratchet set
- Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
How to Shop for New Parts
If you’re replacing car parts, you’ll need to purchase new ones in advance. You could go to an auto shop and buy them from there. But with everything being available online, why not save time and order parts from here as well?
Just enter your car’s year, make, and model and search for the part you need. If you’re unsure of the technical name, you can enter the serial number available on the piece in your car, or ask a representative at a car parts dealer. Since every car is slightly different, you need to make sure you enter the correct information and order the right piece. As a rule, always hold onto your receipt and original faulty part just in case there is a problem later on.
Even if you’re not an auto expert, just about anyone can handle the following repairs easily and quickly with minimal expenses. Remember, regular maintenance goes a long way. Your auto will run better over time and last longer. You’ll save big by taking on these auto repairs and maintenance jobs yourself.
Time to get comfortable in an old pair of jeans. Grab your DIY toolkit and let’s start tackling common car issues today.
The air filter keeps dust outside the car from getting into the engine as it sucks in air. A dirty filter affects gas mileage and engine performance. Unscrew the plastic lid located on the side of the engine. Take out the old filter, but note how it fits inside and which way it’s facing. Insert the new one in its place and screw the lid back on.
Don’t forget to close the metal clips when you’re done, which shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. Repeat the procedure every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Extend the life of the new air filter by hitting it with some compressed air every once in a while to clear out any debris.
Wiper blade setup differs from car to car, so you may have to follow the steps in the owner’s manual. Sometimes you can avail free installment offers on the purchase of new wipers, which should be done every 6-12 months, depending upon the use. Or follow instructions on the packaging of the new blades.
Lift the blades to remove the old ones; pay attention to how they’re connected. Most models have a tab to release the wiper. Attach the new blades carefully so as not to bend the arms or scratch the windshield. Make sure they’re secure.
Spark Plugs and Wires
Get a tune-up every 30,000 miles or every two years, whichever comes first. When spark plugs don’t function properly, you may have trouble starting the car, and the gas mileage decreases. Changing the spark plugs is a pretty simple job, even though it sounds technical. You can’t rush the process because it needs to be done in a specific order.
Spark plugs are easy to locate – they’re attached to thick rubbery wires. You’ll find either four, six, or eight plugs, depending on the number of cylinders your car has. Do not remove all of the wires at once. Start by removing the wire to the first only. The spark plugs are installed in an order that must be maintained. Install the plug in its place, screwing it first by hand, then tighten it with a wrench for a snug fit. Be careful not to overtighten. Finish by re-attaching the wire. Repeat the process with the rest of the spark plugs.
The recommended time is three months or 3000 miles, whichever comes first. Make sure to get the right oil and oil filter. Every car manufacturer has specifications about oil viscosity that you should follow closely. Raise the car with jacks and set it on stands. Place all the tools and parts under the vehicle, including the drain pan. Make sure to coat the gasket of the new oil filter with clean oil.
Get underneath the car, remove the oil plug, and let all the old oil flow out into the pan. Crank off the old filter along with the rubber gasket. Replace with the new filter and tighten the plug. Wipe any drips with a rag. Now get out from under the car. Add fresh oil from the top with the help of a funnel. Fill the engine until the light on the dashboard disappears. Wait a few minutes before checking with the dipstick. Add more if necessary. Dispose of the old oil properly.
Once you’re confident about repairing and dealing with the basic car maintenance, you’ll be ready for more complicated repairs, such as changing the fuel filter and brake pads. However, no matter how much experience you may have, don’t attempt any major engine work. If the ‘Check Engine’ light turns on, it’s best to take your automobile down to the local garage.
Have the problem diagnosed, and while you’re at it, get a free car valuation to see if the cost of repairing your wheels is worth the time, effort and money. If the price is higher than the return in value of fixing it, this may be the perfect time to upgrade your automobile.
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