Doing things at home with nothing but a YouTube video or a blog post as a guide is the way of the new millennium. That’s how things go these days because people want to save money. Instead of paying $100 at the auto repair shop like Walmart Auto Service they can do it at home for just $30.
Of course there are limitations to this. You’d still have to drive your car to a repair shop to fix engine problems and other major issues but what are some of the stuff you can do on your own? Whether you’re a car expert or not, here are 7 car repairs/maintenances you can DIY:
#1 – Replacing the Air Filter
The air filter is very crucial to an engine’s performance. Without clean oxygen the engine wouldn’t be able to combust. This is why manufacturers often suggest that the air filter be changed once after every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, depending which of the two occurred first.
You can buy an air filter for less than $12. Just look into your car’s manual to find where the air filter is placed and it’ll take less than five minutes to replace it with the new one you’ve bought.
#2 – Changing Wiper Blades
Wiper blades need to be changed out every six months or else they’ll just be a nuisance on your windshield. Many gas stations, repair shops, and car washes offer free installation of wiper blades but only if you purchase their most expensive blades. In essence, that means it’s not really free.
Buying wiper blades will cost about $10 to $20, depending on the quality and brand you are going for. Search on YouTube for a quick, five minute guide and you can easily replace your own windshield wiper blades in 15 minutes tops.
#3 – Spark Plugs
The spark plug is responsible for ignition in the engine. That makes it one of the most important components of your entire car. You need to get this changed with a new one after every 30,000 miles or so (read your car manual to double-check).
Remarkably, spark plugs usually don’t cost more than $15. Better quality spark plugs can cost up to $40 or so online. You’ll need a socket wrench or ratchet to get the old one out and the new one in but it’s the only real tool you’ll invest in for this job. You can get this done in just 20-30 minutes.
#4 – Oil and Oil Filter Change
Oil and oil filter changing is a required service to keep your engine in good shape. The normal rule of thumb is to change oil and filter every 3,000-7,000 miles depending on the type of car and engine you have.
Just about every shop and gas station offers oil change services. From Pep Boys oil change to services from Maaco, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $75 depending on the specifics of your car, especially regarding the type/grade of oil needed.
If you want to DIY car maintenance this is perhaps one of the main cornerstones to study and practice because you’ll be doing it at least four times a year. It only takes 30 minutes to do and the only expense is for motor oil, which goes from $15 to $80 depending on brand and grade.
#5 – Brake Pads
Drive for a while and listen to how your car sounds when you step on the brakes. If there’s a grinding sound then take the car to an auto repair shop because the rotor will need replacement. If you hear a screeching sound, however, then the brake pads are busted and that’s an issue you can do on your own.
This can take 30 minutes to about an hour and they can cost from $40 up, depending on the build of your vehicle. This is a slightly more complicated task so a YouTube video will come in handy.
#6 – Battery Maintenance
Your car batteries and car alternator go hand in hand because they work together to ensure the vehicle and all its electrical components are running perfectly. If some accessories in your car, like interior lights or the air conditioning, fail to turn on then the culprit is most likely one of the two.
Use a multimeter once every month to check on the condition of your alternator and batteries. Wipe the batteries down with a cloth at least once a month too to ensure it isn’t being weighed down by sludge and excess grease.
There are two additional DIY jobs you’ll want to study in relation to your batteries and alternator: how to jump a car and how to replace a dead battery.
#7 – Flushing the Radiator
Coolant is what runs through the radiator and keeps the car cool, especially when the engine is heating up during a long drive. Over time, however, the radiator gets filled with sediments like dust and corroded particles.
For about $25 and 30 minutes you can flush the used coolant out, clean the radiator with a flushing solution, and then add in fresh coolant fluid to keep your car temperature normal.