Have you ever thought of doing your own auto repair and maintenance but didn’t know where to start? Performing basic auto repairs can save you some money. Many maintenance tasks can be done with minimal mechanical expertise and a handful of simple tools. Of course, a healthy dose of patience never hurts!
Here Are Some of Basic Auto Repairs (Almost) Anyone Can Do
Okay, so maybe this doesn’t technically count as an automotive repair but it is a task almost anyone can do and a way to help build your confidence in performing other more involved car repair jobs. Wiper blades generally need to be replaced once a year and can be done by simply following the instructions on the packaging. Some models may require a screw driver, but most can be done by unlatching and re-latching the new blades or simply sliding them in place.
Air Filter Replacements
Your car’s air filter should generally be replaced every year or 18 mos. and is the easiest “auto repair” you can ever do. Simply pop the hood and look for the black rectangular shaped filter roughly located underneath the dashboard. Undo the clips holding the filter in place and replace it with a new one. Make sure you put the right side down.
Battery Tune-up & Replacement
Maintaining your vehicle’s battery can help it run for a longer period of time. By simply removing the dust, dirt and corrosion around the battery’s exterior, you can extend its life. To do this, put on a pair of gloves and remove grit or grime surrounding the battery prongs using a rag or wire brush. Always remove the negative terminal first if you must lift the battery to clean underneath it!
Yet even with the best of care, a car battery will eventually need to be replaced. Auto repair shops will charge you for the pleasure but this is a task just about everyone can do. With the new battery at the ready, prepare to remove the dead battery by first removing the negative terminal, then the positive one. The order in which you remove the terminals is VERY important!
Move the bracket so that you can carefully remove and then replace the battery. This time you should hook up the positive terminal first and then the negative. Properly dispose of the old battery by taking it to an auto parts store or repair shop.
Oil Change & Oil Filter Change
Okay, here it gets a little more involved but with some specific tools and some patience, it is possible to perform an oil change on your vehicle.
- First, make sure you get your necessary tools and equipment out in advanced. They include car jack, ratchet, oil filter wrench, oil pan, quarts of new oil and funnel. Some rags or cloths are helpful too.
- Jack up your vehicle so that you can comfortably get underneath it.
- Before draining the dirty oil from your car, place your oil pan directly under the release plug. Remove the plug using a wrench and allow the dirty oil to drop directly into the pan. Allow gravity to work its magic and wait a few minutes for this to occur.
- Now this is important – use a wrench to securely replace the drain plug. Failure to do this simple task will cause a huge mess on your garage floor when you get to step 7.
- Now remove the oil filter using the appropriate wrench. Again move the pan in place to catch the expelled oil. It is common to get a little dirty here.
- Replace with new oil filter (if needed). It is a good idea to put a bit of oil on the filter’s gasket or seal to lubricate it.
- Lastly go to the engine, remove the cap, and pour in the appropriate amount of oil using a funnel.
- Properly dispose of your dirty oil by taking it to an auto repair shop or parts store.
Thinking About DIY Car Repair?
A few considerations about DIY auto repair … while some car repair and maintenance jobs can most definitely be done outside of a traditional repair shop or garage, many cannot be. Replacing an oil filter may be doable, but more serious repairs such as transmission, engine or suspension repair need the training and expertise of a mechanic. If any of these or other repairs feel out of your comfort zone, that’s okay. Better to bring your car into a local garage than to do a car repair incorrectly and cause an even more expensive problem to fix in the process!