In America, car owners spend around $400 a year to maintain and repair their vehicles. For many, this is money well spent, as they put more towards maintenance rather than repair.
But are you someone who’s been spending a large amount of money to constantly repair your car? Then you might want to invest more in maintenance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean bringing your car into the auto shop more often either! In fact, there are some basic car maintenance jobs you can do on your own.
Here are 5 DIY auto maintenance jobs that every driver should know.
1. Changing Your Car’s Oil
If you’ve ever brought your car into the shop or dealership before, then you’re probably familiar with that little sticker they place in the upper lefthand corner of your windshield. This tells you when you need to change your car’s oil and also bring it in for a quick check.
If you love DIY mechanical work, then this should be easy for you.
Basically, you have to drain the oil by first removing the oil drain plug. Unscrew the oil filter and empty its content. Put the filter and plug back in, and you can pour fresh oil in.
For some vehicles, it’s very difficult to reach the oil drain plug and filter. Or you might just not have the time and/or patience to do this type of car maintenance.
The good news is, you can have the auto shop change your oil quickly and affordably, so that’s always an option.
2. Checking Your Car Battery (and Changing It)
To check your car battery, you need a multimeter. Connect it to both the positive and negative battery terminals of your car battery. Start off with your engine off.
In general, your battery should read around 12.6 volts. Anything below that is an indication that you have a dying battery.
Then, start your engine and check the multimeter again. This time, you’re looking for anything above 10 volts. If you have a reading of under 5 volts, then that means you need to change your battery ASAP or you might get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.
To change your car battery, first remove the cover. Then, disconnect the negative cables, then the positive ones. Unscrew everything, then replace the old battery with the new one.
If there is any battery acid and/or corrosion present, make sure you handle everything with care. It might help to use an old cloth or shirt to handle everything.
After you’ve put the new battery in, reconnect and reattach everything. You should then be good to go!
3. Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades
To keep your car insurance costs low, you need to stay out of accidents. And to do that, you need to have working wiper blades at all times. Otherwise, you won’t be able to clear dust, dirt, and debris, which can cause obstruction to your vision.
It’s recommended that you replace your windshield wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. The exact replacement schedule will depend on how often you use them and what the weather is like where you live.
When the time comes for a replacement, go to your local shop to find the exact match for the make and model of your vehicle.
To take the old blades off, lift the arm away from the windshield. Then, press on the tab holding it in place. You can then pull the old blade off and replace it with the new one.
Make sure you push in the new wiper blade tightly until it snaps into place.
4. Replacing Air Filters
You might think that air filters aren’t anything important and that you can change them whenever you wish. That way, you can get every penny’s worth from each air filter.
However, if you don’t replace them on a timely schedule, it can shorten the lifespan of your engine, which is much more expensive to replace. In general, you should replace your air filters every 30,000 miles or once every year, whichever comes first.
To replace your car’s air filters, pop open its hood first. Once you find the air filter unit, take off the cover and pull the air filter out.
Before you replace the old filter, make sure you clean out the filter housing first. Then, place the new filter in and replace the cover.
5. Checking Tire Pressure (and Replacing a Flat Tire)
Your vehicle’s tires need to be at the right PSI or else it won’t run efficiently. Not to mention, it can also create unsafe conditions while you’re driving.
To check your tire pressure, you should buy a tire pressure gauge. You’ll have to check with your car manual on what the proper PSI should be for your tires.
If you find that the pressure is lacking, inflate them the next chance you get. If the pressure keeps going down, then you probably have a flat tire.
To replace a flat tire, you’ll need several tools, including a lug wrench and jack. Put the parking brake on, remove the hubcap, and loosen the lug nuts.
Then, use the jack to elevate your car. You can now take off the lug nuts and the flat tire.
Replace the flat tire with a new inflated one and put the lug nuts back on. Lower your car down, take out the jack, and tighten the lug nuts.
Make Sure to Do These DIY Car Maintenance Tips
After reading this article, you now have 5 key DIY car maintenance tips under your belt. Remember to keep up with vehicle maintenance and perform basic car repairs when you can. Otherwise, the condition of your car can slip and cause it to prematurely break down.
Considering most Americans think of their vehicles as lifelines, it’s extremely important that yours stays up and running as smoothly as possible. This is entirely possible if you’re diligent in maintaining your car and bringing it in to the auto shop as soon as you notice any problems. Prevention and being proactive are the keys to keeping your car in good shape!
Do you have auto insurance for your vehicle? If not, then get in touch with us now. We’re available 24/7, so you’ll get assistance whenever you need it.