Visiting the mechanic can be inconvenient and expensive. Most of what you end up paying for goes toward labor, not necessarily the parts themselves. You may be shocked how easy it is to do some of the things you are willing to pay a mechanic for. Check out these auto repair and maintenance tasks that you can and could do yourself.
1. Air Filters
Generally, there are two filters in your car. There is one that is under the hood and one that is in the cabin ( that is behind the glove box). If you think one or both of your air filters needs to be replaced, try doing it yourself. It may seem like a daunting and complex undertaking, but it is actually one of those auto repairs you can do yourself with minimal tools and effort.
Your best guide is to read your car’s manual and watch some instructional videos beforehand. They will show exactly where to find each air filter and how to effectively remove and change them.
Tip: Splurge on a quality filter. It is better to spend a little more money to get a good filter, as they last longer and are more effective, which means more savings down the road. It might cost you $50 for a good one, but it beats paying an extra $100 on top of that for someone else to change it out for you.
2. Tire Pressure
The pressure in your tires can vary for a variety of reasons, such as the weather getting colder or warmer. But since, you don’t always know the cause for sure, you go on autopilot to the dealership to get your tires checked as soon as your tire pressure sensing monitor light comes on. But, this is actually an easy and inexpensive fix in most cases.
Pressure gauges are sold at automotive stores for less than you probably spend on your morning latte. Plus, most cars have the recommended tire pressure listed on the inside frame of the driver’s side door for reference. In some cases, you might have to find it in the manual. Both of these will assist you determine whether you need to inflate or deflate your tires to alleviate the issue.
Air machines can be located at most gas stations for a dollar or less, and they often have gauges built into them for convenience and accuracy.
However, if your tire is completely flat, you are going to have to change it or get it fixed by a professional.
3. Spark Plugs
These sound like something that would be dangerous to change. However, it is similar to screwing in a light bulb, making changing your spark plugs another auto repair you can easily do by yourself.
Like most things, the complexity will be dependent on the make and model of your car. And, like light bulbs, those fancy ones that cost a little more will last longer and save you money. Once you get that all squared away, you will use a wrench to loosen the old plugs until you can twist them out and then again to tighten the new ones securely in position.
4. Windshield Wipers
If you have observe any streaks on your windshield, feel the rain isn’t being wiped away as it should be, or see the rubber separating from the arms, it is time to replace you wiper blades. For most vehicles, they pretty much just clip on and off. However, you can always pull up instructional videos for your specific video online if need be.
Tip: Many many auto supply stores will mount them for you free of charge when purchased at their location.
The battery is usually the most easily accessible component under the hood. It is also one of the easiest parts to replce.
A common problem with batteries is also corrosion. This happens over time if the battery is not properly maintained. You can buy sprays to help keep this from happening. However, if you see what looks like old toothpaste that has been missing its cap for a while, you will hve to treat the battery corrosion. This can easily be remedied by using one of those sprays and a toothbrush to scrub away the corrosive material.
It is vital to avoid corrosion because it affects the life of your battery and can also, essentially, fuse it to the terminals. If that happens, the terminals will have to be sawn apart from the battery and changed. These are all more inconvenient and expensive than just keeping up with it to start with.
Warning: Obviously, the biggest concern here is being shocked, so it is vital to follow instructions carefully. The other concern is the acid from the battery, which can damage fabrics, so be mindful and avoid touching it or laying it on anything you do not want damaged.