If there’s one thing that sends shivers down the spines of all car owners it’s when their vehicles need to be taken into the shop for repairs because you never know how much it’s going to cost. And in just about every case, it’s more than you thought.
Luckily, there are several car repairs that even the least mechanically inclined car owner can perform. These are minor repairs that you can do in your own garage, thus saving you quite a lot of money. As an added bonus, your car will be repaired and back on the road quicker than waiting for your mechanic to “get to it.” Here are five easy car repairs you can do yourself.
There are several car repairs that even the least mechanically inclined car owner can perform.
#1: Change the Battery
One of the most common reasons why cars are brought to the shop is due to dead batteries. The problem is, you don’t only have to cover the cost of the replacement, but you’ll also have to pay a towing service to get your car to your mechanic. Thus, a simple and easy repair quickly turns into an expensive fix.
Changing a car’s battery is one of the easiest repairs that you can do yourself. All you need to do this job is a basic set of wrenches and some gloves. The most important thing you need to know about doing this job is the order in which you should remove the battery’s cables. The NEGATIVE (black) cable should be removed FIRST, followed by the POSITIVE (red) cable. Once the cables are removed, simply lift the battery out (if your battery is clamped in place, loosen the clamp before removing).
Take the dead battery to your local auto supply store and ask for a replacement. When you’re ready to install the new battery, set it in place and tighten down the brackets to secure the battery (if any were used). Connect the POSITIVE (red) cable first, followed by the NEGATIVE (black) cable. That’s all it takes to replace your car’s battery.
#2: Change Your Oil
Depending on where you take your car to have its oil changed, you can be charged anything from $30 to $100. Even when you see ads saying $15 oil changes, the job never costs that much because there are always conditions, such as that price only covers a certain amount of oil. You can also bet that the shop will be using the cheapest oil on the market.
The truth is, changing a car’s oil isn’t that difficult to do. And, you are in complete control of the quality of oil and filter you use for the job. For this job all you’ll need is a jack, two jack stands, an oil filter wrench, an adjustable wrench, the new oil and oil filter, and a drain pan.
Simply jack up one side of the front of your car and set it down on a jack stand. Jack the other side up and set it on the other jack stand. Locate your oil filter and drainage plug. Place the drain pan under the drain plug and use your adjustable wrench to remove the plug. Wait until all of the oil drains out and use the oil filter wrench to remove the filter.
Next, install the new oil filter and reinstall the oil pan’s plug. Wipe the plug clean with rags so it will be easier to detect a leak. Remove the oil cap on the top side of the engine and fill the oil pan with the right amount of fresh oil. Check your owner’s guide to learn how much oil to use. Replace the cap and check the plug to make sure no oil is seeping out. If everything is secure, use the jack to remove the stands and you’re done.
#3: Replace the Windshield Wipers
You can buy a new set of windshield wipers for less than $40, but have a shop do the job and you can tack on an extra $100 to the bill. All that money for a job that takes literally a few minutes!
To replace your windshield wipers, you will need to go to your local auto supply parts store or major retailer, like Walmart or Target, and use the reference guide or small electric terminal in the store to help you choose the right wipers for your automobile.
The old wipers simply slide off of the arms and the new ones slide on. Instructions are included on the wiper’s packaging if you think you can’t figure it out.
#4: Replace the Air Filter
A dirty air filter will cause your car to run less efficiently. And, while an air filter typically costs around $20, your mechanic will charge you $50 for the part and another $100 in labor. All you need to do to do this job is locate the air filter housing, remove the few screws keeping it closed, open it up, and remove the old filter. Then, simply insert the new air filter and reinstall and screws to secure everything back up. In less than five minutes, you just saved yourself over one hundred dollars.
#5: Replace a Burned Out Headlight or Taillight
Responsible drivers should always perform a headlight and taillight inspection before taking their cars onto the road. Of course, not everyone does this, but it is something you should try to incorporate into your auto maintenance routine, even if you do it monthly. The good thing is if you notice one of your lights is out, repairing it couldn’t be easier.
Simply unscrew the wingnuts holding the lens in place and pull it out of its chamber. The light bulb’s socket will be secure to the lens. Unscrew the back side of the socket and pull it out. Remove the bad bulb and take it to your local auto parts supply store so you can buy an exact replacement. When you arrive back to your car, make sure you do not touch the new bulb with your bare fingers because the oils on your skin will cause the new bulb to burn out quicker. So, you will want to wear latex gloves for this part of the job.
To install the new bulb, just screw it into the socket, insert it back into the lens, and secure the socket back to the lens. Then, set the lens back into position and secure it back in place with the wingnuts. Turn your lights on to check your work.
Save Money and Time By Doing Your Own Minor Car Repairs
The above five car repairs make up the bulk of the reasons why cars are taken into the shop. While it’s understandable if the job is too large or complicated, these jobs are so easy that you can easily tackle them yourself, saving you a ton of money and time.