As a car owner, you dutifully schedule your tune-ups at a local mechanic, take your vehicle in for service when the tires are low and call for help when the battery is dead. While mechanics are great for fixing more serious issues with your vehicle, there are several DIY auto fixes and general maintenance that even beginners can successfully tackle. Check out the following three DIY auto fixes:
Check the Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Without it, the engine will not be well-lubricated and can become damaged. As The Savvy Gal notes, checking your oil on a regular basis is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do for your car. All that you need is a clean rag and a level parking spot. Make sure your engine has cooled for at least one hour and then open the hood. The oil dipstick is often orange and has the word “oil” clearly marked. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean and put it back into the oil container. Remove the dipstick a second time and look for two marks near the bottom—the visible oil should be between the two of them. If it’s below the bottom mark, your car needs a good drink of motor oil. Check your owner’s manual for the type and amount of oil, and add in one quart at a time, up to about three-fourths of what the manual suggests.
Change a Tire
As anyone who has ever gotten a flat tire in the middle of nowhere knows quite well, it is not a fun experience. While you can call for help, you’ll get back on the road a lot quicker if you can change the flat yourself. The best way to prepare for this experience is in the comfort of your own driveway on a day when the weather is pleasant. Print out instructions from the DMV website on how to change the tire, and check out YouTube for a video or two that shows you exactly what you need to know. Then, roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and practice jacking up your car, removing the tire’s lug nuts and taking off the old tire. Check the spare to be sure that it’s well-filled with air, and put it on your car. Try this a few times until you are comfortable with the process.
Change the Air Filter
It’s important to change the air filter in your vehicle’s engine regularly. Dirty filters cause poor engine performance and lower gas mileage. Your mechanic typically changes the filter during regularly scheduled tune-ups, but it’s certainly a task you can master. Check the owner’s manual for how often the air filter should be changed and which type is best for your car. Open the hood and look for the filter. Cars that are less than 20 years old usually have their filter in a black casing with clips on the side. Remove the clips and note how the filter is placed in the case, and remove the dirty filter. Put the new filter back in and replace the lid and the clips.
A Few Words About Tools
To do these car maintenance repairs, you need the proper tools. Dummies.com has a great list of suggested supplies, including a durable plastic tool box and a variety of tools including Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a socket wrench set and several other wrenches, including combination, torque and adjustable varieties. To shop for these tools, check out the Sears website. The company offers a huge selection of wrench sets that are ideal for DIY auto maintenance as well as all the other tools you need to keep your car happy and healthy.
By Social Monsters