Every car owner will eventually have some car trouble. Are you having car trouble with your older car? Do you have a new car and hope to avoid car trouble for as long as you can? How can you maintain your vehicle, and when you do have trouble, what are some DIY repairs?
Vehicle Maintenance Tips
Maintaining your vehicle is essential to keeping your car functioning and running well. Here are several tips to help you maintain your car.
- Inspect your vehicle regularly
- Check your air filter
- Regularly check your tire pressure
- Clean your engine’s exterior
- Protect your headlights
- Check your battery
- Change your spark plugs
- Get your tires rotated and balanced
- Check oil levels
- Know the meaning of different warning light indicators
Inspect your vehicle regularly
Once a week inspect your vehicle for any damage to the body of your vehicle. You should also check out your tires for any punctures or wear. Be sure to check your locks, windows, and sunroof.
Check your air filter
Air filters keep your engine healthy by blocking pollen, dust, and other contaminants. A dirty air filter can reduce the airflow into the engine which will rob your vehicle of power, reducing performance and fuel economy. It’s recommended that you replace your air filter every 12,000 miles.
Regularly check your tire pressure
Generally your tire pressure should be checked once a week. However, your car manual will have a recommendation on when to check and how much air pressures your tires require. Tire pressure impacts fuel economy.
Clean your engine’s exterior
It’s also important to clean your car’s exterior engine as well. If not cleaned properly, even minor debris in the wrong place can do damage to your engine.
Protect your headlights
Check if both headlights are working properly and well-positioned. Visually inspect both turn signals by walking around your car and seeing them flash; also check your parking lights.
Check your battery
You always want to check your battery. It would be a bummer to be stuck alongside the road with a dead battery. The car’s battery is responsible for providing a large amount of electrical current for the starter, engine and other electronic accessories in the vehicle.
Change your spark plugs
Spark plugs could affect the efficiency of your car’s engine. When spark plugs don’t function properly, it causes the engine to lose power and it won’t function at its optimal capacity. You should have a professional check out the spark plugs and replace those that are faulty.
Get your tires rotated and balanced
Tire rotation is important to maintain the safety and performance of your vehicle. It gives your vehicle a quicker steering response and a smoother ride.
Check oil levels
Checking your engine’s oil level is an essential part of your basic car maintenance routine. It’s also critical to look at the color of the oil. It shouldn’t be black. The dark color usually indicates the presence of contaminants, excessive heat, the addition of chemical additives or even worse, sludge. Your owner’s manual tells you the frequency of oil change.
Know the meaning of different warning light indicators
Every car has many warning lights and indications. Be sure to learn what each of your car’s warning lights means and how to fix it. Your owner’s manual can be of great help here.
DIY Vehicle Repair
- Change your own brake pads
- Change the battery
- Do your own oil change
- Replace a headlight or taillight
- Change your windshield wipers
- Replace your air filter
- Repair bumper scratches and dents
Change your own brake pads
All you need to change your brake pads is a wheel lug wrench, some basic wrenches, pliers, and of course a jack and set of jack stands. A set of new brake pads will set you back just $20–$40, depending on the car and pad material. Compare that to the industry average of $250 per axle, and you can see how much money this DIY job will save you. The new pads will last between 30,000–50,000 miles, and you should check them every 10,000 miles.
Change the battery
A battery will last 4–6 years, so you should be able to figure out when your current battery is ready to be changed.
The average price of a new battery is around $80, although you can spend more or less depending on the make and model. A dealer will charge upwards of $200 to replace it.
Do your own oil change
Buy a good quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier. All you need is jack stands and a jack, an oil filter wrench and a drain pan. You can find videos online walking you through oil changes on a variety of different vehicles.
Replace a headlight or taillight
Lights are essential for being able to see but they also allow you to be seen by other drivers. If one (or more) aren’t working, it’s time to buy a replacement and do it yourself. You want to make sure you’re getting the exact right bulb so it’s wise to take the burnt out bulb to the store with you.
Change your windshield wipers
It takes minutes to replace the wipers on your vehicle yourself, and all of the instructions are provided in the replacement wipers you buy. A set of wipers cost $20 to $40, on average.
Replace your air filter
An air filter can cost $15 to $20 depending on the make and model of your car. It’s quite simple. Open up the hood of the car, turn a few screws, open the air filter housing, swap out the old for the new, and replace the screws.
Repair bumper scratches and dents
Bumper scratches and dents can be easily fixed if you want to take that project on. If you decide to replace the bumper, you can shop online such as Fit Parts and find the exact bumper you need for your car. There are reasonable options to choose from when it comes to repairing scratches and dents.
Finally, take advantage of your resources such as how-to guides online. Nowadays, it’s easy to find the perfect DIY video on YouTube. Home car repair is possible.