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Car repairs that you can do yourself

Are you a car owner? If you are then this one is especially for you!

A car has to be maintained for it to work effectively and efficiently. Maintenance also means one needs to pay attention to all the needs of the car. Neglected issues in a car are known to escalate into bigger repairs that could drain your pockets fast. But does every simple thing need a paid service check? Not really! You can do many simple checks on your own.

And we are here to make that a bit easier for you!

We’ve put together a list of simple DIYs that anyone can handle easily. Read on so you can help your car stay in top condition without burning a hole in your pocket!

Air Filter

A car usually needs a new air filter every 12 months or 19,000 km, whichever comes first. You can either pay a mechanic and give up your car for a day, or you can replace your air filter at home in about ten minutes.

  • First, find your filter under the hood of your car. It’s in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Check your owner’s manual if you don’t see it as soon as you pop the hood.
  • Open up the casing, and check out how the air filter fits inside it. An important thing to remember is to make note of which way the filter faces.
  • Remove the old air filter, and insert the new one exactly how the old one sat.
  • Remember to close the metal clips when you’re done.

That’s it and you are done!

PS -  Another tip that you can follow in the long run,  extend the life of your new air filter by hitting it with some compressed air to clear out any debris.

Windshield Wipers

Most car manuals state that the windshield wipers need to be changed every six months but this usually depends on the type of car, its usage etc. Take care to check for signs and then do the needful.

This is very simple and the important thing is that there are no tools involved and it can all be done under 15 minutes. Here is how:

  • Lift the blades, as if you were washing your windshield by hand, and remove the old blades.
  • Do pay attention to how the old blades connect to the metal arms. ( this might vary from model to model)
  • On most models, you’ll see a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab to remove the old blade.
  • Attach the new blades, but be careful not to bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Line everything up and make sure the new ones are secure and tight.  

If you still do get stuck, most of the new wipers come with general instructions and a diagram that will further assist you.

Spark Plugs

Most spark plugs need replacing after about 45,000 kms, but do check the manual to see if your vehicle is any different. Now changing spark plugs might sound like intense work, but don’t worry it’s a pretty simple process. You just need to set aside some time and exercise patience. Don’t rush, because you need to install the replacements in a specific order.

In order to do this, a few things that you will need are-  Ratchet or socket wrench, 12″ socket extension, and the new spark plug socket.

  •  Locating your spark plugs is fairly easy because they’re attached to thick rubbery wires which are easily noticeable.
  • There will be either four, six, or eight plugs, depending on how many cylinders your car has.
  • Remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Make sure you don’t remove all of the wires at once. Your spark plugs are installed in a certain order, which you need to maintain. (This is Important!)
  • Use your spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet to remove the first spark plug.
  • Install the new spark plug, screwing it in by hand at first, and then tightening it with a wrench for a snug fit. Do not over-tighten.
  • Re-attach the spark plug wire.

Depending on how many spark plugs you have, repeat the above steps one at a time. If you buy the right plugs, you won’t have to worry about “gapping” the plugs, because they’ll come pre-gapped.

Oil and Oil filter

Every car expert or manual says that you should change your oil every 4,500 Km. Today with the new and better care products, cars are operating more efficiently. This means you could get away with changing it every 8,000 Kms.

Now it’s up to the owner whichever benchmark he/she decides to use, you can save time and money by doing it yourself.

Now, before you start, keep in mind these precautions:

  • Never change your oil when your engine is hot. Park, give your car cooling time and then get started.
  • You’ll have to jack up your car while the oil is changed. So make sure that you are comfortable and handle the jack safely.

Now that we have covered the safety part, it’s time to get down to business

  • Get under your car and locate the vehicle’s oil pan. It shouldn’t be hard to find.
  • Unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into your oil pan.
  • Once all of the old oil is drained, replace the drain plug.
  • Go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter with your oil filter wrench. (Be careful, because the oil filter contains some old oil as well).
  • The rubber gasket on the new oil filter is to be lubricated with some new motor oil.
  • Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with new oil.
  • Place the new oil filter in its place and hand-tighten it only.
  • Fill the engine with new oil, using your funnel. (Make sure you do this slowly so that nothing is spilled)
  • You can use a dipstick to check the level of oil to make sure that you have added the right amount of oil.

This job of changing oil is the dirtiest job, but it might be the most rewarding  and satisfying too. This is something that is easily available at quick-service stations but in the long run, when you consider going possibly four times a year, the expense and the time commitment does add up.

Radiator Flush

The car’s radiator and cooling system need to be cleaned quite regularly for it to work efficiently and effectively. The wear and tear of the car lead to deposits in the radiator that can disrupt the cooling system. A radiator flush is a quick and inexpensive way to keep your system in shape.

Make sure your car engine is cool before you begin. Some of the tools you need are screwdriver or wrench, rags, radiator flush solution, coolant, funnel, used coolant receptacle

  • Check the owner’s manual to find the radiator’s drain plug. Put your used coolant receptacle in place, unscrew the drain plug, and it’s important to let the old coolant drain completely.
  • Remove the radiator cap and use the funnel to add the radiator flush cleaning solution and then fill the rest of the radiator with water.
  • Replace the radiator cap.
  • Switch on the car, and let it run until it gets to its normal operating temperature.
  • Turn on your heater to its hottest position, and let the car run for 10 minutes.
  • Switch off the car and wait for the engine to cool completely.
  • Drain the contents and once that is done, the next step will be to fill the radiator with fresh coolant.
  • Warning: Please do make sure to dispose of the old coolant safely, by bringing it to an auto parts store, gas station, or mechanic. Old coolant is fatal, but its sweet taste can be enticing to pets.

Working with coolant is a little more advanced DIY auto project. Handling the temperatures can be a dangerous issue when you’re working, so make sure the engine has plenty of time to cool before you start and before you drain the radiator. Don’t rush this job, and always err on the side of caution, for more information you can always keep the car manual handy.

Do remember, one of the biggest steps in safety during any DIY project is knowing your limits. If you think during the initial stages you need a partner, seek out a neighbor or family member who also wants to save money and learn more about cars. Just be sure that you know your experience level, and don’t try a DIY project that’s too big to handle. Don’t risk injury doing things or even take apart pieces that you can’t put back together.

A DIY project is always fun because you can learn a new skill, teach others, and save yourself a few bucks all at the same time.  Also get your car insurance now and save your car from risk and uncertainties.

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