Many of us have life hacked ourselves to, well, within an inch of our lives.
Everything from eating out, to reusing trash to revamping our finances has been sliced and diced to get the best deal and save us cash. But car repairs? That’s an area that most of us tend to steer clear of.
The great news is that there are actually a ton of car fixing hacks you can totally do yourself and will save you piles of cash! With an average car repair coming in at $398, can you afford to miss this?
1. Replace Windscreen Wipers
Replacing your own windscreen wipers is one of the auto repair basics that every car owner should be familiar with.
Simply head into your local auto parts store, or order replacement wipers online for your make and model. Then lift up the existing blades and carefully remove them. As you do, pay close attention to how they clip onto the wiper.
The box will also include instructions with graphics to guide you through the process. All in all, you should be able to replace all three wiper blades in about ten minutes. This is important because old blades can cause serious visibility issues.
2. Oil Change
First of all, ascertain whether it’s time for an oil change.
Once you’re sure it is, you’ll need a wrench, drain pan, funnel, gloves and jacks. You’ll also need to buy a new oil filter and replacement oil. Check with your car’s manufacturer ensure you get the very best for your vehicle and the exact amount you’ll need.
Park the car on a flat surface that you can work on and put it in first or park with the parking brake on. You may run the engine briefly to slightly warm the oil, but never replace the oil on a hot engine.
If your car is low to the ground, securely jack the car up on both sides. Secure the wheels with chucks and take off the oil fill cap.
Go underneath the car and find the oil drain plug. If the engine is cool, then you can safely proceed.
Position the drain pan underneath the plug. Carefully remove the plug and allow the oil to drain, collecting it in the pan.
Next, carefully remove and replace the oil filter. Back under the car, replace the oil drain plug, after wiping away any excess oil.
Now using a funnel, carefully replace the oil. Le the engine run for about thirty seconds, check the oil level and do a visual check for any leaks. Job done!
3. Replace Brake Pads
This is very doable at home, but if you have any doubts, then head down to the auto repair shop.
It will require buying a few tools the first time, but as the cost of the actual parts is very low, this will quickly pay dividends. Give yourself plenty of time to gather the tools you need, and learn the process.
There are several online guides that take you through this step by step.
4. Replace Air Filter
The air filter is responsible for removing dirt from the air that enters your car’s engine. That air’s going to be involved in the ‘combustion’ part of your engine – we can see why we don’t want any debris getting in the mix.
This is an easy job that should be high up on your DIY car fixing list. It should be done once a year, or every 12,000 miles.
First, purchase a replacement air filter for your car’s make and model.
Next, locate the current air filter, using the manual. Once you’ve opened the casing, you’ll see the current filter clipped into place. Carefully unclip and remove the filter.
Put the replacement filter into the casing in exactly the same position and clip it in place. Replace the cover and the job’s done!
5. Top Up Engine Coolant
First things first – the car must be cold, and we mean stone cold, to attempt this. Otherwise, you could easily get serious burns.
Check out the correct type of coolant needed for your car. The coolant reservoir will have minimum and maximum levels indicated on the side. If your car is getting low, then it’s good to top it up yourself.
You’ll need to prepare a mixture of 1:1 coolant to distilled water. In really cold areas, up to a 70:30 ratio may be best. Then using a funnel, carefully top up the level.
6. Reversing Dents
This is one for the DIY car repairer with a steady hand and nerves of steel.
Small dings, like the ones we pick up at the supermarket or when opening the door, can be pushed out using a technique known as paintless dent repair.
This sounds like a simple process and in theory, it is. But for novices, it can be a challenge to get it just right and not make the problem look worse than it was. Do your research, assess your ding and make a choice.
If in doubt, this may be best left to the professionals.
7. Maintain Your Battery
Debris on the contacts can cause your battery not to work correctly.
Follow an online guide to carefully remove the terminals and give them a good clean. There are specialist fluids available for this. Once they’re clean and dry, replace the terminals and you’re good to go!
8. Replace Your Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are vital for the smooth running of your engine, and they’re a doddle to replace.
Exact specifications and access vary from vehicle to vehicle, but look up a guide for your car and you’ll be on the road to new plugs in no time.
9. Power Steering Fluid Check
Over time, power steering fluid can deteriorate or be lost. This puts you at risk of your power steering failing, meaning you’re not in control of the vehicle.
Following the instructions in the owner’s manual, you should be able to locate the reservoir and check the level and condition of the fluid. It should be clear or have a slightly yellowish or pinkish tint.
If it’s black or brown or has bits in it, you’ve got a problem. You’ll need a few pieces of kit to replace it, but it’s a great project for beginners.
The Bottom Line: Car Fixing the DIY Way
If you crack this list of home car fixing hacks you won’t just be laughing all the way to the bank. You’ll also have saved yourself hours of sitting around in crummy waiting rooms drinking bad coffee and reading 1998 copies of Rolling Stone!
Plus there’s a smug satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’re someone who can repair their own car…
If you’d still rather head to an auto shop, then should you choose a dealership or local mechanic?
Click here to check out our blog to help you decide today.