Owning a car can cost you a lot of money, even after it’s been paid off. Not only does the rising cost of gas make keeping your tank full an exercise in economics, but there are also yearly registration fees, property taxes (Excise tax) and insurance premiums to consider. Then there’s the cost of performing routine maintenance, which can further dent your wallet. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about any of these things.
Or is there? When it comes to car repair and maintenance, there are many things that you can perform yourself, without getting a professional mechanic involved. And we’re not just talking doing an oil change in your driveway, either. Assuming you know how to handle a wrench, a screwdriver, and don’t mind getting a little dirty, here’s our list of DIY car repairs.
Top 4 DIY Auto Repairs
Replacing Your Car Battery
Most people will take their vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop to have a new battery installed. But replacing it yourself is a relatively simple process that only involves removing the connection terminals, lifting the old battery out, and dropping in a new one.
Rotating Your Tires
Tire rotation is a simple procedure that simply requires you to switch your front tires with your back tires to ensure they wear evenly and last longer. While rotating tires can be done quickly in an auto mechanic’s garage, you don’t need any special tools other than a lug wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, and a torque wrench to ensure you don’t over tighten your lug nuts when all’s been done. Many auto repair shops provide a lifetime free tire rotation service if you purchased tired from them, so check with your shop before you start jacking the car up.
Fix a Dangling or Loose Exhaust Pipe
Many people don’t know (because they rarely stick their heads underneath their cars) that their exhaust pipes are held in place by simple muffler straps that can wear out and break over the course of your vehicle’s life. If you’ve started to hear an odd clunking sound when you go over bumps, or have noticed that your exhaust pipe is drooping, you may simply need a new muffler strap, also known as an exhaust hanger. Instead of taking your car to a mechanic, you can buy a replacement part and take care of this yourself.
Replace Your Engine Air Filter
Manufacturers recommend you replace your air filter every 12,000 – 15,000 miles for optimum engine performance and maintenance. Air filters remove dust and solid particles from entering the engine. Depending upon the external conditions, geographic location, and vehicle use, air filters should be changed more frequently. For example, for vehicles used on construction sites where dirt and concrete is everywhere, air filters may require more attention.
Most people tend to shy away from even attempting to perform minor fixes to their vehicles out of a lack of experience and a fear of messing something up for good. But the reality is, it’s actually pretty hard to “break” your car beyond a professional’s ability to put it back together again. All you need to get on the path to auto repair independence is a little bit of self confidence and the desire to save a few bucks. Oh, and maybe an adjustable wrench, a pair of pliers, an assortment of screwdrivers, some sockets and ratchets, and a torque wrench. Get all that, and you’re good to go.
Not sure about the DIY approach and would rather use a professional? Start with Openbay to compare quotes and book service with top repair shops in your area.