Car repairs and modifications get expensive fast. The parts involved are one thing, but a lot of that money is going into labor time. Of course, there are plenty of jobs that are better handled by a professional, but for all of those smaller jobs you can save quite a bit of money by doing the work yourself.
It is also a good idea to perform routine maintenance in order to prevent costlier issues in the future. Let’s go over several of the smaller jobs you can take on yourself, as well as some useful DIY care tips to keep your car running like it should.
Change Your Oil
Most automotive professionals advise that you change your oil every 3,000 miles. This might be the case with older cars, though with newer cars, you can probably get away with 5,000 miles or more. It is a good idea to keep up on your oil changes, as this keeps your engine healthy. You will need a container of new oil and a new oil filter. You can find these items at your local auto store, or an online store like Enjuku Racing.
Make sure your engine is cool, and then jack up your car. You have to locate your car’s oil pan, which should be fairly straightforward. You need to unscrew the drain plug and let the oil drain into a pan. After the draining is done, replace the drain plug.
Next, you should remove your old oil filter and put in the new one. Be sure to lubricate the gasket on the new filter with a little bit of motor oil. Then you can fill your new oil filter about two-thirds with new oil. Screw in your new oil filter.
Finally, fill your engine with oil and then test the oil levels with your dipstick. You can get rid of your old oil by taking it to a gas station or auto store.
Fix Minor Dents
Those bodywork costs add up fast, even on minor dents. Fortunately, there are several DIY methods to fix a minor dent at very low cost. For large and shallow dents, try dry ice or compressed air. The cold will cause the metal to contract, pulling the dent up in turn.
For smaller dents, try a little heat. A hairdryer can be used to warm up the metal, causing it to soften and expand. Then you can use an air duster to smooth everything out.
Keep Your Battery Clean
Corrosion on your battery posts and weak terminal connections can lead to start-up problems. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to give your posts a little scrub. After you remove your terminals, you may find that there is a white crust on your posts. Believe it or not Coca-Cola works for this task, or something fizzy like baking soda and water.
You can use a wire brush to scrub off any residue, and then rinse your posts with water and dry everything off. Re-attach the terminals firmly, and your battery should be good to go.
Test Belts and Hoses
Broken belts and ruptured hoses can cause all sorts of engine problems and even leave you stranded. You can make sure that all of your belts and hoses are in decent shape with a brief inspection. Push on belts to make sure that there isn’t too much slack in them, and replace any belts that look cracked or worn out.
You can also check on hoses by pinching them. If they feel firm, everything is good. However, if they feel spongy or squishy, you might want to look into replacing them. Also, make sure all of your hoses are firmly coupled to your engine components.
Check Your Oil Frequently
Low oil levels can cause serious damage to your engine, so make sure that you regularly check your oil. This is best done when the engine has cooled down a bit, and be sure that your vehicle is on level ground. After you pull out the dipstick, wipe it off with a rag and put the stick back in to get an accurate reading.
If you’re getting low, you can buy oil from any auto store and gas station. Just make sure you don’t overfill, as this can cause problems too.
Keep Coolant Levels Up
Another thing to keep in mind is your coolant level. Low coolant can lead to engine overheating and a host of other problems. It only takes a couple of minutes to check on your coolant reservoir, which should be close to the radiator.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
It is easy enough to regularly check your tire pressure and keep your tires inflated. This prevents long-term wear and balding, which will save you a good amount of money on tires.