If you drive, the thought of taking your car in for routine service or repairs is probably a bigger annoyance than a chore. It’s usually an expensive, time-consuming hassle that no one looks forward to. However, there are ways to make the whole process a little easier if you are keen on a bit of DIY therapy. The DIY car repair tips that you are about to explore are easy to handle and is probably a great way to help you with avoiding the buildup of credit card debt.
5 Easy DIY car fixes
1. Change Air Filter
Tools You Need: None | Time to Complete: 10 minutes | Estimated Cost: $10
It is advised to change the filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Find your filter under the hood of your car. It’s in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side.
- Open up the casing, and check out how the air filter fits inside it. Make a note of which way the filter faces.
- You can find the correct filter online or in an auto parts store by the year, make, and model of your car.
- 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.
2. Change Windshield Wipers
Tools You Need: None | Time to Complete: 15 minutes | Estimated Cost: $10 to $20
You’ll need new wiper blades after about six months or a year of use. Wiper blade setups can differ from car to car, so you may have to follow a few different steps according to your owner’s manual.
- Lift the blades, as if you were washing your windshield by hand, and remove the old blades.
- 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, being careful not to bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Line everything up and make sure the new ones are secure and tight.
- Instructions will be on the package of the new blades.
3. Replace Spark Plugs
Tools You Need: Ratchet or socket wrench, 12″ socket extension, spark plug socket | Time to Complete: 20 to 30 minutes | Estimated Cost: $10 to $15
Most spark plugs need replacing after about 30,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle is any different.
- Remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Do not remove all of the wires at once. Your spark plugs are installed in a certain order, which you need to maintain.
- 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.
- Repeat these steps for each spark plug, one at a time.
4. Oil Change
Tools You Need: Ratchet, oil filter wrench, oil pan, funnel | Time to Complete: 30 to 45 minutes | Estimated Cost: $20
Experts say you should change your oil every 3,000 miles, but with better products and cars operating more efficiently, you May be able to get away with changing it every 5,000 miles. Check your car manual for your specific needs.
Caution: Never change your oil when your engine is hot. Park, wait for it to cool, and then get started. You’ll have to jack up your car, so make sure you’re comfortable safely handling a jack.
- Open the hood, and remove the oil cap.do it your self matrix,
- 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 oil is drained, replace the drain plug.
- Go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter with your oil filter wrench.
- Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with some new motor oil. You can just use your finger.
- Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with new oil.
- Screw in the new oil filter. Hand-tighten it only until snug.
- Fill the engine with new oil, using your funnel.
- With a dip-stick, double check your oil level to be sure you’ve added enough.
5. Battery Maintenance
Tools You Need: Wrenches, corrosion-removal fluid, wire brush, rags | Time to Complete: 20 minutes | Estimated Cost: $5
The key to keeping your car running smoothly and efficiently is a good battery connection. A simple visual check of the condition of your battery will tell you when you need to perform this process.
- Remove your battery terminals (wires), which should be a fairly straightforward process. Make sure you always remove the negative cable first.
- Clean the posts. Some say Coca-Cola will work, and it does, but it is suggested to use a more professional product from your local auto parts store.
- Generously apply the fluid to the posts, and clean vigorously with your wire brush.
- Rinse the cleaning fluid with a little water.
- Dry the posts with rags.
- Re-attach battery terminals.
Food for thought: Not every car repair that comes your way can be handled yourself. Check out this Do-It-Yourself Matrix to ensure whether you can do the repair, or it needs professional attention.
A little bit of DIY can go a long way in eliminating your credit card debt and having a moment of pride and self-satisfaction.
To speak to a credit counselor today about budgeting and managing your finances, call 800-769-3571.