You might be skeptical about your ability to perform even simple tasks related to basic automotive maintenance (like changing the oil, for example). But once you realize how easy it is to tackle these repairs you’ll wonder why it took you so long to try them out.
You might want to avoid at-home repairs until your warranty runs out (since most warranties will be voided by such action) and you certainly want to shy away from complex or otherwise difficult tasks like replacing the transmission or the fan belt, there are a number of simple repairs that you can easily attempt on your own. Here are a few that anyone should be able to handle.
- Wax. Okay, so this is actually more of a preventive measure than a repair, but it’s something that absolutely every car owner can (and should) do on their own. The easiest thing to do is purchase a 2-in-1 wax that will allow you to wax and polish in one step (rather than waiting for wax to dry), but all you have to do to preserve the beautiful finish on your car is wash it thoroughly (consider repairing scratches with touch-up paint at this point) and wax away for a gorgeous shine that also protects your paint.
- Oil and filter. It’s a messy job, but doing it yourself is both cheap and relatively easy. If you already have an oil pan in the garage you’ll only need to purchase new oil and a filter (when you go to buy it, the shop should be able to tell you what to get based on your vehicle make and model). From there you jack up the front end of the car, remove the drain plug (make sure the oil pan is underneath to catch the dirty fluid), and then remove the filter. Finally, replace the plug, install the new filter, and fill up the oil tank.
- Replace spark plugs. This is even easier than replacing the oil and it’s also less messy. Look on the engine block for the spark plug wires (there is one for each cylinder). Pop off the first one and use a socket wrench to remove the plug. Replace it, being careful not to over-tighten as this may crack the porcelain exterior. Then push the wire firmly back into place and move on to the next plug.
- Replace wiper blades. Installing new windshield wipers is the simplest job of all. You just pull the wiper away from the windshield and look for a tab near where the blade attaches to the arm. Push in the tab and pull the blade to slide it off the arm. Then pop the new wiper blade onto the arm. If you can’t perform this simple task, you should question whether you’re capable of handling a vehicle (a much more complex task).
- Change a flat. You’ll find this task easy enough if you’re on a flat surface. Simply loosen the lug nuts (with a tire iron) and jack up the car. Then remove the nuts and pull the flat tire off the car. Fit the donut in place of the old tire (just slide it onto the bolts) and reattach the lug nuts. Start with any nut, then start the one on the opposite side. Continue to tighten each nut a few turns at a time (alternating with their opposite). Set the car down and continue to tighten the nuts until they are firm. Now throw the flat in the trunk and head to the nearest tire center!
Carol Montrose writes for TruckertoTrucker.com where you can also find used box trucks , Seattle trucks and browse other trucks across the country.