Anyone who has ever owned a car knows quite well how demanding they can be.
Keeping your car in tip-top condition and servicing it regularly is crucial. This is both from a financial and safety point of view.
We won’t lie to you, this can be a very expensive process. Would you like to know ways of saving money on car repair?
Herein we have compiled several small car repairs that you can do yourself for money management purposes.
Related article: 9 useful tips to save money on car expenses
CHANGING YOUR AIR FILTERS
Your car’s air filter should be under the hood. However, if you were a rookie, we would advise you to check the owner’s manual of your car to locate it. For many car models and makes, you will not even require any tools to accomplish this task.
Simply flick up the latches holding the air filter cover in place then lift it up. It should be quite easy to lift away the air filter underneath. If there is debris and dust at the bottom of the chamber, vacuums clean it using a hose extension.
Alternatively, you can wipe away using only water. Always make sure that you have dried the chamber thoroughly. Pay special attention to the seal; it has to be clean and dry. Place in the new air filter and reattach the cover. It is as simple as that.
REPLACING WINDSHIELD WIPERS
A good number of drivers have no idea that windshield wipers are supposed to be replaced regularly. Windshield wipers that are worn out do not clean efficiently. This can be particularly dangerous during rainy weather.
If your windshield wiper does any of the following, you need to replace it:
• Leave streaks on the glass
• Produce a screeching sound
• Bounce as they operate
Windshield wipers are very easy to remove. Pull the arm of the wiper towards you. It will lock in place extended from your windshield. Take the blade and rotate it such that it is at a right angle (90 degrees) to the wiper arm.
From here you should be able to easily maneuver it off. Some windshield wiper blades possess a small tab that depresses allowing the blade to slide off.
To replace the blade, simply perform the above actions in reverse.
You will usually have to yank the wiper away from the windshield to make sure that it clicks into place. Tug the wiper with steady force to ensure it will stay put.
We are going to state the obvious here; always test your wipers before you hit the road. Also, we would recommend keeping an extra windshield wiper in the car just in case it breaks while on a long trip or storm.
PERFORMING AN OIL CHANGE
You should be able to perform an oil change very easily with certain precautions.
Do not change oil if you have been driving recently. The car oil can be very hot. Wait a couple of hours after driving to change the oil.
You will need several tools for this job. These include box end or socket wrench, oil filter wrench, oil drain pan, funnel, latex gloves, jack, and jack stands.
The materials needed include oil, oil filter, and replacement drain plug washer. The oil change steps are detailed below:
• Check type and the amount needed – You should first read your owner’s manual before starting. Check if the manual specifies oil requirements.
• Prepare the vehicle – Your car’s engine and oil should be warm, not hot or stone cold. You may need to raise your car for good access. For this job, never use that flimsy jack that you got with the car. Use a floor jack and jack stands.
• Locate the oil filter and drain plug – A large percentage of cars possess a bottom-mount screw-on filter. The filter and plug, in this case, will be far apart. After draining the oil, you will have to reposition the drain pan before removing the filter.
• Drain the oil – Place your drain pan under the drain plug. However, it should not be directly under it. Oil often stream out at an angle due to the angle of the drain plug. You should also account for the wind in case you are outdoors if you don’t want a mess. Put on your gloves and remove the drain plug with the wrench.
• Tighten the drain plug – Clean the oil drain plug after inspecting it. Tighten the drain plug using a box end wrench as much as you can without using extra leverage.
• Replace the oil filter – First, locate your filter assembly. You can easily unscrew the oil filter by hand. Keep the drain pan underneath at all times. Smear the replacement oil on the new filter’s gasket ring to create e a good seal. Screw on the new filter and tighten until the gasket touches.
• Add the new oil – Before adding oil, always confirm that the oil drain bolt and filter are properly tightened in place. It is advisable to add a little less oil than the recommended amount. Start the engine after replacing the oil cap.
Run your engine for about half a minute to circulate the new oil. Check under your car for any leaks. If everything is okay down there, dispose of the old oil and filter.
CHANGING THE SPARK PLUGS
Changing your spark plugs can be a bit tricky especially for a beginner. If you have a modern vehicle, the spark plugs can be a bit hard to locate. No problems though.
Whip out your owner’s manual to help you locate them. The spark plugs may be tucked under coil packs, which can be easily removed.
Disconnect the spark plug wire from the first plug. Using a spark plug wrench and socket, unscrew the first spark plug.
You should ideally remove and change the spark plug one at a time. This serves to avoid mismatching the spark plug wires.
You can use a gap checker to see if your spark plugs are worn out. A gap checker is a device that measures the space between the side terminal (the extension at the plug’s end that resembles a hook) and the rest of the plug.
Always replace the spark plugs with new ones made from the same material or as specified in the manual. Tighten the replacement spark plugs. A “click” sound should inform you that the plugs have settled in.
JUMPSTARTING YOUR BATTERY
A dead battery is often the cause of all your frustration when your car fails to start.
The good news is that you do not have to call a mechanic to fix this for you. You can save money by simply jump-starting your car battery.
This is one of those easy must-know tasks that a surprising number of car owners are unable to do correctly.
Only two items are needed for this job; two jumper cables and another running car.
Identify where the batteries of both cars are located. Remove the plastic hoods covering the batteries and locate the positive and negative posts. Ensure the posts do not have any dirt for a better connection.
Connect the positive posts of the batteries with the red jumper cable. Then do the same for the negatives posts with the black jumper cable.
Start the engine of the running car first followed by your car. If you battery was in good condition, your car will fire up. Keep it running and proceed to disconnect the jumper cables.
Always remember that the clamps should never touch.
There are many other fixes that are useful for saving money on your car.
These include replacing headlight bulbs, changing brake pads, replacing fuel filters, flushing car radiators and fixing dangling exhaust pipes.
The above tips will not only help you with money management but also in knowing your car.