Owning a car isn’t all about driving around town with your significant other(s) by your side blasting the subwoofers on 11, in fact, it’s more about regular maintenance and upkeep to make sure your baby is running smoothly at all times. Fortunately, not every quirk and problem you notice on your car has to prompt a visit to the mechanic. Today we are going to take a look at the five essential car maintenance tips you can handle on your own.
Replacing spark plugs
First, you will need a selection of tools, namely a ratchet or socket wrench, a spark plug socket, and a 12” socket extension. This project shouldn’t take you more than 20-30 minutes to complete, and you should expect the total expense to be around $15.
Depending on how many cylinders your car has, you will find either four, six, or eight plugs attached to sturdy wiring. Do not remove all of the wires at once, rather remove the wire from the first plug only, as they are installed in an order you will have to follow.
Remove the first plug with your ratchet and the replace it with a new one, tightening it in first by hand and then with a wrench. Reattach the wire and repeat the steps for each spark plug.
Replacing the windshield wipers
This maintenance undertaking is fairly simple and straightforward, yet how you replace your windshield wiper will depend on how they are set up on your car. Typically, you should replace your old wipers after six months of rigorous use, or a year of mild-to-moderate use.
You don’t need any tools for this job, and it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes and 15 bucks to complete. Simply lift the blades as if you were signaling someone that they need to learn proper parking procedures, and remove the blades.
You will see a tab on the underside of the wiper – push it to remove the blade gently. Replace it with a new blade and make sure it fits tightly into place with a distinctive clicking sound.
Changing the oil
For this one, you will need a car jack, a ratchet, an oil filter wrench, an oil pan, and a funnel. You will also need about $20 and 45 minutes of your time. Not exactly a simple one, but you can do it on your own with a little focus and dedication.
First, you must make sure that the engine has cooled before you begin! Secondly, make sure you know how to use a jack properly. You can research the necessary auto parts online to make sure you have everything you need before you proceed.
Locate the oil pan and unscrew the drain plug, letting the old oil drain into the pan. Replace the drain plug. Go to the engine and use your oil filter wrench to remove the old oil filter. Be sure to lubricate the gasket of the new filter before pouring the new oil into the filter, stopping at about two-thirds of the way.
Screw in the new oil filter and tighten it by hand, after which you can pour the new oil into the engine using the funnel. Check your oil level with a dip-stick. Be sure to recycle the old oil at your local gas station. Discard the old filter.
Replacing the air filter
Too often do you see people rushing off to the mechanic for a job that they can do themselves with a little time and effort. While venturing underneath the hood of your car might seem like risky business, don’t worry, changing the air filter isn’t rocket science.
The new filter will cost you around $10 and fortunately, you don’t need any tools for the job. Pop the hood open and locate the filter in a small box with metal clips on the side. Open the casing and inspect the old filter, taking note how it is positioned. Replace the filter with a new one and be sure to close the metal clips when you’re done.
Replacing the headlights
Depending on the type of bulb you need, new headlights can cost anywhere from 20-100 dollars, but the project shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes. Open up the hood and find the bulb holder with three protruding wires. Remove the wire harness and pull the old light bulb out.
Give the new bulb a thorough clean with a dry rag, and place the bulb into the back of the headlight. You can put the wires back along with the harness. Give your new headlights a test run before heading out.
There is a reason car mechanics exist, to keep your car in top condition. But that doesn’t mean that you should have your car serviced every time a problem occurs. Follow these tips, and you will keep the mechanic away a little while longer.