Basic Car Maintenance Tasks You Can DIY and Save Some Cash

basic car maintenance

Every time you hear another new sound coming from the depths of your car’s engine, you cringe a little inside.

A lot of us just turn the radio up and pretend we didn’t hear anything, while others pull over and investigate the situation. The difference between these two kinds of people is simply a little knowledge.

Those who know how to self-service their cars have the confidence to take care of issues as they arise. While others associate car repairs with huge financial setbacks and confusing car terminology.

Read the following to move into that more proactive category of car owner.

Basic Car Maintenance That You Can Do Yourself

After reading the following maintenance tips, you’ll be able to consistently keep your car in good enough shape to avoid constant repairs. If you have an old car, you’re especially prone to have a steady stream of repairs. A lot of people don’t know that a few basic things can prevent this.

Here are those basic things:

1. Change Your Air Filter

The average air filter needs to be changed around every 12,000 miles. Either that, or it needs to be changed once every year. Whichever comes first marks the time that you need to change that filter.

This is an extremely easy thing to do yourself unless you want to bring your car in and spend around three times what it would cost if you were to handle it on your own. The first thing you need to do is identify your filter, which sits in a black rectangular box in the engine.

If you have trouble finding it, you can search through your car’s manual to see exactly where it is. Open up that box, notice which way the filter is facing, and remove it. You then place the filter inside in exactly the same way it was sitting before, close the box, and latch the box shut.

This little tip will help you prevent further engine problems that can result from an old, dirty air filter. Oh, and the estimated cost of doing this yourself is around ten dollars. Pretty nice.

2. Replace Your Own Spark Plugs

Spark plugs can lead to a lot of engine troubles if they malfunction. They typically need to be changed somewhere around every 30,000 miles. Vehicles can vary in how often they need their spark plugs changed, but 30,000 is a good rule of thumb.

You can, again, identify where your spark plugs are in the owner’s manual. They are attached to thick rubber wires, and either come in sets of four, six, or eight. The number of cylinders your car has determined the number of spark plugs that it needs.

Your spark plugs are installed in a certain order, so it is essential that you remove them in a specific order. Remove the first spark plug first, replacing it before moving on to the next one. You must then re-attach the wire that was connected.

Repeat this process until you have finished all of the plugs. This should only cost you around fifteen dollars and take around half an hour.

3. Change Your Own Oil

Your car’s oil is typically supposed to be changed around every 3,000 miles, but each car can vary in this number. That being said, oil changes can get pretty costly if you don’t know how to do them yourself.

In order to change your oil, make sure that your car has been sitting for long enough to completely cool down, and set up a jack because you’ll need to get under the vehicle. It’s extremely important that you understand how to set up a jack properly.

Go under the car and identify its oil pan. Again, you can find this in the owner’s manual or an online video. There will be a drain plug that you will unscrew, draining all of the oil into the oil pan.

Once you have emptied all of the oil out, out the drain plug back into place. You will then go to your engine and remove the oil filter with an oil filter wrench. After that, put some new motor oil onto the replacement oil filter to lubricate it.

You will then want to fill the new filter two-thirds of its capacity with new oil, and screw in the new filter by hand. After that, put your car’s required amount of engine oil into the engine. After that, you’re all done!

Just double check your oil levels to make sure that you’ve added enough oil. This is a pretty grimy thing to do, though, so make sure that you wear some clothes that your fine getting a little dirt on. It is also one of the most rewarding items on this list because it gets a little deeper into the specifics of cars and how they function.

This will likely take you around an hour to complete your first time, but it will save you around 50 to 60 dollars.

4. Change Your Own Windshield Wipers

Each car might be a little bit different in how they require you to change wipers, but there are a few general rules that apply. You’ll want to start by lifting the blades up off of the windshield. You’ll then disconnect them.

This should be pretty intuitive, but keep an eye on how and where they disconnect in order to remember where to put them when you’re replacing them. You’ll then attach the new blades that you have, line them back into place, and enjoy a clean windshield.

This should take you ten to fifteen minutes, and will likely cost somewhere from ten to twenty dollars, depending on which blades you choose. You’ll save a lot of money compared to the amount of time that it will take you to do this.

If you’re looking for any of these basic tools needed to make repairs, shop now to get started.

You May Need Some Parts

There is a whole lot that you can do to fix your car in the privacy of your own garage. The only thing is, you have to know which parts and tools you need to do your basic car maintenance.

If you’re looking for any parts needed to fix your car at home, we have everything you need.