If you’re like the average car owner, you probably hate having to pay a lot of money for steps like tire upgrades but aren’t sure how you can save yourself any money. Thankfully, you should be able to handle the most manageable car DIY maintenance steps and save yourself money. These steps can be taken on all manner of vehicles, from your biggest trucks down to your smallest compact miniature cars.
Replace Your Engine Coolant
When it comes to DIY auto services, few are as simple as replacing your engine coolant. This simple step is one of the easiest car DIY maintenance steps because it requires nothing special of you or any other individual who attempts it. You’ll also need minimal experience and only a handful of tools, each of which is inexpensive or which you may already have in your home or garage at this point.
You should make sure to change your coolant every 30,000-50,000 miles or so because old coolant can cause corrosion and other types of damage. When this happens, your engine may run more difficultly and may have to get repaired more quickly. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to fix this problem if you understand the basic steps that it requires for your needs.
Start by jacking up your car and getting on a small, wheeled board that makes it easier to get in and out of the cart. Position yourself towards the car’s front, where you can quickly move to different parts with no difficulty. Find the labeled coolant plug, place a pan under it, and remove the plug to drain the fluid. Add a new coolant appropriate to your engine after you replace the plug properly.
Replace Your Battery
While steps like auto repair can help make your car stronger, you may easily forget things like battery replacement for your car’s needs. This problem is not a common mistake and is among the easiest car DIY maintenance car owners can perform. There’s typically a time when your battery starts to wear out, and you’ll notice that your car doesn’t start smoothly or experiences other issues.
This concern usually occurs if you’ve left the battery in your vehicle for over 10 years or if nobody replaced it before you bought it after that time had passed. Eventually, the battery acid inside doesn’t charge as well as it did in the past, and you need to replace the battery. You can take this step yourself and avoid the $100 or more fee that your mechanic will charge for a 10-minute job.
Start by making sure that the car is off and that you’re wearing a pair of strong gloves. They should be rated for electrical safety to avoid problems. Now, remove the cables from the battery, holding them far apart as you do so. Pull out the old battery and put the new one in its place. Attach the cables to the new battery and tighten it appropriately. Start your car to see how well it reacts.
Do Your Own Oil Change
One of the most common roadside assistance situations for people is changing the oil in a car. Your car’s oil needs to be replaced as your car runs, or it will become sludgy and potentially damage your engine. However, mechanics can charge you $100 or more to perform this task. This price is silly because this is one of the easiest car DY maintenance steps that a car owner can take.
You’ll need to change your oil at least once every 3,000-5,000 miles, though you may find that you can wait at least 7,500-10,000 miles with specialty options. Though these oils will cost more, you’ll still be saving yourself money and limiting the need for an oil change. We consider that a win-win, especially if you’re struggling to pay expenses and already need help managing these problems.
Changing the oil requires the same basic approach as changing your coolant. Get underneath the vehicle and carefully open the oil plug after placing a pan beneath it. Wait several minutes until the oil starts dripping, and consider running an oil-line cleaner through your system at this point. Once the oil is done dripping, add your new oil to the bank to get the protection that you need in this scenario.
Fix Your Brake Pads
Failing brake pads are a common problem are can be pretty dangerous if allowed to worsen. However, there’s no reason that you have to pay $300 or more to replace these pads on your car. Yes, that’s how much you might get charged at a mechanic shop. While we believe that such professionals deserve good pay, you may spend between $40-150 instead if you feel comfortable performing this brake repair.
The only cost you’ll have to cover is that of the pad itself, which can cost between those prices and the tools. Since you’ll need only a few essential tools, you should have no difficulty fixing your pads properly. Try to find a pad that makes sense for your bottom line, but know more expensive pads last longer.
Park your car and carefully inspect your wheels for your brakes. You may need a screwdriver or a similar tool to open up your brake box and get exposure to the pad. Once you find the old pad, you can slip it out of the brakes after undoing and removing the fasteners. Slide the brake into place, properly lube it with the included grease, and then hold it down with the proper pins included with the pad.
Changing Your Lights
Your signal lights (headlights, taillights, blinkers, etc.) are crucial for your vehicle, whether you drive a Jeep, truck, or standard car. Without these lights, other drivers may not know where you are turning and could end up causing a crash that could be pretty dangerous. Thankfully, it should be simple enough for you to replace your lights, as this is one of the easiest car DIY maintenance steps imaginable.
The trickiest part of this process is getting access to the old bulb to replace it with the new one. You may be able to remove the cover, but some may require you to get behind the bulb inside your car. Take the time to research where you need to remove the bulb before you start. If you can pull this process off, you’ll be able to save yourself a decent amount of money, too, so take your time.
When you replace the old bulb, make sure that you use gloves to avoid impacting the light or its placement. And when replacing it with a new one, use the included bulb grease to make the installation easier. And never touch the bulb glass if you can avoid it. Allowing your fingers to touch the glass will cause complications with the bulb that could see it fail in a matter of days, rather than several years.
Change Your Windshield Wipers
This step is one of the easiest car DIY maintenance steps imaginable, but we know many people who pay to get them replaced. Why is this the case? Some people feel uncomfortable working with wipers in this way or may struggle to understand the different options available to them. We’ve found that some people worry about breaking the wiper because it requires a bit of grit to pull it out.
Thankfully, you can save yourself $50 or more if you take this step instead of getting someone to do it. Start by going to a local auto supply company and taking the time to inspect the wipers available to you. If you don’t know what kind you need, you can look in the included book or take the time to talk to a professional who can find your wiper and help you pick the best option.
Now that you’re ready, you can carefully take off your old blade and replace it with a new one. This step is surprisingly easy. You have to pull up the wiper, turn the edge up, and carefully wiggle it off of its holding area. If you cannot pop it off quickly, you may have to use a little force. Stop if you feel like you’re pulling too hard, and inspect the blade before continuing. Now you can put on the new edge.
Put In New Spark Plugs
Did you know that many emergency towing situations begin because a car’s spark plugs fail to operate correctly? This problem is not uncommon because it typically occurs when someone doesn’t take the time to replace their spark plugs adequately. These tricky little buggers can last for up to 100,000 miles without needing repair, though you should clean them occasionally to ensure they are safe.
If you hire a mechanic to take this step for you instead of handling one of the easiest car DIY maintenance processes in the world, you can expect to pay at least $40 or more (on top of the spark plug costs) to replace your plugs. There’s no reason that you need to spend that money if you feel comfortable with general car maintenance because spark plug replacement is very simple.
Start by looking in your car’s manual to see what kind of spark plugs you’ll need. Next, buy the plugs and a specialized spark plug wrench to remove them. Don’t try to use other types of wrenches because they will damage the plug. Carefully remove each of your plugs and replace them in the order suggested by your manual to ensure that they are safe and balanced in your car’s engine.
Perform Simple Tire Maintenance
Tire repair may not seem like it would be that easy for the average person to handle. And in most cases, it is true that this process is not as easy as just throwing a patch on your tire. However, it is surprising how easy many of these steps may be if you understand this process. You might even find yourself removing and replacing an old tire in no time and with the confidence that the easiest car DIY maintenance may inspire in many people.
Why should you pay attention to your tire’s health and safety in this way? First of all, your tire’s health will affect your fuel efficiency, the performance of your vehicle, and the overall safety of your car. If you don’t take the time to fix these problems, you are opening yourself up for a significant danger. Worst of all, you could be potentially threatening the lives of your friends and family members and causing a lot of potential health and safety issues as well.
What kind of tire maintenance steps can you perform for your vehicle? While it may be possible to use a $10-20 patch kit to fix minor problems, you may need to replace the tire. You can usually find a replacement for a reasonable price and save yourself over $100 if you learn how to use a robust jack and rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. Online videos should help make this process simpler and allow you to get your tires repaired and in great shape.
Upgrade Your Car’s Paint
Car painting is a surprisingly important part of your car’s maintenance. Think of your paint as the skin of your vehicle, one that protects it from various types of damage. Like your skin, it takes the brunt of the weathering troubles to preserve the more delicate interior areas. Your paint will provide your metal with the strong support necessary to avoid rust and other types of long-term complications on a car.
Unfortunately, a total car paint job can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in some circumstances. And while this isn’t the easiest car DIY maintenance process for a car owner, it is one that you can handle on your own. Just know that your car won’t have the same level of smooth paint you’d get from an expert. It will look nice will lack the machine-applied style.
Typically, you will take this step to manage slight or minor imperfections in your paint, such as a dent where the paint may be wearing away. Spray paint this area right away with the proper color to ensure that the dent doesn’t cause rust or other issues. When doing a full-car paint job, you may need to consider buying more specialized machines. However, this still saves you money by allowing you to paint your car when you want.
Be Careful With Your Repairs
As you can see, the easiest car DIY maintenance is not a significant challenge if you follow a few simple steps and understand the unique difficulties of this process. Just as importantly, you need to make sure that you don’t do something that might worsen this situation. For example, poor auto paint repair may cause damage to the exterior of your vehicle that can add a lot of money to your overall bill.