One way to cut costs is by doing some car maintenance at home. DIY-ing your way through this maintenance work will not only help you save on service costs but also help you hone your skills.
So, let’s look at what parts of the car can be fixed and maintained at home.
1. Engine Oil Change
Changing your engine oil is like feeding a human. The engine oil ensures the smooth running of the engine and maintains its overall health. If you’ve been getting your oil changed regularly, then you already know how expensive this can be. So doing it at home is a cost-effective option.
Step-By-Step Guide On Changing Engine Oil
- The first step is to choose the right oil and oil filter for your car. For this, we recommend reading the owner’s manual to understand the oil viscosity suitable for your engine
- Once you’ve bought the oil filter and oil, it is time to change the engine oil. Spread plastic under the car where the engine is to prevent oil spills; this will minimize the cleanup required after the oil change
- The second step is to jack up your car. Once jacked, you can use the jack stands and lower the car onto them. Never work under the car when it is only jacked up and not on the stand
- The next step is to place a large container to drain the old engine oil. Place the container close to the oil plug, where the stream of oil will be coming from
- Unscrew the oil plug and let the oil drain into the container. In the meanwhile, you can clean the drain plug
- Once the oil is drained, you need to remove the oil filter. When removing the oil filter, ensure the rubber gasket comes off with it; if not, you can peel it off from the engine. You can use an oil filter wrench to do this; make sure the wrench is the right size
- Replace the old oil filter with a new filter. Use a good quality oil filter as this will help maintain oil quality between oil changes. When screwing the filter back on, don’t use a wrench but screw it on by hand
- Once the oil is drained, place the drain plug back, ensuring it is screwed on tight
- Now you can add the fresh engine oil from the top of the engine
- Once you’ve added the fresh oil, close the cover and start the engine for 30 seconds to warm the hot, and have it move in the engine system
2. Changing The Air Filter
Changing your air filter is another car maintenance task that can be performed at home. Let’s take a look at how you can change your air filter.
Step-By-Step Guide On Changing Your Air Filter
- The air filter can be found under the car’s hood in a black box. Usually, the box has clips to hold it in place. You can easily identify the box by searching for the clips
- Open the clips and remove the covering on the box to expose the air filter
- Please look at the filter to see how it fits into the box; you can take a picture with your mobile phone to refer to it when placing the new filter
- Remove the old filter and place the new one in the box. Make sure the filter fits in the same way the old one did
- Place the covering you had removed previously and put the clips back on. Ensure the clips are tightly in place
- This entire process won’t take more than 10 minutes; make sure you place the filter the same way as the previous one
Brakes are an important part of any car. Well-maintained brakes can be a lifesaver when encountering an accident.
Below we have highlighted some brake maintenance steps you can take to ensure your brakes are up to standard.
Guide On Brake Maintenance
- The first step in brake maintenance is to check your brake pads and rotors. To check this, you must remove your tires. Once the tires are removed, you can look at the brake pads, and if you see wear on the pads, you need to change them. Another indicator that your pads are worn out is if your car takes longer than usual to come to a halt or if you smell a burning odor when you apply the brakes
- Next is the brake fluid. It is recommended to change the brake fluid every 25,000 miles. You’ll know if the brake fluid needs to be changed when the fluid turns milky
- It would be best to consider changing other braking system components like the discs and upgrading to ceramic pads for better performance
Apart from the braking system, checking the brake light circuit
is also very important. This is done to make sure your brake lights are functioning properly. Non-functioning brake lights can be dangerous as the driver behind you wouldn’t be able to tell when you brake. This may lead to an accident. Also, non-functioning brake lights make you a target for getting a ticket.
4. Spark Plugs
Spark plugs usually need to be changed after every 30,000 miles. Changing them is very easy and can be done at home, saving you time and money.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to change your spark plugs at home.
Guide On Changing Spark Plugs
- Locate your spark plugs; you will find that there will be four, six or eight plugs depending on the number of cylinders
- You will need to remove the wire attached to the first plug. Make sure you don’t remove all the wires together; plugs are placed in a sequence that can’t be disturbed
- Use your wrench to unscrew the plug and install the new plug. Screw it on by hand, and then tighten it with the wrench. Make sure you don’t over-tighten
- Reattach the wire to the new plug
- Repeat this for all the plugs, and you’ll be good to go