Your car is a complete assembly of many parts and components. Each contributes to the overall performance of your car. Even the slightest disorder of any part can bring your car to a complete halt, causing you lot of hassle.
If for every disorder, you take your car to a mechanic for repairing, you incur a lot of money and time. If you can do car repairs by yourself, why should you spend money and time? Here are the Top 20 DIY tips.
1. Changing a Flat Tire
Your task is to take the flat tire off your car and replace it with the air-filled spare tire. First, pull your car to a safe place where no other vehicle can impend. Get the emergency jack and keep the lug wrench or the toolkit by your side. Turn the engine off and apply your parking brake.
Loosen the lug nuts and then use the jack to raise your car high enough to remove the tire. Remove the lug nuts by reverse-winding and take out the flat tire. Raise the spare tire and set onto the studs. First, thread it by hand, and then by lug wrench, tighten one nut, then the farthest one. Lower the vehicle slowly.
2. Changing the Fuel Filter
You need open-end wrenches, new fuel filter, new washers for the fuel line, protection to eye and rags. You need to spend $20 and 30 minutes.
- Start with releasing the pressure of the fuel system. You can find the fuel pump on the fuse box. If not, find the relay that operates the fuel pump.
- Start the engine of your car and pull the relay or fuse. If the engine stops, your job is ok.
- The next step is disconnecting the fuel lines from the filter.
- With two open-end wrenches, hold the actual filter with one wrench and turn the other wrench anti-clockwise to take out the bolt.
- After sliding the fuel line, off the bolt, repeat the same process for the side of the filter.
- Change the old filter and replace it with the new one.
3. Changing a Dead Battery
You need wrenches, wire brushes, corrosion removal fluid and rags to change a dead battery. Wear hand gloves, safety glass, and disposable clothing before taking up battery work. First, loosen the negative terminal, which is marked (-) and colored, black or green. Twist it well for breaking any corrosive hold on its post. Then remove the positive terminal; marked (+) and colored red.
Properly clean the posts and terminals by applying your cleanser made of baking soda, and rubbing vigorously with a wire brush. After removing the caps, add distilled water to fill the hole. Remove the battery hold downs. Remove and clean the battery and the battery tray with baking soda and water then dry.
You can install a second car battery for your car audio amplifier. You can connect the negative and positive terminals of the battery to the respective terminals of your amplifier.
4. Replacing the Hose
After disconnecting the negative battery post, allow the engine to cool down, turn the radiator valve for draining the engine coolant to a container and close the valve. Loosen the hose clamps of the radiator and move them towards the center of the hose.
You can remove the hose by using a utility knife. Use the lithium grease for installing the new hose. Finally, put the clamps on the hose for holding it tightly.
5. Replacing a Broken Drive Belt
In the case of squealing of your car on starting, tighten the drive belt if you find it loose or replace it if it is worn or broken. A drive belt loops around the pulleys on the engine. You can find it at the front of the engine. In some car, in place of the drive belt, the serpentine belt is used that wraps several components of your car
6. Replacing Spark Plugs
The spark plug is a heat exchanger and transfers heat from the combustion chamber. If you are using copper core spark plug, you should replace it after every 30, 000 miles. To start with, cool the engine and disconnect the battery.
Remove one plug boot, without pulling the wire, by using a socket, a ratchet, and an extension. Newer vehicles have an ignition coil pack, off the plug, with rubber sockets. Replace the new spark plug back into the socket; neither too tight nor too loose.
7. Fixing a Chipped Windshield
Get a windshield for $10 to $15. Dig out a loose glass with the pin provided with the kits. Clean it, along with its surrounding areas and stick a small device onto the windshield which makes a seal around the rock chip. For applying the resin into the crack, use vacuum contraption. Do not allow the crack to spread. The whole process takes about an hour.
8. Changing Bulbs of Head Lights & Tail Lights
If any of these lights are not working, you must change the bulbs of the wrong ones to avoid any possible accident or from traffic booking. While you need to spend $100 for getting a bulb in a garage, you can do it yourself for only $25 to $50.
While buying a new bulb from an auto store, take the old one with you to get the exact replacement. While changing the bulb, don’t touch, as the touch of grease on your hand may cause the bulb to get fused early.
9. Replacement of Windshield Wipers
While a new set of wipers may cost you $20 to $40, a garage may charge you $100 for replacing them. You can do it within minutes if you follow the replacement manual of the wiper. But, get the right size to fit correctly. Just, take out the old ones and put the new ones in their places. How much money and time you will save?
10. Changing Oil
The lube you use for changing may cost you $30 to $70 for usual cars, and $90 to $100 for expensive cars. Use a good grade of oil and use the correct amount of oil that is required. For changing of oil, you require a jack and few jack stands, an oil filter wrench and a drain pan.
Drain out the old oil and pour the new oil. Check for oil changes after every 10, 000 miles of running. Otherwise, its adverse effect will increase the running and maintenance cost.
11. Changing the Brake Pads
You need a tool such as pliers, a lug wrench, a jack and a set of jack stands. After raising your car by a jack, put few jack stands so that you are safe, even if the jack fails. A set of new brake pads may cost you only 20 to $40, whereas an axle may cost $250.
The sequential operations of doing this job yourself are the removal of the hardware, pulling out of the damaged brake pads, pushing it into the caliper piston, installation of the new pads and re-installation of the hardware. Although the new pads last for thirty to fifty thousand miles, check it every 10, 000 miles.
12. Radiator Flushing
You need a wrench or screwdriver, radiator flushing solution, a funnel, and coolant and used coolant receptacle. You need to spend only $25 and 30 minutes. Your car radiator builds deposits of dirt that may make your cooling system inoperative. Hence, flushing is essential.
Make your car cool before you start flushing. Go through the diagram of your car manual to locate the drain plug of your car. After putting your used coolant receptacle in proper place, unscrew the drain plug and allow the old coolant to drain out completely.
Then, replace the drain plug, take out the cap of the radiator. Add the flush cleaning solution by using the funnel and fill water into the balance portion of the radiator. Run your car engine to bring it to normal operating temperature. Turn on your heater and allow your car to run for 10 minutes. Then turn the engine off and allow it to cool down completely. After draining the content of the radiator, fill it with fresh coolant.
13. Changing Air Filter
After every 12 months or 12, 000 miles of running, you must change your air filter. You need to spend only $10 and 10 minutes of your time. Open the hood of your car and locate the air filter which is a rectangular box with metal clips on its side.
Open the casing and find out, to which way it faces. After removing the air filter, put the new one, to sit exactly in its place. Lastly, close the metal clips exactly as they were there.
14. Wash & Wax
Regular washing and waxing keep the clear coat of your car paint shining and prevents from tarnishing and fading. You need a shady spot, a bucket of soapy water, good quality wax, soft towel and good squeegee. Rinse your car in a shady plot with forceful water, by using a hose. Then, wash it by using plenty of water and remove the dirt and grime, by using a soft towel or a piece of sponge.
Once again, rinse it from top to bottom for removing any trace of detergent. Allow it to dry thoroughly by using chamois or a terry cloth towel. You can use compressed air if available and blow out water from crevices. Finally, put a layer of wax to haze and dry. Rub it with a soft cloth by a rotating motion, and remove any excess wax.
15. Fixing of Exterior Coolant Leaks
You need a wrench and pliers. You can be sure of a coolant leak if you find yellow or orange liquid on the ground when you park your car. It may be leaking from an exterior hose. Open the hood of your car and find the colored liquid, coming out from a plastic piece or hose.
For fixing the leakage, take out the clamp fastened on the leaking hose and replace it with a new one. After that, fasten the loosened clamp on it. In case you could not find the source of leakage, it must be inside the radiator. Instead of handling it yourself, your best option will be to take your car to a mechanic.
16. Inspecting Hose Failure
In case your car comes to a sudden halt, it may be due to the coolant, seeping out from the hose that looks bulged out at some portion. You can also spot the problem by holding a cold radiator or heater hose and by squeezing it well.
If you have a feeling of brittleness, cracking or spongy, the hose needs immediate replacement. You can pull out the worn one and put a new one in its place. Inspect your radiator hoses frequently in cold weather
17. Dangling Exhaust Pipes
Rubber is used to hold the exhaust pipes. In case you hear noisy sounds coming from the back of your car, the pipe holders must have been damaged. Stop your car immediately and have a look under your car. If you find any broken exhaust pipe or other structure hanging, change them accordingly.
18. Blown Fuse
In case your head lights go out, it may be due to a blown a fuse. Open the fuse box of your car and find out which fuse is blown. Fuses may be ceramic, glass tube or blade. You should refer to the owner’s Manual and find the location of fuse boxes and the types of fuses to be replaced.
19. Replacement of Distributor Cap and Rotor
The distributor cap distributes the voltage from a coil to the right cylinder. As a result, it makes the ignition to happen, and your car starts. In case you find a problem in starting your car, check the distributor of your car. You can replace it with a new one, just in the way you replace the spark plug.
20. Problems in Your Car Muffler
You can know problems in car muffler if your car engine makes loud rumbling noise or gives lower MPG. If you get a bad smell while driving, it is carbon monoxide coming out due to the hole in the muffler. Instead of DIY, take it to a mechanic. Any feeling of vibration in the steering wheel is also a sign of problematic muffler. Rusting and bottoming over bumps are the main reasons for muffler problems. If you don’t set it right, it may damage a catalytic converter costing $1000.
These ‘Do It Yourself’ repair hacks will let you fix your car just like a pro! Follow it and enjoy great savings.