5 Tips to DIY Car Maintenance for Beginners

With these hard financial times, you can save a lot of money by maintaining your car yourself instead of taking it to the shop. This is because the mechanic usually charges you more for the spare parts and labor. By carrying out routine maintenance on your own, you will only spend money when buying the parts that need to be replaced. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to be a trained mechanic to be able to do some minor repairs. As long as you are armed with a set of tools you are good to go. Below is a list of car maintenance tips to get you started.

  1. Change the Engine Oil

The oil helps in lubricating the moving parts in the engine. With time, it gets dirty due to impurities that result from combustion. These impurities can cause the engine oil to lose its thickness. Besides that, when there is less oil, the engine is likely to break down due to increased friction between the moving parts. Changing engine oil is pretty simple. You just need to open the bonnet, pull out the dipstick and examine the level of the oil. If the oil is below the recommended level, you should buy new oil to replace the old one. But you should also read the car manual to find out whether it uses petrol or diesel. This is because there are separate oils for cars that run on petrol and diesel.

  1. Replace Windscreen Wipers

Windscreen wipers help you see the road clearly when you are driving through the rain. And just like the other parts, they are also vulnerable to wear and tear. The good news is that they are not costly. Most auto shops will only install them for you if they costed a premium price. You actually don’t need a lot of time to replace them. For a start, just raise the blade like you do when cleaning the windscreen. You should then press the tab at the base of the wiper to release it. Get the new set of wipers and mount them on each tab.

  1. Maintaining the Battery

The battery is the simplest to maintain. There are times when the engine of the car refuses to start just because the battery terminals are clogged by dirt and other debris. The dirt actually insulate the terminals, preventing energy from being transmitted from the battery to the engine. After opening the engine compartment, you should disconnect the terminals. If they are hard to unplug, just knock them with a wrench or a screwdriver. You should then apply a cleaning solution on each terminal and wipe with a dry piece of cloth. Once you are done, you should connect all the terminals using the provided ring clips. The car should now start without any delay.

  1. Refill the Radiator

The radiator contains a coolant that helps in cooling the engine to prevent it from overheating. If you don’t refill the radiator on a regular basis, the engine might break down due to overheating. Buying a new engine will actually give you a run for your money. The radiator should be inspected when the car has not been used for several hours like early in the morning.

In fact, you should never attempt to open the radiator cap a few minutes after stopping the car. This is because the pressurized cooling solution can burn your face and other parts of the body. When inspecting radiator levels, you should be guided by an indicator that’s normally inside the engine hood. It’s actually a transparent container with clearly marked levels.

  1. Replace the Brake Pads

Brake pads need to be replaced when they start making screeching noise. If you don’t change them before they completely wear out, you might find yourself in the midst of an accident just because your car can’t stop when you step on the brakes pedal. To start changing the pads, you just need to elevate the car with the best floor jack. A worn out jack is risky because it can cause the car to fall on you. Besides that, you can’t change them without first removing the wheels by loosening the nuts. You only need an adjustable wrench and a hammer to replace old pads.


~ by velofinds on September 1, 2009.