Owning a car? You don’t have to go to the mechanic every time. Why? It is because there are some simple maintenance practices you can do by yourself at home or your garage. Having to do this maintenance by yourself will save money and time taken to visit the mechanic. How do you do this? It is simple. By having the simple necessary tools and basic skills, you can efficiently serve one or all your cars. This article will explain in detail, eight essential tips and parts you can service by yourself. Let’s check these:
Changing The Windshield Wipers
To the experts, it might appear funny when you take your vehicle to have your vehicle wipers changed. This is because windshield wipers are the easiest of all car parts you can change by yourself. Most recognized brands of wiper blades come with manuals. You can read on the best windshield wipers and get recommendations on what’s best. Does it require tools? No! Just your hands and the new wipers. How long can it take? Not much of your time. If all goes well, 10 to 15 minutes will do, but your mechanic will take longer to justify the kind of huge payments you will pay to have them fixed. How do you go about it? Well, in simple steps, follow the below procedure:
- Lift the wipers from the bonnet, just like when washing your car, and remove the old blades by carefully pulling them out. You can push the tabs under the old blades to remove the blades easily. Or check the manuals, just in case.
- Check the metal arms. See how they connect with the blades. Be careful not to bend or twist the arms.
- Install your new blades. Make sure they follow the same route as the old blades. Ensure you put them keenly and carefully, as misplacement may bend the arms or scratch your windshield.
- Align them up, ensuring everything is in place, secure and tight.
What are spark plugs? These are plugs used in spark-ignition engines and are used to deliver an electric current from the ignition system to the combustion chamber. The spark plugs should always be changed after the car has covered some kilometers, and they always vary according to the vehicles. Some take longer to change than others. Can you change them by yourself? The answer is yes. What do you need? You require a spark plug socket, socket wrench, and a 12inch socket extension. All plugs come ready to install. You do not need to make any modifications to them. Always refer to the repair manuals in case you need assistance. The whole process of changing these spark plus may take 20 minutes to half an hour, depending on the kind of vehicle you own. Changing spark plugs is an easy process provided you take your time to study how this goes.
- Locate the spark plugs. Always at your engine bonnet attached to rubber wires.
- Check their number. This varies according to the make of the vehicle. You can find four, six, or a maximum of eight, according to the vehicle brand.
- Remove wires in order and avoid alternating the sequence as there is an order in installing them, which you are required to keep. To ensure the series is followed, remove wires one by one while marking their location.
- Use the spark plug socket together with the extension, remove one, replace it with a new one, and repeat the procedure. While screwing the new one, use your fingers first before tightening it with the wrench. Do not tighten much than expected.
- Attach back the spark plug wires.
Changing Of Oil And Oil Filter
Like spark plugs, oil and its filter need to be changed from time to time, depending on the kilometers covered, the car brand, and the type of fuel used. Most car experts recommend changing the oil after covering 3000 miles, but that majorly depends on the car you are using and you can check this from the maintenance list concerning the number of times you have done an oil change. You can change the oil by yourself. Ensure your car is in packing mode and ensure it has cooled down. What is required? Have a ratchet, oil pan, funnel, and oil filter wrench, and of course, a jack. After assembling all these, follow the below procedure:
- Raise your vehicle a bit; locate the oil pan, which is usually under the engine.
- Open the drain plug valve and drain all the oil in the pan, replace the drain plug.
- Check the engine and remove the existing oil filter using a filter wrench.
- Lubricate the new filter with oil and fill it to two thirds with the new oil.
- Screw the new filter using your hands. Never tighten much.
- By using the funnel, put the new oil into the engine through the inlet valve.
- Ensure you have added the recommended quantity using the dipstick.
- Ensure you discard the used oil safely or recycle it into other uses.
It is also beneficial to get an oil catch can.
Flushing The Radiator
There is a difference between flushing your radiator and filling it with coolant. Flushing your radiator involves emptying its contents and washing it clean, before adding another new coolant. Getting a new coolant can be a complicated task, but with the internet, you can easily scout around for helpful sites to have an idea of the best coolants on the market. Why should this be done? Flushing a radiator is recommended because the continuous use of coolants often leaves deposits and other particles in your engine due to the cooling process. One of the maintenance processes you can conduct to your radiator is by flushing it. Can you do it? Yes, it’s simple and easy and will take only half an hour of your time. Ensure the engine is off and cooled down and have these tools; wrench, screwdriver, rags, radiator flush solution, new coolant, and funnel. See the procedure:
- Locate the radiator drain plug in your vehicle, unscrew it, and drain the entire coolant in an empty container.
- Replace the plug and open the radiator cap.
- By using a funnel, add the cleaning solution and fill the remaining part with distilled water. Replace the cap.
- Start the engine and let temperatures rise to the recommended levels for 10 minutes. Ensure the air conditioner is turned on to the hottest range.
- Switch off the engine and wait for it to cool off.
- Open the drain plug and let all the contents out.
- Refill the radiator with new coolant.
Changing The Brake Pads
Did you know your car’s brake pads wear out? Yes, they do, and if not changed on time, your journey might be cut short or cause an accident. These misfortunes are because brake pads often wear out and need replacement from time to time, depending on your vehicle’s usage and model. Is it necessary to visit your mechanic when you want to change the pads? Not! Unless when the brake system has issues and may need a keen observation. You can change the brake pads by yourself, at home. What do you need for this? A c-clamp, lug wrench, hammer, new brake pads, and an adjustable wrench. This whole process should take you about 30 minutes to an hour. To go about it, check the below procedure:
- Use the jacks to raise your vehicle and ensure you have enough working space.
- Break the lugs and remove the wheel
- Remove the brake caliper to slide out the brake pads. Open the bolts on the back of the calipers to release the brake pads.
- Remove the old pads while replacing them with the new pads. Put back the clips in place, and you may use a hammer to ensure they fit well.
- Push the brake piston, remove the C-clamp, and assemble the whole component.
- Tighten the clamp to ensure the piston has moved to where you can assemble caliper over the new pads
- Put back the brake caliper. And then return the when to your vehicle.
Maintaining The Battery
Almost all car batteries nowadays are maintenance-free, and there is nothing much you can do about them. But still, there is an issue you need to solve concerning batteries. Batteries are the only source of power to your engine and other functions such as lighting and the radio. It should always be in good working condition anytime you need to move out with your car. Sometimes, on the joints, you can find residue and may fail your vehicle from starting. That’s why you need to clean these terminals from time to time. How do you do this? It is simple and will take only a quarter of an hour. What do you require? Wrench, anti-corrosion fluid, wire brush, and rags. Follow the below procedure:
- Remove the terminals connecting the battery in your car. Ensure you remove the negative one first. If you aren’t sure which is negative, they are always marked, and the negative is still black. You can use the screw to open the terminals.
- Clean the battery posts using the anti-corrosion fluid. Some experts also recommend the Coca-Cola soft drink, which does the work effectively. You can also create your cleaner using baking soda with some water. Follow the user’s manual when doing so.
- After cleaning, cleanse the posts with water and dry using rags. Ensure you don’t leave traces of water as they may cause rusting.
- Replace the terminals and screw them firmly into their position.
Replacing The Air Filter
Replacing the air filter is one of the easiest things you can do by yourself, and this is because modern cars come with an easy to replace air filters. Air filters contain fibrous material that removes solid particles such as dust, debris, and bacteria from the air and prevents it from getting into your car’s engine. With time, they get clogged, making them fail to function as required. You don’t have to wait until when all is messy. Is it necessary to seek a mechanic from time to time? The answer is no. You can replace air filters by yourself, taking only 10 minutes of your time, and no tools are needed here. You only need a new air filter and your able hands. What’s the procedure? Let’s check out below:
- Open your car bonnet and find your air filter next to the engine. In most cases, it’s always enclosed in a plastic casing. You can consult the manual just in case you don’t find it.
- Open wide the casing and check how it’s placed. You will require this observation while setting a new one.
- Take out the old filter and replace it the same way, with a new one. Close the casing and make sure the clips interlock as required.
- Dispose of the old air filter appropriately.
In case of a tight budget, you can elongate the life of an old air filter by merely blowing air over it. Get a compressor and blow air on it to remove the particles. However, to achieve the best results, get a new one.
Replacing The Fuel filter
What is an oil filter? It is a device used to remove components and other harmful elements from the fuel. Such components may include particles, metallic pieces of other unwanted oil components. With time, the fuel filter gets dirty or clogged, and it’s advisable to change it with time or as specified in your car manual. You do not necessarily need to see your mechanic change your fuel filter. You can do it yourself. What do you need? A new fuel filter per your vehicle’s specification, wrenches, new fuel line washers, rags, and goggles. Below is the procedure:
- Ensure you have lowered the fuel pressure by removing the fuel pump fuse. Also, learn about the benefits of fuel pressure regulators.
- Disconnect the fuel filter from the fuel pipes
- Get two open-end wrenches, one for holding the filter, while the other unscrews it. Turn anticlockwise to remove the filter. Ensure you remove the bolts holding it first.
- Change the oil filter washers.
- Install the new one by reversing the removal process.
- Put back the pump fuse and start your car. Ensure there is no leakage.
- Dispose of the old filter in a safe bin
Having your vehicle maintained from time to time sometimes gets costly. However, with technology and procedures online, you can do some of the easy maintenance duties by yourself. This article and others online have come into place to help you do most of these things by yourself, saving costs and time. Always try as much as possible to follow user’s manuals attached to any new product you purchase as sometimes, there might be slight changes. In case you are not sure of something concerning your vehicle, consult your local mechanic, or get an expert.