When something starts to go wrong on your car, its usually best to just take it to a professional and pay whatever exorbitant amount they demand in return for their services. After all, the last thing you want to do is make matters worse by tinkering around inside your automobile when you don’t know what you’re doing. However, there are some basic vehicle repairs that anyone can learn how to do, and that can end up saving you some serious cash in the long run (which can be a nice bonus with the holiday season just around the corner). So, rather than running to the mechanic every time you get a dead battery, consider doing these basic repairs yourself. In fact, speaking of batteries…
1. Replacing Batteries
The car battery is designed to provide the initial power surge that your car needs to get started, and to charge itself from the energy produced by your engine while it’s running. And although most drivers have an idea on how to recharge a drained battery, many of them are still willing to pay good money to have someone else replace their battery when it’s finally completely dead. Instead, consult your owner’s manual and see how easy it is to remove the old battery and replace it with a new one. This is a repair job that will only take a few minutes. Just be sure to wear gloves and eye protection and to recycle the old battery when you’re finished.
2. Changing a Tire
Overcoming a flat tire has a lot to do with having the right equipment on hand. After all, you’re going to need a cross wrench, jack, and an adequate spare tire if you want to avoid calling a tow-truck. You’ll also need to know exactly where in your car your spare tire is located (they can sometimes be difficult to find). Check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure. When changing the tire, be sure that your car is on a level stretch of ground and that your parking brake is fully engaged. Be sure to keep track of the nuts as you remove them, and make sure that the new tire is totally secure before you drive away.
3. Replacing Headlights
Most headlights are just basic, conventional incandescent bulbs. As such, you’re probably going to have to replace one or both of them over the course of your car’s life (and possibly multiple times at that). Replacing headlights is usually as easy as purchasing a replacement bulb and checking your car’s owner’s manual to see how it’s done. Generally, no special tools will be required. Just be careful; most of the time you’ll have to pop the hood and get into the engine compartment in order to change the bulb, so be sure you’re protected.
4. Replacing Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers tend to wear down over the space of a year or so. When that happens, they may be unable to properly clear water from the windshield. To replace a wiper, just pick up the right blade for your model of car (many auto parts stores have a master list to help you locate the right one, otherwise an employee will be able to help you). Remove the old blade from the assembly–once again you can consult your manual if you’re not sure how to go about doing this–and snap the new one into place. Run the wipers once you’re done to make sure that the new blade is properly secured; you don’t want it flying off in the middle of a downpour while you’re driving on the freeway.
5. Replacing the Air Filter
In order to operate efficiently, your engine needs to be able to draw in clean air free from debris. To this end, the air filter should be kept as clean as possible. Most manufacturers recommend changing your air filter every few years, and while you can easily have this done at most oil-change service stations (for a price), you can just as easily do it yourself. The air filter housing should be easily accessible in the engine compartment and generally is held in by clamps that are simple to remove. A new air filter can easily be popped into place once the old one has been removed. Once again, if you need extra guidance, check with the manual.
So save yourself some money this coming holiday season, and learn a few easy-to-do vehicle maintenance and repair moves that you can use when times get tough, because it’s better to learn how to fish (or change a tire) than to pay someone to do it for you.
David Glenn is a technology fanatic and business enthusiast who loves to keep up with the advancements in each. When he writes, he draws from his experience of over 30 years as a business owner and entrepreneur.