Cars make moving around so much more convenient, but you’ve got to admit – they can be quite expensive to keep. With the average amount of owning and operating a car increasing year after year, vehicle owners are looking for ways to somehow mediate the costs they’ll incur on maintenance and transportation expenses.
Paying for a professional car diagnostic test and certain auto repairs are often necessary. However, there are maintenance and repair jobs that are quite easy to do on your own, sometimes with the help and guidance of online tutorial videos.
You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to take on these car maintenance tasks
1. Changing the air filter
Your car’s air filter helps keep the engine clean, but it can gather dust and other debris over time. Clogging in the air filter makes the engine work harder, which can negatively impact fuel economy. To avoid costly issues stemming from a dirty or clogged air filter, it’s recommended to change it every 15,000 – 30,000 miles. Changing the air filter is probably one of the easiest car maintenance jobs. In most cases, all you have to do is pop open the hood and replace the filter. Going to a shop to change your air filter can cost you about $150 for parts and labor, but you’ll only have to spend about $30 for a DIY.
2. Replacing the fuel filter
A clean fuel filter will help improve the performance and efficiency of your car. Not only will your vehicle run better, it can also travel more miles per gallon. You should be replacing your air filter every 10,000 miles, or as stated in the manual. (Lost your car manual? No worries. You can find a copy online.) The job takes less than ten minutes. And if you’re looking to save money on car maintenance, it will only cost your around $20 – $50 if you do it yourself.
3. Changing the battery
The average car battery can last for five to six years, but could be less depending on factors such as where you live, how often you use your vehicle, level of maintenance, etc. The thing is, you don’t want to wait for your car battery to die on you before you replace it. You have to take the initiative to change it before it maxes out its expected life span. If your car’s battery is starting to show signs of nearing the end of its useful life, you can either take it to the shop for replacement or change the battery yourself at a much lesser cost. You can save at least a hundred dollars by taking the DIY route, but only do so if you are confident that you can do the job right.
4. Checking and changing the brake pads
Brake pads should be checked every 10,000 miles. Driving a vehicle with very worn-out brake pads, can severely damage the rotors and hike up the repair costs. Brake pad care and maintenance isn’t difficult. You only have to inspect them regularly and make sure to replace them before they drop below 3mm in thickness.
If you’re particularly knowledgeable and handy with cars, you can save a significant amount of money by changing the brake pads yourself. But if you’re not, it’s better to leave it to the experts. Brakes play a huge role in your safety while on the road. That said, you should approach this job with great caution.
5. Replacing the windshield wipers
Perfectly functioning wipers are important in keeping your safe when driving during bad weather or blurry road conditions. Ideally, you should replace your wiper blades at least once a year (or whenever necessary) to ensure that you’ll always have a clear view of the road ahead. Luckily, replacing windshield wipers is fairly cheap and easy. A new set of wiper blades will only cost you around $30. Attach the new blades yourself to save a bundle on labor!
6. Headlight/ tail light bulb replacement
As a car owner, you must always check the condition of your vehicle’s lights and make sure that all of them are working. It’s easy to notice a burned-out headlight, but the other lights aren’t so easy to detect. The good news is, it’s pretty simple to replace busted car lights. You’ll have to be very careful when handling the bulb so as not to leave any prints or debris on the surface, but other than that, it’s something you can definitely do on your own.
A Word of Caution
When approaching a DIY, car maintenance or otherwise, comfort should always be a priority. If you’ve never looked under the hood before or feel uncomfortable about tackling a specific job, it may be wiser to entrust the job to a professional for safety and quality reasons.