“I hooked up my accelerator pedal in my car to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I’m gone.” – Stephen Write.
Modern cards require expensive equipment and electronic diagnostics system to repair problems. You can’t do every type of fixes/maintenance alone. You need to go either to an authorized dealership or a certified technician for complex problems.
Still, there are various fixes that you can do yourself with simple tools and little experience. Save money and time by doing basic troubleshooting and repairs on many car issues. Gain experience to fix complex issues by doing simple DIY repairs first.
(Related - Save money on car rental)
Keep your car in top condition by following these 25 DIY car repairs.
1. Air filter replacement. Clogged air filters lower car performances on many levels. Change your car’s air filter to increase power and gas mileage. An air filter replacement is one of the easiest DIY car repairs to do for worn out filters.
2. Oil change. Oil change is relatively easy to do yourself with certain precautions. Avoid changing oil after driving your car recently since it can be very hot. You should wait at least a couple of hours after driving your car to change the oil. Tools for a DIY oil change are ratchet, oil filter, wrench, funnel, new oil, oil container, and oil filter.
3. Spark plugs. This simple DIY procedure can make automobiles have better fuel consumption ratings and drive smoother. Spark plugs for most cars are cheap. Check the plug wires while replacing spark plugs too.
4. Windshield wipers. Replace the worn out strips of rubber found on old wipers with new ones. Change windshield wipers for optimal driving conditions during rain. Basic tools are needed like a screwdriver and new wipers to change them.
5. Headlight bulbs. Check the front of your car for burnt headlight bulbs in need of replacement. DIY headlight bulb change is possible for cars without sealed beam headlights. Be sure to get the right bulb for your car and save money by changing it yourself.
6. Dangling exhaust pipes. If you hear extra car noises from the back of your car, it could be damaged pipe holders or structure. Most cars use rubber loops to hold exhaust pipes that can be damaged over time. Look under your vehicle for any broken hangers in the exhaust pipe and change accordingly.
7. Brake pads. Always keep brake pads in optimal conditions to avoid car accidents and injury. Brake pads are a key component of the brake system that should be properly maintained. Usual tools to change brake pads are a c-clamp, lug wrench, Allen wrenches, hammer, and jack, amongst other.
8. Fuel filters. Fuel filters have an average price of $15 depending on the car, but can save hundreds of dollars from engine damage if changed regularly. Fuel filters are important to keep fuel injection and carburetor systems clean and working properly. Please, do note that it is imperative to release the fuel system pressure before replacing the fuel filter to avoid damage or injury.
9. Car radiator flush. Automobiles’ cooling systems and radiators should be cleaned to keep engines cool. Radiators can build deposits what can clog the cooling system. Perform regular radiator flushes to keep the cooling system in optimal condition. Before removing the radiator cap, to flush the radiator, check that the engine is cool.
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10. ABS sensors. ABS sensors can cause the ABS light to show on cars’ dashboards if dirty. Clean ABS sensors while replacing brake pads to save on time, if possible.
11. Plug tires. Car experts differ on whether is better to patch or plug a tire. However, only use these options for short-term solutions for tire damage if not done by a professional. Tire plugs can be bought for as little as $5 to repair most tires according to the damage.
12. Fuel gauge sender. If you are running low on fuel on a constant basis, the fuel tank gauge might need replacing. Many cars have these units located under seats based on the manufacturer. Review the owner’s manual to verify the location of the fuel sender unit, and if accessible, change accordingly.
13. Brake discs. Combine changing warped brake discs with brake pad replacement to save time if needed. Warped brake discs can damage entire car axles if not corrected in time.
14. Removing stripped screws. If you have damaged a screw’s head, steps must be taken to remove it correctly. Drills are suggested to remove stripped screws with diameters to drill a hole in the screw’s head center. Once the screw’s head separates from the body, it should be easy to remove.
15. Blown fuses. If your headlights are out, it could be from a blown fuse. Check the car’s fuse box to determine which fuse needs replacing. There are three main types of car fuses, which are glass tube, blade, or ceramic. Review your car owner’s manual to find the location of fuse boxes and type of fuse required.
16. Car signal Relays. Turn signals are easy to troubleshoot, if signal relays are at fault. Bad turn signal relays can make turn signals stop blinking. Check the signal relay setup of your car for turn signal issues.
17. Car batteries. Batteries are the center of a car’s electrical mechanism. Use approved gloves and eye protection to avoid acid damage from the battery. Check the old battery with a voltmeter to see if it has the proper charge. Batteries with lower than 9.7 volts while starting an engine, should be replaced for most vehicles.
18. Seat belts and seatbelt retractors. Seat belts, by law, must be used to protect against injury in a car accident. Seat belts and belt retractors can be replaced with proper screwdrivers by simply removing the covers and placing new ones. You should test the new seat belt for optimal working conditions.
19. Window belt strips. Inspect visually window belt strips for missing parts, cracking, or other damages for replacement. Worn out window belt strips can cause water damage, if not kept in top shape.
20. Tire valve stems. Tires and wheel assemblies must be removed to change tire valve stems. Deflate tires by removing the inside valve stem. Install the new tire valve and inflate tire accordingly.
21. Serpentine belts. Check under your car’s hood or the engine compartment for the serpentine belt routing layout. The belt tensioner must be located and loosened up to remove the serpentine belt. Make sure to install the new serpentine in the same manner that the old one was routed. After installing the new belt, check the belt’s tension and adjust if necessary.
22. Tire replacement. Tire change is one of the most common DIY procedures performed by drivers. Damage wheels should be replaced with the spare tire by using the jack and tire changing tools available from most car manufacturers. A professional should balance new tires later.
23. Thermostats. Radiator thermostats provide car engines’ working temperature that should be within recommended levels. The radiator must be checked for leaks and locate the thermostat. Coolant should be drained to release pressure and to replace the thermostat housing structure faster.
24. Radiator hoses. Radiator hoses are key to maintain coolant system pressures and engines’ temperatures. Worn out radiator hoses can have leaks that drain coolant levels and heat up car engines. Check for the upper and lower radiator hoses for damage and replace as necessary. Radiator hoses are usually just held by clamps and screws depending on the type of car.
25. Washer tanks. Washer tanks are necessary to clean dirty windshields while on the road. Open your car’s hood and locate the washer tank. Remove the washer pump’s wiring to the washer tank before removing. Washer tanks are usually just held by a couple of bolts based on manufacturer. After replacement, fill the washer tank with washer fluid and test for proper function.
Regular car maintenance and repairs are top priorities to keep cars away from mechanic shops. This DIY car repair list will assist you to maintain your vehicle in optimal road conditions without spending a lot of money. Get professional assistance if you find unable to fix some parts. It is important for you to follow safety procedures at all times while doing DIY car repairs.
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