Like any other machine that operates under heavy stress on a regular basis, cars need regular maintenance. The most reliable car in the world won’t last long if it’s not properly maintained. For many people this means expensive trips to the mechanic’s garage to have problems diagnosed and fixed, but you don’t have to pour your savings into repairs every time something comes up. Here are 5 easy car repairs that you can do on your own with just a few parts and tools.
- Air Filter
Changing your car’s air filter is quite possibly the easiest repair you can possibly do on your own. The air filter is found in a latched rectangular box under the hood. Changing your air filter is as simple as finding the box, opening it up, pulling out the dirty filter, and replacing it with a new one. This easy maintenance task will help keep your engine running clean and prolong the life of your car.
- Oil Change
All cars need periodic oil changes to keep running clean and efficient. Most experts recommend changing your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles for best results. This is a slightly more involved and messy job. You’ll have to raise your car on a jack first, and drain the dirty oil into a pan from a valve underneath the car. After you do this and replace the valve cap, you’ll need to go under the hood to pour in your fresh oil and replace the oil filter.
- Drive Belt
If you notice a squealing when your car is starting out, you may be dealing with a damaged or worn out drive belt. Some older model cars use several small drive belts on the engine to power different components, but it is more common in modern cars to use a serpentine belt–one belt that runs through multiple pulleys. This should be easy to spot on the front of the engine. Check your belt for looseness and damage. If it ends up needing replacement, take note of the way your serpentine belt runs around the pulleys–taking a picture may help.
This may not be as easy as changing the batteries in your remote control, but it’s simple enough. Car batteries seem to die at the most inconvenient times, though honestly you’d be hard-pressed to think of a convenient time for your car’s battery to die. Some batteries only need a cleaning due to built up residue on connection terminals, others only need a jump to get up and running again, but replacement will occasionally be necessary. Before working on your battery, make sure the keys are out of the ignition and no power is coming through.
- Brake Pads
This may seem like an intimidating task, but you don’t need to be a domestic or foreign auto repair expert to replace your brake pads. After removing the wheel you should see the break rotor, a large disc with a caliper attached. Opening the caliper reveals the brake pads, which can easily be inspected for wear and replaced if necessary.