Feel Like a Pro With These DIY Car Repairs
Many people are intimidated by the idea of doing their car repairs. After all, cars are complicated machines, and fixing them can seem like a daunting task. However, there are simple repairs that you can do yourself without any experience.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you a sense of satisfaction knowing that you were able to fix your car. Here are some common car repairs that you can easily do yourself.
10 Car Problems You Can Fix by Yourself
Make sure you consult the manual before attempting any repairs. This will provide you with detailed instructions for the make and model of the car. If you don't have the manual, searching online for a replacement copy is easy—you need to know the make, model, and year.
Also, be sure to have necessary safety equipment like glasses and gloves. Experts also recommend keeping shop towels, aprons, and a comprehensive set of tools on-hand. Once you have done these, you’re good to go!
Here are auto repairs you can perform without any prior experience:
1. Dirty Air Filter
If you notice black areas on the section of your filter where outside air enters, it might be time for a replacement. With most car engines, you can easily access and check the filters. If necessary, look up the location in your manual.
Generally, you should get a new air filter if it's been more than three years or 30,000 miles. However, beware of repair shops that tell you that you need a new one every time you get an oil change. In most cases, drivers can go at least a year without needing to replace their air filter or maybe even two years, depending on conditions and mileage.
2. Dead Battery
Your car is useless without a battery that works. It won't start up, the lights will be dim, and many other systems in the vehicle will run slowly. Fortunately, it's easy to change a car battery yourself if you're a beginner.
To remove your old battery and put a new one in, you'll need the appropriate drivers and wrenches that fit the fasteners holding it in place. Once you loosen those fasteners, remove the old battery, and replace it with a new one. Next, make sure the terminal connections are secure before replacing the fasteners. That's all there is to it!
3. Blown Fuse
If one or more electrical components in your car have stopped working, it is most likely due to a blown fuse. Fuse box locations vary between vehicle models and manufacturers.
If you're having trouble locating the fuse box, referencing the user manual should help you. After locating the fuse box, check to see which fuse corresponds with the component that is not working.
Usually, fuse boxes have diagrams that show which fuses match up with specific components. Even if you find the correct fuse, it's a good idea to examine all the other fuses for defects.
There are three main types of fuses used in cars—blade, ceramic, and glass.
4. Worn Brake Pads
If you press your brake pedal and hear screeching or squeaking sounds, your brake pads likely need a replacement. Although changing your brake pads is more complicated than some of the other fixes listed here, it's a task you can do by yourself.
Find a level surface to work on and gather the jack and the tools you need to remove your wheels before you start. Once you have everything, loosen the calipers and open the retaining clips. After that, detach the old brake pads and replace them with new ones before reassembling everything.
5. Old Spark Plugs
Dirty or fouled spark plugs are a common issue. They may be challenging to reach on some car engines, but everything will be easy once you've located them. You can purchase the necessary tools for tough-to-reach places if you like to replace your spark plugs.
Find a flat and dry spot to park your car before you begin. Having a stable place will make it easier to work and prevent potential accidents. Once you've parked, let the engine cool down so you don't injure yourself. Then, clean off any dirt or grime that could fall into the cylinder and can cause problems later.
Locate the spark plug and unplug the coil to change it. Remove the old plug, install a new one, and replace the coil-on plug. Make sure everything's in place before starting your engine!
6. Flat Tires
Roadside assistance is an option when you have a flat tire, but it's quicker and usually free to change it yourself if you know how. Most cars come with the tools you need on board.
To change a flat tire, you will need to lift your car first with a jack. Then, take the flat tire off and replace it with a spare tire. Lastly, screw on the lug nuts tightly to secure the new wheel in place.
7. Clogged Fuel Filter
The fuel filter is a crucial component in preventing engine damage. Removing pollutants and debris from gasoline ensures that only clean fuel enters the motor. Fuel filters are also relatively cheap and easy to change.
Here are easy steps for changing a fuel filter:
- Relieve fuel pressure
- Locate the fuel filter
- Detach and take off the old filter
- Set the new fuel filter
The process differs based on what type of vehicle you have. Although it may seem like an extra and unnecessary step, skipping this part could result in detrimental engine damage or personal injury.
8. Faulty Turn Signal Relay
While driving, you rely on your vehicle's warning lights to communicate with other drivers. The turn signals let you warn others when you're about to turn. Over time, like many other parts of your car, the turn signals can fail due to normal wear and tear. One reason why your turn signal might not work is a faulty turn signal relay.
Fortunately, it's an easy task to replace your turn signal relay. It might be the most effortless repair you'll ever do. You can locate your relay cluster in your car's owner's manual. The turn signal relay should also be in there.
With your new relay in hand, replace the old turn signal flasher with it. The installation process is quick and easy; there's only one way to do it correctly. You'll be back to driving safely on the road hazard-free in no time at all!
9. Failing Radiator Hose
A well-functioning radiator hose helps regulate the temperature and pressure levels in your cooling system. If a radiator hose is loose or leaking, your engine can overheat, and you could lose all its coolant.
Radiator hoses are usually held in place by screws and clamps, making them easy to remove and replace. It will be easy to spot signs of wear and tear on your radiator hoses once you locate them.
Here’s a step-by-step process for changing a radiator hose:
- Check hose and clamps
- Take out the hose
- Find appropriate replacement
- Attach the new hose
- Refill the cooling system
- Dispose of the waste properly
To avoid being burned, make it a habit to let the engine cool before changing the radiator hose.
10. Old Engine Oil
While keeping your oil tank full is ideal, a regular oil change is also crucial. Over time, even with a filter in place, the oil degrades and becomes dirty. Changing your engine's oil every 3,000 to 10,000 miles is recommended.
While it's no easy feat, changing your oil has several benefits: It can save money and familiarize you with what's under the hood. Plus, if there are any potential issues, they're far easier to spot and resolve before they become big problems.
You can save money and do a better job by following these steps for changing your oil.
- Jack up the vehicle
- Open it up
- Unplug and drain it
- Remove or clean the old filter
- Replace the drain plug
- Attach a new or clean filter
- Fill it with new oil
Let the oil settle in the pan for a few minutes. Then, use the dipstick to check that your oil is at the proper level. If there haven't been any issues up to this point, start the car and let it warm up before checking for leaks. Well done! You've saved a lot of money by changing your oil. Doesn't that feel great?
Handle Car Repairs Like a Pro
No one likes taking their car in for repairs, but sometimes it's necessary. However, there are some repairs that you can easily do at home with just a few tools! So next time your tires need replacing; or your headlights start to dim, don't reach for your wallet—bring out your tools instead!