Like so many of us, car repairs and frequent maintenance can be daunting (and expensive). Before you give up and take your car in for its next repair, consider a few relatively easy fixes that you can handle yourself in the comfort of your driveway! Sure, there are definite advantages to leaving things to the professionals (including the ease of mind and quality), but if you’re looking to roll up your sleeves and save some money, here are a few tips for you.
1.Fix That Dent
Simple, shallow dents that aren’t too devastating can be fixed easily with a plunger and a hairdryer. Seriously!
First, use the hairdryer, to warm up the dented area which makes sure the paint doesn’t get damaged during the plunging. Compress the plunger into the area, pull back, and no more dent! Again, this is a pretty simple maneuver that works on small dents, but it’s worth a shot on tiny dings. There are heavier tools out there for more substantial dents if you want to tackle that yourself, but this is a good starting point.
2.Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Did you know you need to change your windshield wipers at least once a year? Don’t worry, it’s a quick and easy process that’s extremely affordable. The process is as simple as unlatching the flap or unhooking the wiper blade, removing the old blade, and sliding the new one into place. Sometimes this will require a screwdriver, but that’s a simple enough addition to the process.
Your new blade should match the old one, so typically it’s easy enough to unhook the old blade and bring it into your auto shop to find the new one. When replacing the blade, make sure you pull the wiper arms away from the windshield. Be careful that the bladeless arms don’t whip back toward your windshield.
Once you fit the new blade back in and affix them, that’s it! The whole process is fairly quick.
3.Changing The Oil
If you’ve never changed your car’s oil yourself, the initial process can seem daunting. However, this is something you can easily do yourself!
- You will need:
- Oil Filter Wrench
- Drain Pan
- New Oil Filter
- New Oil (by the specifications of your vehicle/engine)
- Clean Rag
Let’s do this!
- First, get beneath the car and find the filter and drain plug. Place your drain pan beneath the plug and account for the angle of your driveway. Put on your gloves, remove the plug with the wrench, and let the oil drain fully into the pan.
- After the oil is drained, replace the plug and remove the oil filter. This may cause a mess so keep that rag handy.
- After the filter is removed, drain it over the pan and use the clean rag to wipe away any excess oil from where the new filter will go.
- Smear a little bit of oil in the new filter’s ring and replace it using the wrench. Then, fasten everything tightly, secure it, and pour in the new oil. Fasten the cap.
4.Check Tire Pressure and Fill Tires With Air
As with any task on this list, make sure you have the right tools first. In this case you’re going to need a tire pressure gauge, which is an extremely handy gadget to have around and can be found in any auto parts store.
Check the recommended tire pressure on each tire by checking your car’s manual or the inside of the driver’s side door (this is measured in PSI, or Pounds Per Square Inch). Keep your tires in the proper range to ensure the best mileage and prevent blowouts. Your tires typically are at their lowest pressure when they’re cold, and they take about a half-hour to cool down after you’ve driven. Unscrew the valve cap of the tire and press the tire pressure gauge evenly to the stem. The number that shows up on the gauge is your current tire pressure, so use this as you fill the tires with air to note when they’re at the proper PSI. Once you’ve done this, it’s easy enough to drive to your nearest air pump stations (often at gas stations) or simply invest in a tire inflator which will only set you back about $40 or so.
Once you know how to do this, you can routinely check the tire pressure yourself!
5. Change Your Cabin Air Filter
You don’t need to go to your dealership to purchase or change your air filter, you can find one at any car parts store. Figure out what specific cabin air filter you need by either searching via Google or using a printed catalog to look up the make, model, and year of your car. Find the part number and you’re good to go.
Sometimes the location of your vehicle’s cabin air filter can be tough to find. It should be somewhere in the dashboard, possibly underneath the glove box. It might be in the engine bay but make sure you don’t confuse this with the engine air filter (again, look up the make and model of your car online and find the exact loading position).
Remove the old filter by sliding the cover off and pulling it out. Pay attention to which direction the airflow arrow is facing, and remember this orientation when you replace the new filter. Wipeout any debris as needed and slowly install the new filter making certain it slides in smoothly. Close the access panel, fasten it up and you’re good to go! Your cabin air filter is a super important aspect of your car’s cabin control system and should be replaced once a year.
See, fixing things in your driveway isn’t as daunting as it seems! Once you tackle these you should be well on your way to additional car projects, and now that you can fix dents, replace wipers, change your oil, and more you can save money by not taking your vehicle into the shop.
About the Author:
Kathryn Fowler is the Marketing Manager at PartsAvatar.
She's been passionate about cars since childhood.
She loves examining different components of cars to understand their operation. Kathryn started writing blogs on automobile parts to share her love for cars and educate automobile enthusiasts worldwide.
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