Here’s the thing that you must remember about fixing, repairing, or replacing parts of your own car: You won’t set it on fire. The fear that comes with tinkering with auto mechanics is understandable. We’re afraid to damage the car and pay thousands of dollars because we have chosen to change the battery ourselves to save a couple of hundreds of dollars.
But changing a battery or an air filter isn’t necessarily rocket science. You won’t need to buy a Baileigh pipe bender and use it to bend and repair some major parts of the car or the motorcycle. There’s a difference between merely changing the wipers of your car and actually diagnosing why your car’s engine is looking wonky.
Here are three simple car repairs that you can do on your own and save hundreds of dollars in mechanic fees:
Changing the Air Filter
An air filter costs around $10 and needs to be changed every 12 months or $12,000 miles, whichever comes first. The reason why many car owners fail to change the air filter on time is the cost of labor and the time. You would need to leave your car with the mechanic for about a day and pay the mechanic close to 100 bucks to replace something that can be done in 10 minutes.
Pop the hood of your car open and find the air filter in a black rectangular box with metal clippings on the side. Check your owner’s manual or the Internet if you can’t see where the air filter is located. Open the casing and check the filter’s orientation. Replace the old filter and insert the new one before putting back the box and closing the metal clippings.
Replacing Wiper Blades
You will know that the wiper blades need changing if they cause a streak on your windshield and can’t properly wipe away water, snow, or debris. The way wiper blades are attached to the car is different from model to model. However, the good thing is that most of the packaging will include instructions on how to replace the blades.
On most cars, there’s a tab on the underside of the wiper. You simply have to push the tab to remove the old blades. Attach the new blades the opposite way the old blades have been removed. Be careful not to bend the wiper arms. You also need to make sure that the new blades are secure and tight.
Cleaning Your Car Battery
Good battery connection is needed to keep your car running smoothly. While you can replace your own car battery quite easily, there’s another thing that you can do on your own: Clean the batteries regularly. The crunchy white residue that forms on the posts of the battery can keep your car from running. It’s not always that the battery needs replacement. A simple visual check will let you know the condition of the battery.
Remove your battery terminals. Remove the negative cable first. The cables may get stuck sometimes, but just use a flat screwdriver to pry them loose. Clean the post with a corrosion-removal fluid. Some say Coca-Cola works fine, but it’s better to purchase a cleaning material specifically for this. But if you’re feeling extra frugal, you can also mix baking soda with water. Apply a generous amount of the fluid on the posts and brush vigorously using a wire brush. Rinse it with water and leave it to dry completely before putting back the cables.
If you’re feeling cautious, you can check thousands of YouTube tutorials, making sure to find one that has the same model as your car. You also have to consult your owner’s manual regularly so that you can be sure where the parts are located under the hood. But remember that the biggest thing about DIY is recognizing when you can’t do it by yourself. Call someone to help you if the work requires an extra pair of hands.