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DIY Car Maintenance Tips Anyone Can Do

DIY Car Maintenance

How Keeping Up with Car Care Saves You Money

It isn’t news that keeping up-to-date with car maintenance can save you the large costs of future repairs. Simply filling up your oil regularly, for instance, can save you from your entire engine seizing. If you use the car maintenance checklist in this article, you’ll see quite a few benefits. Such as:

  • Safety

    You, anyone who drives in your car, and anyone around your car will be much safer in a vehicle that’s up-to-date on any maintenance and repairs. There won’t be any untimely curbside stops, and there’s significantly lower risk of malfunction.

  • Repairs

    You can’t avoid all repairs by doing regular checks and upkeep. but you can definitely keep the count lower. And the repairs that you do need will most likely be much cheaper than the large repairs you’ll need if you ignore your routine car care.

  • Car Lasts Longer

    You can increase the longevity of your car by taking care of it with regular services and care.

  • Car Insurance

    Besides these more obvious ways of saving money with car maintenance, taking care of your car can save you money on car insurance. The more well-kept your car, the more your insurance will trust you. And the more your insurance trusts you, the lower your premium.

Car Maintenance Checklist and Instructions

It’s not enough to know the benefits of routinely checking a vehicle, we want to make sure you know how to maintain a car. Here are a few DIY auto repair tips to help you keep your car running smoothly.

How to Check Tire Pressure

The right tire pressure can make a big difference in your car’s health. Overinflated tires cause more stress on the suspension, are more likely to skid, and wear down tread faster. Underinflated tires are more susceptible to potholes, have lower grip, and can cause structural issues. To check your tire pressure:

  1. Learn the right tire pressure for your car. You can find this in the owner’s manual, by searching the web, or checking a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door.
  2. Get a pressure gauge. You can get a gauge from most gas stations or any auto store.
  3. Place pressure gauge over tire valve. You’ll want to make sure that the gauge’s measuring stick is pushed inside before doing this. When you place the gauge in the valve, the measuring stick will pop out showing you the pressure.
  4. Adjust tire pressure accordingly.If the pressure is too high, you can use the point inside the cap to push inside the valve. This will release the air pressure. If it’s too low, than you can use an air pump at a gas station to fill the tires.

How to Check Tread

Your tire tread is important to give your car traction. If your tires wear down, your car is more likely to skid when you brake. It’s especially important to have good tread during rain and snow. For average tires, the tread should typically be greater than 2/32 of an inch.

  1. Find a tread gauge.You can get a gauge at most gas stations or auto shops. If you can’t find a gauge, you can use a penny.
  2. Insert gauge in the tire groove. Or the penny if that’s what you have.
  3. Check the measurement. Many tread gauges will be color coded, so you’ll know that the green section means your tires have a good tread depth. If you’re using a penny, your tread is good until you can’t see Lincoln’s head anymore.
  4. Get new tires when needed.You’ll need to get new tires once your tread is too low. Getting frequent tire rotations will also keep your tire tread wearing down correctly.

How to Check and Fill Your Oil

A car’s motor oil seriously affects the health of its engine, making this one of the most important pieces of car maintenance. Running out of oil, like we previously mentioned, can leave you needing an entirely new engine. And without regular oil changes, your engine will build up with sludge.

  1. Find a tread gauge.You’ll want to make sure that the engine is turned off. You don’t need to wait a long time for the engine to cool down completely. But you should wait a little while before touching anything under the hood.
  2. Wipe off the dipstick. Typically your dipstick will have a yellow handle. Pull it out and wipe off any oil on it. You might want to look at the dipstick while it’s clean to notice the markings that indicate where the oil level should be. This isn’t the same for each dipstick, but each one will have some indication of where the oil should reach.
  3. Push the dipstick back in the tube. The dipstick will go back down the tube you pulled it out from. Make sure to push it all the way in.
  4. Check the level and color.When you pull the dipstick out, you’ll notice the oil level. Make sure it’s above the low level. You should also take not of the oil’s color. It should be closer to a golden brown than a black. Dark oil means dirty oil. If your oil is dark, you don’t just need to fill up your oil, you need to get an oil change.
  5. Buy the right motor oil.If your oil level is low, the first step is buying the right oil. Check the owner’s manual or the internet for which grade of oil (should look something like 5W-30) your car needs. If you’ve ever put synthetic oil in your car, make sure you keep using synthetic.
  6. Top off the oil.You won’t pour the oil into the tiny opening where you used the dipstick. You’ll need to find the oil fill cap, which should have a label to help you. Once you start pouring the oil in, only add a little at a time. In between adding more oil, check with the dipstick to see how full the oil is.

How to Replace Windshield Wipers

You don’t have to guess why it’s important to see well through your windshield. But it’s easy to be lazy when it comes to replacing your windshield wipers. It might help once you know how easy it is.

  1. Buy the right wipers.This is probably where drivers run into the most hassle when they go to replace their own windshield wipers. But you can check your owner’s manual or even just search the internet to find out which size wiper your car needs.
  2. Get rid of the old wipers.Once you have your new wipers in hand, you can get rid of the old ones. Pull up the wiper so that it stands perpendicular to the windshield. Feel around the underside of the wiper where the blade (the part that can come off) meets the arm (the part that stays attached to the car). You should find a piece that you can press down on. Once you press down, you’ll be able to slide the wipers off the arm when you pull down.
  3. Place the new wipers. Hook the new wiper blades onto the arm and pull until you hear a click. Make sure that you’re putting the correct blade on the correct arm. One of your windshield wipers is usually longer than the other. You may need to check which one was longer by looking at the old wipers.

How to Replace the Air Filter

Your air filter has a lot to do with your fuel efficiency. So, staying up-to-date on getting a new filter will pay off. This is a project you might normally have a mechanic tackle, but it’s actually quite simple.

  1. Buy the right air filter. It’s always discouraging when you take up a DIY project and have to make multiple trips to the store. Avoid that by checking the owner’s manual or internet to find out which air filter is right for your car.
  2. Remove your old air filter.Your air filter is housed inside a black box under the hood of your car. Remove the casing on top and it will reveal an accordion shaped filter which you should proceed to take out. Pay attention to how the air filter is currently placed, this will make it easier to put the new one in correctly.
  3. Place your new air filter. Make sure the right side is facing down.
  4. Close the casing. Place the lid back over the air filter and secure the fastenings.

These are some of the most basic and important car maintenance projects that you can do yourself. Don’t forget to reference car maintenance calendars to make sure that you’re checking off all the car care items, such as replacing your battery, filling your coolant, and checking your lights. Don’t forget to use these tips to save money on repairs and get the most affordable car insurance.