There are a lot of reasons to learn how to do some of your own car maintenance. Obviously, you'll save money if you handle routine jobs yourself. You can work on your own schedule, in the convenience of your own garage, without waiting for an appointment and possibly waiting half the day. The best thing is the feeling of independence you'll have once you know that you can handle these 5 DIY auto repairs on your own.
1. Do your own oil changes
Even if you have an inexpensive service garage you can trust, the money adds up. The places that claim to offer cheap oil changes usually charge extra for a decent oil upgrade and disposal. If you decide to start doing it yourself, you can choose a higher quality oil and air filter at your local auto supply. Besides that, you will need jack stands, a jack, an oil filter wrench, and a drain pan. Those are one-time purchases, though. You will make the money back the first year. Just remember to wait until your car cools down before changing the oil, or just do it on a Saturday morning before you go out.
2. Change your own spark plugs
A garage might charge you hundreds of dollars for a tune-up, but you can easily do it yourself for very little cost. A spark plug wrench might cost about $10 while the spark plugs themselves will run you around $30. Depending on the age of your vehicle, you might not have to change your spark plugs very often, but you should check them about every 30,000-40,000 miles. Many auto supply stores will do the test for free.
3. Replacing headlights and taillights
This is another cheap fix if you do it yourself that a garage will charge a lot for. It is important to do a regular walk around your vehicle to make sure all your lights are working. Not only is it dangerous to drive around with nonfunctional lights, but you could also get an expensive ticket. Either bring the old bulb or your owner's manual to the store so you know exactly what kind you need. You probably won't be able to tell by looking which one you need to buy. As long as you don't have sealed beam headlights, you should easily be able to change them yourself. Just don't touch the bulb with your bare hands, because you'll get oil on it from your skin.
4. Fix a crack in your windshield
You can make a claim on your insurance so they will pay at least part of it if you get a chip in your windshield, but you might be able to fix it yourself without paying very much so you can keep that claim off your record. You should repair a chipped windshield as quickly as possible, to keep it from getting worse. There are windshield repair kits online for less than $15, and they are easy to use and don't take a long time. First, dig out any loose glass and clean the hole and surrounding area. Then use the kit to form a seal and apply resin in the cracked part.
5. Replacing your own air filter
For most cars, replacing the air filter is the work of a few minutes. But when you are having your car checked out at a garage, or during an oil change, replacing air filters is one of the ways the service stations bring in extra money. The air filter itself probably costs less than $20, and you can replace it by getting under the hood of the car, turning some screws to open the air filter housing, swapping out the air filters, then tightening the screws again.
Doing routine maintenance on your own vehicle is surprisingly easy, and many people even find that they enjoy it. Adding garage door screens will make you more comfortable while you work, letting in fresh air while keeping out distractions. Stop wasting your garage by just using it to store your vehicle and other items, and use it for DIY car repairs. You will wonder what took you so long to start handling these minor jobs yourself.
Fresh Air Screens
are available online at Home Depot
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