Whether you’re a new car owner still learning your way around the controls or a seasoned driver who has always relied on mechanics or friends for auto repair assistance, knowing how to perform simple repairs yourself is an important skill. And while there are many repairs no one should attempt at home – changing or repairing your brakes comes to mind – many basic repairs are easy to learn and will increase your confidence on the road.
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry! Here are 5 simple auto repairs and maintenance activities that are easy to do and hard to mess up. Be mindful of what you’re doing, keep instructions nearby, and you’ll have no problem with these projects.
Before you get started, make sure you have all the tools and supplies you’ll need. You’ll find most of these in your standard toolbox – Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a socket and ratchet set, an adjustable wrench and torque wrench, and pliers. If you need to get under the car, you’ll also need a jack. You can’t change a flat tire without a jack, so you should keep one of these in your trunk along with your spare in case of an emergency.
Staying organized is also very important when working on your car. When you’re new to auto repairs, it’s easy to mix up pieces or forget where things go. If you’re removing a lot of clips or nuts, use sandwich bags or small containers to keep everything organized. You don’t want to lose any vital pieces while conducting repairs. You might also want to label pieces and take photos of the project at different phases for reference.
Wipe It Off
Most people don’t replace their windshield wipers nearly as often as they should, even though it’s a very easy project. Perhaps the most difficult part is not scratching your windshield when you remove the old wiper blades. Since the windshield is glass and the ends of the wiper blades are metal, this can happen if you’re not careful.
You can remove your old windshield wipers by picking up the entire component and pressing the tab underneath. This will release the blade from the wiper arm and you’ll be able to lift the old blade away from the arm. Installing the new wiper, then, works in reverse as you connect a new blade to the arm. You should change your windshield wipers every three to four months.
Get Charged Up
Another simple car repair is changing your battery – and this one is typically more urgent than changing your windshield wiper blades. You’ll likely want to keep the directions by your side before undertaking this job. It’s relatively simple, but it does have a number of steps. You’ll need a wrench and a socket and ratchet, as well as a wire brush and possibly some cleaning solution to do this job.
When changing your battery, it’s important that the engine is turned off. After the engine is off, open the hood of the car and locate your battery – it will look like a big black box. You’ll need to first loosen the nut and remove the black cable with your hand and then do the same with the red cable, gently so as not to cause any damage. After removing the hold down clamp, you should be able to take out the battery. After that, you can clean all the connectors with the wire brush and perform the operation in reverse – battery in and clamped down, red cable on, black cable on, and tighten everything back into place. Then you’ll be ready to go! Turn on your engine and hit the road.
Light On, Lights Off
You know how to change a light bulb in your house, so changing your headlights and taillights should be no problem. Unlike regular light bulbs, though, there are clips that hold your headlight and taillight bulbs in place. If you’re not sure you’ll remember where they go, take a picture with your phone before you get started. That way, if you get confused along the way, you’ll have something to reference.
The air filters in your car benefit you by catching an array of dust and other particulates, but these air filters actually protect your engine, too. As it turns out, your engine will respond poorly if dust is constantly getting into the system. This can even cause your system to break down.
Change you air filters every 30,000 miles to keep dust out of your engine. That’s a relatively long time when it comes to the life of your car, so you won’t need to do this often, but it’s extra important not to forget when its time. If keeping track of mileage is hard for you, you can also set your air filters to a schedule where you change them every few months, when you change your windshield wiper blades, for example. That should be more than often enough, unless you’re regularly taking cross-country road trips!
There are a number of different hoses under the hood of your car, but if one of them is cracked or leaking, they’re very easy to change. You’ll need to turn off your car and let it cool down before you start this project. Then, take out your battery. Most of the hoses are underneath your battery and are simply clamped into place.
To change a hose, take off the clamps, put in the new hose, and return the clamps – and you’re done. You can check your hoses any time you change your battery to make sure they’re all in good working order.
Turn To A Professional
While it’s great to learn the basics and take simple auto repairs into your own hands, sometimes professional expertise is pertinent. When the project seems like a little too much to handle, RC Auto Specialists are here for you. Contact us today to learn about our comprehensive car care services. With our team on the case, we’ll get your car running better than ever.