When something goes wrong with your car, taking it to the mechanic can often wind up being pretty expensive. If you do this every single time your car needs even little repairs, the bills will wind up accumulating pretty high. By learning some basics about your car, and being a little adventurous, you can learn to repair your own car in some instances. While the following simple repairs may not help when something major goes wrong with your car – such as when your car is totaled – it could help you keep your car out of the shop a little more often.
Replacing Your Windshield Wipers
One of the easiest things you can do on your car is replace your own windshield wipers. As time goes on, your current wipers could break, or wear down to the point where they are no longer effective. When this happens, you can purchase new blades online – make sure they are for your car’s make and model – and then install them yourself. All you need to do is unhook the old ones (pay attention to how they come off, this will make putting the new ones on easier), and then slide the new ones in the same place. The wipers will typically come with instructions if you get confused.
Getting Out Small Dents and Scratches
We want our cars to look their best, and small dents and scratches have a way of ruining the appearance. Rather than taking your car to a shop to have it detailed, sometimes these small imperfections can be fixed by you. For instance, you can buff some of the scratches out by hand, or pop some of the dents back into position. For more information on doing this yourself, check out this guide.
Changing Your Brake Pads
Now we move on to a more difficult task – changing your brake pads. Over time your current brake pads will wear down, and you’ll likely start to hear a screeching, or feel that your brakes aren’t working as well. Replacing your brake pads requires ordering the new pads, jacking up your car, removing the tire, unbolting the current pads, and slipping the new pads in. It is sometimes a difficult process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Here is a guide that will show you how the process works.
Installing A New Radio
If your car is on the older side, the radio that came with the car may no longer be cutting it for you. You want a radio system than can connect to your phone, and play your music at a higher quality. Replacing a stock radio isn’t usually too difficult, especially if you can find some directions online for your make and model. Just be sure to follow all of the safety precautions, as you’ll be dealing with the electrical wires inside your car.
If, on the other hand, your car radio is not standard and breaks down, but you cannot install a more modern radio, you will have to manage to find a similar one taken from another car of the same model and make. Luckily for you, there is now a proliferation of junkyards all over the Internet that have huge quantities of parts; some people feel even encouraged to sell their car parts separately, because they know this way they make a lot more money than selling the whole thing to the junkyards.
Replacing The Air Filters
From time to time it’s a good idea to replace the air filters in your car. Most cars typically have two filters – one for the inside the car, and one under the hood. Both are fairly easy to change, as long as you have the right tools in your home. The air filter under your hood is easier to change – which is why it’s often offered when you go to get your oil changed. The cabin one is sometimes harder to find, depending on your type of vehicle, but you should still be able to figure it out. Look online for your type of car, and how to replace the cabin air filter, for more information.
Putting On A New Gas Cap
Finally, we have the easiest repair of the bunch. Your gas cap is a small part of your car, but it plays a large role. If your gas cap does not fit on properly, it could turn on the warning lights on your dashboard, cause you to get worse fuel economy, or even prevent your car from starting at all. Sometimes gas caps break without us noticing, and a simple replacement will do the trick. Since gas cap replacements are relatively cheap, if you suspect something with your fuel may be the problem, start your diagnosis here.
Fixing Cars Yourself
You don’t have to be an auto mechanic to do some simple repairs on your car yourself. Sometimes all it takes is doing a little researching online, acquiring the right tools, and being brave enough to try and fix your own car. Look at at this way, if you fail, you can always take it to the shop and let them take care of it. But try to do some of the smaller things yourself, and you’ll save yourself some time and money in the long run, and keep your car running longer.