In a perfect world, cars would never break down and you wouldn’t need car maintenance.
In an almost-perfect world, your car only breaks when you are near a trustworthy garage and have sufficient funds to take care of the problem. But this world isn’t perfect, and cars do fail.
They also stop working in inconvenient places and at really bad times.
Trust me, I’m not an auto expert. I’m not even very mechanically inclined. But I’ve found the kinds of repairs that just about anyone can handle quickly and easily, with minimal expenses.
I’ve decided to hold on to my car rather than sell it, so by taking care of these repairs, I’ve saved quite a bit of dough over the past several years.
So, take a look at this DIY auto repair tips and advices that will help you to keep your car in good shape.
1. Spark plugs
Most spark plugs need replacing after about 30,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle is any different. While changing spark plugs might sound like intense work, it’s a pretty simple process. You just need to set aside some time and exercise patience. Don’t rush, because you need to install the replacements in a specific order.
– You should be able to locate your spark plugs fairly easily, because they’re attached to thick rubbery wires.
– You’ll find either four, six, or eight plugs, depending on how many cylinders your car has.
– Remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Do not remove all of the wires at once. Your spark plugs are installed in a certain order, which you need to maintain.
– Use your spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet to remove the first spark plug.
– Install the new spark plug, screwing it in by hand at first and then tightening it with a wrench for a snug fit. Do not over-tighten.
– Re-attach the spark plug wire.
Repeat these steps for each spark plug, one at a time. If you buy the right plugs, you won’t have to worry about “gapping” the plugs, because they’ll come pre-gapped.
2. Air filter replacement
Clogged air filters lower car performances on many levels. Change your car’s air filter to increase power and gas mileage. An air filter replacement is one of the easiest DIY car repairs to do for worn out filters.
You need a new air filter for your car every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. You can pay a mechanic and give up your car for a day, or you can replace your air filter at home in about ten minutes.
– First, find your filter under the hood of your car. It’s in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Check your owner’s manual if you don’t see it as soon as you pop the hood.
– Open up the casing, and check out how the air filter fits inside it. Make a note of which way the filter faces.
– Remove the old air filter, and insert the new one exactly how the old one sat.
– Remember to close the metal clips when you’re done.
3. Fuel filters
Fuel filters have an average price of $15 depending on the car, but can save hundreds of dollars from engine damage if changed regularly. Fuel filters are important to keep fuel injection and carburetor systems clean and working properly. Please, do note that it is imperative to release the fuel system pressure before replacing the fuel filter to avoid damage or injury.
Dealing with fuel and fuel filters can be dangerous work if you’re not prepared. If you’re not a DIY mechanic, let a pro do this annual job for you.
– Most importantly, start by relieving fuel system pressure. If you don’t, the results can be explosive, to say the least. Locate the fuel pump fuse on the fuse box. If you don’t have a fuel pump fuse, find the relay that operates the fuel pump. Start your car, and with the engine running, pull the fuse or relay out. When the engine dies, you’ll know that you pulled the right one.
– Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter. Find two open-end wrenches that are the correct size for your fuel filter fittings (usually you’ll need two different sizes).
– When the wrenches are in place, put a rag over the fitting to protect yourself in case there is still some pressure in the lines.
– Hold the wrench that fits on the actual filter, and turn the other wrench counter-clockwise until that bolt comes out.
– Slide the fuel line off the bolt and set the bolt aside.
– Repeat the process for the other side of the fuel filter.
– Remove the old fuel filter. Most filters are held in place by a clamp that you can release by using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful here, as the old fuel filter could still have some gas in it!
– Change the fuel filter washers, which are located on the bolts that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter. Make sure to match the new ones up correctly.
– Install the new fuel filter, which is the opposite of the process you performed to remove the old fuel filter.
– Return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.
4. Brake discs
Combine changing warped brake discs with brake pad replacement to save time if needed. Warped brake discs can damage entire car axles if not corrected in time.
– Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Then jack up the car and place a jack stand under the car’s frame. Lower the jack so its weight rests on the jack stand. Fully remove the lug nuts and remove the wheel. You now have access to the brake assembly and can safely reach under the car.
– Find the two slider bolts (sometimes called “pins”) that hold the caliper in place. It’s generally only necessary to remove the lower bolt. It can be long but once it is fully loosened, it will slide out easily.
– With the bottom bolt removed, the caliper pivots up, as shown in the photograph above. The rubber hose, which is the hydraulic line, will flex to allow this so do not disconnect any hydraulic lines. If you think you have to disconnect a hydraulic line, you’re doing something wrong. Reassemble the brakes and seek professional help.
At this point, it is very easy to inspect the thickness of the brake pads to confirm that they need to be changed. Most brake pads have metal wear indicators, which are small metal tabs that squeak when they contact the rotors. Even if these are not yet touching, the pads are worn out if the friction material is 1/8th of an inch thick or less at any point.
– The brake pads are now exposed and the retaining clips hold them loosely in place. Simply slide the old brake pads out, as shown in the photo.
– New pads almost always come with new clips, which allow the pads to slide back and forth easily. Use the new ones and chuck the old ones. There are no retaining screws for the clips. They just snap in place. There are usually left-handed and right-handed clips, so change one at a time, making sure they match up exactly as you go.
– Often, a small packet of graphite-based grease will come with the brake pads. Apply this to the clips of the new brake pads to keep them from squeaking.
– The new pads slide into place as easily as the old ones did when they came out, though sometimes the new clips will be tighter. The ears of the new pads should slot nicely into place on the grease you applied.
– Compress the brake piston. Get out your C-clamp and put the end with the screw on it against the piston with the other end on the back of the caliper assembly.
– Tighten the clamp until the piston has moved far enough to where you can place the caliper assembly over the new pads.
– Re-install the brake caliper (the opposite process of what you did when you removed it), and then simply put your wheel back on.
5. Oil and oil filter
Experts say you should change your oil every 3,000 miles, but with better products and cars operating more efficiently, I think you can get away with changing it every 5,000 miles. Whichever benchmark you decide to use, you can save time and money by handling the change yourself. Before you start, keep in mind these precautions:
– Never change your oil when your engine is hot. Park, wait for it to cool, and then get started. Driving around the block to heat the car and loosen the oil can result in a more effective drain, which is good news, but you must let the engine cool before going to work.
– You’ll have to jack up your car, so make sure you’re comfortable safely handling a jack.
Now that you’ve covered safety first, it’s time to get a little dirty.
– Get under your car and locate the vehicle’s oil pan. It shouldn’t be hard to find.
– Unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into your oil pan.
– Once all of the oil is drained, replace the drain plug.
– Go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter with your oil filter wrench. (Be careful, because the oil filter contains some old oil as well).
– Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with some new motor oil.
– Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with new oil.
– Screw in the new oil filter. Hand-tighten it only.
– Fill the engine with new oil, using your funnel.
– With a dip-stick, double check your oil level to be sure you’ve added enough.
– Discard the old oil filter and recycle the old oil (most gas stations will take it).
Changing your oil is the dirtiest job on the list, but it might be the most rewarding too. Though you can find plenty of quick-service stations nearby, when you think about going possibly four times a year, the expense and time commitment adds up.
We hope we have helped you with these auto repair tips. If so, please share this article with your friends. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
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Source: www.moneycrashers.com / www.instructables.com / www.edmunds.com / www.junkcarmedics.com