Got a small and simple auto job and don’t want to spend the time and money by taking your car to the shop? There are some automotive projects that are fairly simple to tackle, and the know-how is good to have in your back pocket. We’ve provided the simple and basic steps, but doing your own research and following more in-depth tutorials can help you make sure you’re prepared to take on your own basic repairs without doing more harm than good.
Jumpstarting a car
While this might not fit your traditional definition of repair, knowing how to jumpstart your car can keep you from having to call roadside assistance. It’s a fundamental skill and you never know when it’ll help you or someone else!
If you don’t already know how to jumpstart your vehicle, here’s the lowdown. You’ll need your jumper cables and another car, which should be put in neutral with the ignition shut off, as well as yours. Then, with one of the red clips, hook the positive terminal of your battery to the same on the other vehicle. The black clip will need to be attached to the negative terminal of the battery of the other car at one end, and at the other, it will need to be attached to an unpainted metal surface like part of the frame of your vehicle. Now you should be able to try to start your vehicle.
When you think about it, your windshield wipers play a huge part in safety when you drive. If you’ve ever driven with old, worn-out wipers in a downpour or blizzard, you know that visibility can get hazy or even nonexistent. If you don’t replace your wipers and they fail on you during a stormy commute, an accident or damage to your vehicle is definitely a possibility. Fortunately, wiper blade replacement is an easy fix.
All you have to do is lift the arm of the wiper away from the windshield, then find and press a small tab that will release the wiper blade. Then, all you have to do is line up the new wiper blade with the arm and push it in, making sure it’s secure.
Changing a flat
Without your wheels, you’re going nowhere. A flat tire can bring your trip to a screeching halt, and it can happen at any time. Thankfully, changing a flat tire is easy enough to learn, and can really save you in a sticky situation.
You’ll need a wrench, a jack stand, and a spare tire. Loosen your lug nuts with your wrench, lift your car off of the ground with your jack stand, and remove the lug nuts and the flat tire. Then, you can put your spare tire on, replace your lug nuts, lower your car, and make sure your lug nuts are tight and secure. It may take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great skill to have in your back pocket.
Replacing a headlight or taillight
Driving with a broken head or tail light will not only make your drive dark and inconvenient, but it’s also illegal and can get you pulled over. When your lights fade or break, you’ll want to replace them ASAP, so why waste time and money going to a mechanic when you can get the job done yourself?
Remove the screws that connect the frame of the headlight to the bracket, disconnect the electrical connector, and from there you can remove and replace your burnt-out bulb with a new one before plugging the connector back in and screwing it back to your frame.
As you may know, your oil is essential to the smooth operation of your vehicle, so you’ll need to regularly check and change it to help your engine run longer and prevent any unnecessary damage. Checking and changing your oil is a fundamental step in taking care of your car. For this service, you will need at least 4 quarts of new oil, a new oil filter, a drip pan to catch the soiled oil, a wrench, a funnel, and rags.
You’ll need to remove the oil drain plug on the underside of your car to drain the old oil and unscrew and empty the oil filter. Then, after replacing the filter and drain plug, you can open the oil reservoir in the engine compartment and pour in your new oil. Be sure to check on local ordinances on the disposal of motor oil.
With the know-how and capability of taking on these simple repairs and maintenance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to rely on an auto shop to take care of these tasks. That way, when more complex and difficult problems arise, it’ll be easier to afford those big price tags from the shop.