How do you feel when your car breaks down? I know I personally feel jittery, nervous, and most definitely annoyed! I keep thinking that if only I had done this or that maintenance on it months ago. I am definitely learning from my mistakes and will share this sponsored post with you in the hope that you will save hundreds by doing the automotive repairs that you can do yourself, but also that you will know when the matter involving your car is bigger than you, and so you need to use a pro.
Car repair and maintenance can put a dent in yourwallet every month if you aren’t prepared. The gas alone can cost oodles amounts of money. Then there’s the rest of the car, not just the fuel tank. Although everything needs to be maintained to keep it running smoothly, there are some do-it-yourself repairs that can save you a whole bunch of change.
With a little basic knowledge and a few tools, you can service your vehicle without visiting a mechanic. Keep in mind that some things require a mechanic, but here are a couple of repairs you can do yourself.
Replacing your battery is probably the easiest, other than minor things like installing new windshield wipers, of DIY repairs. A battery usually lasts 3-5 years, so check out the date that’s usually stamped on your current battery. You don’t actually have to wait until your battery dies to change it out. If it’s years are up- then maybe it’s time for a new one. You don’t want to feel the anxiety of knowing your battery might give out.
If you’re wanting a new battery, yes there are used options, the average price is $80-$120. This, of course, depends on your vehicle. If you decide to take it somewhere to have it changed, they might cost you upwards of $200. All you need is a basic set of wrenches, and maybe somegloves for the grease that could be hanging about. Let’s get started:
- Remove black (negative) cable first then red (positive)
- Take out old battery
- Put in new battery
- Replace positive cable and THEN negative cable
Now that you’ve officially changed your battery and saved money, your car is happy.
Remember those easy-to-install windshield wipers mentioned previously? Going to the automotive shop for this sort of change can cost up to $100 when purchasing the wipers yourself can cost as low as $20. Do the math, this DIY project is definitely more convenient for you to do.
This job only takes minutes and the instructions are provided for you on the wipers’ replacement package. In most cases, the wipers just slide out and you can slide the new ones in. Make sure you get the correct wipers for your vehicle, which can be assessed from your vehicle manual, the internet, or at the auto-parts store.
Changing your own brake pads might sound alarming, but it’s actually quite simple and more importantly, inexpensive. Maybe you’ve heard a lot of hubbub about replacing brake pads, but in truth, you won’t require a mechanic if you have everything needed for the job.
List of supplies:
- Wheel Lug Wrench
- Basic wrenches
- A floor jack andjack stands (you need these to lift the car up, so don’t get under the vehicle without jack stands-it could fall!)
After those are properly located, all you need now is thebrake pads. They might set you back around $20-$40, depending on the material and your vehicle type. If you compare this to the mechanic price average of $250, then you already know how much you’re saving.
Let’s move into what to do next. Thankfully, the procedure is quite basic.
- Take off the Wheel
- Remove the Hardware
- Pull out the Worn Pads
- Push in the Caliper Piston
- Install the New Pads
- Reinstall the Hardware
Even if this is your first time changing brake pads, you’ll probably be able to do this job within an hour. You’re well on your way to becoming an experienced mechanic yourself! To note, the new pads should last up to 50,000 miles depending on wear and tear. Check them every 10,000, because when the thickness of the pad falls below 2 millimeters, then it’s time to test your skills again.
Those pesky chips in your windshield. They disrupt your driving and cause your vehicle to look less appealing. Fortunately, fixing a small crack in your window is simple. Rule of thumb: if it’s smaller than a bill, it can be repaired, at least for a little while.
Replacing your windshield (check professional repair costs here or check autoglass if you’re in the UK) can really put a damper on your day, but sometimes it’s inevitable. To avoid it, if your chip is small, getting a windshield repair kit could help you out. They run around $15, which saves hundreds on installing a new window. The procedure:
- Dig out any loose glass with the device provided in the kit
- Thoroughly clean crack and surrounding area
- Stick a small device to the windshield which forms a seal around the damage
- Use a vacuum contraption to apply the resin into the crack.
This process takes a little more than half an hour, from package opening to the finished result. It will help the crack from spreading, which is something you want to prevent.
When to Visit a Mechanic
Some things are just better when left to the professionals. There are many more vehicle repairs that you can do yourself in addition to the ones listed, like changing fog lights or adding engine oil. When it comes to certain issues, however, get your car to the shop pronto.
A few of these include:
- Slow Moving Gears – If there’s a pause or jerk between shifting, rather than a smooth progression, your transmission may need some fixing.
- Exhaust Emissions – When smoke is billowing from your vehicle, then you need a check up. A clogged catalytic converter or clogged O2 sensor may be the culprit.
- Noisy Steering Wheel – This might mean your power steering has an issue. It might just be low power-steering fluid, but it can be tricky so unless you are extremely car-savvy, it’s best to rely on a mechanic.
- Shaky Vehicle – If your car is shaking, like a lot, this could mean your wheels are misaligned. Unfortunately, it could also be a sign of bigger issues.
Now, you’re probably at the top of your game in car knowledge! Take some of that know-how and put it to good use. But remember if you aren’t sure of what to do after thorough research, visiting an automotive repair shop is best.
Tell us in the comments below, your experience of doing car maintenance or repairs yourself. Also, if you have had any expensive trips to the experts regarding a car repair, share your story with us. Even better, share with us any simple tips you have for a DIY car repair or maintenance that will save us some money. You know we’re all about that.