Your DIY Car Maintenance Guide
By Space Coast Daily // December 8, 2020
Owning a vehicle comes with the responsibility of routinely taking care and maintaining it. You need to keep it clean and schedule regular maintenance to keep it running at its best.
Given the expenses, many car owners skip maintenance, which worsens the existing car issues and further adds extra zeros to their bills.
But, you can prevent these expenses and still keep your car running in its full glory only if you know how to carry out car maintenance on your own.
Here is a quick DIY maintenance guide for you:
■ Air filters
The shelf life of air filters is 12,000 miles or 12 months, and the cost of changing them is anywhere between $20 and $50. But, you can easily replace the air filter at home within 10 minutes.
Start with locating the filter under the hood. Find a rectangular black box with metal clips. As soon as you locate it, open the box, visually inspect the air filter, and take a mental note of how it fits. Now, take out the old filter and place the new one. Make sure you place the new one exactly the old one was placed. After securing the filter, close the metal clips.
To enhance the shelf life of your filter, hit it with compressed air every 2 months. This will clean all the debris.
■ Spark Plugs
A very easy process, changing spark plugs merely takes 20 to 30 minutes and $10 to $15. Spark plugs are attached to large rubbery wires, and hence, it is very easy to locate them. Your car may have four, six, or eight plugs corresponding to the number of cylinders it has.
Once you reach the spark plugs, start removing the wire. But, instead of removing all the wires at once, remove them one by one as they are installed in a specific order and you need to maintain it.
Pull out the first plug, install the new one, secure it, and re-attach the plug wire. Repeat the process for other spark plugs.
Once your car reaches 30,000 miles, consider it the right time to change the spark plugs.
■ Headlights and taillights
Replacing a headlight can cost you a bomb. A halogen bulb costs anywhere between $15 and $20, while the cost of HID bulbs is $100 or more. The average cost of replacing the headlight assembly can be anywhere between $250 and $700.
But, you can save money on replacing the headlights or taillights of your car by doing it yourself. Remove the screws securing the headlight frame and disconnect the electrical connector. Now, remove the old bulb, fit the new one, secure all the electrical connections, and then, the frame.
Make sure you replace the headlight as soon as it breaks as driving your car with a broken headlight is immensely risky and also, illegal.
A problem with the car battery can be very annoying as it completely prevents the car from starting. But, with some easy maintenance tips, you can always keep your battery running in its best form. All you need to do is check your battery once in a while and clean the terminals.
To clean it, detach the battery terminals (negative cable first). Thoroughly clean the posts using a good quality cleaner. You can also make your DIY cleaner by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of hot water. Apply this mixture to the posts and clean it using a wire brush. Rinse the posts with water and dry them thoroughly. Once they are dry, replace the battery terminals.
■ Radiator flush
Debris and other deposits hinder the cooling system of your car, and hence, you should always keep the radiator and cooling system clean with regular radiator flush.
Locate the radiator’s drain plug, unscrew it, and drain the old coolant. Make sure the engine has been cooled for 20 minutes before doing this process. Replace the drain plug. Now, remove the radiator cap and add the cleaning solution. Fill the radiator with water and screw the cap on.
Now, turn on your car and let it run till it reaches the normal operating temperature. Turn the heater on and let it run for 10 minutes. Turn your car off and let the engine cool completely. Once cool, drain the cleaner from the radiator and fill it with the new coolant.
Flush the radiator in one or two years as suggested by the car manufacturer.
Car maintenance is necessary to keep the car running smoothly. But, if you can do it yourself, why spend money on expensive repairs? Buy the essential auto parts at partsgeek.com and use this guide to take care of your car.