9 DIY Auto Maintenance Tasks Every Car Owner Should Know
Auto Maintenance Helps Your Car Last Longer
Keeping your car in tiptop shape shouldn’t always have to be heavy on your pocket. Sure, there are many car maintenance jobs that should be left to the professionals, especially the auto body work. However, there are also many other tasks that are considered simple enough that you can do them on your own. Here are 9 of the most basic maintenance jobs you should learn to do yourself.
Some of these you can do easily at home, but some vehicles make it kind of difficult to do. If you need help, bring your vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center and we will get them taken care of for you (or at least get you to the right mechanic that can help).
Replace a busted or burned out headlight
As long as your car does not have sealed beam headlights, you will be able to replace busted bulbs on your own. Check your front lights regularly to see if any bulb needs replacing, and if one does, make sure you get the correct bulb for your car, then go ahead and do the replacement yourself.
Replace windshield wipers
When you’re driving in the rain, one of your most needed allies is a properly functioning windshield wiper. So never ever take your windshield wipers for granted. Once you see streaks on your windshield, purchase a new wiper and replace your defective ones immediately. Most simply clip on and can be installed in about 30 seconds.
Replace fuel filters
The purpose of fuel filters is to keep your system clean so fuel injection will work properly. Changing your filters regularly is essential in maintaining your engine’s optimal working condition. And you can save a lot by changing your filter yourself. A word of caution, though. To avoid injury to yourself or damage to your engine, make sure you disconnect the battery and release the fuel system pressure before going ahead with fuel filter replacement.
Replace brake pads
When your brake pads get worn out, your vehicle’s stopping ability will get seriously compromised, which means danger for you, your passengers, the vehicles around you, and your own vehicle, of course. You’ll know it’s time for a replacement when you hear a squeaking noise upon applying your brakes. If it’s more than just a squeak, though, the issue with your brake might be something more serious, so it will be better to seek professional assistance in such case.
Do an oil change
Oil change is typically done after a certain mileage or period of time (most shops say 3,000 miles or 3 months). Check your owner’s manual for this information, as well as the type and quantity of oil recommended for your vehicle. Once you are able to purchase the oil you need, the procedure for replacement is a fairly easy one. Unscrew the oil filler cap, oil filter and drain plug; drain your oil; put in your new oil; then screw everything back in.
The challenge is in properly disposing of your used oil. Don’t just dump it down the drain. Check online if there is a disposal site near you, or bring your used oil to an auto shop so it can be recycled (WalMart in Billings accepts used oil).
Change your battery
Just like changing your oil, changing your battery should also be a task you can do yourself. The procedure is quite straightforward: Remove the negative terminal, followed by the positive terminal and all the other connections tying the battery down, and then pull the battery out. Next, wipe off dirt and other residue from the terminals. Finally, install the new battery by tying it back down, connecting the positive terminal, then the negative terminal. Dispose of your old battery properly by taking it to an auto shop or a recycling center (you will get your $9 or $15 core fee back when you bring in the old battery).
Change your spark plugs
As carbon deposits accumulate on and around your spark plug, the overall efficiency of your vehicle will become seriously degraded because your spark plug will lose its ability to properly ignite the air/fuel mixture of your engine. With a worn out spark plug, driving will not be as smooth, and fuel consumption will become much more wasteful. Most spark plugs require replacement after around 30,000 miles. To be sure, however, check your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendation. Some require a special wrench to get them out.
Change blown fuses
Similar with your home, malfunctioning electric-powered components and accessories is usually caused by a blown fuse. Check your fuse box to determine which fuse needs replacement. Check your manual to find out the type of fuse required. Purchase the correct fuse needed, and then do the replacement (it’s usually quick and easy, unless you can’t find the right fuse).
Flush your radiator
To ensure that your engine doesn’t overheat, your radiator should be kept clean. Otherwise, deposits can build up and clog your cooling system. To maintain your radiator’s optimal working condition, learn how to flush your radiator so you can perform regular flushes on your own. Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended flushing schedule, and the right mix of anti-freeze.
A gentle reminder
For a DIY job to be successful in helping you save up on cost and time, always keep the following in mind:
- Know if the task is something you can really do by yourself
- Have the proper tools
- Buy the proper replacement materials
- Strictly adhere to safety protocols
- Follow the correct procedure
- Know the value of your time
Big Sky Collision Center fixes Vehicles
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we can fix auto body damage. Most of the maintenance items on our list are not auto body, but rather mechanical. We can recommend you to a good mechanic if that is what you need.
Whether you need your vehicle repainted, have some paintless dent removal needs, or need an affordable auto detailing, we can take care of you! Big Sky Collision is located in downtown Billings. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time for your repairs.