Easy-to-do car maintenance that you can handle by yourself
Sticking to your maintenance is the most proven and cost-effective way of keeping your car on the road and running well. We know that some automotive maintenance requires a garage and a professional mechanic, but there are many small tasks that you can do in your driveway with almost no experience.
Some of these tasks are preventative checks while others replace small parts from your car as they become old. Mastering the following items will allow you to keep your car safe and spot a variety of small problems before they turn into bigger and costlier problems.
A tip: If you’re having a hard time with any of the below checks, go to YouTube for a guide. The platform is full of very useful visual explanations for easy-to-do maintenance.
This is an effortless task. It’s cheap and crucial to help clear a dirty windshield. Depending on your car, you may get a warning when the washer fluid is running low. The plastic container is typically near the engine and you can easily fill it with a bottle of washer fluid and a funnel. Fill it up to ensure you always have a clear view of the road ahead.
If you’ve filled up the washer fluid but your windshield is still not clean, you should probably get new wiper blades. Wiper blades are generally easy to replace and are sized specifically for your vehicle. Depending on your car and its design, many cars use two wiper blades of different sizes. Any automobile parts store will have a booklet that will define the blade sizes for your vehicle.
There are different ways of installing them, but most will have a corresponding guide included in the packaging that should only take a few minutes.
Before installing the new blades, take a minute to understand how the old blades are mounted, and then install the new ones in the same way.
Check and maintain tire pressure
Doing this task ensures the performance and safety of your tires. Most drivers ignore their tires until there is a problem. You should use a tire pressure gauge to check that your tires are appropriately inflated especially before long trips. If one of your tires is low and you don’t have a pump, most gas stations have a pump. when you are checking the pressure, also keep an eye on the tire wear and condition. If any of the tires appear worn or damaged, have it replaced at once. For more information, check out “Tires explained” and don’t forget to have your tires rotated and properly balanced to ensure their durability.
When the air draws inside the engine, it is an air filter’s job to clean it. Depending on your vehicle, the placement and accessibility of the air filter will vary, but changing it shouldn’t be too difficult and the air filter is normally housed in a plastic box in the engine bay. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to know when you’re due for a new filter. If you’re unsure of when it was last replaced, take a look at the current filter. If it’s cracked, brittle, or entirely clogged with dirt and debris, pick up a new one at your local auto parts store and replace the old filter.
Furthermore, most cars have a cabin air filter that helps to clean the air being drawn into the cabin by the climate control system. It can become dirty and ineffective over time. Check your owner’s manual to spot the location of the cabin filter in your car and then examine to see if a new one will refresh your driving experience.
All the cars use several fluids to help their systems to function. While replacing some of the fluids may be best done by a professional mechanic, keeping an eye on the fluids can give you an early warning of developing problems or failing safety in your vehicle.
Park the car on a level surface open the hood and wait for the engine to get cool, then remove the dipstick (generally labeled “engine oil”), wipe it off, put it back, and then pull it back out. The oil level will be revealed on a gauge at the end of the stick. If the oil level is low, you can add some oil to the engine yourself or you can have it done by your local mechanic. You should never overfill your engine or drive without oil since either of them can cause considerable damage to your engine.
also known as Coolant, it helps your car’s radiator keep the engine at the proper and operating temperature and if you’re low on coolant, your car’s engine will likely overheat. For most cars, the coolant is stored in a plastic container mounted near the radiator under the hood. There should be indicators on the side and if your car is running low, fresh coolant can be poured directly into the container.
Remember that some coolants have to be mixed with water while others are pre-mixed. Get help from your local auto parts store or your mechanic if you don’t know which to use.
The brake fluid level is indicated on a container in your vehicle’s engine bay. To find it, look for a label on the container or consult your owner’s manual. If the level appears low, filling it is likely only a stopgap until you can have it checked by a mechanic, since you may have a leak or other issue with the pressure in your brakes. If your vehicle seems to be losing brake fluid, get help from a professional mechanic at once.
Read your manual
It may sound boring, but car maintenance is about knowing what your car needs to continue to run as planned by the manufacturer. So dig in, and learn more about your car, what it needs to stay at its best and how it was designed. If you don’t have a manual for your car, Consult your local dealership.
While car maintenance can be complicated and boring, most of what is described here can be maintained just by knowing what to look for. From a streaky windshield to worn-out tires or even an overheated engine, our cars are getting older and older, and learning to check just a few things will help to keep your car in running condition for many years.