Five Easy Auto Fixes

161338480.161338481-001_.jpg
Even with the advanced technology and computerized automotive systems that most vehicles come equipped with, there are still simple maintenance tasks that you can do that will save you time and money.

This list of DIY car maintenance projects requires few tools and no experience. If you've hung a picture or pounded a nail, you can tackle any one of them. By doing these jobs yourself, not only save money, but there are added benefits. And who knows, you just might like the hands-on experience enough that you'll move on to other DIY projects.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Properly Inflate Your Tires

The average consumer doesn’t realize the importance of properly inflated tires. If your tires are under-inflated, it can decrease your fuel economy, costing you hundreds of dollars. Take 15 minutes, once a month and make sure your tires are properly inflated. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and an air pump. If you don’t have an air pump, you can usually find one at a gas station.

Reducing fuel cost should not be the only reason you keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can improve safety by improving handling during emergency braking and cornering, prolong tire life.

Tire Rotation

Tires tend to wear differently depending upon where they are on the vehicle. Front tires often wear faster than rear tires because braking and cornering is more demanding on them. Plus, you can save approximately $120 a year and all you need is an jack stand, tire iron, car jack, and about an hour of your time.

When rotating your tires, be sure to follow the rotation pattern laid out in your owners manual. Also, check for defects and premature wear. You may be able to spot a foreign object in your tire that is causing a leak.

Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter only takes five minutes and will keep dirt out of your engine and improve fuel economy. Plus, it can save you $60 in labor costs. All you will need is an air filter, which you can pick up at any parts store, and a screwdriver. To find out how often to change your air filter, refer to your owners manual. If you live in an area with lots of dust, you will need to change your air filter more often.

Replace Bulbs and Fuses

While it may not cost much for a mechanic to change a bulb or fuse, many shops markup the price for the part. Plus, you have to drive to the garage and wait around. Instead, just pick up the bulbs and fuses from you local automotive parts store and look at refer to your owners manual.

Before you begin changing any bulb, review the instructions and take a look at the access point first. If it looks a little too tight, then take your car to the pros and let them change the headlight or taillight bulb for you. On the other hand, the fuse compartment in easy to reach. You may have to look at the electrical chart in your owner’s manual in order to find the right fuse.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

An oil change is one of the more advanced item on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Anyone with a little mechanical knowledge and the right tools can change their own oil. Plus, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing it yourself. All you need is:

  • A Car jack
  • Oil pan for Catching the Old Oil
  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil-filter Wrench
  • Recycling Bottles for the Oil
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Engine Oil
  • Oil Filter

 


More Tips:

180568319.180569144-1-001_.jpg
Brake Pads and Rotors
There are many components to the breaking system, and while all these components may seem daunting, the braking system is DIY friendly, especially the brake pads and rotors. Brake pads and rotors are two components of the braking system that need changing the most. Brake pads tend to wear down due to the friction that they encounter when the drive presses on the brake pedal. If they wear down enough, they can wear grooves into the rotors which will mean replacing or turning the rotors as well.

DIY Brake Pads

When it is time to change your brake pads, you don’t necessarily have to take the vehicle into the shop. A brake pad replacement is something that you can do yourself. While it may seem a little daunting, it is actually quite easy. Brake pads are easily accessible aren’t a hassle to change. They are the perfect maintenance item for a DIYer to tackle.


DIY Brake Rotor

When brake rotors are damaged by worn brake pads or road debris, they will either need to be turned or replaced. Sometimes turning rotors will be sufficient enough smooth out the grooves within the brake rotors. If the rotors need turning, then the vehicle will have to be taken to a repair shop to have a mechanic turn the rotors. But, if they need changing, then it is a task that you could do yourself. There are no special tools that are needed and as long as you have a jack, they are easily accessible.

By changing the brake pad and rotors yourself, not only can you save tons of money, but you can also help to maintain the validity of your factory warranty and extended auto warranty if applicable. If something within the braking system fails due to the lack of maintenance of your brake pads and brake rotors, then your warranty may not cover the cost of repairs. So, if you are up for the task, then tackle the brake pads and brake rotors and maintain your Do it Yourself (DIY) status.

See our expert tips!

 

mp900401427-001.jpg
Preparing Your Car for Hurricane Season
  • Maintenance
  • Vehicle Documents
  • Registration
  • Insurance papers
  • Extended Warranty contract, if applicable

The registration, title, and insurance papers are essential to your vehicle. But, so are the warranty documents. If a mechanical breakdown were to happen while you were on the road or away from your home, you will may need you factory warranty or extended warranty documents along with your maintenance records in order to obtain repairs that may be needed. Also, the warranty documentation will have the number to roadside assistance if needed.

If you have more than one vehicle and you decided to leave one at home, then your vehicle needs to stored correctly. Usually, an enclosed garage would be the first option. But if you do not have one, it is best to park your vehicle away from trees and low lying areas. Most damage from a hurricane is caused by wind and flooding. So, if a garage is not an option, find the highest point in your yard, that is away from trees and park your vehicle there.

Hurricane season is a time to prepare. When preparing for an upcoming storm and/or for evacuation don’t forget about your vehicle. Make sure that it has all it is up to date on maintenance, that you have all documentation regarding your vehicle, and if it is staying behind, make sure that it is stored correctly. Doing this can give you one less thing to worry about during a very stressful time.

See our expert tips!

 

185682587.185686654-001_.jpg
How to Properly Check Your Tire Tread
Performing regular maintenance on your vehicle will help keep your car running for as long as possible. Part of vehicle maintenance is making sure your tires are in proper working condition. While much car maintenance requires the work of a technician, this one of the things you can do yourself.

To check your tire tread, all you need is a penny. A penny substitutes for the traditional tire tread depth gauge. It’s important to determine the depth of your tire down to the 32nds of an inch, and a penny is just as accurate. Place the penny in the several tread grooves across your tire. You will also want to go around the circumference of the tire to ensure that there is no uneven wear.

Now, how do you determine the depth? Lincoln’s head should always be covered. If it is, then you have more then 2/32” of tread depth remaining. If it is not, you will need to get your tires replaced. According to most state laws, tires are legally worn out at 2/32” of tread depth.

It is important that you replace your tires when they’ve reached this depth as it’s a matter of safety. The less tread your tires have, the poorer their performance will be. Their resistance to hydroplaning in the snow greatly reduces, and traction in the snow essentially disappears. If you rotate your tires and change them out for new ones when necessary, you will not only keep your car in top of the line form but also keep yourself and your passengers safe.
See our expert tips!

 

Back to Tips and Tricks