Maintaining your car is essential to keep it running smoothly and extending its useful life. If you do the work yourself, you can save a large sum of money. However, simply doing the job yourself doesn't guarantee you're doing it right. Here are some routine car maintenance tasks, tips on how to perform them, and a quick analysis of costs and difficulties to help you decide if you want to do them yourself.
Keep in mind that this doesn't factor in the cost of the tools you'll need. Handling these simple car maintenance tasks yourself can save you time and money. Here are 13 essential DIY car maintenance tasks you can do at home:1.
Air Filter Replacement: To save more in the long run, you can extend the life of your new air filter by tapping it with a little compressed air to remove any debris. This is a simple task that requires no tools.2.
Spark Plug Replacement: Most spark plugs need to be replaced after about 30,000 miles, but check your owner's manual to see if your vehicle is different. While changing spark plugs may seem like a lot of work, it's a fairly simple process.
You just need to set aside a little time and exercise patience. Do not rush, because you need to install the replacements in a specific order.3.
Brake Pad Replacement: You'll need to replace most brake pads every 20,000 miles, but as always, consult your owner's manual for specific model information. If you drive a lot of “stop and go” on a consistent basis, you'll need to replace them more often. Brake pads are DIY friendly, but safety is their top priority.
Be careful, prepare everything before you start and, if you feel uncomfortable, pay a professional to do it for you.4.
Fuel System Maintenance: Dealing with the fuel system is serious, so if you're not familiar with any of these terms and don't know where to start, visit your mechanic for this regular service.5.Oil Change: Oil is one of the most important fluids for your vehicle's engine. Over time and mileage, engine oil breaks down and loses effectiveness in lubricating critical engine components. That's why it's important to change your engine oil on a regular basis. Oil needs to be changed on most vehicles every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.6.
Oil Filter Replacement: The oil filter must also be replaced during the oil change.7.
Serpentine Belt Replacement: Virtually every car today uses a serpentine belt to operate engine accessories.
In many cases, belts can easily last 50,000 miles or more. But since the belts have a hard life in the engine compartment, check yours for signs of wear, such as cracking of the rubber. The good news is that a serpentine belt can usually be replaced with a simple wrench and bushing, which relieves the tensioner to allow the old belt to be removed and the new one to slide into place.8.
Tire Rotation: Acting like a set of shoes, your tires connect your vehicle to the road. To maximize their service life and promote even wear, it's a good idea to rotate your tires twice a year.
You can do it at home with just a few brackets and the jack and wrench that come with your car. It should be noted that some tires are directional, which means that they can only be turned on the same side of the vehicle. In addition, some stepped wheel configurations may not allow you to turn your tires, so you may end up replacing a pair of tires sooner, depending on your alignment settings.9.
Wheel Alignment: Other maintenance tasks such as changing brake pads or aligning wheels can help you maintain control of your vehicle and avoid potentially dangerous situations on the road.10.
Battery Replacement: Replacing the battery is a simple process. This project is necessary because you don't want to be stranded somewhere or even have to jump your car at home when you're late for work or an appointment.11.
Spark Plug Cleaning: Spark plugs can last up to 100,000 miles, although you may need to clean them from time to time.
The spark plug removal process is easy and you can handle it with a specialized spark plug wrench. In some cars, it's helpful to have the help of an inspection camera which you can use to see inside the small space where the plugs are located.12.