For those that didn’t grow up in a family full of gear heads, the world of car repairs is a scary and confusing place full of hoses, wires, metal, and dirt. Auto maintenance intimidates most people. Which is why most vehicle owners let their mechanic do the dirty work.
In truth, car owners could save themselves a ton of money by taking care of a few of the simpler repair jobs themself. Today, we’re going to highlight a couple of automotive repairs jobs that almost anyone can do. Regular tire maintenance to headlight replacements, here our list of seven simple car repairs you might be able to get done all by yourself.
Changing Out Air Filters
Vehicles have two air filters, both of which require periodic maintenance. The engine filter prevents dust and dirt from making its way inside the engine, and should be replaced every 30,000 to 45,000 miles depending on the make and model of the vehicle.1 The cabin air filter, which removes dust and dirt from the vehicle’s HVAC system, should be replaced every 15,000 miles or so.
Changing out air filters is as simple as popping the old one out and sliding the new one in. Air filter replacement jobs don’t require any tools. Most people should be able to replace both in under 30-minutes, and doing so could save you an average of $30 per filter.2
Replacing the Battery
Replacing a battery is a touch more intimidating than sliding out a dusty old air filter, but the fundamentals of the job remain much the same. Though you will need a ratchet, a socket set and safety gear, most battery replacements can be done in under 15-minutes.
A lot depends on the make and model of the vehicle. Once you locate your battery, loosen the screws on the cable clamps to disconnect the battery terminals, taking care to remove the negative cable before the positive cable. Disconnect the battery, replace it with the new one using similar steps, and celebrate learning something new and saving yourself $50.
Installing New Windshield Wiper Blades
Installing new wiper blades isn’t hard but most people pay a premium to have them professionally installed all the same. The essential vision protecting tools only cost around $50, but auto shops typically charge around $35 in labor.3
Keep that money in your pocket and opt to install them yourself instead. You don’t need any special tools. Instead, simply identify the type of connector your car uses and follow the supplied instructions accordingly. How often you replace them depends on how often you drive, and where you live. A great rule of thumb is to prioritize replacement as soon as your current wipers start leaving streaks, or fail to remove moisture effectively.
Replacing Headlights and Taillights
Noticing a burnt out headlight feels a lot different when you know how to replace it yourself. Save yourself hours spent in an auto shop waiting room, and a potential ticket for waiting too long, by learning the necessary steps yourself.
It doesn’t matter if your vehicle uses HID or LED bulbs, both are easy to replace with as little as a screwdriver. You’ll want to review your owner’s manual before attempting to remove or replace a headlight or a taillight. It’s important to note that the job can be a bit trickier depending on the model. Still, replacing a broken headlight or taillight is simple enough for even the greenest gear head.4
All of the electricity surging through your vehicle runs through its fuse box. Just like the one in your home, car fuses are designed to blow out as a means of protecting a much more serious electrical problem. Replacing blown out fuses is about as easy as auto maintenance gets.
Start by examining each fuse to determine which one is blown. You’re looking for a brownish color, or a break in the fuse itself. Once located, remove the broken fuse and replace it with a fresh one. Again, be sure to consult your owners manual before touching or replacing anything.
Put It In Drive
Building confidence around cars takes time, experience, and a genuine interest in learning and testing things out. Nobody recommends rebuilding your engine from scratch. Large-scale auto repairs should only ever be handled by professionals. But, exploring a few of the simpler car maintenance tasks is a great way to get started.
The internet is the friend of anyone looking to learn something new. Tutorials, online classes, and whole online communities exist to chat with and ask questions. So don’t be discouraged when you can’t quite figure everything out. Instead, double down on your desire to learn more.