7 Common Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Car maintenance can be an expensive endeavour. But there are steps you can take on your own to save both money and trips to an auto shop.

Scratches on your car are an annoying inconvenience that can rack up hundreds of dollars in bodywork costs, but with a touch-up kit and basic tools you can fix these quickly yourself.

1. Change the Oil

An oil change may seem simple enough, and can often save both time and money over going to a shop. Doing it yourself takes less than 30 minutes once you understand your vehicle’s particular quirks.

Your vehicle requires several supplies for servicing. A ratchet and socket to undo the drain plug; an oil pan (available from auto parts stores); funnel, roll of paper towels, disposable gloves as well as the right type and amount of oil (as specified in its owner’s manual); as well as an oil filter will all come in handy.

2. Replace the Battery

A dead battery is one of the most prevalent auto issues, yet its repair can be fairly straightforward. Just ensure your new battery is prepped before lifting it from its old one (it helps if gloves and towels are available). Start by loosening its negative cable clamp using a wrench; clean its terminals using baking soda mixed with water or an automobile-specific lubricant solution; then mount and install your new battery.

Once clamps have been disconnected, loosen and disconnect the negative terminal (usually labeled with a “minus sign”). Finally, unplug its positive terminal.

3. Change the Oil Filter

As engine oil circulates through its system, it becomes exposed to contaminants like metal shavings and combustion byproducts, which circulate throughout the engine and can damage it. An oil filter captures these particles before they enter but over time may become clogged up with debris and begin filtering less effectively.

Start by loosening and draining old oil from your engine using a funnel to avoid spillage. Once done, tighten up the oil fill cap (a round cover at the top of your engine that allows you to check or pour oil) and tightening back on for ease.

Locate your new filter–it should be a cylindrical component that screws onto or slips into the housing of an air filter. Secure it securely using either a filter wrench or manually by hand-tightening no more than 3/4 turns.

4. Change the Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are integral to the performance of any automobile, yet over time they may burn out and lead to misfires, reduced fuel economy and an illuminated Check Engine light. To avoid such problems, change out your spark plugs regularly.

Before replacing spark plugs on your vehicle, ensure the engine is cold. This will minimize thermal expansion damage while also avoiding over-tightening the new plugs.

Use a socket wrench to unscrew the old spark plug using a counterclockwise motion, taking care not to force it out as this could break it.

5. Change the Fuel Filter

Your car’s fuel filter should be located near or within the engine compartment. As with other repairs, for specific instructions on locating and changing its filter. Consult your owner’s manual.

First, disconnect the fuel pump fuse or relay to depressurize the system and avoid fuel spraying out when disconnecting the filter. Next, loosen any clips or “banjo bolts” holding down the fuel line from the filter before taking steps to disconnect and remove it safely – be sure to place an empty container underneath your filter to catch any runoff that may escape!

6. Change the Air Filter

Your car’s air filter plays an essential role in maintaining optimal engine health. By meticulously filtering incoming air, it ensures only pure oxygen reaches your engine and fuel system.

Unscrew the hood and locate your filter box, usually a black plastic box with latches at its top and a hose protrusion. Open it, remove any used filters, and replace them with new ones.

DIY car repairs like this one are among the simplest and easiest for any DIY enthusiast, yet still present potential hazards (there may be sharp metal edges present in your engine bay). Just take care when approaching this project to protect yourself! Before beginning this task.

7. Replace the Oxygen Sensor

Your oxygen sensor sends readings directly to your car’s computer, helping it determine whether or not its engine is operating too richly or leanly. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor may result in poor fuel economy, engine misfires and an illuminated “Check Engine Light.” If a sensor becomes defective it can lead to poor fuel economy, engine misfires and an illuminated “Check Engine Light.”

Oxygen sensors can be fairly straightforward to replace on your own, although you might encounter difficulty unbolting the old one. Apply a generous coating of penetrating oil before using a wrench and oxygen sensor socket (some auto parts stores offer these free of charge) to unscrew it from its exhaust bung. Be careful not to damage any wiring connections!

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