DIY Car Maintenance Tips Every Driver Should Know

Maintaining your car properly is of utmost importance, and DIY repairs and maintenance can save both money and time.

However, some repairs require professional assistance, including complex engine or electrical issues. Doing the repairs yourself could void your manufacturer’s warranty.

Every driver should know some basic maintenance tips.

1. Change Your Oil

Oil changes don’t need to be difficult or stressful processes if done right; doing it yourself could actually save money and reduce wasteful spending! Just make sure that all necessary tools are handy before getting started; plastic sheeting or drop cloth should also be placed underneath your car to contain oil spills, while checking all hoses and belts when your engine is cool will give an advantage when changing oil yourself.

First, locate and disconnect the oil drain plug under your car, allowing any remaining oil to drain completely before replacing both plug and filter and adding oil per your owner’s manual. Recheck oil levels if required before adding more as necessary.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure

Maintaining proper tire inflation pressure is one of the most essential DIY car maintenance tips every driver must know. Overinflating can result in bumpy rides and poor handling while under-inflation will decrease gas mileage and lead to premature tire wear.

To check air pressure, a tire pressure gauge will come in handy. These are commonly found at gas stations with free air pumps, and tend to be reasonably inexpensive. Once you have one in hand, simply remove a valve cap from a tire and firmly press it against its stem for readings.

After you have obtained an accurate reading, inflate your tire to its recommended pressure and replace its valve cap. Repeat this for all tires in your possession including your spare – this small step can save money and time down the line.

3. Check Your Brakes

Brakes are an essential safety feature, but can easily be overlooked. Low or dirty brake fluid can have devastating repercussions for your vehicle’s performance and lead to accidents. A simple test can help identify whether there is an issue with your brakes.

Utilizing a flashlight, inspect for wet spots underneath your vehicle that might indicate leaks caused by faulty seal or pinched/corroded steel brake lines, or an impaired wheel cylinder.

If you spot a brake leak, pump your brakes and inspect underneath your vehicle to locate its source. Leaks from master cylinder, ABS module, brake lines, bleeder valve, calipers or wheels tend to be easier than expected to locate. Always replace components in pairs or as an axle set to ensure consistent braking action.

4. Check Your Headlights

Clear headlights aren’t just an aesthetic matter; they also significantly increase visibility and safety while driving. Cleaning them doesn’t require visiting an auto shop; all you need are some warm water, sponge, car soap and rag.

Conducting this simple task is effortless for even inexperienced drivers. Simply park your vehicle on level ground facing away from a wall. Turn on its headlights, use a tape measure to mark vertical and horizontal lines across its front and make sure that lower horizontal line is slightly higher than highest vertical one.

If your headlights have become severely clouded or yellowed, professional help may be required in order to restore them. Severe oxidation often requires more than what can be provided through DIY kits.

5. Check Your Tires

Low air pressure tires are not only dangerous; they can also compromise your car’s performance and consume more gas. Therefore, it is advisable to inspect them at least every month or prior to long trips with additional passengers or when transporting additional cargo.

Maintain the health of your tires by regularly inspecting for leaks. A fast leak can be found by spraying the tire with soapy solution and looking for bubbles; for slower leaks you may have to take other measures such as taking apart and dunking the wheel in water; pinhole or puncture repairs in tread can often be addressed via plugs; however damage to sidewall or valve stem must be replaced altogether.

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