It’s a common misconception that car problems are better left to professionals. While that might be true in some cases, there are some car faults you should handle yourself with the right tips, of course. Going for car serviceshouldn’t be your next option if all you’re dealing with is a faulty spark plug.
However, if you’re looking for what you’ve been doing wrong during DIY sessions, you’re at the right place. Here are 5 tips you need to know when embarking on your next DIY car servicing.
Know what you’re working with
It’s imperative you know exactly what you’re working with. If you have a common problem like a faulty air filter or a malfunctioning oil filter, changing the filters should be a walk in the park. Here are some minor car problems you might face and how to tackle them:
1. Faulty air filter
You should change the air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles. Funny enough, twelve minutes is all you need to fix this issue. Just make sure you follow the steps below:
- Your air filter is usually in a black rectangular box with metal clips under the hood of your car. Locate it. If you can’t find it, refer to your manufacturer’s manual for help.
- Open the casing to check how the old air filter is fitted into it. Take note of the position of the filter.
- Remove the old filter and insert the new one in the same position.
- Close the metal clips when you’re done.
2. Bad spark plugs
Usually, your spark plug needs replacing after driving about 30,000 miles. Take care not to rush things when replacing your spark plug. You’d need all the concentration you can get to install the replacements in a specific order. Follow these steps down below to fix the problem:
- Locate your spark plug.
- Know the number of spark plugs your car has. Six or eight?
- Remove the wire to the first plug only. DO NOT remove all the wires at once because they’re installed in a particular order.
- Remove the first spark plug using your socket and extension.
- Install the new plug, screwing it in by hand at first. Then tighten it using a wrench.
- Re-attach the spark plug wire.
- Repeat the same thing for other affected plugs taking note of their positions.
3. Faulty oil filter
You should change the oil filter once every 3,000 miles. To do just that, follow these steps below:
- Locate your car’s oil pan.
- Unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into your pan.
- Replace the drain plug once all your oil is drained.
- Go to your engine and remove the existing oil filter with your wrench (be cautious with this).
- Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new filter with fresh oil.
- Fill the filter two-thirds of the way with fresh oil.
- Screw in the new oil filter. Hand-tighten it only.
- Pour the new oil in the engine using your funnel.
- Check to confirm you’ve added enough.
- Discard the old oil filter and recycle the old oil (if possible).
4. Bad windshield wipers
You don’t necessarily need car service to take care of a faulty windshield wiper. Instead, follow these tips down below and get things done:
- Lift the blades a little bit with your hands.
- Take note of the connection between the old metal blades and the new ones.
- Most cars would have a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab and remove the old blade.
- Attach the new ones, making sure you don’t bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Tighten everything up and make sure the new ones are secure.
5. Battery maintenance
Did you know a few specks of carbon residue could stop your car from starting? Don’t get caught unawares. Instead, follow these steps:
- Remove your battery terminals (start with the negative terminals first).
- Clean the posts using any cleaner of your choice.
- Rinse the fluid with a little water.
- Dry the posts with rags (don’t air-dry them).
- Replace the battery terminals.
On the other hand, problems like overheating, broken suspension belts, and an imbalanced steering wheel are best left in the hands of a professional.
Take safety seriously
You don’t want to end up paying thousands in hospital bills after a DIY servicing session, do you? To prevent medical emergencies, make sure to have a pair of gloves on your hands and some protective clothing (not necessarily an overall). Just find something that leaves less skin to injury.
Use the right tools
If you’re embarking on DIY servicing, make sure you have at least these ten tools in your car before doing anything:
- A wrench set.
- Protective gloves.
- Protective Eyewear.
- Car conditioners/cleaners.
- Jack stands.
- Car battery changer.
Know when to stop
If you run out of options during DIY servicing, it’s better you refrain from touching the issue. Doing so could make things much worse. If changing your air filter didn’t solve your problem, then the problem is much more complicated. Call in a professional car service mechanic instead.
Ask for help when necessary.
Whether it be a friend or a professional, never be scared to ask for help about things you don’t understand. Now you can see that you don’t really need car service to take care of some flimsy car problems. Apply these tips to your next session, and you should be fine.
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