Getting service done at the dealership or local mechanic can start to add up very fast. By learning to do basic and even intermediate services on your vehicle you can start saving a lot of money on an annual basis. A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of getting underneath their car and getting their hands dirty but it really isn’t as hard as people make it out to be. You just need to know the proper way to do certain services and have some basic equipment. This article is going to outline some tips and tricks to start doing some of your own service work so you can save money and still keep that precious warranty valid.
The Internet is Your Friend
There are sites online that are dedicated to helping you diagnose and repair your own car issues. A quick Google search is usually all you need to get expert advice on any basic repair. Sites like AutoMD are always there to answer your most basic questions and concerns.
Apply Some Pressure
A very common complaint that is heard when people are doing their own service work is that they cannot get a certain part to move or come off to be replaced. You car is not a fragile infant and sometimes needs some elbow grease to get those old brake pads off. Don’t be scared to get out the pry bar and put some muscle into it.
Buy a Basic Tool Set
You do not need to have all the tools in the world and don’t even need to buy them brand new. Get a basic set by searching your local classifieds or sales at the local hardware store. Things you will need are different screw drivers, a basic jack, torque wrenches, adjustable wrenches, pliers, and a crowbar. This is all basic stuff you can get cheap.
Use Your Owner’s Manual
You know that booklet that sits in the glove box gathering dust? That book has a lot of good information in it for showing you what is what in your car. Some older manuals even include diagrams of some of the larger systems so you can order replacement parts and know where they go.
Use common sense when doing any car repairs. If you need to be underneath your car for any length of time make sure the jacks are secured properly and have someone else with you if possible. Also, if you are doing anything under the hood make sure you give your engine enough time to cool down properly. There is no need to go right at it and suffer burns or worse.
Change Your Oil Filter
This should be common knowledge but a lot of do it yourselfers forget to change their oil filter at the same time as they change the actual oil. There is no need to contaminate your brand new oil by throwing a used filter back on after the fluid change. It is a very inexpensive part that should be changed every single time to ensure you get maximum use from your new oil.
Leave Motors and Electrical to the Pros
I know it may seem like you can do your electrical work yourself but it just isn’t worth the risk. You may just be replacing that small Web Antriebe 50W motor for your power windows but if you manage to short anything you could have some major computer issues. With the amount of electrical and computer components in the modern vehicle one small short can cause an array of issues so it is best to leave this stuff to the professionals.
Never Replace One Tire
If you have worn down tires it is never a good idea to replace one at a time, this can throw off your alignment and cause a whole host of issues with your suspension system. The rule of thumb is to replace tires in pairs but it is always best if you can do all four of them at the same time.
Always Check your Calipers
When replacing brake pads and rotors a lot of DIY people forget to check that their calipers are aligned properly. This can lead to a dangerous situation of your brakes not working the way they should and in some cases be fatal. Be very careful when replacing your brakes and take extra care to make sure the calipers are aligned and moving freely.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
There is no reason to be too proud to ask for help on a car repair. Even certified mechanics need to ask for help on repairs at times so don’t think that you can do everything yourself. You may love saving money by doing it yourself but there are some things that need an expert’s opinion.
Following these simple tips will help you in your conquest to become a do it yourself car care person. You will never be able to do every single repair on your own, especially with the amount of computer technology in vehicles today. Make sure you take your time and follow our advice and you will still save money on your monthly maintenance bills.