When it comes to budgeting, one of the items that often gets overlooked or extremely difficult to estimate is car repairs and maintenance. Apart from the regular monthly expenses for gas and occasional oil change, not many repairs are envisaged by car owners. That is quite unfortunate since cars require regular and quality maintenance over their lives and if the owners neglect their cars, they end up paying through the nose. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. Namely, some of the easiest repairs can be done at home and we’ve prepared the following tips for you to follow if you’d like to give DIY action a chance in order to save money.
Brake pads replacement
It may sound like a daunting and challenging task, but it is basically a very straightforward and inexpensive procedure that mechanics and specialty brake shops charge hundreds of dollars to do. Actually, pads are much easier to replace than old-fashioned drum brake “shoes”. When it comes to the necessary equipment, you’ll need a wheel lug wrench, some basic wrenches, pliers and a jack with a set of jack stands. Take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. This should last about one hour but will save you quite a lot of cash.
Replacing the battery
If there is one thing that everyone can do, it has to be the car battery replacement. It’s baffling why so many people go to a shop to have their car battery replaced when they can do it in under five minutes, without any special knowledge or skills. All you need is a basic set of wrenches. Just make sure you remove the negative (black) cable first before installing the new battery. Once installed, replace the negative cable last. Otherwise, you might short circuit the positive (red) terminal to a grounded part of the car.
When it comes to protecting the paint, you need to be proactive. Don’t wait for the paint to start chipping. Use a quality paint sealant and other products that are specifically designed to provide great protection for your car. Most of those products can be applied without a fuss or any special equipment. If you’ve never done it, refer to one of many video tutorials available online.
One of the problems with having someone change the oil in your car is that you can’t be sure whether they have really put the right amount or type of oil in your car. That can lead to many problems with the engine in the long run, and you might end up paying much more for repairs of the damage caused by an inappropriate amount or quality of the oil. Instead, you can buy a good quality oil filter and the best of oil that you can afford and that is recommended by the car manufacturer. Use jack stands and a jack, an oil filter wrench and a drain pan. Check your manual to see how often you need to replace the oil and filters.
There is a very good reason why many automotive workshops teach you how to change spark plugs before anything else. It’s one of the easiest repairs you can do, though we don’t have to perform this as often as before. Namely, modern cars don’t need to have spark plugs replaced so frequently. You need a spark plug wrench and perhaps ten minutes of your time. Spark plugs can easily be located, but in case you are not sure where they are, consult the owner’s manual.
Having someone else replace your windshield wipers is a major waste of time and money on your behalf. It takes about five minutes for beginners to replace the wipers and that includes the time to read the instructions provided on the package. Just make sure you buy wipers of the correct size!
As you can see, these tips are extremely easy to follow but can save you quite a lot of money. On top of all that, you’ll become so much more confident in your own skills and abilities that you’ll soon consider performing some more challenging tasks on your own. Good luck!