Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself to Save Money
Whether you have car repairing skills or not, there are certain repairs everyone can do. This will help you save lots of money, as visiting a mechanic can be pretty expensive. In this post, we’re going to list what kind of equipment you’ll need to make these repairs, and of course, how you can fix common issues yourself.
If you fear that you might damage your car by trying to make these repairs, you actually shouldn’t worry at all. Chances that you will bring major damage to your vehicle are very small. In the worst case, your repair will not permanently fix the car.
The Free Tech That Will Help You on Your Way
If you have a digital camera or a cell phone with a camera, you can use it to fix certain car problems easily. Recently, my small truck stopped working. After I looked around, I found a cracked hose and photographed it. I went to a local auto shop and show them the picture. They managed to find the exact part for the truck and very soon, I had it replaced and it started working again!
There are also valuable resources online. You can find a lot of information about car problems, possible causes and instructions how to repair. You can find online assistance related to the make and model you have. Some of the best sites to visit are RepairPal, Expert Village and AutoMD. Other sources are YouTube videos that provide instructions on how to tackle different problems with your car.
The Common Tools You Need and How to Shop for New Parts
There are certain car parts and pieces of equipment that are used universally for all types and models of vehicles. You’ll need to have:
- Torque Wrench
- Adjustable wrench
- Ratchet Set
When picking up tools, try to purchase those that can be well gripped and have bigger handles. If you need to buy a part to replace a broken one, you can search online or go to an auto shop. If you decide to do this online, ensure that you find the one exactly for your car. You’ll need to provide details about your car. It would be best if you had a serial number of the part. Always make sure that the information is accurate.
Replace a Broken or Worn Drive Belt
If you aren’t sure a drive belt needs replacing, you might know it by the sound of your car. If you hear squealing noise on startup, or from accessories, that might be caused by a worn drive belt. Also, you might notice that it is loose, worn or has a crack by looking at it. Then, decide if it requires replacing or tightening.
Drive belt – it’s in front of the engine; it is made of rubber and its purpose is to connect the pulleys. Drive belts most often have control over certain accessories. These include power steering, battery, wipers and cooling system.
Serpentine belt – Newer cars have drive belts, which are called serpentine belts. It covers several parts in your car.
Pulleys – Belts wrap around pulleys. Pulleys are small wheels, which spin when under force. This provides power to attached systems.
Tensioner pulley – This part provides accurate functioning of the pulley. It allows for the belt’s adjustment. The purpose of the part is that you are able to tighten the belts when they stretch.
If you need to change a belt, you’ll need to have a screwdriver, a ratchet, wrenches and sockets.
Replace Your Battery and Alternator
The main signs you need these parts replaced are the car’s inability to turn over. Also, accessories in your car might not get power. You can use a multimeter and check the battery load and alternator. That’s how you’ll know which part to replace. They might not show power or show reduced power. If you don’t know where these parts are located, use a car manual. Usually, the car just needs to be jump-started.
Alternator — This part has a role of generating power. It works with the battery to power electrical components of the car. Usually, it is located on the engine’s front side and has a belt attached.
Battery – It provides power to the alternator. It is a big black box. The battery has a negative and positive terminals, with which is attached to the car.
Multimeter – It measures electrical resistance and electrical current. You can use it to test if there are any problems with the battery or alternator.
Accessories – These are electrical components of the car, such as windows and locks, message board.
Cleaning your battery and terminals can prolong the life of the battery. You can use baking soda, grease and water.
Replace Your Brake PadsThe first sign of worn brake pads is a squealing noise when brakes are applied. The rotors can also be worn but that’s characterized by grinding noises rather than squealing. If you notice grinding noises, you need to take the car to a shop and get the brakes serviced. As for brake pads, that is something you can get replaced on your own.
Brake Pads – They are parts of the braking system. They serve to bring the car to a halt by applying frictional force. When they are worn, the system that’s built inside will give a warning by making squealing noises.
Rotor – is part of the brakes in a form of main disc. The pads are clamped on the rotor that is attached to wheels.
Caliper – it connects brake pads to the rotor. The role of the caliper is to press pads on the rotor, which stops the car.
If you are planning to replace the pads, prepare c-clamp, ratchets, jack, tire iron and torque wrench.
Fix Exterior Coolant Leaks
Leaks are very common car issues and are characterized by the formation of liquid pools. These can be noticed under the car and have different colors like orange, green or yellow. If you have an antifreeze leak, it has most probably come from a cracked hose. You will be able to see the leak when you look under the hood. If there is a leak, it might be hot, so be careful. These types of leaks are easy to fix. You just need to replace the hose – it’s that easy. You’ll need tools such as pliers and wrench. However, if you are not able to see the leak, chances are it’s inside of the radiator and for that you’ll need to visit an auto shop.
Radiator – It’s located near the engine and looks similar to the air conditioning unit. Its purpose is to keep the temperature at an optimum level. This is achieved by sending antifreeze into the engine. The antifreeze is going through hoses, which get damaged — causing leaks. Then, the engine starts overheating as it doesn’t get a sufficient amount of coolant.
Water Pump – Its role is to keep pumping antifreeze between the radiator and the engine. It also contains hoses, which might get damaged.
Hoses – They connect the engine, water pump and the radiator and keep antifreeze running through the cooling system.
The Regular Maintenance You Can Do in an Afternoon
Car tune-up is recommended when you have 30,000 miles on the clock — either that or after two years. The good news is that you can do this yourself. Tune-up is important to do in order to prevent any major issues.
Oil Change – You should get oil replaced as it can get dirty and damage the engine. Changing oil is recommended every 3,000–7,000 miles.
Fuel Filter Change – Fuel filter gets dirty over time, preventing any dirt or particles to reach your engine, so it’s important to replace during the tune-up. This is usually a fast repair to do.
Air Filter Change – When the engine get the air sucked in, it first goes through the air filter to prevent anything from reaching the engine and damaging it. So, replacing it during a tune-up is highly recommended. It can be easily changed by removing the plastic lid, installing the filter and putting the lid to its place.
Spark Plugs and Wires – If these are worn or damaged, you might experience idling and starting problems, decreased gas mileage and emissions test failure. So, it’s important to check them and change if necessary.
Distributor Cap and Rotor – These allow the ignition to occur. If there are any issues with these, the voltage from the coil to cylinder will be prevented from transferring and the car will fail to start. However, they are easy to replace.
Once You’re Comfortable under the Hood the Possibilities Are Endless
When you learn how to fix minor issues, you can start working on more complex repairs. If you have trouble diagnosing the issue, you can try Car Trouble or visit an auto shop. Most of these will provide free testing.
Remember that you cannot make any major mistake when you repair your car. Keep learning about different car parts and their roles. Use other people’s advice if they have experience fixing cars and also use online resources. Just like everything else, it gets easier with practice.