When major things go wrong with our cars, most of us bite the bullet and consult a trusted mechanic. But there are many car projects you can tackle on your own, which saves you money. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Read on for five simple ways to get that DIY ball rolling.
1. Change Your Oil and Top off Fluids
Fluids are the lifeblood of an internal combustion engine. Most pros will tell you that changing your engine oil is the most important routine maintenance you can do on your vehicle. It's equally important that the engine does not get too low on oil, which can occur either because of external leaks or internal consumption. Most of us know oil is important for lubrication between metal parts, but it also plays a role in keeping the engine cool. If the motor oil is too dirty and old or the level gets too low, the engine will wear down more quickly.
Other fluids are important, too. Without enough power steering fluid, the pump, bearings and other parts are in imminent danger. Without enough brake fluid…well, you get the point. Bottom line, it's crucial to make sure that all fluids are replaced on time if necessary and levels are always up to spec.
To do it yourself, just check your owner's manual for the location of each fluid reservoir or dipstick, and make a habit of inspecting those fluid levels. Learn how to change your engine oil and filter in the video below, and you can also read these handy guides to maintaining your vehicle's motor oil and other essential fluids.
2. Wash and Wax Your Ride
Ever find yourself shaking your head at the price of a car wash? It definitely costs more than you'd pay to do it yourself. So why not get up close and personal with your car's finish? There's a whole world of at-home detailing products to explore. With the money you save, you can spend time doing something you really enjoy.
Chris Fix offers some basic car cleaning tips below.
3. Replace Your Wipers
Repair jobs don't get much easier than this one. You don't even have to pop the hood! Windshield wiper blades typically just snap into place. Replacing them is as easy as flipping the wiper shafts up off the windshield, popping the old blades off, and snapping the new ones on. Your owner's manual should have specific information about the removal and replacement process. For help choosing new wiper blades talk to your Advance Auto Parts Team Member. And don't forget, Advance will install your wipers for free.
4. Headlight Replacement
Replacing your headlight bulbs is another great project for the newb DIY-er. Consult your owner's manual or speak to an Advance Auto Parts Team Member to locate the correct headlight replacement parts. Then, take a look at this handy, step-by-step tutorial. As with any job that involves disassembly or removal, remember the order in which you take things apart. If you have to remove your headlight assembly, for example, you may end up unscrewing and pulling out a number of pieces. Remember how to put everything back together. Keep in mind, once you've replaced a headlight, you can handle any bulb.
Check out some headlight replacement tips and tricks from Chris Fix below.
5. Headlight Restoration
If your car is more than a few years old, chances are its headlight lenses could use some TLC—particularly if you deal with inclement weather on a regular basis. You'll notice cloudiness on the plastic lens surface and maybe some yellowing. Fortunately, a number of reputable brands sell headlight restoration kits that can make those lenses look new again. Don't get intimidated if your kit requires a power drill, by the way. That's just because you may need more power to get that crud off than a human arm can muster. The job may take an hour or two to do properly, but there's nothing tricky about it.
Watch as Chris Fix shows us how to restore headlights using the Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit.
You may have to spend a little time to conquer these five projects. In the end, however, you save money and possibly the time and hassle of having your vehicle at the shop. Plus, you've gained the confidence to tackle the next project and a fuller knowledge of your vehicle's maintenance.
What basic DIY projects do you tackle on your vehicle? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.