Car repair and maintenance can drain your pocket. Most of us do not include car repair in our monthly budget. We remember to put down the price of gas, but we forget about most of the ongoing maintenance costs which can leave much to account for. We need our cars on the road, and so we have to pay for their repairs. However, we do not have to pay for every repair our car needs. With parts bought online, some simple tools, and a little knowledge, we can do many repairs ourselves without visiting a mechanic. Here are five tips to repairing your car without visiting a mechanic.
1. Changing Brake Pads. Replacing brake pads is an easy and inexpensive procedure that mechanics charge a lot to do. You need a wheel lug wrench, some wrenches, pliers, and a jack. Buying a set of new brake pads will cost you around $20 to $40 depending on the car and pad material. A mechanic will charge you about $250 per axle. The procedure is easy: take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn out pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. You should take around 1 hour to do all the four wheels. The new pads will last about 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Check the pads after every 10,000 miles, and when they fall under 2mm, it is time for another replacement.
2. Changing the Battery. Many people will call a mechanic to replace the battery, yet this is the easiest of all DIY repairs. A good battery lasts for about 4 years. Do not wait until you start having problems with your battery a new battery will cost about $80 while the dealer will charge you $200 to replace. You will need a set of wrenches to do the swap. The only warning is the order in which you remove and replace the cables. Remove the negative cable first and when you have installed the new battery, replace the negative cable last.
3. Oil Change. Buy a quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier. You will need a jack and jack stands, oil filter wrench, and a drain pan. You only have to purchase these items once, and they will last you for decades. Avoid changing the oil immediately after driving your car since it can be very hot. Check your manual when your vehicle needs an oil change.
4. Spark Plugs. Spark plugs are one of the easiest repairs you can do although these days you will rarely perform this service. Modern cars can maintain a gap of 100,000 miles between spark plug changes. You will only need a spark plug wrench, and you can save up to $250.
5. Replace a Headlight or Taillight. Not only are lights essential for clear vision, but you can also incur a traffic ticket if they are not working. The hourly repair rate of a garage is $100, but you can easily spend $25 to $50 per build. Bring your old bulb to the store to make sure you buy the right one. Never touch the bulb glass with your bare hands. The grease from your fingers can cause the bulb to burn out early.
For more DIY repairs visit cardiagnosing and learn more tips for repairing your car.