A Do-It-Yourself Auto Repair Resource Guide
Most of us would have very different lives if we weren’t able to drive a car. Since we are so reliant on our vehicles, we need to make sure they are properly taken care of. One way to do so is by taking it to the mechanic regularly. However, there are a handful of common car problems that can be fixed for much cheaper if you know how to do it yourself. Among these jobs are oil changes, air and fuel filter replacement, spark plug replacement and changing the battery.
How to Change Your Oil
The oil inside of your vehicle is used as lubrication. Without it, the internal combustion engine would become corroded and the friction created from the moving parts would cause the vehicle to overheat. There are many estimates as to how often oil should be changed. Some people will tell you to change your oil after you have driven 3000 miles. Others recommend as many as 5000-6000 miles. Either way, if you haven’t changed your car’s oil for six months, it is probably time to do so. In order to change your oil you will need a rag, a ratchet, an oil filter wrench, a container to catch and recycle the oil in, a funnel, a new oil filter, and of course, new oil. Remember never to change your car’s oil soon after it has been running. Oil gets very hot. Wait at least two hours from the last time the engine was running to begin. When you’re ready, park the car on level ground and jack it up. Visit the following sites for guides that will take it from here:
- Changing Your Own Oil: Hints and tips to replacing oil without going to a shop.
- How to Change Your Motor Oil: The Art of Manliness presents a rather comical spin on the standard instructions.
How to Change Your Air Filter
Surely, you have been outside during windy weather, so you know that the breeze is full of dirt and dust. A lot of air passes through your car, which means dirt and dust does too. The air filter does just as its name implies: filters the air. Of course, it can only hold so much material and if it gets too dirty your engine won’t get enough clean air and it will have to work harder. Changing an air filter only takes a few minutes. Park the car, pop open the hood and then locate the filter housing. In most cars it is a black plastic case with a black tube going into it. Loosen the hose clamps and release any clips that are holding the housing together. When you can open the air box, remove the air filter. Then take a vacuum and clean out the empty air box. From there, all you need to do is put in the new air filter and reconnect any fasteners.
- Air Filters and Cleaners: Information about what air cleaners and filters do as a whole, not just in automobiles.
- Change the Air Filter for Better Performance: A brief but incredibly helpful guide with photos.
- How to Change Your Engine Air Filter: A video from DriverSide.
- How to Change Your Air Filter: A step-by-step guide with some information for why changing the air filter is necessary.
Replacing Your Fuel Filter
A fuel filter does the same job as an air filter, only with fuel. You should change them approximately once every year or two. It’s a quick job to change it yourself. All you need is some open end wrenches, some rags, eye protection, new fuel line washers and a new fuel filter. The filter itself runs cheap: less than $20. To read up on the process, consult the links below. Do not smoke while changing the oil filter. Flame and gasoline are not friends. With that in mind, make sure you dispose of the old fuel filter properly.
- Auto Upkeep: How often should you change the fuel filter on your car?
- How to Change Your Vehicle’s Fuel Filter: A guide with some nice illustrations.
- Replacing a Fuel Filter: Step-by-step instructions from DMV.org for fuel filter maintenance.
Replacing Your Spark Plugs
A spark plug is a critical device inside of most cars, though the number of them varies for different models. They are responsible for igniting fuel and only need to be changed every six years. This job usually takes about an hour and costs about $15 per plug. You’ll also need a ratchet wrench and a 12-inch socket extension. In order to access the spark plugs, you need to remove the coil cover. Underneath, you should see a number of ignition coils screwed into the vehicle. Remove the screws and you’ll be able to take the coil connector out of the car. Only then can you access the spark plug. For further instruction, visit the pages listed below.
- Danoland: A thorough guide to removing and replacing spark plugs, complete with pictures.
- How to Change Your Spark Plugs: A step-by-step guide.
How to Change Your Battery
The battery in your car sends an electrical current throughout the vehicle. Without it, you would not even be able to start the car. It is not surprising that batteries are heavy and they can be expensive. Fortunately, changing them is easy. When changing a battery you should wear gloves and safety glasses because the acid within is highly corrosive. Before removing the battery, check to make sure its really necessary to do so. If the battery is fairly new – purchased within the last four years or so – there is likely a different reason your car is not working properly. However if you see some cracks on the battery, it’s time to get it out of there. During the process of removing the battery, be sure not to have the wrench touching any other metals. This could create a flow of electricity that might cause dangerous sparks.
- How to Replace a Car Battery: A run through the major steps and some helpful hints.
- Learn2 Replace a Car Battery: How do you know if your battery needs to be changed?
Written By: Edson Farnell | Email |