DIY Auto: 7 Easy Car Maintenance Tasks Uncovered

What car maintenance should I do myself? Changing oil, checking fluids, changing air filters, replacing wiper blades, inspecting fuses, checking tire pressures, and inspecting lights.

DIY auto maintenance is a crucial part of owning a car. It keeps the car in tip-top shape and improves its safety and longevity.

While some car owners may feel comfortable tackling their vehicle’s maintenance, others may leave it to the professionals. And this is perfectly alright to do. The main focus is on car maintenance, period.

There is specific maintenance that anyone can do with little effort, essential tools, and some know-how.

I’ll cover the most essential car maintenance tasks you can do yourself, even if you’re not a mechanic per se.

1. Changing the Engine Oil

Oil changes are one of the most vital aspects of car maintenance. Oil lubricates the engine’s moving parts and keeps them working properly.

Changing oil is a relatively simple process that anyone can do with a few essential tools. Consult your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended oil type and change intervals.

You will need an oil filter wrench, a drain pan, and a funnel to pour in the new oil without spilling it. You can purchase the correct brand of oil and filter at a local auto parts store or online.

diy auto

Prepare your car by warming the engine and parking it on level ground. Then, drain the old oil and replace the oil filter before refilling the engine with new oil.

Using jack stands is always recommended when lifting a vehicle off of the ground. Practicing safety is paramount for any DIY’er.

2. Checking and Topping Up Fluids

Several types of fluids need to be checked and kept topped up regularly. These include engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Checking the levels of these fluids is a straightforward procedure that anyone can do. Locate the respective reservoirs under the hood and check their fluid level markings.

If any of the levels are too low, top them up according to the instructions in the owner’s manual. Make sure to use the correct type of fluid for each system.

3. Changing Engine Air Filters

Air filters help keep dirt and debris from entering your car’s engine internally. A clogged air filter can reduce engine power and lower fuel efficiency.

Changing an air filter is a simple procedure most people can handle. Consult the owner’s manual to locate the air filter housing, usually near the engine.

Disconnect the housing cover, remove the old air filter, and replace it with a new one. Reconnect the housing, making sure all the connections are secure.

CIC PRO TIP: Watch YouTube videos about any or all of these auto maintenance procedures.

7 DIY Auto Tasks At A Glance

Car Maintenance Tasks
Maintenance Task Description
Changing Oil Drain old oil, replace oil filter, and refill engine with fresh oil to maintain engine lubrication.
Checking Fluids Regularly inspect and top up engine coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.
Changing Air Filters Replace air filters to ensure clean air for combustion and promote fuel efficiency.
Replacing Wiper Blades Replace worn wiper blades to maintain clear visibility during various weather conditions.
Inspecting Fuses Check and replace blown fuses to restore electrical functions and protect components from power surges.
Checking Tire Pressures Use a tire pressure gauge to ensure tires are properly inflated for safety and optimal fuel efficiency.
Inspecting Lights Regularly check headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure they are functioning properly.

4. Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades

Windshield wiper blades are crucial components that help keep you safe while driving in rainy or snowy conditions.

Over time, wiper blades become worn, cracked, or brittle due to exposure to the elements. This all reduces their effectiveness and impairs your visibility on the road.

diy auto

Fortunately, replacing damaged wiper blades is a simple and inexpensive maintenance task you can tackle.

Locate the wiper blades on the car, remove them, and take note of their size and type. Purchase new wiper blades, following the instructions on the packaging to install them on the car.

5. Inspecting and Replacing Fuses

Electrical fuses are one of those small items that tend to be overlooked. These tiny devices play a crucial role in protecting a car’s electrical system from damage caused by overloading.

If any of your car’s electrical parts suddenly stop working, it’s possible that a blown fuse is to blame. Thankfully, checking and replacing fuses is an easy task, reports Carfax, that anyone can handle.

Consult the owner’s manual to locate the fuse box, typically found under the dashboard or the hood. Use the diagram on the fuse box cover to identify and replace the faulty fuse with a new one.

By caring for a car’s electrical fuses, you can ensure that the vehicle’s technology works properly and efficiently.

6. Checking Tire Pressures

Maintaining proper tire pressure is essential for the overall health of a vehicle. Not only can underinflated tires lead to premature tire wear, but they can also negatively impact a car’s fuel efficiency.

Driving on underinflated tires can be dangerous, especially in adverse weather conditions. Fortunately, checking tire pressure is an easy step, and most gas stations provide air pumps for convenience.

Video courtesy of Just Rolled In

Remember to monitor tire pressures closely, says Bridgestone Tire, especially before long drives. By doing so, you’ll not only ensure your safety on the road but also extend the lifespan of your tires.

7. Inspecting Electrical Lights

As drivers, we rely heavily on our senses to navigate the roads safely. However, sometimes, the elements work against us, such as poor visibility due to inclement weather or low lighting conditions.

That’s why it’s imperative to ensure that every aspect of our car functions correctly, including the electrical lights, according to Car and Driver.

Regularly checking headlights, taillights, brake, and marker lights is a wise practice. Replacing bulbs as needed is a relatively simple process. Consult the owner’s manual first, of course.

Don’t risk your safety by neglecting these essential components of the vehicle. Take action today to guarantee that your journey is always safe.

CIC says, “Maintaining your car doesn’t have to be a chore.”

In Conclusion

Prevention is vital when it comes to auto maintenance. It should be top of mind always.

By taking on these simple tasks, owners save money in the long smoke-a-haul by avoiding costly repairs while enjoying a more reliable ride that runs smoothly every time.

As a responsible owner, it is essential to prioritize regular maintenance tasks such as oil changes and tire rotations. However, before embarking on DIY auto projects, consult the owner’s manual for detailed instructions and recommended schedules.

Are you prepared to take on the challenge of caring for a vehicle? With a toolbox and renewed confidence in car care at your disposal, embark upon this journey.

By doing so, you’ll be rewarded with many more miles worth remembering behind the wheel while keeping both yourself and others safe along the way.

Wow, writing this article takes me back to simpler times.

I remember working on cars when I was in my twenties. I didn’t need any additional education. I learned it all in high school.

Automobiles of the 60s and 70s were very basic. The systems were easy to understand. Toolboxes weren’t roll-around enclosures, many fitting nicely on any workbench table.

It was fun tinkering with any car under the hood. I could actually see the ground from the engine compartment. There was plenty of room to turn a wrench or screwdriver manually.

Yep, everything was easier to work on back in the day. But don’t feel overwhelmed if you tackle auto maintenance yourself. The internet is only a tap or click away.

NOTE: If you’re not confident in your ability to perform any of these checks, it’s alright. You can always seek out the advice of a professional mechanic.

What are some basic car maintenance tasks?

Basic maintenance tasks include checking and changing the engine oil, checking tire pressures, and changing the engine air filter.

Also, replacing the windshield wiper blades, checking all fluid levels, and inspecting lights and fuses.

These basic car maintenance tasks are relatively simple and can be completed without a mechanic.

Which car maintenance tasks require specialized tools?

Engine tuning, oil changes, and brake pad replacements require specialized tools for the car’s make and model. Consult the owner’s manual for the specifics.

These tools are necessary to access hard-to-reach areas and make repairs or replacements safely and efficiently.

Trusting a licensed mechanic with the proper tools and expertise is an option for your car’s longevity and overall performance.

How can I save money on car maintenance?

One of the most important things you can do is to stay up-to-date with regular maintenance checks. You’ve got to keep rolling down the road.

This means checking engine oil regularly and checking tire pressures, too. Consider doing DIY auto repairs, such as replacing air filters and changing windshield wiper blades.

When you need to visit a mechanic, research upfront, then compare pricing to find the best deal. But, never short-change quality work.

Steven

Meet Steven, a passionate car enthusiast who has been living and breathing cars for over 50 years dating back to a toddler! With an abundance of mechanical experience under his belt, he is an expert in all things automotive. Steven studied basic auto mechanics and vocational auto mechanics for four years at J. Sterling Morton East High School (1973-1977). He has hands-on experience as an auto detailer, auto service department writer, auto parts department assistant, auto interior upholsterer, auto mechanic, and auto assistant service manager (1977-1984). He now serves as the Chief Writer for Car Info Club and loves to share his enthusiasm and knowledge with others. Steven is highly knowledgeable, always friendly, and absolutely loves talking about cars.

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