Most people call in the mechanic as soon as they hear some weird noise or notice something wrong with their car. They do so for two reasons: the first reason is that they simply don’t have the time to get their hands dirty, and the second is that they often know very little about cars. Fortunately, most of these repairs are extremely simple and that’s why we’ve prepared this nifty little list of tips everyone can follow and avoid overpaying their mechanic for even the simplest of tasks.
Changing the windshield wipers
In truth, changing the wipers does vary from car to car, but at the end of the day, all it takes is a little browsing through the owner’s manual and you’ll know exactly how to change them on your specific car model. Most wipers are held by two metal arms and once you’ve figured out where they are, changing them literally requires removing them and placing new ones. The arms are mostly located on the underside of the wiper blade and all you have to do is push a small tab to release them.
Replacing the spark plugs
It differs from vehicle to vehicle, that’s why the owner’s manual is just the right place for finding this sort of information. Spark plugs are attached to rubbery wires and once you know this fact, locating and replacing them is a walk in the park. First, remove the wire from the first plug only, and whatever you do, never remove all the wiring at once. Once removed, used the spark plug socket to remove the plug. Screw in the new one by hand first and then finish the motion using a wrench. Re-attach the plug wire and you’re good to go.
Flushing the radiator
The car radiator needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained in order for it to function efficiently. Cleaning it might look like too much work, but it’s fairly simple once you know how to do it. First, make sure that your car is completely cooled off before you start, and consult the manual regarding your radiator’s drain plug. Unscrew the plug carefully and let the old, used coolant drain. Replace the plug, remove the cup found on the radiator and flush it using a cleaning solution. Fill the rest of the radiator with water, turn on your car and let it run for about 10 minutes. Turn it off, let it cool down, and drain the radiator completely. Refill it with new coolant, place back the cap and screw it tightly.
Car battery maintenance
The battery maintenance mostly revolves around removing residue from the ports. To do this, first you have to remove the battery terminals by disconnecting the negative one first. Once removed, clean the battery posts using a cleaning fluid. Believe it or not, Coca-Cola has proven itself more than capable of removing residue, in case you don’t have a more professional cleaning product. Clean vigorously using a wire brush and rinse with water when finished. Dry the battery posts out using a rag, replace the terminals and that’s it.
Changing the oil and oil filters
The oil needs to be changed every 5,000 – 7,000 kilometers. This isn’t too bad, which is why people often pay mechanics a visit even though changing the oil is something everyone can easily do on their own. Before you start, make sure that the car is properly cooled off and jacked up just enough so that you have room to work. Get under the car, find the oil pan and unscrew it. Let the oil drain, replace the plug and go back to the engine in order to remove the old filter using an oil filter wrench. Lubricate the gasket generously and fill in the filter two-thirds of the way. Screw the new filter in using your hand and fill the engine with new oil. Use a dipstick to check if you’ve poured enough and make sure you properly discard the old oil. Avoid using cheap oils at all costs and instead, invest in a good, high-quality Castrol oil, as it is currently the best option available on the market.