Vehicle Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Having your car inspected and maintained can be a bit of a hassle. Not only do tune-ups cost money, but you have to find time in your schedule to take your car to a mechanic, and wait while the inspection and maintenance are performed. 

So why not do it yourself? Most people are comfortable cleaning the interior or exterior of their vehicle, but are a little wary when it comes to things that are under the hood. That’s understandable, but there are still a lot of basic maintenance tasks that you can comfortably perform at home, to save time, money, and hassle.

Check Your Fluids 

All fluids need to be drained and replaced eventually, but most of them simply need to be refilled with some regularity. Rather than paying someone else to do this, you can check your fluid levels yourself. In addition to your oil, you can find your brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant levels under the hood of your car. Check once a month to make sure that these fluids are above the minimum level, and if they’re not, refill according the directions and specifications in the owner’s manual.

While you’re checking the mechanical fluids, also inspect the windshield wiper fluid levels.

Change Your Oil 

If you’re comfortable working on your vehicle, and have a jack or a lift at home, changing your oil is a wonderful way to save both time and money. No more waiting in line for an hour, or charging exorbitant mark-ups on oil prices.

If you do opt to change the oil yourself, there are a few things to always be careful of. Make sure you are actually draining the motor oil, and not the transmission fluid; make sure that your equipment for keeping your car elevated is very safe and secure; and make sure that you dispose of your used oil properly. 

Rotate Your Tires 

Rotating your tires isn’t always worth the effort, because many tire shops will do this task for free. However, if your local shop won’t, or if you simply want to avoid the hassle of taking your car to a tire shop, and waiting, then you can easily rotate your tires at home, provided you have a secure way of keeping your car off the ground. 

Rotating your tires is a pretty quick task, and can keep your tire costs down. Just be sure to keep track of your mileage so you know when to rotate them next!

Check Your Brakes 

While changing your brake pads can be a daunting task, checking them is relatively easy. You’ll likely still want to pay a professional to replace them, but if you check your brakes regularly, you’ll never have to pay a mechanic to inspect them. 

To check your brakes, simply elevate your car, remove a tire, and check to see the size of the brake pad. When it starts to wear thin, it’s time for a brake replacement!

Keep Your Battery Clean 

Over time, your battery will start to corrode, which will limit its life. You can see the corrosion on the battery: it looks like foam building up from the terminals. If you clean the battery of corrosion with some regularity, you’ll increase the lifespan.

To clean a battery, simply fill a small cup with water, and add a few tablespoons (about two tablespoons per eight ounces of water) of baking soda. Pour some of the mixture onto the negative terminal, and scrub off the corrosion with a toothbrush, then do the same for the positive terminal. Finally, pour a few ounces over the battery, and after a minute or two of soaking, wipe it off with a towel. 

If you start implementing some do-it-yourself auto maintenance, you’ll find yourself saving lots of money, as well as annoying trips to the mechanic. However, make sure you never attempt any automotive maintenance or repair tasks that you’re not completely comfortable doing. 

About The Author

Brady Klopfer

Brady Klopfer is a freelance writer and editor from Los Angeles. You can read more of his work here