5 Do it Yourself Automobile Repairs

Just because there are dealerships and auto repair shops all over Orange County does not mean you need to run to one for every little thing. Obviously any warranty work you will want done at a dealership and any complicated repairs you will want handled by an expert, but there are a few easy tasks that you can handle yourself. You don’t even necessarily need to know the exact part you need. Most auto stores have computer systems that allow the salesperson to type in your vehicle information, the repair you plan on doing and it will tell them any supplies you need. You may be surprised at just how accomplished you feel when you handle some of these tasks yourself.

Wiper Blades

Fair enough, living in Southern California means you are blessed with an abundance of sunshine, but that does not mean you can neglect your wiper blades. When you get caught on the highway in a brief torrential downpour you don’t want to be wishing you had the mechanic change your wiper blades last time you had service work done. You can switch these out easily all by yourself.

Go to the part department at the dealership, tell them what type of vehicle you have, pay for your blades and bring them home to switch out. Pull the old blades up and away from the car to remove them. There is probably a small plastic piece that holds the blade in place. You may need to use a screwdriver to press the table. If there are metal bumps with tabs on either side, then push the tabs down and pull. The new blade goes on the same way the old one came off. When in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual.

Battery Replacement

Many people are intimidated by the thought of switching out their battery, but in most vehicles, it is fairly simple and it will save you a good amount of money.

When you disconnect the terminals on the old battery, start with the negative one first. Always take the time to clean the terminals using a mixture of baking soda and water and a wire brush. Install the new battery and if there is a frame around it that needs securing, make sure it is in place. Connect the terminals, starting with the positive one. Start the engine to test.

Again, you can purchase the battery through the parts department at the dealership. Alternatively, you can always go to an automotive store. There should be someone there who can help make sure you get what you need. When in doubt, always choose the dealership. The folks working in the parts department there have the best interest of your vehicle in mind.

Light Replacement

It does not matter if you have a headlamp, taillight, fog light, brake light or indicator light out, there really is no reason to pay someone to change it for you unless you are absolutely pressed for time and can’t do it yourself. You don’t want to drive around with a light out. Not only is it unsafe for you and others on the road, it can get you pulled over. You could even get a ticket!

Your owner’s manual will literally tell you exactly how to change one of these lights. You will either need to open your hood or your trunk/cargo area, depending on where you are working. There are typically screws on the inside that need loosening so you can remove the cover protecting the light. Just go the parts department and tell them what you need. It will be the easiest repair you ever do, and you save yourself from being billed a half hour for a job that should take a mechanic 5 minutes.

Air Filter

The air filter is one of those things that many people do not think about, but they should. An air filter plays a huge role in the efficiency of your automobile, so if you are getting poor fuel economy and you are not sure why, you probably need the air filter changed.

All you need to do this repair is the new air filter and a flat head screwdriver. You will need to pop the clips open that fasten the filter to the housing. You will remove the old filter, replace it with the new one and refasten the housing. It is seriously that simple!

Oil Change

Before you cringe, understand that an oil change is not nearly difficult as one might expect. As long as you have the essential tools, and line the drip pan up properly, it can be done without making a mess. It is as easy as removing the plug to drain, plugging it back up, filling the oil and then cleaning the filter. The hardest part is figuring out how much oil you need, but that will be in your owner’s manual.

If your vehicle is under warranty, make sure you keep receipts of oil and filters, so you have a record of when the oil was changed. It is not a bad idea to take a picture of the odometer with a camera that offers a time stamp, or you can hold a newspaper in the picture showing the date.