6 DIY Auto Repairs That Will Save Time and Money
When your vehicle is acting up or has need of a little extra tender loving care, sometimes it’s best to resolve the issue yourself. Not only does this save time, it can really benefit your wallet as well. Let’s look over some car troubles that you can handle without being an experienced mechanic.
Engine Air Filter
Neglecting to change a dirty and clogged engine air filter will cost you a fortune in wasted gas. Inspect your filter first, and see how it looks. If it’s completely overrun with dirt and dust, you better get that thing replaced.
Just unscrew or unclip the air filter box retainers and remove the old filter. Then hold a shop light behind the filter to see how much light passes through. If the filter blocks 50% of more of the light, replace the filter. If not, put it back in, secure the air filter box cover and keep driving.
After your morning routine, you gather your things and head to the car. You put the key in the ignition, start the engine, and glance up at the windshield. It’s at this moment that you notice the small crack in the glass. After thorough inspection, you realize that it’s only a small ding, so maybe you don’t need to worry about it. But herein lies the issue.
Eventually this crack could become a huge spiderweb of lines racing across your windshield. Thankfully there is an easy remedy for such a problem. An epoxy, acrylic adhesive or filler could manage the ding and keep you from having to replace the whole windshield. These substances, or repair kits, can be bought at any store such as Walmart or Autozone for around $10. Although the process of windshield replacement might be in your future, you can buy a little time before you have to dive into that step.
The purpose of a positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV) is to regulate the flow of flammable crankcase vapors back into the engine so they can burn safely. This valve is designed to close during the event of an engine backfire to prevent extreme engine damage. If it needs to be replaced, you might notice oil leaks or buildup in the engine.
As PCVs age they accumulate carbon buildup and their spring loses tension which can put your engine at risk. Each car is different so check out your maintenance guide for recommended replacement intervals. You can find one for close to $20 at any autoparts store. Most PCV valves can be replaced by simply wiggling the valve out of the rubber grommet and then disconnecting it from the vacuum hose. Insert the new valve and reinstall. It’s that simple.
When your fog-lights aren’t working, and you can’t use your turn signals safely, it’s time to replace some bulbs. Replacing non-headlight bulbs is as easy as removing screws and pulling off the lens covering. Remember to handle the new bulb with gloved hands or a paper towel to prevent skin oils from getting on the thin glass, because this might promote premature bulb failure.
Depending on your vehicle and the type of bulb needed, your prices range from $5-$20 at any store that sells car parts. Knowing this, you can see how changing your own lights can be a lot more inviting than taking your vehicle all the way to the mechanic.
Let’s assume there was a low-hanging branch and your antenna happened to get in the way. Fortunately, it’s easy to replace a broken antenna. Just unscrew the remaining portion of the mast, take that off and visit a local auto parts store for a replacement part. Which should cost you less than $25.
If you are replacing a pillar mount antenna it might be a little more involved, but can still be done easily. Disconnect the antenna cable from your radio and connect a heavy string to the end. Unscrew the antenna mount from the pillar and pull the old antenna and the string out of it. Attach the new antenna cable to the string, pull the cable back into the vehicle and connect it back to your radio. You’ll then be able to secure the new antenna to the pillar using screws.
Chipped Auto Paint
Maybe you dinged the side of something and now you have a few paint scratches. If you don’t cover up those paint chips soon, they may rust and you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands. Fortunately, the actual painting is easy.
All you need is some touch-up paint, fine-tip applicators, wax and grease removers. Together, that could cost up to $30 for a fully-loaded kit, but it’s worth it so your car ends up looking great. First, clean the chip with the wax and grease remover and let it dry. You can then dip the applicator into the paint, and dab it onto the needed areas. Make sure to only use the necessary amount of paint, too much could drip. After it’s dry, in 30 days you can add some wax to get a shiny body.
From an unlucky mishap to a new antenna, from a flying rock to a repaired window, fixing your vehicle can be as simple as one two three.