Having a car is a huge responsibility. And if you own a truck, then you require truck training. It would help if you were well informed and prepared for the ongoing costs that owning one will incur, including maintenance and repairs.
Cars are expensive! If you have one, you likely have it for a reason. It would help if you went from point A to B then back home again. It would help if you had it for work, or maybe even pleasure (you like driving but hate haggling over price with the dealer). Whatever the case may be, your car is an integral part of your life. If something were to happen to it, whether it’s mechanical issues or damage due to human error. We can almost guarantee that your wallet would pay dearly for any needed repairs. The good news is that there are some things you can do yourself that will save you time, and money in the long run. Because guess what? Car problems cannot always wait until Monday morning at nine to be taken in for. Sometimes they have to wait until Friday afternoon at four when you get out of work.
The best thing you can do to prolong the life of your car or Japanese mini truck is simple: learn how to perform at least some basic maintenance tasks yourself. So that when something does eventually require professional attention, you won’t be left in the dark. These six automotive hacks could save you much pain and suffering when it comes time for you or a mechanic to look under your hood.
1) Fixing an Air Filter
Replacing an air filter costs around $20-$30. But it’s cheaper than getting upsold on one by a mechanic who notices it during a routine inspection. It only takes five minutes; if you’re not sure what to do, check out this step-by-step guide. It’s one of the easiest things you can do for your car.
2) Replacing Windshield Wipers
You may need to replace wipers every six months, depending on how often it rains where you live or if you frequently drive in heavy rain or snow. Many mechanics will try to sell you new windshield wipers at the first sign of trouble, even though they probably need to be reattached. If wiper arms are rusty, take them off and clean them with steel wool. When putting them back on, spray some WD-40 onto the connector that holds them together. It will keep them from squeaking.
3) Cleaning Spark Plugs
Spark plugs rarely need to be replaced, but they do need to be cleaned about every 20,000 miles. If they’re dirty, your car’s engine will suffer; it won’t run as well and could even fail an emissions test. You don’t have to take your vehicle to a mechanic –follow this DIY: Pull out the spark plugs and spray them with electrical contact cleaner after removing them from the plug wires. If your plugs aren’t tight enough, use a socket wrench to turn them counterclockwise). Also, clean around each plug hole with compressed air or rags.
4) Replacing Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is hygroscopic – meaning it absorbs water from the atmosphere. If the fluid level falls below a certain point, your brakes will become less effective, and if it gets too low, your brake pads can wear out prematurely. Brake fluid should be replaced every two years or every 20,000 miles. Whichever comes first. It’s an easy job that you can do yourself with just a few simple tools.
5) Checking Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires can cause premature wear and tear on your vehicle, affect gas mileage, and make steering more difficult. You should check your tire pressure at least once a month and before long trips. The recommended psi is usually listed on the sidewall of your tire. If you need to add air, use a portable tire inflator – don’t use a gas station pump, as it can overinflate your tires.
6) Changing the Oil
The most critical maintenance task for your car is changing the oil regularly. How often you do this depends on how much you drive, what type of oil you use, and your driving habits – but most mechanics recommend doing it every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. It’s a relatively easy job that you can do yourself with just a few simple tools.
Bonus Tip: Keep Your Car Clean
If you keep your car clean inside and out, it will be easier to spot any potential problems before they become expensive repairs. Wipe down the dashboard and the surfaces around the controls; vacuum the seats and carpets; clean the windows and mirrors. You’ll be able to see (and smell) any problems sooner, which will save you time and money in the long run.