A lot of people find it daunting to fix car issues themselves, fearing that they may exacerbate the problem. Some experts would argue that the best way to take care of a vehicle is to have it serviced by an auto shop.
Unfortunately, not everyone is keen to spend money away, especially if the problem is a minor one that can be fixed in your garage. Changing oil, for instance, is easy enough if you know what you're doing. You can easily find genuine replacement parts that you can install without tools required.
You don't have to spend $75 to just change your oil. If you do it right – and it's certainly simple enough with the right equipment and preparation – you'll reduce that cost to $20 tops.
So what are these common auto problems that you can easily fix yourself? Here are 10 examples:1. Dusty air filter
The air filter plays an important role in your car's performance as it protects it from outside debris that may damage your engine. Generally speaking, air filters should be changed every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, less if you're usually driving around dusty roads. Changing the air filter can increase fuel efficiency, prolonged engine life, and reduced emissions.2. Old engine oil
Similar to changing a dusty air filter, changing your car's engine oil is a pretty simple task that can be done in about 25 to 30 minutes. Prepare a drain pan, a box-end wrench, a filter wrench, a funnel, and a car jack.
Also, make sure that you're buying the recommended oil by the car manufacturer and replace the oil filter. Changing oil is a great way to maintain lubrication, keep engine parts cool, improve your ride's gas mileage, and many more.3. Broken spark plugs
One of the reasons check engine lights come on is due to a faulty spark plug. You'll know when a spark plug is dying if the car has trouble starting up, it won't accelerate quickly, and there's an increased exhaust emission. Replacing a spark plug can preempt unnecessary spending as a faulty one can place stress on the vehicle's exhaust cleaner.4. Worn down brake pads
Brake pads usually need changing after traveling 30,000 to 35,000 miles. You know it's time to replace brake pads when the car makes squealing or screeching noises when you step on the brakes.
Often, the tools that you'll need are a car jack, a hammer, lug wrench, c-clamp, and Allen wrenches. If you don't have these lying around, it's best to invest in them as they'll last a lifetime and will save you money down the road.5. Deflated tires
Although car tires would get deflated after getting punctured by a sharp object on the road, wear and tear are also among the reasons why this occurs. To prolong your tires' lifespan, make sure you're rotating them based on the recommendation of your car manufacturer. The rule of thumb is that you should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or whenever you change the oil.6. Overused alternator
An alternator's primary function is to charge the battery and take over the vehicle's electrical system once the engine is up and running. A new alternator may be needed once the old one reached 50,000 to 60,000 miles.
An early sign of a failing alternator is if the headlights start blinking at night, going from dim to bright. Another is if there's a burning smell coming from the alternator itself or from the battery. Replacing an alternator can be doable tasks thanks to the trove of information that can be found online. Typically, you can accomplish it in about an hour or so if you have the proper equipment for the job.7. Faulty windshield wipers
Broken windshield wipers can cause several issues for people, including visibility problems that can result in an accident. Winter months are particularly brutal to windshield wipers, so it's best to replace them before snow blankets the ground. Typically, windshield wipers would usually need replacement every six months to a year, but that could vary depending on the recommendation of the car manufacturer.8. Dying headlight bulbs
Dead headlight bulbs are the bane of drivers, as they will undoubtedly result in getting pulled over by a cop. Fortunately, replacing them is a fairly painless process that would usually last you around five to 10 minutes. One thing to remember when replacing headlight bulbs is that your skin shouldn't touch it directly as it can burn out as soon as you turn the headlights on. Use a tissue or a rag to handle the new ones to prevent this from happening.9. Dead batteries
Similar to windshield wipers, the battery will take a beating during the winter months as numerous car parts will require more juice during this time. And although it's typically advised to change a battery once every three years, other factors may shorten its longevity like the weather and a person's driving habits.
When changing a car battery, make sure to wear protective gear to shield yourself from a potential acid spill. Also, always remember to remove the negative cable first to prevent electrical shorts. The negative cable is usually black and has a minus sign labeled on it.10. Turn signals and turn signal relays
Dead turn signals are also one of the reasons why cops pull people over. There are two factors contributing to why your turn signals aren't blinking on. It's either the bulb is busted or the relay needs replacing.
If the turn signal is blinking really fast, the bulb is the problem. But if the turn signal doesn't turn on at all, then the relay is the culprit. Fortunately, replacing the relay is as easy as replacing the bulb. All you need to do is to identify its location, which can be found on the car's manual.
There you have it! The next time you have car trouble, check for these signs, consult online resources, or have an auto expert you know to diagnose the issue, and try to fix the problem yourself. You don't need to be a mechanic or have specialty tools to address these issues.