You might not be an automotive technician, but there are plenty of ways to slash costs on maintenance expenses. It doesn’t have to be complicated to take care of your vehicle. We’ve put together some simple car maintenance tasks that you can implement today.
Vacuum the Interior
No matter how good your car looks on the outside, it’s likely you have a bunch of dirt and debris in the cabin. You will likely find trash, food wrappers, receipts and cups once you take a look. Throw all the crap into the garbage. Next, take out the mats and clean them off. Then, grab your vacuum cleaner and pick up all the pieces of dirt. Don’t neglect the seats, trunk and dashboard as well. When you are finished, use a damp cloth to create the perfect shine.
Check Tire Pressures
If you want your tires to last as long as possible, you must monitor the pressures. Find the appropriate pressure by looking at the sticker in your door jamb. For the best results, check the tire pressures before operating the vehicle. Make sure you add or remove air as needed.
You might also consider having the air replaced with nitrogen for car tires.
Clean the Battery
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to clean the car battery. Most importantly, make sure you wear gloves. Then, you can undo the cables, starting with the negative. Take an old toothbrush and apply some baking soda with water. We recommend one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water. Then, gently clean it off with straight water and dry it with a towel. Keeping your car battery in optimal condition helps to prolong its life and save you money.
Change the Car Battery
If your battery does die, you don’t need to pay an expensive bill to replace it. Unplug the cables, starting with the negative. Unscrew the latch holding the battery in its place. Then, use the handle (if included) to lift the battery out. Put the new battery in its place and plug it back in, positive first. Make sure you latch it back in place.
Install Wiper Blades
If you have malfunctioning wipers, it becomes impossible to drive during the rain. It’s also quite dangerous. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to replace your own wiper blades and there’s no reason to pay someone else to handle it.
Simply lift the wiper arm and remove the blade. With the hook-style wiper, you must push the clip and slide the blade out. On the clip-style, just press the tab to release the wiper. Put the new blade on and make sure everything is positioned correctly.
Replace Headlight Bulbs
If your headlight isn’t working correctly, you must replace it. Not only does it create a road hazard, but you also risk getting a ticket. Check the manual to determine what headlights to purchase. Then, turn off your vehicle and pop the hood open. You will have to reach to the back of the light. You will see a plastic or metal ring holding it in. Make sure you remove the retainer and the connector, then grab the old bulb with a gloved hand.
Replace this with your new bulb, also held with a gloved hand. Reattach the wiring and replace the other bulb as well. You want to replace all bulbs as a pair. Otherwise, you might have different light strengths.
Radiator & Coolant Flush
You are going to pay a couple hundred dollars to have this done at the service center. If you have some simple tools, you can do it yourself. Put one side of the vehicle up on jacks so you can get underneath it better. With a catch pan in place, drain the old fluid by removing the radiator tank’s petcock.
Put the vehicle back down and fill the tank with water mixed with a radiator cleaner. Start your vehicle and let this cleaner do its job. Then, turn off the car and drain again, once it is cooled. Refill your radiator with new antifreeze. Make sure you properly dispose of the old liquids.
Change Cabin Air Filters
It only takes 15 minutes to change the cabin air filters and is another simple car maintenance task you can do at home. Open the glove box and slide the pin away to remove the box. You will see latches on the faceplate sides that holds the air filter. Lift them up to get into the housing. Before you remove that filter, take note of the arrow direction. You want the new one to face the same way. Before you put the new filter in, vacuum out the area. Then, put everything back together.
Spark Plug Replacement
As part of the car mileage milestones, you know that spark plugs should be replaced between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, but you might be able to do this by yourself. If you have a basic knowledge of engines, this isn’t a difficult task. Just make sure you have spark plug sockets, a socket wrench plus an extension.
Simple Car Maintenance for You
Even if you accomplish one of these simple car maintenance tips, you have saved yourself money over hiring a professional. Of course, we don’t recommend doing anything you are unfamiliar with. Experiment with your level of comfortability and see what aspects of the maintenance for your car you can handle. Good luck.