DIY Car Maintenance

Automotive, Home & Family
on October 28, 2011

Every car, no matter how well built it is, will eventually need maintenance. Some repairs can wait until something actually breaks or malfunctions, but wisdom suggests that preventive maintenance can help avoid big problems before they occur. As noted by Consumer Reports, many cars can last up to 200,000 miles if proper maintenance is performed. While some vehicle owners may be comfortable working on a car, others may be hesitant to perform even the simplest maintenance tasks. Here are some pros and cons of performing five common do-it-yourself maintenance operations.

Wiper blades. Over time, windshield wipers start to degrade and may not properly clean a windshield. In most cases, proper windshield wipers can be found at an auto parts store. Decide if you want to replace the specific blade itself or the entire wiper. Replacing wipers is not difficult, though you’ll have to decide if it is worth your time to shop and do it yourself. Fitting the blade onto the car can, in some cases, be a minor challenge.

Bulbs. Replacing bulbs can require a bit of manual dexterity. Like windshield wipers, bulbs also can be found at an auto parts store or online and typically do not need to be replaced very often. Some bulbs may be in odd places and may require accessing an owner’s manual. Some drivers enjoy this challenge, but others can get confused trying to follow the steps.

Fluids. Fluids are fairly easy to top off, and most cars will have reservoirs that are clearly marked so that you can fill to the correct level. The downside to replacing fluids is that you have to purchase or keep on hand a number of fluids and remember to check them on a regular basis. Some vehicle owners choose to have an oil change business check all the fluids.

Air filter. Changing the air filter is similar to replacing bulbs in that finding the location may not be difficult. Typically, you’ll need to remove a few bolts and in some cases pry open the casing. This may or may not be more than you want to address on your own. Oil change shops often will change an air filter if you request it; some drivers take advantage of this service, even if it costs a few dollars more than if they did it themselves.

Changing the oil. Changing the oil is perhaps the most involved routine maintenance function. To change the oil, you need to buy raw materials, get under their vehicle and dispose of the used oil. You don’t need to be a mechanic to perform this process, but plenty of drivers decide that their time and effort are not worth the cost savings.