For anybody who loves cars, there’s no better feeling than fixing up your car yourself. Many car owners take a sense of pride in being able to do things like changing oil, changing tires, replacing a battery, and even being able to do more extensive work.
If your car is in need of some work, here are some of the most common car repairs you can do from the comfort of your garage or your driveway.
Changing A Tire
Changing a tire is one of the most common car repairs you can learn, and it’s very useful. After all, no driver likes to hear that familiar thud when they’re driving down the road, knowing they have a flat tire. If you know how to change a tire, you can not only help yourself get back on the road faster but you may be able to help a friend or even a total stranger get back on the road faster as well.
So what do you need to do? The first thing you need to do to change a tire is to Jack up your car. This helps raise it off the ground and give you room to actually take the lug nuts off and remove your flat tire. Once you removed all the lug nuts, you can put the new tire on and then put the lug nuts back in place. You can then safely lower your car back to the ground.
Changing Your Oil
Another of the most common car repairs you can make is changing your oil. Let’s face it, in order for your car to run correctly, you need to have your oil changed regularly. All you have to do is remove the oil drain plug, and unscrew the oil filter, and empty it. Once you’ve done that, you can put the filter back in place, fill up your oil reservoir, and check the oil level with your dipstick.
There are plenty of helpful folks at oil change places that can change your oil in a flash, but if you’d like to take on the task yourself, you can ask someone to show you, or you can find online tutorials that will walk you through each step.
Removing Scratches And Dents
Another of the most common car repairs any car owner can learn to do is fixing dents and scratches on their vehicle. Even the tiniest of dents and scratches can affect the look of a car, not to mention annoy owners.
Scratches can be taken care of by sanding down the scratched area, applying a rubbing compound, and then polishing the area. Dents can be addressed in several ways. You can apply some water to a dented area, and then use a plunger to try and pop it out. You can use boiling water to try and remove it, or you can try using a hairdryer to expand the plastic around the area and then using compressed air to pop the dent out.
Changing Out A Car Battery
Learning how to fix your car yourself and learning about the most common car repairs, also means that you might find yourself needing to replace your car battery at some point.
Changing a battery isn’t hard, you just have to be careful. You start by taking off the battery cover and disconnecting the two terminals, starting with the negative side first. Once the battery is free and clear, you can swap batteries, reconnect the terminals, and put the cover back on.
Even if you don’t need a new battery, you can help extend the life of your current one by cleaning up the terminals. Once they’re disconnected, you can use a baking soda and water mixture to wipe them down. This will improve the flow of electricity and keep your battery functioning at a high level.
Jumpstarting A Car
Jumpstarting a car might exactly be on a list of the most common car repairs, but it’s nonetheless important for DIY car care. If you have an insurance plan with roadside services, they can come and jumpstart your car, but it’s also something that pretty straightforward to do.
If you’re a vehicle owner, it definitely helps to get yourself a set of jumper cables or to carry a fully-charged portable jump starter. In both instances, you attach the positive and negative cables on each set of battery terminals and start up the car or truck that has power. Once that’s done, the car with the dead battery should start, once you turn the key.
Fixing Broken Lights
Another of the most common car repairs you can address is fixing broken headlights or taillights. Whether you had a run-in with a deer or accidentally clipped a tree, or a mailbox, you might find yourself with a need for a new light and fast.
You can easily knock out this DIY repair with a screwdriver, a new bulb, and a frame. Essentially, all you have to do is unscrew the bracket holding the light, disconnected the electrical connection, and put a new bulb in (and a frame if necessary). Then you hook the electrical back up, pop the bracket back in place and screw the screws back in.
Putting On New Wipers
Another handy DIY trick to have up your sleeve is knowing how to change the windshield wipers on your vehicle. After all, when you’re driving in the rain or the snow, you need to be able to clearly see where you’re going.
If you’ve noticed any streaking from your wipers, it’s probably time to change them. Thankfully, wipers can be found in just about any automotive parts store. You just have to make sure the new blades you buy are going to fit. To put them on, you simply lift up each wiper arm, pull at the tabs that loosen the blades, take them off, line the new blades up, and put them in place.
Addressing Bigger Issues
While some of the most common car repairs can be learned with a little bit of practice and a little bit of patience, there are also times where vehicle repairs must be done by more experienced hands.
Let’s say for example that you get into a car accident. If it’s a minor accident, you may only have to deal with a few dents or replacing a busted headlight or taillight. But if it’s a more serious car accident, you may have to have some full-scale work done that requires experience and more sophisticated tools than what you probably have at home.
It’s estimated that there are over 600,000 mechanics in the United States alone, and they can all work their magic to make your car look and run as good as new. While it can be very tempting to try and save money by tackling some common car repairs, there are many benefits to having auto body repairs done at a shop:
There are times when some DIY repairs might not go as planned because you’ll find out there are bigger issues to tackle than just the one you’re dealing with. Here are a few of the common damages that often occur from a collision:
- Cracked windshields
- Bent car frames
- Broken headlights or tail lights
- Scratched paint and dents
- Damaged radiators
- Broken or bent auto body
Dealing with the unexpected is especially true if you’ve been in a car accident. Take, for example, a small dent in your bumper. What looks like a small dent could actually be a bent frame that requires the skills of technicians to fix.
The same could be said for your brakes. There many ways you can deal with brake repair yourself, but it can also be very tricky, especially if you need discs and calipers replaced. By taking your car to a shop for brake repair, you can feel more secure on the road, and won’t have any unexpected issues pop up such as the brake light coming on on your dashboard.
DIY rust removal may seem simple, but it can sometimes prove hard to do. This is usually because rust tends to penetrate deep into the crevices and cracks of your car, so you can’t just scrub it off. Thankfully, auto body pros can locate rust at the source, plus they have the proper welding training to remove the rest for good.
If you’re driving through a gnarly storm, the last thing you want is to get wet because you have a leaky windshield. That’s why windshield repair is another task you might want to leave to the pros. They can make sure a new windshield fits your car frame, make sure it’s sealed tight and they can also address any cracks that you might have picked up in your travels.
Doing Your Homework
If you’re in the market for a vehicle, auto body shops can also be a good source of information. Let’s say you’re shopping used cars for sale online and you end up buying a car or truck through a private sale from someone who lives in your area.
You may have looked the car over, and it passed your eye test. You may have bought it and immediately gotten to work doing easy repairs, and it seems to be running right. But to be absolutely sure, you might want to take the car into a shop and have the pros inspect it. They might be able to find things you can’t easily see and point out things you may have to address now, or in the future.
By doing your homework and getting advice from experts, and even doing some of the most common car repairs at home, you can make sure that you’re getting the most out of your purchase, and for most people, a vehicle of any size is a big purchase.
Going to an auto body shop for car repairs after an accident can be very helpful, but sometimes you need their expertise even if you haven’t been in a crash. Sometimes, a light just pops on your center console and you need to take your car in to get something fixed. For tricky things like transmission repair, it definitely helps to have an expert do the work since the transmission is a vital part of your car.
The same thing can be said for things such as auto AC service. Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the middle of winter, you need to have a heating and cooling dial that works and the wiring that controls both of those functions requires the tools and expertise of professionals.
Having Good Insurance
While you can complete some of the most common car repairs at home, you should never be without coverage on the road. That means you need good car insurance.
The benefits of having car insurance include:
- Being covered: Having insurance can protect you and your family from having huge expenses in the event of a collision, or other accidents.
- Being protected: Should you or a family member get into an accident, insurance helps cover any bodily injury that may occur as well as any property damage.
- Saving time: The aftermath of a car accident can be very time-consuming, but with good insurance, all of that can be taken care of and leave you feeling less stressed. Depending on your policy, you can add roadside assistance to your policy, where you can have local towing services take your car to a local shop for repairs.
- Being at peace: The important thing to remember about car accidents is that everyone makes mistakes. The right insurance can take care of the most common car repairs, or more serious repairs and give you peace of mind because you know that you’re protected.
With so many car companies offering policies, take time to shop around and find a policy that works best for your needs. Accidents can happen at any time to even the most cautious of drivers, and should you ever get into an accident, you’ll be glad that you’ve got insurance.
No matter what you drive or how often you drive, you should treat every car repair and every part of your car with importance. You can address some of the most common car repairs yourself at home, and you can have serious issues checked out at your local auto shops. Ultimately, you want your car to be in the best condition possible when you drive, and being diligent about maintenance is the best way to keep it road-ready.