8 DIY Car Maintenance Weekend Projects
Owning a car comes with the responsibility of keeping it in good operating condition for safety and longevity purposes. Proper care and vehicle maintenance will help you achieve those objectives. However, car maintenance is not cheap. ?Fortunately, there are some maintenance routines which you can do by yourself and save you some money in the process.
1.) ?Air filter change
It is important that you routinely change your air filter every year or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). You can buy car air filters for about $10 you can replace your air filter at home in just about ten minutes with these steps:
1) Go over your owner?s manual to locate your air filter. Usually, it?s inside that black rectangular box (with metal clips on the side) that you see as soon as you pop the hood.
2) Open up the casing, and check out how the air filter fits inside it and don?t forget to note which way the filter faces (so you?ll know how to put it right back on).
3) Hit it with some compressed air to clear out any debris. This is optional (but it can extend the life of your new air filter).
4) Remove your old air filter then insert the new one exactly how the old one sat.
5) Close the metal clips when you?re done.
2.) ??Do a Radiator Flush
It is vital that you keep your car?s radiator and cooling system clean for it to work efficiently and effectively. You have to check your owner?s manual to find out whether you need to flush the radiator annually or every two years. A quick and inexpensive way to keep your system in good condition is a radiator flush following these steps:
1) It is important to completely cool your car before you start the process.
2) Find your radiator?s drain plug. (See owner?s manual. Prepare your used coolant receptacle and ?unscrew the drain plug to let the old coolant drain completely.
3) Replace the drain plug and remove the radiator cap.
4) Using the funnel, add the radiator flush cleaning solution and then fill the rest of the radiator with water.
5) Replace the radiator cap.
6) You then have to start the car (let it run until it gets to its normal operating temperature).
7) Turn on your heater to its hottest position, and let the car run for 10 minutes.
8) Turn the car off and wait for the engine to cool completely.
9) Now, drain the contents of the radiator.
10) Refill the radiator with fresh coolant.
Because coolants are sweet-smelling, it can draw pets attention and can be dangerous to them. Make sure you dispose of the old coolant safely and properly by bringing it to an auto parts store, gas station, or a mechanic.
3.) ?New Spark Plugs
Some vehicles may be different but in most car models, spark plugs need replacing after about 30,000 miles. Doing this may take you about half an hour as it requires patience. It is important to know that you need to install the replacements in a specific order. Note that you need to repeat these steps for each spark plug, one at a time.
- Locate your spark plugs (they?re commonly attached to thick rubbery wires).
- The number of spark plugs depend on how many cylinders your car has (it can either be four, six, or eight).
- Remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Since your spark plugs are installed in a specific order, you need to maintain it. Again, do not remove all of the wires at once!
- Use your spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet to remove the first spark plug.
- You can now install the new spark plug by screwing it in by hand at first and then tightening it with a wrench for a snug fit. Remember: do not over-tighten!
- Lastly, re-attach the spark plug wire.
4.) ?Oil and Oil Filter Change
Depending on the products and your car?s efficiency, you can decide whether to change your oil every 3,000 miles, (as recommended by the experts) or changing it every 5,000 miles. It may be the dirtiest job on the list but whichever benchmark you choose, it can surely save you some time and money by doing it yourself. There are precautionary measures you need to take right before you begin the oil change process.
1) ?Driving around the block to heat the car and loosen the oil may result in a more effective drain. However, remember to let the engine cool before you get started
2) ?Make sure you?re comfortable safely handling a jack as you?ll need to jack up your car before going to work.
3) ?Now, get under your car and locate your car?s oil pan.
4) ?Unscrew the drain plug and allow all of the old oil to drain into the oil pan.
5) ?After all of the oil is drained, replace the drain plug.
6) ?Then, you should go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter using your oil filter wrench.
7) ?Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with some new motor oil.
8) ?Next, fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with new oil.
9) ?Screw in the new oil filter. Remember to hand-tighten it only.
10) ?Fill the engine with new oil, using your funnel.
11) ?To make sure your oil level is enough, use a dip-stick to check it.
12) ?Discard the old oil filter and recycle the old oil.
5.) ?Car Battery Maintenance
To keep your car running smoothly and efficiently, a simple visual check of the condition of your battery can tell you whether it has a good connection or you need to work on it (by simply cleaning it) through the following steps:
1) ?Remove your battery terminals, starting with the negative cable first.
2) ?Clean the posts by applying the fluid and clean it (vigorously) with your wire brush.
Using a professional product from your local auto parts store is recommended but if you want to save more, you can always make your own cleaner with baking soda and water. ?
3) ?Rinse the cleaning fluid with a little water and dry the posts with some rags.
4) ?Replace your battery terminals.
6.) ???Replace Brake Pads
Again, depending on your car model, the frequency in replacing your brake pads may vary although typically. you?ll need to replace most brake pads around every 20,000 miles. Prepare everything you need before getting started and be careful in doing it. Remember: safety first!
1) ?First, you need to jack up your car and rest it securely on jack stands.
2) ?Break the lugs on your tires before doing anything else.
3) ?Remove the wheel.
4) ?Remove the brake caliper so that the brake pads slide out through the top. The brake caliper should be at the 12 o?clock position, just above the lug bolts. On the back of the caliper you?ll find a bolt on both sides. Remove the bolts and set them aside.
5) ?Then, hold the caliper from the top and pull upwards. Make sure not to disturb the brake line (a black hose). Find a place to set the caliper securely. With the caliper out of the way, the old brake pads should slide right out.
6) ?Replace old pads with the new pads and secure them using the same retaining clips that held the old pads in place. (For older cars, you might need to use a hammer here a little bit.)
7) ?Compress the brake piston. Get out your C-clamp and put the end with the screw on it against the piston with the other end on the back of the caliper assembly.
8) ?Now, tighten the clamp until the piston has moved far enough to where you can place the caliper assembly over the new pads.
9) ?Lastly, re-install the brake caliper ?by reversing what you did when you removed it, and then put your wheel back on.
7.) ?Fuel Filter Replacement
Fuel filters are to be replaced annually. This would cost you about $20 but it can go a long way as it can help you protect your engine from costly damages. As always, you need to prepare not just your equipment but yourself as well (make sure you know what you?re doing) before you get started. (If you?re having doubts, better ask a mechanic to do it for you instead to ensure safety. )
1)You can start by relieving fuel system pressure.
2)Locate the fuel pump fuse on the fuse box. If you don?t have a fuel pump fuse, you can find the relay that operates the fuel pump. Start your car, and with the engine running, pull the fuse or relay out. When the engine dies, it means you pulled the right one.
3)Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter. You?ll need two open-end wrenches that are the correct size for your fuel filter fittings.
4)When the wrenches are in place, put a rag over the fitting so you can protect yourself in case there is still some pressure in the lines.
5)Hold the wrench that fits on the actual filter, and turn the other wrench counter-clockwise until that bolt comes out.
6)Slide the fuel line off the bolt and set the bolt aside.
7)Repeat the previous steps for the other side of the fuel filter.
8)Remove the old fuel filter. Old fuel filter could still have some gas in it so be careful!
9)Change the fuel filter washers, which are located on the bolts that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter (match the new ones up correctly).
10) Then, install the new fuel filter, reversing the process you performed to remove the old fuel filter.
11) Finally, return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.
8.) New Windshield Wipers
Wiper blades need to be changed usually after around six months or a year of use. You can buy a new set for about $20. Since wiper blade setup can differ from car to car, it is again important to check your owner?s manual and follow the given steps. This process will take you about 15 minutes or less. Here?s how you basically go about it:
1) ?Just like when you?re washing your windshield by hand, lift the blades and remove the old blades. (Note how the old blades connect to the metal arms).
2) ?On most models, there?s a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab to remove the old blade. (There?s also general set of instructions and a helpful diagram on the packaging).
3) ?Then, attach the new blades. Be careful not to bend the wiper arms (or scratch your windshield).
4) ?Finally, line everything up and ensure that the new ones are secure and tight.
You can always slash some auto expenses by being proactive in keeping your car in good condition through proper maintenance. As long as you have some skills and the right tools, you can always do the job yourself to help protect your car from bogging down too soon.
If you keep the vehicle running safely we?ll make sure the right insurance is covered. Velox Insurance provides reliable and fast service to help you obtain the best coverage at the lowest price for your auto insurance needs. Let us know how we can help you today by calling 770-293-0623 or visit any of our offices. Get a free quote from us by clicking here.