Many of us have been behind the wheel since we were teenagers. For some, it’s almost impossible to imagine living without a car. Driving is a daily part of our lives.
However, a lot of drivers don’t know how to do the basic car repairs and maintenance that are required to keep our vehicles running. While it’s true that major repairs should be handled by a trained professional, the basics can be done on your own, saving you time and money.
Here are a few that every driver should know before getting behind the wheel.
Replacing the Windshield Wipers
While the windshield wipers are an extremely important part of your car’s safety system, they’re also incredibly easy to replace on your own. You’ll want to replace them as soon as you start to notice that they are smearing, streaking, or making noise.
Replacing them is as simple as lifting the wiper arm away from the windshield, pushing a tab to remove the blade, and pushing a new one into place. Easy enough, right? You’ll never pay someone else to do it ever again.
Changing the Oil
As a car owner, you hopefully already know how to check your oil on a regular basis. Oil is essential to keeping any car running smoothly, as it prevents premature wear and prolongs the engine’s lifespan. Without the proper amount of oil, you will cause extensive damage.
Changing the oil is a very important part of car maintenance that needs to be done every 5,000-7,500 miles, on average, though that number depends on your specific vehicle.
This fundamental maintenance involves removing the oil drain plug, plus unscrewing and emptying the oil filter in order to drain all of the old oil out of the car. Once you replace the oil filter and drain plug, you can remove the filler cap and pour in fresh oil.
Replacing the Battery
Replacing your vehicle’s battery is one of the easiest DIY repairs there is. If your battery is older and is starting to show signs that it needs replacement, go ahead and take care of it before you end up stranded with a dead battery.
Replacing the battery is as simple as removing any covers, disconnecting the negative cable and moving the clamp away, and then disconnecting the positive cable. Once it is disconnected, you can swap it out for a new one, reconnecting the positive cable first, and then the negative. Makes sure the clamps are tightened properly to ensure good contact.
Changing a Flat Tire
An unexpected flat tire could leave you stranded on the side of the road, which is never a good place to be. Instead of calling roadside assistance, save yourself time and money by putting the spare tire on yourself.
You’ll need to loosen the lug nuts with a wrench, use a jack stand to lift the car off the ground, and remove the lug nuts to be able to remove the flat tire. After that, place the spare tire on the car and wrench the lug nuts back on before lowering the car back down. Make sure that the lug nuts are tight.
Jump-Starting a Car
Your car battery will inevitably die at some point over the years, or you may come across another driver who needs your help. Being able to jumpstart the battery is an important skill that could save you time and money. All you need is a set of jumper cables and the use of another vehicle that starts up properly.
Start by placing both vehicles in park or neutral with parking brakes engaged and shut of the ignition. Using a set of jumper cables, attach the red clips to the positive terminals of your car and the car that starts. Now attach the black clip to the negative battery terminal of the car that starts, and the other black clip to an unpainted metal surface on the car that won’t start.
Start the working vehicle and allow it to run for a few minutes before trying to start your car. If the jump works, make sure you drive your vehicle for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery.