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How To Do Five Basic Car Repairs

by Karen Rollins Jun 5, 2023

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How To Do Five Basic Car Repairs

Owning a car can be expensive – monthly payments, insurance, fuel – the list goes on, and then of course, there is the cost of regular and unexpected maintenance.

You’ll need to find a mechanic you can trust to do a yearly service and for bigger repair jobs, but there are some minor repairs that you might be able to tackle yourself, which could save you some money, especially over time.

Here are five basic car repairs:

1. Changing oil – You should regularly check and change your car’s oil to keep it running smoothly and to prolong the engine’s lifespan. 

Changing your car’s oil should be a relatively straightforward maintenance job unless the oil filter and oil drain plug are hard to reach. Look in your car’s manual to locate them.

Warm up your engine for a couple of minutes. When the engine is still warm to touch, remove the oil drain plug to drain the oil (put a container down to catch it). Unscrew the oil filter, empty it. Screw the new oil filter onto the engine. Once the old oil has been drained, pour in fresh oil. Run the engine and check for leaks. 

Wait 10 minutes and use the dipstick to check the oil level. Drive around the block. Wait 10 minutes and check the dipstick again. If it’s full, you are good to go.

2. Replacing spark plugs – Start by looking at the manual to find out where your car’s spark plug wires are located, how many you have, and to make sure you buy the correct replacement spark plugs.

Make sure the engine is cool. Clean the engine area of dirt and debris, so nothing gets into the cylinders. Carefully remove the first spark plug wire to reveal the spark plug (spark plugs fire in a specific order, so it’s best to remove one at a time). Slowly remove the spark plug from its housing. Clean and insert the new spark plug and be careful not to overtighten. 

Spark plugs wear out every five to seven years or 50,000 -150,000 kilometres or so, depending on your car’s make and usage. Watch online tutorials for more detailed help and guidance.

3. Fixing scratches to paintwork – Getting scratches fixed at a body shop can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can save money with a simple DIY job.

Light scratches can usually be fixed just by polishing. Determine the depth of the scratch using your fingers. If it’s superficial, start by cleaning the area, then apply rubbing compound, followed by polishing compound. Finish off with wax to seal the repair. Deeper scratches may require sanding as the first step. 

This method won’t get rid of scratches completely, but it will make them less visible.

4. Replacing windshield wipers – Wiper blades are made of rubber, so they naturally wear out over time. Faulty wiper blades should be replaced as soon as possible, and luckily this job is an easy fix because you shouldn’t need any tools.

Make sure your replacement wipers are the same size and length as the old ones and have the same connection points. 

Protect the windshield with a bedsheet or towel. Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield while depressing the small tab that allows the wiper blade to be pulled off. Line up the new wiper with the arm and push it in tightly. Turn the wipers on to make sure they’re working properly.

5. Changing air filters – Air filters are sometimes overlooked, but they have the important job of keeping your engine free of dust and other contaminants. Make sure you change your filter once every 50,000 kilometres or approximately once every year.

As always, read the manual to locate the air filter unit. Remove the air filter cover, take the air filter out and clean the air filter housing. Insert a new filter and put back the cover. 

We hope these tips are helpful. 

Search the Yello Pages directory or FindYello.com for a trusted car repair shop.

Sources: Lifehack, AutoZone.com, WikiHow and Halfords.