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4 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Money

15 June 2020 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

In many ways, taking care of your car is like taking care of your health. You need to practice regular check-ups to prevent more serious issues developing. While you can’t avoid every emergency, there are lots of measures you can take to keep your car in good shape. Prevention is always better than cure.

Cars are a never-ending expense. What you pay at the dealership is nothing compared to what you’ll spend on insurance, gas and accessories down the line. We often forget to factor in the cost of car maintenance in our monthly budget. Most need regular servicing, especially if they are driven daily. Unfortunately, trips to the mechanic don’t come cheap. A standard service at a garage can set you back up to $550. So, what’s the alternative? Luckily, there are many repairs and maintenance checks you can do yourself. All you need are some simple tools, parts and knowledge to avoid burning another whole in your wallet.  

At Motor Matcher, we understand the importance of keeping your car healthy. That’s why we’ve come up with 4 easy DIY car repairs that you can do from the comfort of your own home. 

Changing air filter

Changing car air filter DIY car repairs

Tools: none

Duration: 10 minutes

Estimated cost: $10

As a general rule, you need to replace your air filter every 12 months/every 20,000km. Sure, you can pay a mechanic and give up your car for a day. But why not save time and money by doing it yourself? This is one of the easiest DIY car repairs that even a rookie can pull off.

Steps

  1. Locate your filter under the hood of your car. It’s usually in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Consult your owner’s manual if you cannot find it.
  2. Open the casing and take note of the filter’s position. Take a photo on your phone if you can.
  3. Remove the old filter and insert the replacement as per the photo.
  4. Remember to close the metal clips when you’re finished.
  5. For extra savings, you can extend the life of your new air filter by hitting it with some compressed air to clear out any debris.

Changing windshield wipers

Changing windshield wipers DIY car repairs

Tools: none

Duration: 15 minutes

Estimated Cost: $10 to $20

Next on our list of DIY car repairs is windshield wiper replacement.The setup of wiper blades varies from model to model, so you’ll need your owner’s manual for this one. Aside from that, replacing your wipers isn’t much different to replacing your air filter.

Steps

  1. Lift the blades (as if you were washing your windshield by hand).
  2. Pay attention to how the old blades connect to the metal arms. Take a photo on your phone to avoid confusion.
  3. On most models, you’ll see a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab to remove the old blade.
  4. Attach the new blades, being careful not to bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Line everything up and make sure the new ones are secure and tight.

Changing brake pads

Changing break pads DIY car repairs

Tools: Lug wrench, C-clamp, open-end/adjustable wrench, hammer

Duration: 30 minutes to an hour

Estimated cost: $40 and up (depending on your car)

While this one might seem intimidating, replacing your brake pads is a surprisingly straightforward task. Once you get the hang of it, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. Most importantly, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself. Winning!

Generally speaking, most brake pads will need replacing every 30,000km you drive. It’s always best to check your owner’s manual for model-specific recommendations. If you do a lot of “stop-and-go” driving (e.g. driving in traffic), you’ll likely need to change them more frequently, as this causes increased wear and tear. Remember, safety is always your top priority. While simple in its essence, changing brake pads requires more steps and technique than other DIY car repairs on our list. If at any time during the process you feel uncomfortable, wrap things up and leave it to the professionals. Changing your brake pads can be done safely at home, but no savings are worth risking your health.

Steps

  1. Jack up your car and rest it securely on jack stands.
  2. Break the lugs on your tyres.
  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 a 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. Hold the caliper from the top and pull upwards. Give it a few taps if you need to, making sure not to disturb the brake line (a black hose). Don’t let the caliper hang from the brake line; find somewhere to set it securely. With the caliper out of the way, the old brake pads should slide right out.
  5. Replace the old pads with new ones, securing them with the same retaining clips that held the old pads in place. If you have an older car, you might need to utilise your hammer for some gentle encouragement.
  6. Compress the brake piston. Get 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.
  7. Tighten the clamp until the piston has moved far enough to where you can place the caliper assembly over the new pads.
  8. Re-install the brake caliper (the opposite process of what you did when you removed it), and then simply put your wheel back on.

Changing fuel filter

Changing fuel filter DIY car repairs

Tools: open-end wrenches, rags, eye protection

Duration: 30 minutes

Estimated cost: $20

Knowing how to change your fuel filter is one of the biggest cost savers on our list of DIY car repairs. For $20, a new fuel filter can protect your engine from costly future damage. To avoid this, follow the rule of thumb and replace it annually. Keep in mind, however, that like changing brake pads, this is a more advanced job. Working with fuel can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. If you’re an amateur when it comes to cars, leave this to your trusty mechanic.

Steps

  1. Start by relieving fuel system pressure. If you omit this step, the results can be explosive (we mean that in a very literal sense). Locate the fuel pump fuse on the fuse box. If you don’t have a fuel pump fuse, 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, you’ll know that you pulled the right one.
  2. Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter. Find two open-end wrenches that are the correct size for your fuel filter fittings (usually you’ll need two different sizes).
  3. When the wrenches are in place, put a rag over the fitting to protect yourself in case there is still some pressure in the lines.
  4. Hold the wrench that fits on the actual filter and turn the other wrench counterclockwise until that bolt comes out.
  5. Slide the fuel line off the bolt and set the bolt aside.
  6. Repeat the process for the other side of the fuel filter.
  7. Remove the old fuel filter. Most filters are held in place by a clamp that you can release by using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful here, as the old fuel filter could still have some gas in it.
  8. Change the fuel filter washers, which are located on the bolts that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter. Make sure to match the new ones up correctly.
  9. Install the new fuel filter, which is the opposite process you performed to remove the old fuel filter.
  10. Return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.
  11.  

Avoid spending an arm and a leg at the garage and get your hands dirty instead. By investing in tools and parts online, you can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in the long term. For simple DIY car repairs, do it yourself. However, it’s also important to know your limits. So prioritise your safety, and call your mechanic when things get tricky.

 

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For the best buying experience, choose www.motormatcher.com.au and let us help you find your dream car.