Have you been forced to visit a car mechanic recently? They’re not cheap! It’s expensive enough just to put your car through the regular maintenance and servicing that it needs even when there are no visible or detectable defects, let alone when something is really wrong with it.
Some people therefore try to save some money by taking on some of the tasks of car care themselves. In some cases, as we state below, this DIY action is both understandable and reasonable. There are certainly things that even amateurs with limited experience can tackle themselves if they have the right equipment, and perhaps some how-to videos from YouTube.
- Inspecting and Changing the Oil
Inspecting the oil is as easy as pulling the dipstick from its hidey-hole in the engine bay. It’s typically very well marked, and most people learn about the oil dipstick when they’re learning to drive as teenagers. The dipstick check will reveal 2 key things about your oil: the current oil levels, and the condition of your oil.
Changing the oil is also not an overly complex task, but it does require one being able to safely lift the car and keep it stable while they do it. If you don’t have the means to raise the car stably, then it’s still best left to the professionals.
- Minor Paint Correction and Polishing
Paint correction is one area that many are convinced is only manageable by expert hands, but this is not the case. One can look for metal polishing machines to take on DIY restoration jobs. Things like minor scratches, chips and other paint damage are fixable thanks to basic paint correction kits with tools like touch-up pens.
These aren’t necessarily tasks that someone with absolutely no experience in car repairs would attempt, but if you have the willingness to try, and some good resources on which tools to choose and how to use them, you stand a good chance. However, more serious, widespread and complex paint damage is generally only fixable with extensive repainting, which is still in the professional wheelhouse.
- Deep Cleaning and Detailing
Professional car detailers do such an amazing job on not just cleaning, but seemingly restoring cars to their brand-new out of the showroom condition, it can feel impossible for any amateur to replicate it. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Above, we mentioned how minor paint correction and polishing — something pro detailers pride themselves on doing — is accessible to the DIY enthusiast. With the right kinds of tools and know-how, so is the rest of the detailing process.
As the name suggests, the key is in the details. Instead of sponges, you need a proper microfiber washing mitt, and instead of your household vacuum cleaner with its regular nozzle, you get something more geared towards car cleaning with nozzles that can get into every nook and cranny of the interior. When you clean the inside make sure the the outside is also thoroughly cleaned. Shop for car screenwash, car shampoo and wax and tire black if needed.
- Repairing or Changing Tyres
In the event of a puncture or blowout, being able to either use the on-board repair kit that comes with many modern cars, or replace the damaged tyre for your spare, are both key DIY skills to have. These aren’t just things you can do if you have the wherewithal and know-how, but rather these are things that you absolutely should teach yourself to do.
- Replacing the Air Filter
One more thing you can do yourself if you’re willing is replacing the engine air filter. This doesn’t require any special tools, and the only thing you need to be careful about is putting the filter in the right way. If you observe the outgoing air filter and how it looks as you remove it, then putting in the new one shouldn’t be much of a bother.