Petrol heads spend every weekend tinkering under the hood of their car. They like nothing better than to emerge from beneath the engine, plastered in oil, and with a glowing sense of satisfaction. The rest of us are more likely to send our car to the nearest auto shop and pay an eye-watering bill to have it fixed. In many cases, though, we could just do the job ourselves.
Car maintenance is not always that complicated. Despite the increasing prevalence of complex engine management systems, there are still a number of basic car maintenance tasks anyone can do with practice. A DIY oil change, for example, isn’t rocket science. As long as you are willing to get your hands dirty, you should have no problem maintaining your vehicle. The following tasks are literally so simple my dog could do them with a blindfold on.
Change Windscreen Wipers
Auto stores will change windscreen wipers for you – at a price – but this is one job that is dead easy to do at home. The hardest part is buying the right replacement wipers, so spend some time checking the new wipers are for your make and model of car. In most cases, new wiper blades come with fitting instructions, so if you can’t figure it out, take a look at the diagram on the packaging.
Changing the Oil and Filter
Changing the oil and filter should take around 45 minutes. Jack the car up, loosen the drain plug and drain the old oil out into a container. Replace the filter and fill the engine with fresh oil. Used engine oil can be recycled.
Change Spark Plugs
Spark plugs should be replaced every 30k miles. You will need a socket set to extract the old plugs and fit the new ones, but aside from that, it’s an easy 30-minute job. All cars have between four and eight spark plugs, depending on the size of the engine. Find out where yours are located and replace them one at a time.
Change an Air Filter
It takes around ten minutes to replace an air filter. An air filter is normally replaced as part of an annual service, but you can easily do it yourself. Check your vehicle’s manual to find out where it is located. Take out the old filter and clip the new one in.
DIY Car Maintenance Educational Resources
Haynes Manuals used to be the go-to book for any budding mechanic. Haynes published manuals for every make and model of vehicle, old and new. If you needed to service your old Ford or tune up a Mini, your Haynes Manual was the only resource you needed. Haynes still publishes workshop manuals for a wide range of vehicles, both in print and in digital formats, but you can just as easily find the information you need on YouTube. In fact, for many people, watching a video is the key to understanding what to do.
Once you have mastered the above tasks, have a go at changing your brake pads and performing the annual service. It will save you a lot of cash.