4 DIY Tips and Tricks for Car CareiStock.com/MarioGuti
With “car care month” officially passing (I’m looking at you April), it’s the perfect time to tackle a few necessary car maintenance steps for warmer weather. Cars are typically a big investment, which means that the better care you take of your vehicle, the more valuable that investment will remain. Because car maintenance can seem daunting, especially for first time owners, we’ve laid out four easily handled things you can do no matter your experience level with caring for your vehicle. These tips can save you money by doing it yourself and help prevent future glitches your vehicle may experience.
1. Replace your windshield wipers.
Typically, wipers should be replaced every six to 12 months. Chances are they’ve been through a lot of winter wear, making this an ideal time to swap them out. Switching out wipers is driver and wallet friendly, as it requires no additional tools and wipers range from $10 to $20. Take note before purchasing whether your car has two wipers of the same size or if it has a longer left-side wiper. Consult the in-store style guide to ensure the wipers you purchase work for your vehicle. To replace the wipers, simply lift the old blades and look for a tab on the underside of the wiper. Remove them by pushing the tab and pulling the blade straight off. Attach the new blades, line them up, and then make sure they are tight enough that they won’t slip off.
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2. Change your oil.
Plan on this taking around 15 to 30 minutes, with some pretty satisfying results. We recommend changing your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Before working on your vehicle, make sure that the engine has cooled. Because you’ll need to get underneath, it’s best to raise your car up using a jack. Once your car is safely raised, get underneath to find the vehicle’s oil pan. It looks similar to a kitchen sink. Once you’ve located the oil pan, unscrew the drain plug and drain all the old oil into your oil pan before replacing the drain plug. Return to your engine and fill it with new oil using a funnel. With a dipstick, double check your oil to make sure you’ve added enough. Now all that’s left to do is recycle your old oil. Most gas stations will accept used oil, so head to the nearest one. This DIY method can come in handy to save you money if you change your oil multiple times a year. It’s one part of vehicle maintenance that is easy to keep on top of.
3. Wash your car.
Getting all the grime and dirt that’s built up during those winter months is another easy do-it-yourself tip. You can buy special car wash soap at your local market or auto store for around $8. Mix the soap in a bucket of water, and you’re ready to work. Consider cleaning your car in the shade or in the garage to keep the car cool. Wash section by section to keep anything from air drying. Instead, follow up the wash by using a soft cloth to dry your vehicle before finishing. A microfiber or cloth will remove any residue and completely dry the vehicle without leaving any lint behind. Now that the outside looks great, don’t forget to vacuum and wipe down the inside. Consider purchasing a car air freshener to get the clean smell and feel to last just a little longer.
4. Inflate Your Tires.
This is possibly the easiest tip we have for you—and the great news is it’s free! Having your tires filled correctly will give you better gas mileage on the road. Most gas stations have an air supply machine in the parking lot. The sidewalls of your tires state the max level of air, so keep this in mind when filling them because you don’t want to go over that limit. On the inside rim of your tire is a little spout where you can add air. Simply remove the lid and insert the nozzle. The nozzle handle includes a gauge that tells you the tire’s current pressure. Be sure not to fill a tire more than the maximum. Watch the gauge as you squeeze the handle to insert air. Now you are ready to hit the road.
Car maintenance doesn’t need to be intimidating. Take pride in taking good care of your vehicle. It will help prevent expensive problems down the road in addition to keeping you safe.
These DIY tips are only the basics of vehicle maintenance. Go back to our blog for even more advice on caring for your car, plus tons of other resources.
If you have any serious vehicle maintenance to take care of, consider getting a quote from AutoMD to weigh the benefits of doing it yourself against taking your car in to a local shop for more detailed work. Either way, you can feel confident in the work that gets done on your vehicle no matter what comes next.
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