With 95% of American households owning a car, the amount of money spent on maintenance each year can be astronomical. What if your necessary mode of transportation could be a little less taxing? For many people, the answer to cutting back on car costs is to simply perform all maintenance yourself.
Before you begin thinking that you have to be a grease monkey to get things done, take another look. Many maintenance tasks can be performed with little time and with very little “grease” involved. Doing these things yourself could save you hundreds of dollars a year, and reward you with the sense of a job well done. Included here are a few surprisingly easy car maintenance tasks you can begin doing yourself.
Oil and Filters
Perhaps the easiest way to save yourself money can be by simply changing your oil yourself. Those oil changes that come around every three months are certainly not cheap and can quickly add up over the year. Changing your oil is a fairly simple task, typically involving undoing a cap underneath the car to let the old oil drain out (into a pan), and then recapping and refilling with fresh oil.
While performing this task, it is best to change out your oil and air filters as well. Most of these filters should cost you less than $20, often closer to $10 apiece. Replacing filters can be as simple as unscrewing the old one and screwing in a new one. These basic maintenance tasks could save you $50 or more every three months.
Windshield Wipers and Fluid
This maintenance task is so easy, it can hardly even be considered routine maintenance. Unfortunately, those who are afraid of touching their car other than to drive it, may find themselves scared of replacing wipers. Fortunately, most windshield wipers can easily be replaced by simply clicking the new wiper into place. Refilling the washer fluid is as simple as pouring new fluid into the reservoir, which could be stored under the hood or in the trunk.
Now, anything with electrical can be intimidating for the first-time car maintainer, but it is nothing to be afraid of. Replacing the headlights in your car is as simple as switching out a lightbulb at home. All that is required is a basic replacement bulb. Pop the hood of your car and look for the headlight housing inside the hood. It should be simple to pull back the wires and replace the burned out bulb with the new one.
Replacing Brake Pads
For those who are ready to go a little more in-depth with their vehicle maintenance, it may be time to replace your car’s brake pads. Similar to changing a tire, you are going to jack the car up and remove the tire. Whether your brakes are drum or disc will affect how simple the process is, but you will effectively slide off old brake pads and slide in the new ones.