Easy Do It Yourself Car Repairs

A car problem can ruin any day. Add to it the stress of taking your car to the mechanic, paying hundreds–if not thousands–of dollars, and needing to borrow a car, carpool, or worse rent a car. But what if some of the more minor replacements could be done right in your garage for a fraction of the price? There are some DIY repairs you can perform on your car without having a background in mechanics. The best way to familiarize yourself with where to start is by visiting your local auto parts store. You could even take some online training to get you on the road to understanding the basics of mechanics. But before you do any of that, here are a few DIY repairs you can try.

How to change your brake pads

If your brakes are starting to grind or squeal when you stop, it is time to replace your brake pads. Make sure your car is on a flat surface with the parking brake engaged.

What you need:
• Socket set and ratchet
• Wheel brace
• Hexagonal, torx or star-shaped keys
• New brake pads
• 2 blocks of wood
• Trolley jack or portable car jack
• 2 axle stands
• A.C. clamp

What you do:
1. Loosen the wheel nuts and put the blocks behind the rear tires.
2. Find the jacking points and use your jack to lift the front end of the car, putting the axle stands in place and taking off the wheel nuts and wheels.
3. Now use the C clamp and compress the piston of the caliper until it is in the caliper housing.
4. Use your socket and ratchet to take out the mounting bolts, but make sure not to bend or break the brake hose.
5. Next, remove the brake pads and inspect them. Uneven wear means there are other problems, while deep groves on the rotor are a sign that they need to be turned or replaced.
6. Insert your new pads with the inner pad first. Tightening the C clamp can be used to create more space if needed.
7. Put the caliper back on the rotor, and bolt it back in.
8. Now perform a quick visual check before putting your wheels back on.
9. Finally, check your brake fluid levels and perform a slow test drive (away from traffic) before getting back on the road.

*Bleeding the brakes might be required if the brake pedal is spongy.

How to change your spark plugs

Spark plugs are a necessity to keep your engine running properly.

What you need:
• New spark plugs
• Spark plug socket
• Di-Electric Silicone compound
• Thread compound

What you do:
1. Before doing anything, let your engine cool down for a minimum of one hour.
2. Open your hood, and take out the black plastic boxes so you can access the spark plugs.
3. Now find the spark plugs—they will be near wires called HT leads.
4. Once you find them, remove the rubber cap on the spark plugs.
5. Use your socket and put it on top of the plug, turning the socket counterclockwise. Do a quick observation on the old spark plug. Some soot is fine, but excessive soot or oil is a serious problem that a mechanic should look at.
6. Finally put the new spark plug back in with your socket and replace the HT leads. Do a final test to make sure everything is working properly and you are good to go.

How to replace an air filter

Replacing the air filter is simple job and is recommended to be done twice a year to keep dirt, dust and bugs out of your engine.

What you need:
• A new compatible air filter
• Flat-ended or Philips screwdrivers
• A tin of compressed air

What you do:
1. Confirm you have the correct air filter, and park your car on flat ground with the parking brake on.
2. Open the hood and find the air filter, which is inside the air filter cover toward the back of the engine next to the bulkhead.
3. Take out any parts holding your upper cover in place and remove the hose clamp.
4. Next, use your compressed air to clean out the housing, but use a lint-free cloth on the air duct inlet so particles don’t get in the engine.
5. Place your new filter in the housing, and put the housing back on and lock it into place
6. Take out your lint-free cloth and put the hose clamp back in.
7. Finally, perform a final check, ensuring all the fittings are solid, and run your engine in gear to let some fresh air cycle through.


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