Cars are expensive to keep road worthy, but they’re worth the cost for the freedom of movement they give us. However, not all maintenance must be undertaken by an expensive mechanic at a repair shop; there are plenty of easy maintenance tasks that any car owner can undertake, saving time and money. If you’re unsure where to start, I’ve compiled some of the easiest things to do to give you the confidence to take on other DIY maintenance jobs.
There are several filters in a car, and while they’re all replaceable by an amateur, the best one to start with is the air filter. The air filter stops dust and debris from entering the engine and needs replacing approximately every 14000 miles (less in dusty conditions). Consult the owner’s manual to determine which filter you need and where it’s located in the engine. After this, it’s a matter of popping the old one out and inserting the new one.
Driving on wheels that don’t have sufficient pressure in the tires negatively impacts steering ability and accelerates the wear rate. A visual check is the first way to assess tire pressure, but a pressure gauge is best for an accurate result. A handheld tire inflator is your friend if you can’t get to commercial premises to access a pressure gauge. Check the pressure and reinflate the tire anywhere, any time, and quickly get back on the road with safe wheels.
They’re in front of your eyes every time you sit in a front seat, yet the wiper blades are often overlooked until they’re half hanging off. As a crucial safety feature, this makes it hard for the driver to see clearly and endangers other road users. Fitting new wiper blades takes mere minutes, so there’s no excuse for ignoring them in the hope it won’t matter. The next time you need to see in the rain or wash the dust off the windscreen, you’ll appreciate taking a few minutes to figure out replacing the blades.
Checking your lights is one of the simplest maintenance things you can do – all you need to do is turn the car on and check that the lights are working. Get someone to help you check the brake lights; otherwise, you can look at the others yourself. Regularly checking the external lights are working ensures the driver can see and be seen in low visibility and signal to other road users accurately.
Dirt accumulation can impact the performance of a vehicle and mask early-stage issues. Taking your car through the carwash is the least time-consuming way to remove external dirt and dust buildup, although some people prefer handwashing. Regardless of which option you choose, after each car wash, inspect the paint for chips and scratches that can let water into the metalwork. Water causes rust damage that weakens the frame’s integrity, so if you find paint damage, have it repaired.
These are some of the simplest car maintenance tasks for a novice, and once you’ve mastered them, you’ll realize there’s plenty more you can do for your car.