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20 Feb 2013

10 Easy Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself at Home

As the economy struggles to rebound after the financial crisis and recession, many household budgets are under a bit more strain than they once were. Finding ways to save money is a priority for most families these days, giving more people the inspiration to try their hand at simple repairs and services that they would ordinarily pay to have done. These 10 car repairs and maintenance tasks are actually quite simple, even for beginners. Rather than paying high service and labor charges, you may find that taking care of some aspects of your car maintenance routine yourself is a gratifying and frugal course of action.
  1. Replacing Headlight Bulbs – A burnt-out headlight bulb will reduce your visibility at night and can lead to costly traffic citations if you’re pulled over for neglecting it. Once you’ve established that a bulb needs to be replaced, changing it is a snap. Make sure before you begin the repair, however, that your car doesn’t have sealed-beam headlights and that you have the right bulb for the make and model of your car.
  2. Fix a Dangling Exhaust Pipe – A pesky rattling or dragging noise from the rear of your car usually indicates that your exhaust pipe is dangling, a repair that’s relatively quick and easy to handle on your own. Because most cars use rubber loops to hold up exhaust pipes, they can degrade over time. Broken hangers are common, but they’re also a quick fix.
  3. Replacing a Clogged Fuel Filter – On average, a new fuel filter will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $15. When it’s changed regularly, however, it can save you hundreds of dollars in future repairs to your fuel injection and carburetor systems. It is important to make sure that you release the fuel system pressure before replacing the filter, though, to avoid injuring yourself or damaging your vehicle.
  4. Air Filter Replacement – Your air filter should be replaced about every 15,000 miles under normal conditions, or more frequently if you spend a lot of time driving on dirt roads or in high dust conditions. Just remove the old filter, clean the inside of the compartment and snap the new filter into place!
  5. Spark Plug Replacement – Changing your spark plugs is a quick and easy way to improve your car’s fuel efficiency and help it to drive more smoothly.
  6. Changing Windshield Wiper Blades – Few things impede visibility like rainy weather, especially if your windshield wiper blades are in need of replacement. Wiper blades should be changed annually and are almost always significantly cheaper if you replace them yourself.
  7. Blown Fuse Replacement – Headlights that don’t work even after you’ve changed the bulbs are usually an indicator that a fuse has blown. The owner’s manual for your car will include the location of your fuse box and the type of fuses that the car requires.
  8. Changing the Battery – Car batteries don’t last forever, so there will come a time when the one in your car will need to be replaced. Rather than paying labor and service fees, you can complete the repair yourself. Just be sure that you follow the instructions in your owner’s manual and always wear protective eye-wear during the repair.
  9. Replacing Worn-Out Tires – Changing tires is one of the more common repairs for car owners to undertake themselves, as you probably have all the tools you need right in your trunk. It is important to be sure that you have your new tires balanced by a mechanic soon after changing them, though.
  10. Radiator Hose Replacement – Coolant system pressure and engine temperature are largely dependent upon the condition of your radiator hoses, as they can begin to leak as they degrade over time. Fortunately, replacing them is relatively simple due to the fact that they’re usually attached with simple clamp systems or screws. 
While it’s a bit silly to pay a mechanic to complete simple repairs or perform easy routine maintenance tasks that you’re capable of handling yourself, it’s also important that you’re smart about the process. Attempting to manage repairs that are beyond your skill level on crucial parts of your car can actually be quite dangerous. Be sure that you’re confident in your abilities and have a good idea of what you’re doing before you attempt any repairs more complex than those discussed here.

Syndicated, with consent, from http://www.housekeeping.org/blog/10-easy-car-repairs-you-can-do-yourself-at-home/

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