Cars, like any other machine, need proper and routine maintenance. Most of this can be done at home on weekends. It might seem daunting to deal with car maintenance as a DIY project but it is easy.
In this post, we’ll discuss how you can fix scratches on your car and undertake other minor repair and maintenance jobs.
We’ll make the steps easy for you and this will only include common hand tools. If you don’t have any of the tools, you can rent them at the local parts store.
However, we recommend you buy your own tools and make a toolkit that you can use later.
1. How to Fix Scratches on Your Car
If there’s one thing that breaks the heart of any car lover, it is cratches on your car.
There are two kinds of scratches on a car’s paint, the ones on the clear coat, and the ones on the color coat.
Here’s how you can fix clear coat scratches:
- Clean the area of the car that has scratches using rubbing alcohol.
- Use a 3000 grit sandpaper to sand the scratched area down. Sand it wet, using soapy water.
- Apply a clear coat to the affected area. Two to three coats of clear coat will be enough.
- Apply car wax and buff it into the paint to restore the paint to its new condition.
If the scratches are on the color coat, here’s how you can fix them.
- Start with cleaning the affected area with rubbing alcohol.
- Sand the area down with 3000 grit sandpaper.
- Spray the affected area with spray paint matching the color code of your car.
- Apply two to three coats of clear coat to the paint.
- Use car wax to restore the shine of the paint.
2. Cleaning the Filters
One of the most important routine car maintenance things is cleaning the filters of the car. There are two important filters that you must clean at least every 15 days.
To clean the engine air filter:
- Open the hood of the car.
- Locate the air intake and trace it to reach the filter.
- Open the clips holding the filter cover in place.
- Take the filter out and clean it.
- If it is a dry filter, use pressurized air.
- If it is an oil-soaked filter, tap it against a solid object to knock the dust off.
The other filter that needs routine cleaning is the cabin air filter. In order to clean it:
- Pull out the glove box of your car.
- Take the cabin air filter out.
- Tap it against a solid surface or use pressurized air to clean it.
- Replace the filter and you are good to go.
3. Changing the Engine Oil
The engine oil is the blood of your car and it needs transfusions every 5,000 miles. Your car can take a fair amount of the abuse you throw on it but not changing the engine oil is something that it just cannot handle.
Changing the engine oil is a very simple car maintenance procedure and you can do it in just 20 minutes. All you need is a spanner and new engine oil.
The first thing you need to do is to find out what grade engine oil your car needs. For this, you can consult the owner’s manual. Grab the correct oil and oil filter from your local parts store and spare 20 minutes to change it.
Here’s how you can change the engine oil on your car.
- Open the hood of your car and take the engine oil fill cap off.
- Jack the car up and make sure it is fully secure to work on.
- Locate the engine oil drain plug and take it out with a spanner.
- Place a pan under the drain plug to collect the used engine oil.
- Once all the oil has been drained, tighten the drain plug on the drain hole.
- Unscrew the oil filter and take it off.
- Screw the new oil filter in place.
- Fill the engine with the new engine oil into the engine and tighten the fill cap.
- Start the car and let it idle for a couple of minutes.
- Turn the engine off and check the oil level with the oil gauge to make sure everything has been done right.
CAUTION: Never change the engine oil with the engine still hot. The engine oil is very hot and can cause severe burns.
4. Check Belts and Hoses
Your car’s engine relies on a lot of belts and hoses to transfer oil and water and to deliver power. A leaking hose or a loose belt can cause many problems. To make sure your car is not on a way to destruction, here are some car maintenance tips for the belts and hoses:
- Check all the hoses on your car at least once a week.
- Tighten any hose that has leakage on the joints.
- Replace any hose that is leaking.
- Check all the belts in your engine bay to make sure they are tight to the specs.
- If a belt is showing the signs of cracking, get them replaced.
5. Check All Fluids Regularly
In addition to changing the oil, there are a number of additional fluids that are needed for the proper functioning of various components and systems of your car. Here’s a list of the fluids you should check every 15 days:
- Engine oil.
- Transmission oil.
- Differential oil.
- Battery electrolyte level if you have a lead-acid battery.
- Windshield washer fluid.
- Brake oil.
- Hydraulic clutch oil.
If any of these fluids are under the recommended level, take your car to a mechanic to have the issue diagnosed and fixed.
Final Thoughts on DIY Car Maintenance
Those are some of the general car maintenance tips for keeping a vehicle in good shape. If your car has other systems that need maintenance regularly, you need to maintain them as well.
DISCLAIMER: These instructions are written to make you familiar with the systems of a car that need routine maintenance. If you are not confident whether you can work on your car or not, take it to a mechanic. NEVER WORK ON THE CAR WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING.