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5 Car Repairs You Could Do Yourself
●July 7, 2021●4 minute read
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Taking your car to the mechanic can be an expensive endeavour. Not to mention, it can be hard to find the time, especially if you’re busy and the mechanic is booked up. It can end up consuming hours of your day, costing you money, and leave you without a car for hours until the work is completed.
If you simply don’t have time to waste, don’t want to pay for easy fixes, or just wish you were a bit more handy, here are five simple car repairs you could do yourself.
Change your own brake pads
Brake pad replacement is one of the most common car repairs in Australia. There are both front brake pads and back brake pads.
The front brake pads are responsible for roughly 70% of your braking, with the back brake pads accounting for the remaining 30%.
While it might seem scary to be fiddling with the mechanisms responsible for making your car stop when you need it to, it’s quite a simple repair.
Tools you’ll need:
- Wheel lug wrench;
- Basic wrenches;
- A jack and a set of jack stands.
To change your own brake pads, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Take off the wheel;
- Remove the hardware;
- Pull out the worn pads;
- Reinstall the new brake pads.
According to Wise Bread, you should be able to change all four brake pads within the hour, even if you’re a beginner.
New brake pads should last between 50,000 to 80,000 kilometres (kms), but they should be checked every 15,000 kms to make sure they’re wearing okay. When the pad thickness falls to two to three milimetres, it’s time to replace them again.
Change your spark plugs
Changing your spark plugs is one of the easiest DIY car repairs you can do. While more modern cars can go up to 160,000 kms without needing to change the spark plugs, it’s still good to check them every 50,000 to 65,000 kms to make sure they’re working properly.
Tools you’ll need:
- Gap gauge;
- Needle-nose plier;
- Socket/ratchet set;
- Spark plug wire puller;
- Swivel socket;
- Torque wrench.
To change your spark plugs, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Remove the plastic cover and the air cleaner assembly;
- Blast the area with compressed air to make sure it’s clean;
- Remove the ignition coil and/or boot;
- Unscrew the plug;
- Install the new plug (make sure you gap it first);
- Lube the spark plug boot and button it up.
Replace a headlight/taillight
Ensuring that all of your lights are working is vital for clear visibility and communication with other drivers. Not only that, having lights that aren’t working properly can incur a hefty fine. This is why it’s important to check that all of your lights are working often.
To replace a headlight or taillight, you don’t even need any tools! All you need to do is:
- Remove the light cover;
- Remove the bulb that needs replacing;
- Take the old bulb into the store to ensure you purchase the right type of light;
- Install the new bulb and check that it works.
Don’t touch the bulb with your bare hands. The oil from your fingers can cause the light to burn out quicker.
Replace your air filter
Changing your air filter should be a relatively simple task (unless you have a German car, in which case it might be slightly more difficult).
All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Open the hood of your car;
- Open the air filtering housing;
- Remove the old air filter, including any screws holding it in place;
- Replace it with the new air filter and screw it into place.
It’s really simple, and can end up saving you a bunch of time and money. If you’re unsure about replacing your air filter, or any of these DIYs, there are always YouTube tutorials that can teach you to do just about anything.
Change the car battery
Lastly, if you choose to, you could change your car battery yourself. While it might seem like a scary task, it’s actually not that difficult to do. Car batteries typically last from four to six years, but they usually list an expiration date on the battery itself.
Don’t wait until your battery starts having issues to replace it. Replacing your car battery when it needs to be replaced can avoid you ending up stranded somewhere with a dead battery, waiting for someone to help you.
Tools you’ll need:
- A basic set of wrenches;
- Protective eyewear.
It’s important to follow the order of steps listed, as removing cables in the wrong order can lead to issues. Make sure to:
- Remove the negative (black) cable first;
- Remove the positive (red) cable second;
- Install the new battery;
- Replace the positive (red) cable first;
- Replace the negative (black) cable last.
A final note
While doing car repairs yourself can be a great way to get to know your car better, save time, and save money, it’s important to know what you’re doing. If you don’t feel comfortable handling a wrench, car repairs might not be on the cards for you.
If these car repairs aren’t for you, check out these simple ways to maintain your car.
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Written by Rachel Horan
Rachel Horan is a Content Writer for Jacaranda Finance. Rachel has previously produced content for Brisbane City Council, Black & White Cabs, and Clubs Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Mass Communication with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology.