7 Easy DIY Car Maintenance Jobs
Fixing up your own car is easy with these seven steps for basic car maintenance. Even if you’re not a car-geek, doing some basic car maintenance will keep it out of the shop and extend its life. Here’s a collection of 10-minute fixes you can easily do to your car that will save you money immediately or prevent future repair bills.
1. Change Your Coolant
Coolant doesn’t last forever. You have to change it every 40,000 kilometres (green coolant) or 160,000 kilometres (extended-life coolant). If you keep driving on worn coolant, expect to replace the radiator, heater core and water pump.
2. Change Your Fluids Regularly
Transfer case fluid and differential oil changes are cheap and easy. Replacing these components will cost you about $1,500 each—a high price to pay for neglect.
3. Replace the Air Filter Annually
A clogged cabin air filter puts an added load on your car’s A/C system and reduces heat in winter. Replace it at least once a year.
4. Test Your Coolant
Test your coolant with a voltmeter. Set your digital voltmeter on the lowest DC setting reading and dip the positive probe right into the coolant. Touch the negative probe to the negative battery terminal and rev the engine to 2,000 rpm. If the reading is .4 volts or more, your coolant is toast.
Check out these step-by-step instructions for testing coolant with a multimeter.
5. Clean Your Headlights
If you have cloudy headlights, you don’t have to replace them or live with them. Buy a headlight restoration kit at any auto parts store ($20) and follow the sanding and buffing instructions.
Here are more tips for cleaning cloudy headlights.
6. Clean Corroded Battery Terminals
Corrosion puts added strain on your charging system and can mess with computer-controlled systems. Cleaning is your cheapest insurance against electrical problems.
Check out these step-by-step instructions for replacing corroded battery terminals.
7. Repair a Malfunctioning Defroster Grid
Yes, this is a DIY car maintenance job! Pick up a Permatex Quick Grid repair kit ($13) at any auto parts store. Follow the instructions and you’ll be defrosting in no time.