In the past, almost every driver knew how to fiddle around and fix things on their cars. Nowadays, cars are more complex and sophisticated, so fixing the vehicle yourself seems more intimidating. That’s why most people bring their cars into the shop whenever they have an issue or simply need maintenance.

Although significant repairs may be something you don’t have the time, skills, and patience to tackle, there are still lots of basic maintenance jobs that you can do yourself, regardless of your experience and inherent handiness. Here are some of the jobs that even an absolute auto neophyte can tackle:

Change Engine Coolant


Image by Kate Ibragimova is licensed with Unsplash License

All car engines need the coolant replaced on the manufacturer’s schedule to prevent internal corrosion of the radiator and motor, and replacing the coolant yourself offers a distinct advantage.

To replace the engine coolant, drain the old coolant into a container for disposal. Then, refill the system with ordinary water and drive the vehicle for a few minutes before you drain and fill it with a proper antifreeze mix. This gives you a cleaner result than the drain-and-refill method used at auto garages.

Change Your Oil

An oil change is the car maintenance most people keep up with best. Consider getting your car’s oil replaced every three months, or every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on how far you drive. You can take your vehicle to a shop and change the oil, but you may have to pay around $70. You can do this job at home for just the cost of the oil.

To change your engine’s oil, put your vehicle up on jacks somewhere flat and look for the oil drain underneath — make sure to put a drain pan under the drain to catch the oil. Then, remove the drain plug and let the old oil flow down. You can take the used oil to a car parts store to have it recycled. Once the used oil has drained from the engine, replace the drain plug as directed by the owner’s manual. Then, pour new oil into the designated opening in the motor.

Replace Brake Pads

Brake pads can cost anywhere between $35 and $150, but auto shops can charge about $300 or more to replace them. Consider doing it yourself if you want to save a considerable amount on this maintenance task. However, you need to perform this task on time; if your brake pads get worn to 1/8 of an inch or less, they can damage your rotors, leading to more complicated and expensive repairs.

Replacing brake pads is surprisingly easy to do. Since you need to remove your vehicle’s tires, you need a jack and a lug wrench. Also, you’ll need a set of standard wrenches. To replace the brake pads, slide the old brake pad out and clip the new one in place with the fasteners in the package. The brake pad box also comes with a packet of grease that you should apply to ensure that the brakes are correctly used and don’t squeak.

Replace Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter cleans the air that enters your car’s cabin through the vents. The concept is similar to the filters you change every month in your home air and heating system. It keeps debris, bugs, and leaves from getting inside your vehicle’s plan, which might cause bad smells, strange rattles, or damage.

Replacing your cabin air filter is easy. All you need to do is access the air filter behind a plastic door under the hood, the glove box, or just below the passenger side. Then, replace it with a new one. Keep in mind that the air filter's location varies depending on the type of vehicle, so you may need to do a little research to find its place in yours. Doing this job yourself costs only a fraction of what you would pay at a dealership.

Replace Fuses

A worn-out fuse in your vehicle can cause everything from a turn signal failure and your horn blowing nonstop to your car refusing to start. A fuse is a part of your vehicle’s electric system, designed to blow out before an electrical issue causes damage to more expensive pieces. Replacing it is relatively easy. However, because your car has several fuses, it’s hard to determine which fuse is blown.

Consider checking your owner’s manual to determine where your fuse box is. Then, check the fuses one by one. Most fuses are in transparent plastic or glass, so you just have to check to see if there’s a break. If you find one broken, you can simply pull it out and slot a new one in. It’s as easy as that.

Replace Bulbs

While headlights can be fiddly on some newer model cars, they and other bulbs throughout your vehicle are often replaceable without using special tools. All you have to do is to detach the power wires from the bulb and release the locking mechanism to free the bulb. Then, install the new bulb. To finish, close your car’s bonnet, turn on the ignition, switch the engine on, and turn your lights on to check that your new bulbs are working.

Before you replace the bulbs, you should keep a few things in mind. Most types of bulbs get hot when you switch them on. If you touch the glass part with your bare fingers, you could contaminate the bulb with oils from your skin. The oils then burn on the surface of the glass and cause premature failure. Consider using nitrile gloves to make it much easier to install bulbs without contamination. You can also use a thin coat of dielectric grease to keep moisture away, which can prevent corrosion.

Take Your Car to Apple - Your Auto Source

There are several other car maintenance jobs you can do to save costs. Simple things, such as replacing a fuse or changing the oil, only take a few minutes and can save you lots of money. There are issues. However, that still needs a mechanic’s expertise. See us at Apple - Your Auto Source in York, Pennsylvania, for those cases. We offer parts and services for vehicles and financing for new and used cars. So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to us so we can schedule your service appointment today.
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