How to Fix My Car: Useful Tips And Advice For DIY Mechanics

Mechanic or not, there’s no arguing that knowing how to repair your vehicle is a valuable skill.

How many friends do you have that tell you nightmare-like stories where they’ve gotten billed a tremendous amount of money for what seemed like a simple job to do? I’m going to guess a lot of them.

The fact is that most problems that go wrong with your car can be fixed at home without much hassle. You’d be surprised at the things you can do when you have the right tools and the right knowledge.

My goal for this article is to give you some tips on DIY auto repair that will save you a lot of money.

What you’ll learn today:

  • Useful Tools to fix your car
  • Basic Car Maintenance
  • Common Car Problems: And how to fix them


Useful Tools

Whether you are a car-nut or not, there are some very basic auto tools you should own. In this section of the article, we’ll be going over them.

Floor jack and jack stands:

If you don’t have access to a car lift, like many of us don’t, you’ll want to purchase a floor jack and a set of jack stands. I recommend the Powerzone 380044 jack and the Torin T43002 3 Ton Jack Stands off

Automotive socket set:

You’ll finding yourself in constant need of a socket set when working on cars. Check out the ATD Tools 1200 if you’re in need of a good set for under $40.

LED work light:

Whether you are working at night or you simply need to illuminate a dark spot inside your engine, a work light comes in handy. The Lightningfast cordless LED work light is a versatile tool that you will always find a use for.

Drip can:

A drip can is helpful when doing tasks such as draining oil from your car. You can use pretty much any container lying around the house as a drip can. If you can’t find a perfect object around your home to act as a drip can, Amazon has a great galvanized drip can for only $15.

Zip ties, electrical tape, duct tape, metal tape

All of these are life-savers. When armed with these items, you’ll be able to repair nearly anything.


Basic Car Maintenance

The next thing I want to talk about is basic car maintaince. The video above is by one of my favorite auto repair Youtubers, Scotty Kilmer. He’ll run you through all of his top tips that guarantee his cars to live for over 200,000 miles.

Changing your oil;

“Engines are very expensive but oil is pretty cheap!”

Changing your car’s oil from time-to-time is not something you’ll want to ignore. Forgetting this important step can cost you thousands in repairs (no joke!). As scotty points out in the video, you can purchase synthetic oil if you want your oil to last longer durations. Just keep in mind that synthetic oil is a bit more pricier than regular.

Servicing your transmission:

About every 30,000 miles you should make an effort to replace the transmission fluid. After checking with the dipstick, if the fluid looks dirty and sludgy, it is worthwhile to replace. If your levels are a bit low, but the fluid looks smooth and clean, it might only be worth topping off.

Replacing the coolant in your car:

Not replacing your coolant every 3 years (or every 30,000 miles) can cause some major problems including engine overheating, clogged radiator fins, and even electrical shortages in modern cars. Similar to oil, you can purchase coolant that lasts different amounts of time. Antifreeze typically lasts anywhere from 3-5 years.

Battery maintenance:

Your battery is a quintessential part of your car. Forget its ability to power all of your gadgets, the battery is what starts your car up in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to keep your battery in good condition. A simple thing you can do is clean the terminals with a wire brush to remove corrosion. After that, make sure to spray it with some terminal protection.


Common Car Problems: And how to fix them

Flat tire:

Stranded on the road? No idea what to do? You don’t want to be in that situation. Knowing how to fix a flat tire is a very important, yet not extremely difficult skill to master. Of course you can take off the tire and replace it for a spare, but that doesn’t have to be done all the time. In the video above, you’ll learn how to fix a flat tire by using a simple $7 tool kit.

Broken horn:

A broken car horn doesn’t have to be a huge issue anymore! Fixing a car horn can sometimes be fixed by simply replacing a fuse. I wrote in detail about different horn problems (and more importantly fixes) here.

Dead battery:

The amount of surprise and frustration when you try to start your car in a rush, only for it not to start, is unexplainable. Above, is a very simple and easy-to-follow instruction on replacing a car battery by Mahalo.

Spark plug replacement:

No one should have to pay for spark plug replacement if they have the time to do it. Above is a video that shows just how simple it really is to replace spark plugs.

Brake pads/rotors:

Fixing your brake pads will require you to jack up your car. However, once it is in the air the repair is fairly easy if the bolts aren’t rusted or stuck.

Car lights:

Don’t drive unsafely at night because you’re dreading going to the mechanic! Replacing your own head/tail lights isn’t too hard. It will be rewarding to see how bright a fresh set of high-beams can be.


Final Notes

I hope that you have enjoyed this article almost as much as I did writing it!

There are a ton of great DIY car repairs you can do to save you thousands upon thousands of dollars. Let me know in the comment section if there is a repair you would like to see put on this list.

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