What if you never really stopped making car payments? Most of us look forward to paying off the car and saving money each month. But if you’re constantly shelling out for professional car repair, it’s like those payments never stop.
Fortunately, you can break this annoying cycle by mastering the art of DIY car repair. If you’re ready to keep a ton of money in your pocket each month, check out our guide to maintaining your own car.
Interior vs. Exterior
With enough time and practice, you can become an expert on fixing up your own vehicle. Starting out, though, you’ll want to consider whether you’ll focus on exterior repairs, interior repairs, or both.
When we think of repairing a car, we mostly think of external issues. This includes everything from fixing dents to changing the oil.
However, the interior of your car will have its own set of issues. This may range from old seats that need lubrication to stained upholstery that looks terrible.
If you can only focus on one kind of car maintenance, exterior maintenance will give you more “bang for your buck.” But mastering interior maintenance and repair is a great way to avoid seeing a professional.
By the way, fixing up your own vehicle means knowing where to get the parts you need. Finding things like Miata parts for sale helps you do your own maintenance and repairs.
Cleaning the Lights
Some car problems are more noticeable than others. For example, you can tell right away when your headlights are looking damaged or dirty.
Many drivers think it would not be possible to repair this problem on their own. Can you really fix your lights if you don’t know about electrical repair?
In most cases, yes. The majority of “dirty light” problems are just that: the interior of the light is dirty and needs to be cleaned.
With nothing more than baking soda and toothpaste, you can clean the plastic and then cover the lights with a polymer sealant. They’ll look as good as new when you’re done!
Replace Air Filters
The best DIY repairs don’t just save money on a mechanic. They also save you money with every mile you drive.
Take air filters, for instance. It’s not uncommon for mechanics to offer you new air filters when you’re getting a routine oil change.
However, you can replace the filters on your own quite easily. And you’ll immediately start reaping some major benefits.
For example, new filters can give your car more power and better gas mileage. What’s not to love?
Car scratches may not affect the performance of the vehicle. However, they can turn your beautiful car into a moving eyesore.
If the scratches are deep enough (such as if someone keyed your car), you’re still going to need to call a pro. However, light scratches are something you can handle on your own.
With a pad, some waxing product, and a bit of elbow grease, you can make a light scratch a thing of the past. Afterward, you just seal the area with wax and call it a day.
If you want a more specialized solution, you can even buy some scratch repair kits. The cost of such kits is still far lower than taking your car to a pro.
Change the Oil
In some ways, oil changes are the biggest money sinks of owning a car. How much do you pay a pro to change your oil each time: $40, $50, or even more?
You can save that money and do it all on your own. After your car has cooled down for a few hours, you can grab a wrench, oil filter, ratchet, and funnel. Don’t forget an oil container and, of course, some new oil.
It may go slow at first, but you’ll master this skill in no time. And that alone can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
You can also plan future car upgrades while doing this. For example, upgrading your car’s oil pan for better performance.
Dents No More
Car dents are a lot like scratches. If you have a major dent from some kind of collision, you’ll still need a professional. But you already have everything to fix minor dents kicking around your house.
Suction cups or even plungers are all you really need to fix minor dents and make the area look good as new. It doesn’t take much time, and it goes a long way towards restoring the old luster of your favorite car.
Spark Plug Secrets
Spark plugs are only slightly harder to replace than air filters. And like air filters, they offer you a pretty major ROI for your efforts.
Once you buy some new spark plugs (they are dirt cheap, especially online), you can replace them very easily. After you do so, you’ll have a car with smoother handling and better gas mileage.
If you do happen to know much about wiring, this also gives you a great excuse to check on the plug wires and inspect their condition.
Banish the Bugs
The biggest enemies to a clean windshield are, of course, bugs. After a drive (even a short drive), you’ll have a window so clogged with bug guts you can barely see out of it.
It may be so severe the windshield squeegees at the gas station can’t handle the problem. And who wants to call a pro just to handle bug guts?
Fortunately, you don’t have to pick up the phone. With nothing more than a microfiber sponge and some citrus spray, you can make the window look clean and pristine.
Clean the Upholstery
Can you clean your car’s upholstery on your own? Certainly. You just need different methods for different materials.
Glass cleaner and a brush can usually tackle fabric stains. And baking soda and rags are usually enough to handle both vinyl and faux leather.
The final result is a car interior that looks like you just brought a new vehicle home from the lot.
DIY Car Repair: Turn the Ignition
Now you know how to master DIY car repair. But do you know where you can best show off your renovated wheels?
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