It’s easy to forget that our cars need constant maintenance in order to ensure that they’re driving to the best of their ability. Sometimes, all we need to do in order to prevent us a lot of money at the garage is to perform simple checks ourselves at home. That’s why we have compiled a list of the best DIY tips for better car maintenance in order for you to save some pennies.
To prevent future breakdowns or unexpected failures in your car this winter, here are some simple checks and tips you can keep on top of with your vehicle:
Change your Windshield Wiper Blades
Wiper Blades tend to last from about 6 months to a year, depending on their use and your car. Asking a local garage to change them for you can set you back a pretty penny, which is why changing them yourself is cost effective and easy to do. Firstly, you will need to buy new Wiper Blades. You will be able to find them for cheap online, depending on your car. Sites such as eBay will have a large range of wipers to suit your vehicle. Once you have wipers that will fit your car – follow these instructions in order to fit them correctly. Some cars have a different process to this, however most cars will be able to fit new wipers using this method:
- Note how the older blades are attached to your wipers
- On the majority of cars in the UK, there will be a tab underneath each wiper. Push this in order to release the old blade, and slide it out by hand.
- Attach your new wiper blades in the same way the older blades had been attached. Be careful not to pull too hard on the wipers, or scratching the windscreen on your car.
- Place your Windshield Wipers back to their original position, and check they work before driving anywhere.
Check your Tyres
You should be checking your tyres every two weeks. Making sure that they are within the legal limits of pressure will ensure safety on the roads.
Check and replace your Water Level
While your engine is cool each week, check that the coolant level is set between the MIN and MAX marks in your car. It is also advisable to check your anti-freeze before the cold weather sets in. Top up where applicable.
Replace your Air Filter
Air Filters will usually last you one year, or 12 000 miles, depending on your car. You may think this process can be hard, however, it can take up to 10 minutes. Plus, it saves you the time of taking your vehicle to a garage in order for them to replace it for you. You can buy Air Filters online for roughly £10. In order to replace your Air Filter, follow these steps:
- Find the filter under the hood of your car. This can be done by opening the hood and locating the black rectangular box. Release the metal clips on the side of the box in order to open the box. Now you will be able to access your Air Filter.
- Note which way the filter is facing, and how it fits within the black box – this will come in handy when placing a new filter inside.
- Remove the current filter by pulling it out of its housing.
- Replace the old filter with your new one, ensuring it is placed right in order to work correctly.
Replace your Fuel Filter
This can be tricky, and should definitely only be attempted by people who know what they’re doing, so we understand if you’d rather take this matter to your local garage. However, for around £15, you can change your own fuel filter in about half an hour. You will need to buy a new fuel filter, as well as new fuel line washers, and open end wrenches.
Replacing the fuel filter in your car can save you from nasty and pricey damages along the line. Fuel filters will usually last around 12 months, which is why we advise replacing them every year.
- The first thing you should do before replacing your fuel filter is relieve some of the pressure in the system. You can do this by finding the relay which can operate the fuel pump in your car. By running your car and pulling out the right fuel pump, your engine will stop running automatically. Don’t worry! This is normal.
- Once you have done this, you will want to make sure that the fuel lines are not connected to the fuel filter.
- Connect two open end wrenches around the fuel filter fittings. Once done, place a small towel on top in order to save you and your clothes any spills if there is any remaining pressure.
- Turn the wrench on one bolt until it comes off
- Release the fuel line from the bolt
- Do this process again on the other side of the filter
- Remove the old fuel filter, be careful in doing so
- Change the fuel filter washers, and make sure to match the new ones up correctly in order to avoid any accidents or damage to your car
- Install the new fuel filter, in the same way that the old filter was fitted into your car
- Return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.
If your car has broken down, or there is an element which has stopped working, ringing the DVLA for advice may be your best option. On this number, you can also find information on vehicle registration, SORN, and license checks. We also advise ringing a garage local to you in order to get your car fixed ASAP.