For a lot of people, auto repairs are intimidating. People think that they can’t work on their own cars without training and experience. Mechanics are paid so much, then, because they know what to do and how to do it. Even when the jobs are not physically demanding and when they don’t take that long, people are willing to pay just because they have no idea what to do on their own. If you often feel like this, you’ll be happy to know that there are a number of repairs you can do yourself.
Replacing a Belt
Drive belts simply wear out, and they’re going to need to be replaced. You know that screeching sound that you sometimes hear, especially when you start the car? That could be a worn drive belt. Replacing it is fast and easy. You just need to pop the hood and locate the offending belt. It is going to run out over a tensioner arm, which keeps it tight. Just loosen this up with a wrench, and you can take the belt off. Look it over to be sure that it really needs to be replaced. If it does, put the new belt on and tighten the arm back up. You can drive your car immediately, and the sound will be gone.
Changing the Oil
An oil shop will charge you $30-$50 to change the oil, but you can seriously do this yourself in under a half an hour. You simply need to get a drain pan, crawl under the car, and take out the oil filter. The oil will then drain out of the engine and into the pan. Let it run until it is all out. Get a new filter–it has to be the right one for your car–and screw it into place. Then crawl back out, fill the main oil reservoir with fresh oil to the fill line, and you’re done. Check your owner’s manuel to find out what oil and filter your car takes.
Putting in New Brake Pads
Brake pads are metal pieces that touch the wheel when you tap the brakes, providing friction and slowing the car down. That energy has to go somewhere, so it wears away at the pads, and they’ll make a screeching noise when they get too low. To change them out, just undo the lug nuts and take your wheel off–after jacking up your car. Doing so exposes the calipers, and you then have to loosen one bolt so that you can swing them upward. This frees up the pads, which clip into place, so you can slide those worn pads out, slide the new ones back in, and put everything back together.
Cars can be intimidating simply because of the size of the entire vehicle and all of the parts that work together. What you’re going to find, though, is that fixing any one of those individual parts is not all that hard. When you take it piece by piece, you can really repair a lot of issues right in your garage.