As car enthusiasts, we know that cars are almost living creatures to us. They breathe air, drink fuel and even get sick, just like we do. So cars need constant care to run properly for many years. This isn’t an issue, as most enthusiast know the importance of car maintenance. However, the average person does not, nor do they know what kind of simple and inexpensive jobs can go a long way toward keeping a vehicle running properly. Hell, some enthusiasts aren’t even aware of how to do some of these jobs. So let’s look at some of the simple car repairs that everyone should know how to do. We’ll list them in an ascending order of difficulty, so if you’re new to this sort of thing, it’s easy to understand what to start out trying.
5. Change a tire
This is one so easy that it’s almost silly that people don’t know how to do it. Yet, you’d be surprised at the number of people that don’t know how to change a tire or that find learning how to be unimportant. People just think they can call AAA to help them out. Well, have an old German car, I know how long AAA can take when you’re stuck on the side of the road. And what if you’re in an area where AAA, or anyone else, can make it to? So learning how to change a tire is paramount.
It’s quite simple, each and every automobile comes with the tools to do so. The car jack, spare tire and lug wrench are all in the trunk, ready to go. Simply put the jack underneath the car in the indicated position, most cars will basically show you where to place the jack. Before jacking the car up, use the lug wrench to only slightly loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Then jack up the car, use the wrench to remove the lugs and take the wheel off (I like to place the wheel on its side underneath the jacked up car as a makeshift jackstand in case the car were to fall). Place the new wheel on and put the lug nuts back on snug. Lower the car back down and tighten the lugs. Simple.
4. Change the oil
This is easily the most important job when it comes to engine maintenance. It’s paramount that the motor oil must be changed on time and with the proper oil. This is a little more complicated than changing a tire, as different cars use different kinds of oil filters, which are removed differently, and have different kinds of oil pans. But the idea is essentially the same.
First jack up the front on the car and secure it on jack stands. Then drain the oil from the oil pan, by removing the drain plug, into some sort of drain pan. Once the oil has been completely drained, put the plug back in and tighten it. Then, find the oil filter,remove it and replace it with a new one. Once this is done, find out the recommended oil for the car and pour it into the designated spot. Easy.
3. Changing brakes
Changing brakes isn’t as easy as the previous two jobs. It requires much more time, many more tools and some extra know how. It’s impossible to convey to you how to change brakes in a general sense through the internet, as so many cars are different, use different kinds of brakes and are removed differently. But you must know that changing the brakes, both rotors and pads, is essential in keeping the car safe. Both the brake rotors and pads must be changed in regular intervals, which depend on the brakes themselves, and can be done at home with just a handful of tools and some know how.
This video by Popular Mechanics will help demonstrate how to generally replace brakes. It’s much easier to watch then to read an explanation on the internet. Bit know that brakes are no joke and replacing them must not be put off.
2. Changing spark plugs
Changing the spark plugs can help to keep an engine feeling fresh. As time goes on and miles tick away on the odometer, spark plugs tend to lose their, well, spark. The tip starts to wear away and it can cause the engine to feel a bit sluggish. So replacing them can bring a bit of new life back to an engine. This requires some engine know how, as it’s a bit involved. But not much is required to do so. A basic ratchet, extension and a set of sockets should be enough to do the job, though there is a special spark plug socket which makes getting them out significantly easier and is worth investing in. I like to change the spark plugs on my cars every year, even though it isn’t necessary to do so that often, because it’s inexpensive and just keeps things fresh.
1. Changing shocks
Every feel that the ride in your car doesn’t feel like it used to? It crashes a bit more over hard bumps and just doesn’t feel as planted? That’s because your shocks are worn out. This happens about every 80,000 – 100,000 miles or so. It isn’t absolutely imperative to change shocks as soon as your car’s odometer ticks those numbers, but it is worth looking into. As shocks wear they can make the suspension react differently and often feel sloppy and unsafe. A new pair of shocks goes a long way to making the car ride like new again.
Unfortunately, changing shocks is quite difficult and should be left to professionals if you aren’t mechanically savvy. This isn’t something to just try out because you want to save money. Installing new shocks improperly could have catastrophic effects. Though, having this done professionally can be very expensive and can be done on your own if you have the skill and know how. I must warn, though, that it can be very difficult if you haven’t done it before. The video below will help with anything you might need to know.
So these are the few things that most enthusiasts should know how to do eventually. Some of the harder ones aren’t always necessary to know how to do, but the knowledge does come in handy. However, the easier ones on the list are absolutely necessary to know, like changing both your tires and oil.