SIMPLE CAR REPAIRS YOU CAN DO And You Should Be Able to Do
Unless you're a hobbyist or a man of a certain age, you probably don’t know too much about fixing cars. But who can blame you? In our ever-increasing technological age, modern cars are so high tech, it often feels like you need a full arsenal of computers run by an elite specialist to fix the simplest of problems. Not so. Here are 6 simple car repairs every man can do for himself given the right tools and a little gumption.
A note: truly the internet in general (and YouTube in particular) will be your saving grace when it comes to DIY car maintenance. All the things written below have been extensively covered in video tutorials so be sure to check those out before making any first-time repairs.
Replace a Dead Spark Plug
Replacing a spark plug is something anyone can do. You’ll need a socket wrench, a spark plug socket, a new spark plug and you’ll be good to go. It’s a pretty simple remove and replace situation. You’ll want to be sure to clean the accumulated crud away from the ignition coil and old spark plug as you go, making sure you don’t knock any of the junk into the engine.
Change Your Own Oil
Everyone can do this. There is an abundance of ‘how to’s’ online, not to mention you can just ask the average man over 50. You’ll need 6 quarts or so of oil, a new oil filter, an oil filter wrench, a funnel, and a draining pan. You might want a car jack to give yourself more clearance, but you can likely do without it if you don’t have one. All you’ll end up doing is draining the oil, replacing the filter, and then filling it right back up. Easy peasy.
Change a Flat Tire
Every man should know how to change a flat tire. I mean, how else will you pick up a pretty girl in an 80s rom-com? The only time I ever got a flat was in high school with my first girlfriend; she knew a thing or two about cars from her Russian-language-only father who rebuilt them in his spare time. I knew nothing. Needless to say, I took the humiliation of my ignorance to heart and decided I’d forever know the ancient art of changing flats.
Replace Your Brake Pads
Squeaky brakes are The Worst. When you hear ‘em screechin’, don’t try to live with it. Try switching them out. It’s a lot easier than you’d think. If you don’t know, brakes are clamps that apply pressure to your tires to slow them down, and when the pads on the clamps wear through, it’s time to replace them. Essentially, you’ll need to elevate the car off the ground, remove the caliper carrier and the old brake pads, put on the new brake pads, and reattach the caliper assembly.
Fix Visible Coolant Leaks
You know that green or orange liquid that can drip out underneath your car, making little pools? Odds are that’s coolant leaking out of a kink or break in a hose. Go ahead and pop the hood after you’ve run the car for a while, making sure not to touch anything as most things are going to be very hot. Take a look around and see if you can find the same colored liquid draining out from somewhere. If you can see it, you can repair it by replacing the hose yourself. If you can’t see it, then it’s likely a radiator interior problem, and you’ll want to bring it into the shop.
Install New Shocks
In addition to working in sync with your car’s springs and suspension to smooth out your driving experience, shock absorbers perform the key role of making sure that all your tires are on the ground at all times. This keeps you at the fulcrum of steering control and ultimately brake responsiveness. Shocks wear out with time however, and you can totally replace them yourself. It’s all going to hinge on how manageable the bolts are, since they tend to get rusty with all the impact and piston cycles. You’ll need socket wrenches, combination wrenches, a large flat-head screwdriver, a way to jack up your car, and probably a chemical spray to eat through the rust. Take a look at a video online and you’ll see how easy this installation can be.