If you’re the type to spend your weekends tinkering with cars or just getting dirty in the garage, it’s time you learn these five important skills. With them, you’ll be able to maintain your car, diagnose problems and even do some light repair work. The benefits of knowing how to do things yourself are immense: not only will you save money on labor, but also by developing a deeper understanding for how everything works together you’ll be able to make much more informed decisions when buying replacement parts or choosing an auto shop.
- Learn how to fix a flat tire
A flat tire is something that happens to everyone, no matter how good of a driver you are. The best way to remove your spare tire is to open the boot at the back of the car near the end furthest away from where you are sitting. You will see a metal piece with an opening at one end. Pull this up and make sure the tires are not fouled by dirt which could cause them to break when you change them. There should be a latch on one side too which you’ll need to press before pulling it open. Once this is done, unhinge the other side and put it down on your car mat or similar surface. This should take some force but not much as long as it has been unscrewed properly.
- Replace an air filter
For those who own a car, it’s important to keep them in tip-top shape. One of the first steps you can take is replacing their air filters! Replace an air filter as soon as you notice that it is dirty and clogged with pollen. When this happens, your engine will not receive enough airflow for proper combustion in order to produce maximum performance from its fuel source which could lead to reduced gas mileage or even stalling out altogether on hills without much room between them – so make sure things stay clear! This will not only help your engine run better but also improve gas mileage by removing excess dirt and other debris from around town that could be clogging up all sorts of things inside this metal box called an approximately 18 horsepower bandwagon. Plus regular cleaning keeps smog away this means fewer chances for pesky problems later down the line (especially in areas that require smog tests).
- Practice changing your own oil
The first thing to do when changing your own oil is to find the right tools. You’ll need a sturdy magnetic drain plug, drum jack, toolbox with the right tools for the job, clean jack stand or other work surface, ramps or jacks for lifting the car off the ground, and safety glasses. It’s also recommended to use an oil filter wrench, but it can be substituted with pliers if you don’t have one. Once you’ve got everything together, start by placing your car on its stands or ramps so it’s raised off of the ground. Open the hood and get ready to drain your old oil by unscrewing all of the bolts on your oil pan. If you find this too tough, you may need to use a hammer and punch to get it going.
- Understand how much brake fluid is too little or too much
If your vehicle’s brake fluid is low, you’ll need to check the master cylinder. You can do this by removing the reservoir cap and looking inside for any buildup on the inside. It should be clean and dry if there is enough brake fluid in your system. If it’s dirty or wet, you’ll need to replace the reservoir. The next step is to bleed your brakes so don’t forget to buy a kit with a rubber plunger seal during your next auto shop visit. Understanding if you have enough brake fluid may not be directly related to car maintenance, but it is something essential that every self-respecting car buff should know how to do.
- Diagnose engine problems with a scan tool or by looking for symptoms in the dashboard lights
The final thing to learn how to do is diagnose engine problems by checking your dashboard lights, or by using a scan tool. This is what you will need if something goes wrong with the car and you can’t find out why. You’ll need to be able to conduct short test runs on the vehicle in order to figure out what’s causing the problem. Get a scan tool and spend plenty of time using it so you can learn how to read the results. Once this is done, you’ll be able to easily figure out what’s going on with your vehicle and fix any problems that might arise. For example, if a check engine light comes on in your car, you will need to plug in the scan tool and see what error codes come up. You can then check a service manual for these abbreviations in order to figure out what might be wrong with your vehicle.
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