What are the 10 Most Common DIY Auto Repairs?
Your car is one of your most important – and expensive – investments. With this in mind, it only makes perfect sense to keep it well-maintained to ensure its excellent condition and performance. Regular engine checks can go a long way if you want to avoid costly repairs in the future.
Fortunately, there is no need to break the bank just to get your vehicle repaired or maintained. In fact, some basic knowledge, research know-hows, essential tools, and replacement parts that can be bought online are all you need to do a DIY auto repair. By doing so, you can save so much money without compromising the outcome of the project.
According to www.hedgescompany.com, as of 2012, there was a 15 percent increase in the number of DIYers who go to Youtube for queries in car repair and maintenance. Google searches for oil change-related queries also went up by 63 percent in the same year. Thus, with the increasing cost of auto repair made by specialists, a growing percentage of vehicle owners opt for DIY projects for car repair and maintenance purposes.
Without Further Ado: The Top 10 DIY Repairs
1. Replacement of Ignition Coils
According to CarMD, 3.70 percent of repairs in 2015 was accounted for the replacement of ignition coils. The average repair cost including parts and labor is $236.32. However, you do not have to spend this much if you decide to do this task yourself. All you need are some parts and tools including the replacement ignition coil (about $50), spark tester, test light, and safety glasses. No wonder most people decide to do this task themselves, considering the massive savings they can get from doing so.
2. Replacement of Oxygen Sensors
In 2015, about 7.01 percent of auto repairs was linked with oxygen sensor replacement. This vehicle repair is quite expensive when done at general repair shops, which can go as high as $249. But with some knowledge and the right equipment, DIYers should be able to complete this task without any problem.
CarMD stated that when there is an issue with the oxygen sensor, this can trigger the Check Engine Light turn on. In fact, Kristin Brocoff, CarMD’s director of corporate communications, explained that while your car may appear to be functioning perfectly, the engine may be using up more gas due to a faulty oxygen sensor. This is why it is best to have this part replaced to spare you from spending more money on gas.
3. Replacement of Spark Plugs
The most common auto repair in a 2011 model year vehicle is the replacement of the ignition coil and/ or spark plugs, based on CarMD’s 2016 Vehicle Health Index Report. With modern vehicles, spark plugs with an extended-life quality should be good for about 100,000 miles. But it is still practical to check these parts every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, just to stay on the safe side.
In case the time has come for you to replace your car’s spark plugs, this should not cost you a lot of money. You should be able to buy a set for about $30 and look for how-to videos that would walk you through the entire process. Meanwhile, getting this task done by a mechanic can ring up a huge bill of at least $300.
4. Oil Change
CARiD’s Training Director, Richard Reina, says that oil change is one of the quickest and simplest auto repairs anyone can do at home. There are numerous instructional videos that can help you do this task just like a pro, which should spare you from paying over $90. A DIY oil change should cost you about $15 – a big difference from what it would cost you to have someone do it for you. Simply purchase the best oil from an auto specialist and a top-quality oil filter. Additional tools to use include a drain pan, oil filter wrench, a jack, and jack stands.
A quick note on oil change – make it a point to consult your car owner’s manual to learn when you need to do an oil change or perform other auto maintenance tasks. For instance, Ford Motor, Co requires an oil change every 6 months or every 7,500 miles (whichever comes first), for their 2008 and more recent model vehicles. For other manufacturers, oil change may be necessary depending on how you drive your car. It may go from 10,000 miles or more before your vehicle will need to go through an oil change.
5. Brake Pads Replacement
This is another inexpensive and relatively cheap procedure that DIYers can do, but specialty brake shops usually charge a few hundreds of dollars per client. You can buy a brand new set of quality brake pads for $20 to $40, and the price depends on the pad material and the model of your car. On the other hand, expect to pay $250 or so per axle if you get this process done by a specialist. Your new pads should be good for up to 50,000 miles, but be sure to check them once you hit 10,000 miles. It’s also time to buy for another replacement set when the thickness of the pad is less than 2 to 3 mm.
6. Flushing the Radiator
According to Penny Hoarder, a typical service center cost for flushing the radiator is between $40 and $200. However, you can save a lot more if you turn this task into a DIY project, which should only cost you from $10 to $50.
When flushing the radiator, just be sure to wait once the radiator has cooled down. One way to speed up this process is by spraying each section of the radiator with a garden hose until no more steam is emitted. Cooling it naturally is another option, although this should take longer. Once the radiator is cooler, get under your vehicle and locate a screw, valve, or a drain bolt along the bottom side of the radiator. Then, use a drain pan to collect the fluid coming from the radiator. Afterward, replace the bolt, screw, or valve that you have removed. Use distilled water mixed with a radiator flush solution to fill the radiator jug with, as this will prevent corrosion and calcium deposits.
7. Battery Change
Battery replacement is an easy DIY repair, and you should be able to find a new battery for around $80, depending on the model and make of your vehicle. Heading to a dealer, however, will cost you about $200 for a simple battery replacement. So, it is a more practical move to do this job yourself once you purchase a new battery. Just be sure to follow the right order in which you remove and replace the cables. Always remove the black cable first, then replace it last once the new battery is in place.
8. Replacement of the Taillight or Headlight
Any car owner should keep his or her vehicle’s lights working properly to ensure a worry-free drive. Your headlights and taillights are essential not only for a clearer vision on the road but also for alerting other motorists and pedestrians. A DIY replacement of these lights will cost you less than $100, but be sure to bring your old bulbs when you go to the store to make sure you purchase the right ones.
9. Replacement of Windshield Wipers
When it’s time to replace your windshield wipers, there’s no rush to go to a dealership. In fact, you can buy a set for about $20 to $40 (try Target or Walmart), and replace these parts yourself. After all, instructions are clearly printed in the brand new wipers you buy. The whole process should only take you a couple of minutes, which is much more efficient, faster, and cheaper than when you go to a mechanic for help.
10. Windshield Repair
Another common auto repair that most people include in their DIY projects is a simple windshield repair. If there is a small chip in this part of your car, you can fix it yourself using a cheap repair kit for less than $15 at amazon.com or ebay.com. Make sure you remove any loose glass first and follow the instructions provided in the kit. The key is to stop the small crack right away before it spreads, or this whole project can turn out to be more expensive than you think.
Before undertaking these repairs, you should access your skill level and compare that to the difficulty of the task at hand. In some cases, working with a professional auto service center can be your best bet as it saves costly mistakes. Either way, good luck!