10 Tips for DIY Car Maintenance

There are many steps in the daily maintenance of the vehicle, which the owner can actually complete independently, such as checking the tire grinding. Do-it-yourself is convenient, fast, easy, and more economical. With a few simple techniques and basic tools, smart drivers can perform basic vehicle maintenance independently.

Each skill is rated according to the difficulty factor, with a maximum of five stars. Take the time to prepare some simple tools, and these skills can be used in no time.

The following parts are highly specific, so please inform the parts seller or major dealer of your car’s make, model, engine model and time of purchase when purchasing parts to ensure the parts are suitable. Also, the license plate number is useful.

Due to the difficulty, we did not mention how to change the oil here. To save trouble and avoid getting your car dirty, leave it to the experts!

Also, if you can’t handle anything, call your local repair shop or dealer and they’ll be happy to help.

1. Tire wear difficulty index: ★☆☆☆☆

Making sure your tires are in good condition is the most important thing you can do in maintenance. Fortunately it is the easiest. The Road Traffic Act recommends that car owners check tire pressure once a week. During the inspection process, basic conditions such as tire wear can also be checked.

When checking the tire pressure, first look for the tire standard tire pressure map, which is usually located on the door, fuel tank cover or vehicle instruction manual, indicating the standard range of tire pressure, and judge whether people are carrying too much.

Due to thermal expansion and cold contraction, you need to measure the tire after it has cooled to be more accurate. Remove the dust cover from the tire valve, press the valve of the tire pressure gauge against the tire valve, and check the tire pressure. These things can be done at parts stores across the country, but also with a tire foot pump or a pressure gauge on a gas station air line.

The tire pressure will be displayed on the pressure gauge. If the tire pressure is too low, an air pump should be used to inflate the tire to a reasonable value.

When measuring values, you can also check for sipes and tread scratches. If you find a nail in the tread, don’t pull it out, as it could lead to deflation. Instead, slow down, get a tire mechanic, or go to a dealer to fix some damage cheaply, but sometimes you have to get a new tire depending on where the nail is.

Finally, check the pedal depth. You can use a tread depth gauge, which is inexpensive and available at most parts stores. You can also use a £20 coin. The outer edge is about 3mm thick, which is the minimum recommended tread depth.

Insert the coin into the tread. If you can see the outer edge of the coin, you need a new tire. The principle of the sounder is the same, only the readings are more accurate. While checking, don’t forget to select multiple points to check the tread width.

According to the Road Traffic Act, “the tread depth of the middle three quarters of the entire tread needs to be at least 1.6 mm.”

2. Light Difficulty Index:★★☆☆☆

Although the repair difficulty rating is three stars, it really depends on the situation. Some cars can be done in two minutes, some can take two hours, and sometimes your fingers will be rubbed. Headlights in vintage cars are generally easier to maintain than on modern models, but it’s hard to get inside the headlights on modern models. But for sellers, it’s a piece of cake.

Most headlight bulbs are held in place by metal clips in the lamp housing. Once the shade and base are removed, then the clip, the bulb can slide out. Remove the bulb and slide the new bulb in, being careful not to touch the glass. Attach the base, put back the metal clip and lampshade, and you’re ready to try out the new lamp.

Tail lights are generally easier to maintain because they are easier to disassemble and assemble. Before opening the bulb holder, you need to open the interior trim panel of the car trunk. In most cases, one bracket supports multiple bulbs. Most of the taillight bulbs use a snap-on device that requires you to gently press the bulb and rotate it, a bit like a child-resistant medicine bottle. Then press the bulbs in reverse order.

3. Difficulty index of windshield washer fluid: ★☆☆☆☆

Maintenance is too easy. First, find the windshield washer pool, which is usually located under the front hood and is marked with a washer nozzle. Usually, the lids of cans are snap-on. If you find a screw, you’re looking for the wrong one. Please check the manual to confirm.

After opening the lid, use the funnel to fill in the washing solution. The use effect of special washing liquid is better than that of ordinary water and the mixture of water and washing liquid, because it is antifreeze and has good cleaning effect. Mixed solutions or concentrated solutions are also available. Fill the reservoir and close the lid.

4. Antifreeze Difficulty Index:★★☆☆☆

The role of antifreeze is to prevent the engine water tank from freezing. Also called coolant, because it takes away the excess heat generated when the engine is running, keeping the engine running at normal operating temperature and preventing you from being trapped in the endless steam on the side of the road. So, don’t just use water as antifreeze.

The coolant reservoir is located under the hood, and there is an identifiable warning sticker on the lid. But you’d better check the manual to make sure it’s correct. Before opening the lid, make sure the engine is cool to avoid rapid heating and rapid spraying of coolant.

Make sure the engine is cool, and after the car is parked on flat ground, determine the liquid volume in the fuel tank according to the digital line, which cannot be lower or higher than the extreme value.

The anti-boiling and anti-freezing effect of antifreeze is not permanent and needs to be replaced every few years. Parts coolant testers in the store can help you measure the relevant data and decide whether it needs to be replaced.

There are many options for antifreeze, and it’s best to buy the right product based on the instructions and the seller’s recommendations. But no matter which product you choose, you need to mix the right water for the coldest weather. In the UK, most cars are filled with water at a 1:1 ratio. Even so, it is better to follow the instructions and professional advice to make decisions.

Finally, the reservoir is opened and fluid is injected. It is best to use a funnel to avoid liquid leaks and damage to the paint.

5. Difficulty index for checking oil: ★☆☆☆☆

Checking the oil is also easy, but for accurate measurements, you also need to make sure the engine is cool and the car is parked on a flat surface. Once the location is determined, insert the dipstick into the engine.

Pull out the dipstick and dry it with a roll of paper, being careful not to drip oil. Repeat the operation again and take it out again. At this point, the oil stops somewhere between the minimum and maximum values. If it’s at or near the maximum, everything works fine.

6. Oil replenishment difficulty index: ★★☆☆☆

If the dipstick shows that your oil is near the minimum, you need to add some oil. To avoid engine damage and voided warranty, you must choose the correct oil grade. This is written in the manual and the dealer will tell you about it.

Oil labels are usually represented by numbers and letters, such as 10W-30, synthetic and non-synthetic oils.

When the engine is cool, locate the oil cap. Before opening the hood, it is best to clear the surrounding dust and debris to avoid falling into the engine.

With the lid open, use a funnel to slowly pour the oil into the engine. Wait a moment, then measure the depth with the dipstick. This value should be less than the maximum value. Add more if necessary, but don’t overfill. Remove the dipstick and cover, wiping off any dripping oil.

7. Air Filter Difficulty Index:★★☆☆☆

The air filter plays an important role. It can filter out dust and debris in the air and protect the engine, so its cleaning and maintenance are also important. Most filters are housed in a plastic box on the side of the engine. To open the top of the bellows you need to loosen some metal clips or screws. Air filters are generally yellow with orange edges. Write down the placement direction, remove the filter and insert a new filter. Finally, close the cover and install the metal clip.

8. Difficulty factor of spark plugs:★★★☆

The importance of spark plugs cannot be overstated. The sparks it produces can ignite the fuel in the engine, so it must be well maintained. But because it ignites sparks in the engine, it creates black deposits over time, so it needs to be replaced every few years.

Spark plugs are different, you should consult the seller or accessories store before purchasing. Its replacement varies from car to car, but no matter what system your car has, be sure to keep the engine cool before replacing it, and change only one spark plug at a time.

Many modern cars use a plastic-coated ignition coil attached to the top of the engine. You can also ask the seller for its location. We can remove the retaining bolts with a socket wrench, then unscrew the harness and gently remove the coil.

In the construction of older cars, each spark plug is connected to an ignition wire, which needs to be disassembled accordingly each time.

Finally, carefully unscrew it from the engine with a spark plug remover. If it can’t rotate, do not use force to avoid damage to the engine. At this point you should seek professional help.

Remove the old spark plug, apply a little copper oil to the threads of the new spark plug, and screw it into place. Again, don’t force it. When done, install the fuse or coil.

It’s worth mentioning that in some models, replacing the spark plugs is easy, but in others, removal is difficult. Sometimes it’s really annoying, this time to find a repair shop.

9. Difficulty factor of car washing: ★☆☆☆☆

Don’t you think car washing is a kind of car maintenance? But it’s true. A car wash removes dust and bird droppings. Especially in winter, it can also wash the snow off the road and remove the salt left on the car. Salt can corrode car paint and cause rust.

Manual car washes are generally considered the gentlest way to wash your car, as automatic car washes and spray washes can scratch the surface and cause paint to peel off. There are many car cleaners we can choose from, and these are better than household cleaners because many of the latter contain salt.

Prepare a soft cloth, a bucket of warm soapy water, and scrub the body from top to bottom. After scrubbing each plank surface, wring out the towel and place in a bucket to avoid smudging the water. The bottom of the car and the tires are the dirtiest, and a final scrub is just fine. After scrubbing, rinse off any soap residue with a bucket of clean water or a hose, then dry with a clean microfiber towel.

Remember, don’t forget to scrub the doorposts and wheel arches, they tend to collect dust.

After washing the car, protect the finish with a better wax. Apply a suitable car wax with a dry towel and apply in a circular direction. During application, some areas may become blurred after drying. At this point, rub in the same way with another soft towel until the wax streaks are not visible under the bright paint.

10. Difficulty factor of wiper: ★☆☆☆☆

Different models have wipers with different sizes and accessories, so you need to choose the accessories that suit your model. You can replace the rubber strip yourself, but it is not cost-effective, because you have to buy a new rubber blade, so you have to replace it.

After turning off the wipers, gently lift them off the windshield. The pole will be raised and secured. Lift the wiper at a 90-degree angle so that the root clip is accessible.

Most clips are different, and the assembly structure should be carefully checked before disassembly. Most wiper blades have clips on them that press down to remove the wiper blades. You can take it off as soon as you hear a click.

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