There are more drivers on the road in the USA today than ever before. With that number having passed 200 million licensed drivers some time ago, it is all the more relevant that the average driver knows how to do basic maintenance on their car. Maintenance keeps the costs down which are already high with traffic violations like speeding tickets only adding to the expenses. The reality is that most cars on the road still use much the same technology for their basic maintenance as they always have. Sure, there are electronic diagnostics for failures and auto electrics are becoming an ever increasing source of repairs as their use increases, but these do not actually affect things like oil changes, etc. You can do all basic maintenance tasks without expensive or exotic equipment, and you don’t usually even need a garage!
Essential Tools Needed
Here we go through a core set of tools that will get you through most tasks:
- Socket Set (including ratchet)
- Torque wrench (same socket size as ratchet)
- Oil wrench
- Screwdriver set
- Old bucket or plastic washing up basin
That’s not a particularly long list, is it! Most people would have access to at least some of these tools, and they can be had extremely cheaply through online auction sites or classified ad sites. Another thing to note is that some socket sets will have a screwdriver handle with bit attachments, meaning it’s not strictly necessary to purchase a screwdriver set.
Overview of Basic Maintenance
Safety: Always make sure you follow proper safety procedures. Make sure you’re parked on level ground, with the handbrake on, and wearing protective clothing!
Things that should be regularly (usually weekly) checked and don’t need tools:
- Windscreen wash level
- Coolant level
- Oil level
- Tire pressure
- General condition of components subject to wear
Check the manual of your car for an accurate idea of when to check these.
Maintenance that should be done less frequently but need doing yearly (or less if high mileage):
- Oil filter and oil change: You need to purchase the right type of oil and filter for this one, as well as a new sump washer. Consult your manual or speak to an auto spares shop.
Top Tip -Take your car for a drive until it just comes up to temperature for this one as it helps the oil drain. Be careful as the oil may still be hot – you do this at your own risk!
Undo the drainage plug on the bottom of your oil sump, holding the bucket ready to catch the oil – a slow drip will appear before the sump plug is entirely undone to help you position the bucket right. Undo the sump plug fully and put it in a safe place. Locate your oil filter and secure the wrench around it, unscrew it then discard the used oil filter into the bucket with the used oil. Allow time for the oil to drain, then using the new oil slightly lubricate the face of the new filter then screw in the filter, making sure it is hand tight. Refit the sump plug with a new washer to the correct torque setting (consult manual). You can now add new oil to the correct level. Fill to about half or three-quarters of maximum and start the engine. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes. Turn off and allow the oil to settle, then top up to the required level. Ensure that you discard your oil in accordance with local laws!
- Air Filter: You need to purchase a new air filter for this one. See advice above.
Remove the air filter housing cover which is usually secured by clips or bolts. Then, remove the old air filter and replace with the new one. Reattach the air filter housing doing the reverse of the above.
Other Ways to Save
You can also save by removing excess weight from your car, ensuring tires are correctly inflated and driving at the correct speed. Keeping a check on your speed is most important not only because it is the law, but because you save money on a potential speeding ticket and a reduction in fuel consumption! Furthermore, speeding is one of the main causes of road accidents world-wide.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to a legal claim for personal injury. A good car accident attorney, such as Aaron Woods of Woods Law KC, will investigate the accident, determine the insurance coverages available, professionally appraise any possible legal claims as well as assess your injuries. This can be particularly useful if you have had to take unpaid leave from your employment due to the injury; any legal claim will take this into account to ensure that you are not left out of pocket due to the incident. Additionally, they will be able to offer you advice in the case of uninsured or underinsured drivers as well as passenger injury claims. Legal counsel is not just a luxury that you might be able to do without; it is often a sure fire way to get the best advice and help you take the correct legal recourse, potentially saving you a lot of money.