Basic car maintenance is the best way to ensure that your car functions with minimal mechanical issues. You could also be saving lives by reducing wrecks that happen every year. If you are on a tight budget, you don’t need to visit your mechanic every time for these simple procedures. We have compiled simple DIY car maintenance tips and the tools you need for each activity.
Tools needed: None
A properly maintained air filter ensures overall improved engine performance. How? The air filter cleans the air entering you’re the engine and also prevents debris from entering the engine. In addition, it helps improve fuel mileage, better acceleration and increased engine life. Signs that the air filters need replacement include decreased fuel mileage and ignition problems. They need to be replaced every 12 months or after approximately 19,000 kms, whichever comes first. All you need is a new pair of air filters to replace the old ones! It doesn’t simpler than that.
Tools needed: ratchet or socket wrench, 12 inch socket extension, spark plug socket
Spark plugs are fairly easy to locate. They are attached to thick rubbery wires. Their function is to deliver electric currents by creating a spark in order to ignite the engine. A car will normally have six or eight plugs depending on how many cylinders your car has. It is key to note that they are installed in a specific order which needs to be maintained. Using your spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet, remove the first spark plug and replace with the new one. Screw it in with your hand first and tighter it with a wrench. However, be careful not to tighten it too much. Repeat this process for each of the other plugs, one at a time.
Tools needed: Wire brush, corrosion removal fluid, dry piece of cloth & wrench
A well maintained battery is synonymous with a smooth running vehicle. A quick visual check will let you know the condition of your battery. Look out for a white residue which is an indicator that you need to clean it. Here is how to. Remove the battery terminals; ensure you remove the negative cable first. Clean the posts using cleaning fluid and your wire brush, followed by a quick rinse using water. Dry the posts with a piece of cloth and replace battery terminals.
Tools needed: Lug wrench, C-clamp, adjustable wrench, hammer
Brake pads need to be changed every 32kms or whenever they are worn out. When it comes to brake pads, safety is your priority, here are step on how to change your brake pads:
You’ll need to jack up your car and break the lugs on the tires first.
Remove the wheel and the brake caliper. At the back of the back of the caliper, there will be bolts on both sides, remove them and then pull the caliper upwards.
Proceed to replace the old brake pads with the new ones and ensure you retain the old clips that held the old brake pads.
Compress the brake piston. Using the c-clamp and put the end with the screw on it against the piston with the other end on the back of the caliper assembly.
Ensure you tighten the clamp until the piston has moved to where you can place the caliper assembly over the new pads.
Put back your brake caliper and your when back on.
These are just a few of the things to look out for feel free to share with us more car maintenance tips!
Also read on Car Engine Maintenance.