Simple Car Maintenance You Should Do Yourself

by Jim
Car Maintenance

Cars are complex machines that need regular maintenance in order to keep them running.  Mechanics devote their careers to keeping them on the road.  However, not all maintenance is complex and requires specialized tools and training.  There is a lot of maintenance / repairs that the average car owner can perform themselves with a basic tool set.

Here is my list of maintenance items that are easy to do in your driveway.

Oil Change:

Oil Change

Engine oil is used to keep your car’s engine running smoothly.  It needs to be replaced every 5000-7000 miles.  This is a simple job to do with a jack & jack stands, a socket set and a catch can for old oil.

For a more in-depth guide, check out this post How to change your own oil: A step by step guide

Replace Air Filters:

Air Filter

A car’s engine is basically a large air pump.  Having clean air for the engine to breathe is vital to the performance and fuel efficiency of your car.  More often overlooked is the cabin air filter, which ensures that passengers are breathing clean air.  Both are tasks that should be easy to accomplish for the average home owner with minimal tools.  Consult your owner’s manual or the internet for the location and types of air filters.

Headlight / Taillight bulb replacement:


Headlights and taillights will burn out over time.  On most cars that is a simple twist and unplug to replace the bulb.  However, on many newer cars manufacturers are switching to LEDs which can be more expensive and complicated to replace.  But if your car is more than a few years old replacing the bulbs should be a straightforward affair.

Wash and Wax:

Car wash

This may not seem like a maintenance task, but believe me when I say it is needed just as much as changing the oil.  The sun’s uv rays can fade and damage your car’s shiny paint job leaving it faded and flat.  A somewhat regular wash and wax will protect your car’s paint for years to come.

Replace Windshield Wipers:

Windshield Wipers

Over time, your windshield wipers will wear out and leave streaks on the glass as they pass back and forth.  Replacing them is a quick 5 minute job that can usually be done without tools, or with a simple flathead screwdriver.

This really just scratches the surface of the what you can do for your car to keep it on the road.  But doing these maintenance items yourself will not only keep your car on the road longer, but will save you a pretty penny over time versus paying a mechanic to do it.

Here is a good checklist of tasks to use when planning your car’s maintenance.

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