In our last blog, we talked about how prevention and maintenance are important for your car. In this installment, we want to show you a few simple maintenance tasks you can perform at home.
Changing the Air Filter
An air filter needs to be replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles - whichever comes first. This fix only takes about 5 minutes and costs around ten dollars. To start, locate the filter under the hood of your car. (It’s a rectangular box with metal clips on the side.) Open the lid of the box, unclasp the metal clamps, and make a note of which way the filter is facing. Remove the old filter, and replace it with a new one. Close the metal clips when the filter has been replaced.
Changing the Oil and the Oil Filter
Switching out the oil in your car can be a slightly longer task, but it is still a money-saving fix that you can accomplish in under an hour. Before you start, remember to change the oil only when the engine has cooled off. Also, familiarize yourself with how to safely handle a car jack before you start. Once you are ready, unscrew the drain plug and empty the old oil into your oil pan. Replace the drain plug once the oil is drained. At the engine, remove the old oil filter with an oil filter wrench. Gently lubricate the rubber gasket on the new filter with fresh motor oil. Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with fresh oil. Screw in and high-tighten the new oil filter. Using a funnel, fill the engine with new oil. Using your car’s dipstick, double check the oil level. Discard the old oil and oil filter safely.
Replacing Windshield Wipers
Although the method can be slightly different from vehicle to vehicle, the process of changing your windshield wipers is still an easy one that you can accomplish in 15 minutes. While taking care to see how the old blades connect to the metal arms, lift and remove each windshield wiper blade. Being careful to not bend the new blades or scratch your windshield, insert your new blades. Line the blades up and tightly secure them to your windshield.
Replacing Spark Plugs
In need of replacement every 30,000 miles, switching out your own spark plugs can be one of the biggest money savers you can do at home. Locate the sparks which are attached to thick rubbery wires. Depending on how many cylinders your car has, you may find between four and eight plugs. In order to keep track of the order of spark plugs—integral to the function of your car—remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Use a spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet to remove the first spark plug. Install a new spark plug and tighten for a snug, but not overly tight fit. Reattach the spark plug wire, and repeat for subsequent spark plugs.
Performing your own car maintenance can save you money. While completing your own car maintenance can give you a sense of accomplishment, know when it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Don’t take on too big of a project if you don’t have the skill set; otherwise, you are at risk of injury to yourself and of damaging your car’s performance and function.
For other useful vehicle skills to master, learn how to change a tire, clean your headlights, and perform basic battery maintenance.
For more advanced maintenance, or if you simply don’t have the time, schedule an appointment with Kuehn Motors on our website.