What budget should you anticipate for car parts you can change yourself?
In today’s economy, we’re all looking for ways to save a little extra money, and performing your own vehicle maintenance is a great way to keep your wallet full and happy. Here are some helpful tips on what to expect when diving into the world under your car’s bonnet.
The answer to this question depends heavily both on which car parts you plan to repair or replace, and what tools you already have on hand. Most jobs will require an adjustable wrench at the very least, while many will necessitate the use of more specific tools, including a socket wrench, screwdriver, lug wrench, car jack and jack stands.
Common maintenance such as an oil change can cost as little as £15 for new motor oil and replacement oil filter, while other jobs, such as installing new tyres or replacing disc brakes, can cost well above £60 for the equipment alone. Regardless of the task at hand, however, you will certainly save a small fortune on labour costs, assuming you do the job right and don’t cause your vehicle further damage in the process.
Tips for any do-it-yourself vehicle repair job
When working on something as intricate and potentially costly as your vehicle, it is much better to be safe than sorry. Purchase a service manual for your specific automobile and read thoroughly the section on the job you intend to perform before beginning work. This will help you identify problem components accurately, and assist you in finding compatible replacement hardware. Your owner’s manual can also offer helpful information, depending on the complexity of the repair. When in doubt, replace worn or damaged car parts with OEM components made for the same make and model of car, though performance parts from reputable after-market manufacturers are also generally available.
Relatively simple repairs you can do from home
Regardless of your level of expertise, many maintenance tasks and repairs of varying complexity can be performed relatively easily on your own. Simply maintaining the cleanliness of your car’s exterior will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle from environmental wear. Replacing your car’s windshield wipers, spark plugs, battery, headlight bulbs and tyres are also fairly straightforward procedures. Once you have the car jacked up and the tyres removed, replacing your vehicle’s disc brakes is manageable for novice do-it-yourself mechanic, as well. You can also install new air filters and flush and replace your vehicle’s radiator fluid. All of these tasks will save you money on professional labour and give you the confidence of knowing you can maintain your own vehicle.
Know your limits
As much money as a successful home repair can save you, a botched home repair could end up costing you a great deal more. Your vehicle relies on the seamless coordination of its various precision mechanical parts in order to function, and the improper installation of any number of them could be catastrophic.
If you’re confused about the details of a repair job or are unsure of how to proceed, especially if your task involves the engine or transmission, consider taking your car to a service professional. It may be worth spending the extra money now to avoid a hefty repair bill in the future.