In many cases, a mechanic will have the appropriate tools and knowledge to make big repairs on your vehicle. Those repairs are the ones that cost a pretty penny and make a huge difference for the longevity of the car.
That said, you don't have to go to the mechanic for every little thing. They'll love that you stop in because it makes them a lot of money. In fact, they make a good deal of their business on the nickel and dime repairs.
It's not in your best interest to frequent the mechanic, though. We're going to look at a few great DIY car repairs that you can do on your own to save money.
Hopefully, the ideas below will help get you better in touch with your car and give you the confidence to attain a little more self-sufficiency.
1. Oil Changes
Oil changes can run upwards of 75 to 100 dollars, depending on the type of vehicle you have.
The thing is, that figure is a lot higher than the simple cost of the oil itself. Labor on an oil change constitutes most of the cost you pay at the mechanic. It also should take only about ten to fifteen minutes to complete.
You can spend a little more time doing it on your own and save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your vehicle.
2. Transmission Fluid Changes
You're expected to change your transmission fluid somewhere between every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Metal debris gets caught up in the fluid, it gets dirty, and your transmission suffers if you don't change it.
The process requires that you check your transmission fluid to see if it's low or sludgy. If you need to change it, you also have to raise the car and release oil from the fluid pan.
This will allow you to drain the transmission fluid so that you can refill it under the hood. Note that you're also expected to dispense your fluid at a proper dumping point.
You can't just toss it behind your shed, for example.
3. Purchase a Code Reader
Most vehicles have a computer that sends a code when a particular issue occurs. You need a code reader to check these issues, however.
Mechanics have these readers and can tell you what's wrong with your vehicle without doing too much work to figure it out on their own. If you have a code reader, though, you can address issues from your own garage.
By doing so, you don't have to spend time and money getting the vehicle checked out first. If the issue is something you can handle, you can get it done on your own without paying an extra dime.
4. Repair Headlights
Headlights are an easy fix, and you can be sure that you won't put yourself in any danger by fixing them yourself.
When a headlight isn't working, it's obvious right away, and it doesn't impact the motor function of your vehicle. You can look in your vehicle's manual to explore replacement directions and product numbers.
In most cases, your vehicle will have a headlight that's similar to a range of other vehicles, and fixing it will be relatively easy. You might have to dig around for a particular tutorial for your model, though.
For example, Mercedes parts and Volkswagen parts might be a little more difficult to come by than other brands.
5. Air Filters
Air filters are also one of the easier repairs to make on your car, and they make a big difference in your vehicle's performance.
Just unscrew or pull out the latches that keep the filter in and slide the filter out. A great way to tell if you need a new filter is to use a bright light and hold it behind the filter.
If the filter appears to block more than half of the light, it's a sign that you could use a new one. You don't have to be too exact with this process, but it's better to air on the side of caution.
If it looks dirty, replace it. Filters are pretty cheap, and they're important.
6. Replace Auxiliary Bulbs
Bulbs are an important and functional piece of your car. From overhead lights to the bulbs that display your license plate, all lights on the vehicle are prone to go out.
Don't go out of your way to have those lights repaired by a mechanic; it will be far cheaper to take care of them on your own. This is another instance where a quick peek at your manual will tell you what product to buy.
The only extra work you may have to do is unscrewing a covering plate or two.
7. Radio Antennas
Is your antenna bent or broken?
This is one of the easiest fixes out there. Most vehicle antennas can be unscrewed and replaced with a brand new one. You screw it in, and voila!
The thing is, most people don't know that you can do this.
8. Paint Chips
Small chips to the paint might seem like no big deal, but they can lead to rust and damage to important vehicle pieces.
You don't have to get a whole new paint job to fix these areas. Buy touch-up paint, a brush, and some oil remover. You might also want to get some wax to finish it off.
You can apply these products to big scratches as well.
9. Torn Seats
There's no bigger eyesore than a torn seat. Sure, it doesn't hurt the car's function very much, but it sure hurts to look at when the rest of your car is souped up and pristine.
Get a leather repair kit for $10-20 dollars at the store and play around with the mixture to get it right. Repair shops will charge you a couple hundred dollars for small tears, so it's worth a little extra time.
If you have vinyl or fabric seats, you should try to find a patch matching your vehicle's pattern. It may not be exact, but it's a lot more affordable than going to the repair shop.
10. Wiper Blades
Wiper blades are an easy fix, and too many people lose money at the mechanic for them.
The process is different for some vehicles, but it typically requires a screwdriver, a new set of wipers, and about five minutes of your time.
Do yourself a favor and get a smooth set of wipers on your own. Skip the $40 or $50 it'll cost to have someone else repair them.
Looking for More Easy DIY Car Repairs?
Taking care of your vehicle doesn't have to be too hard. Hopefully, the DIY car repairs above will help you down the line.
If you're looking for more tips on personal repairs, though, we're here to help. Explore our site for more ideas on easy repairs, Volkswagen parts, mini performance parts, and much more.