Whether you want to create a career as a mechanic or just like to know the primary ways of helping yourself when it comes to car care, everyone should know when it comes to a car and how to keep it running well. Here are six of the most important.
1. Changing a Tire
When you start driving, you might not think a flat tire would ever hit you while driving down the highway at 55 mph. But it happens to the best of us. Back in the day before cellular phones, you had to either change it yourself or wait for a kind stranger or police officer to stop by and help.
Changing a tire is very simple if you have the right tools. A stable jack, a tire iron, and working knowledge on doing it correctly. You have to loosen the lug nuts, lift the car, and then remove it all. Make sure to put the lug nuts in a safe place. When you get your new tire or doughnut on, put the lug nuts back on, tightening every other one until they are replaced.
The best way to avoid this problem is to put quality tires on your car.
2. Jumping the Battery
Here is another skill that seems simple, but everyone who drives should know how to do it. All you need are some jumper cables, another working battery, likely on another car, and someone who knows which clip goes on to which charge.
That last step is the most important because attaching the wrong clip to the battery’s wrong charge can damage you and your car. It might even cause a fire. So, be sure to put the RED clips on the POSITIVE terminal on your battery (the dead one first) and then attach the other RED clip to the car’s positive terminal with the working battery.
3. Replacing Your Wipers
It is a task that seems daunting but only takes a few moments and a few clicks here and there. Windshield wipers are the type of car part that people forget about until they need them. Then we realize what a vital necessity these simple tools are. I recall when I forgot my wipers were damaged and was reminded during a heavy rainstorm.
Luckily for me, I had some in my trunk and replaced them in a flash. While all cars are created differently, this is the typical installation process. Lift the wiper arm. On the back is the small tab that you can release, which allows for the removal of the blade. All you do now is put the new blade in the same spot and secure it. Look for instructions on the packaging.
4. Headlights and Taillights
Now we are getting into procedures that are a bit more intricate, but that’s okay. As they say, give a person a fish, they’re fed for a day. Teach them to catch a fish, and you feed them for a lifetime. While this is a bit more detailed, once you know how to do it, you will be glad that you did.
Every car is different, so we don’t have any general rules for everyone to follow. First, check your user’s manual for specific instructions, but it typically involves unscrewing the light from the frame and disconnecting some kind of electrical connector. Make sure the car and lights are turned off when you do this.
At this point, you can remove the bulb if that’s all that’s needed or replace the frame. Once it’s all back in place, plug the connector back in, and all should be good.
5. Change Your Battery
Here we have a job that gets you into the engine, which is where any true mechanic truly wants to be. It may be intimidating but replacing a battery is pretty simple. First, as with any engine work, make sure it’s off. If the battery has a cover, remove it. Label your negative and positive cable clamps, so you know which to attach to the new battery.
Next, disconnect the negative cables. It is done with the clamp being moved away from the battery post. Repeat those steps for the positive side and make sure any screws holding it down are removed. All you do is lift out the old battery and put the new one in. Reconnect the cables (Aren’t you glad you labeled them?) and secure the battery and cover.
You can even recycle the old battery.
6. Change Your Oil
Oil is the blood of your car. The engine needs to run well. If you don’t change it regularly, you risk damaging your engine. Checking the oil is simple. When you look under the hood, a ring handle is attached to a long metal stick. I wouldn’t suggest pulling on everything, but if you know that ring, pull out the long stick and wipe it down with a rag.
Reinsert the stick and then pull it out a second time. There are notches, and it will tell you how high or low, clean or dirty your oil is. If the oil on the stick is near the highest notch, you are doing fine. If it’s low to the end, you are in dangerous territory, and it needs a change. If the oil is clear but slightly colored, that’s good. If it’s dark brown or getting black, it’s time.
Changing the oil on your own can be easy or difficult, depending on where the oil plug and filter are located. If they are tough to reach, your job just becomes harder. If not, then you can follow these necessary steps. Ensure something is under your plug, so the oil doesn’t go everywhere, then remove the plug. Unscrew the filter and empty it into the appropriate container.
Let the oil drain out entirely, reconnect the plug and the filter. Take off the cap to replace the oil and put some fresh product in. Be sure to research the proper methods of disposing of motor oil in your area so it doesn’t wind up where it shouldn’t.
Everyone could save themselves a ton of money if they learned how to do a few, if not all, of these simple car maintenance procedures. They will save you a ton, and you may find a new hobby or small business idea.