5 easy DIY car maintenance jobs

For those of us with limited experience or expertise with car maintenance, the finer points of keeping up with your vehicle’s condition can be elusive. Yet a lot can be done for little cost and effort. Here are five of the easiest do-it-yourself (DIY) car maintenance jobs to save you money while keeping up with your vehicle’s needs.

Oil and oil filter
Besides being one of the easiest DIY car maintenance tasks, regularly keeping up with your vehicle’s oil and oil filters is one the most important things you can do to look after your ride. It’s recommended to change your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. When changing it, make sure the engine is cool. The process takes 30-40 minutes and costs about $20. A detailed step-by-step guide can be found within David Bakke’s DIY maintenance article for Money Crashers. If you’re not sure which type of oil to use and why, take a look at the RoadLoans “Car terms to know when getting an oil change” article.

Windshield wiper blades
Another straightforward DIY maintenance job is changing your wiper blades. Bankrate.com suggests doing this in the fall, when wiper blades tend to do the most work. Changing these requires no tools, takes only about 20 minutes and will cost $10-$20 for the blades. Most wiper blades come with a set of instructions for installation.

Air filter
Changing the air filter takes about 15 minutes and the cost of a new filter is likely to be about $15. This is one of the simplest DIY car maintenance tasks. You just locate the filter, carefully remove the old one and insert the new. The filter is located in a case, usually black with metal clips, under the hood.

Battery connection
A battery connection check takes about 20 minutes and costs around $5. All it takes is removing the cable connectors from the battery, carefully inspecting for residue or corrosion, and cleaning it with either store-bought or homemade cleaner. Wise Bread’s article for U.S. News has detailed pointers and instruction.

Spark plugs
This one will require some attention to detail but, nonetheless, is one of the easier DIY vehicle maintenance tasks. When replacing spark plugs, the only cost will be the new plugs and the process will take around 20-30 minutes. David Bakke’s article again provides excellent instructions, which you should reference for the process. Spark plugs usually need to be replaced after about 30,000 miles, so this piece of DIY car maintenance should last you longer than more frequent mileage based changes.

Thorin Klosowski’s article for Lifehacker lists common and useful tools for routine car maintenance, as well as useful reference sites and apps.

When the time comes to take your vehicle to the garage for other procedures, such as wheel alignment, an engine flush or shock and strut replacement, RoadLoans’ “Car terms to know when getting a service” article can help you understand these jobs and go in prepared.

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