Simple DIY Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Used Car in Shape
There’s nothing more exciting than buying a new car, but there’s something much more satisfying about buying a used car. Let’s face it, the minute you drive a brand-new car off the dealer’s lot it loses thousands of dollars in value, making you feel a little uneasy about spending your money. Consumers are hesitant to buy used cars because they may think that maintenance and repairs loom threateningly in the distance, but what if we told you that there’s no rocket science to the upkeep of used cars? The most common maintenance for used cars can be done by you – yes you! Regardless of your experience level, simple maintenance tasks can be performed by almost anyone willing to put in a little work. Here are some simple car maintenance DIY tips to help you keep your used car in its best shape.
A faulty battery is a common car problem that is to be expected with a used car. You can avoid future headaches by proactively taking care of your car battery. With just 20 minutes of your time, and in the comfort of your own yard, you can extend the life of your battery. All you’ll need for battery maintenance is the following: rags, a wire brush, corrosion-removal fluid, and a wrench. You will know it is time to perform this maintenance if your battery has any visible white buildup on the terminals – that’s where the corrosion is at. Make sure the vehicle has been turned off for this next part. First, use the wrench to remove the battery terminals, starting with the negative cable, followed by the positive one. Once you’ve removed the cables, use the wire brush to apply corrosion-removal fluid and scrape off any corrosion on the terminals. After wiping your battery dry, it’s time to reassemble it and then you’re good to go.
If you reach the point of no return and are in need of a new battery altogether, have no fear – changing a car battery is another type of maintenance you can easily perform at home with minimal tools. Once you correctly buy a replacement car battery at your local parts store, you’ll be free to return to your makeshift auto mechanic shop in your yard and begin. Car batteries are easily accessible, usually found under the hood – in some occasions, depending on the make or model of your vehicle, they can be found beneath the matting of the trunk or the rear seat; check with your owner’s guide for instruction
To remove the battery, you must first identify the terminals, both positive and negative, and proceed to loosen the negative cable clamp first with a wrench. Repeat this step for the positive terminal and complete the removal of the old battery. After you’ve cleaned the battery tray and terminal clamps with a wire brush, you can secure the replacement battery in place – working in reverse from the removal to connect the positive terminal clamp first, followed by the negative terminal clamp, securing both tightly with a wrench and applying a little of lithium grease to avoid future corrosion. You’ll now be ready to turn on your car and ride off to properly dispose of your old car battery as they can’t be thrown away with regular trash.
This will require you to get a little dirty, but it’s a relatively easy form of maintenance that will ensure your used car remains in top shape. Experts recommend you change your engine oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on the vehicle’s usage and needs. All you’ll need for an oil change is the following: wrench, oil pan, oil, oil filter, oil filter wrench and a funnel. Make sure that you’ve chosen the correct oil for your vehicle (refer to your owner’s manual) and that the engine is cool before you start this maintenance.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to use the wrench to drain the existing engine oil from the oil pan by loosening the drain plug located under the car. Once all of the oil is drained you can go ahead and screw the plug back on. Do not over tighten this plug. Next, use the oil filter wrench to remove the existing oil filter, coat the rubber gasket of the new filter with some motor oil and fill about two thirds with new oil. You’re now free to hand tighten the new oil filter back on. Using your funnel, fill the engine with new oil and use your dipstick to double-check your oil level to be sure you’ve added enough. All you’ve got left to do is to recycle your old oil accordingly and you’re done.
Still have a few doubts about used car maintenance? You can stop by Driver’s Auto Mart where we’ll be happy to help you.