Proper car maintenance is essential in extending the lifespan of your vehicle and improving its performance. While there are certainly a lot of mechanic jobs that you wouldn’t want to attempt to by yourself nor have the tools, there are other car maintenance tasks that you can indeed do yourself in the comfort of your garage.
Doing vehicle maintenance yourself saves you money and is rewarding in and of itself. Here are five car maintenance fixes you can do yourself.
Scratches are a real nuisance and nearly impossible to altogether avoid, luckily, you can easily fix car scratches yourself.
The method used to fix a scratch is dependent on the severity of the scratch, assessing the depth of the scratch will give you an idea of the method you will need to approach it.
When dealing with shallow scratches, the surrounding area will first need to be cleaned before sanding. Lightly sand only the clear coat. After this step, apply a rubbing compound to smooth the paint surface, preparing the scratched area for polishing and the final step of waxing the area to seal the surface.
Deep scratches do require more work, but can indeed be fixed yourself. Read the guide on fixing scratches before you attempt fixing either shallow or deep scratches yourself.
Preventing Polymer Degradation
Polymer is a very commonly used material in various car parts and accessories, Polymers are tough and possess excellent impact resistance. Polymers are found in jumpers, window trim, spoilers, hoods, windshields, and other car parts.
Polymers are particularly sensitive to elements such as heat, light, chemicals, and salt, exposure to these elements causes polymers to degrade.
If your car’s polymer components have degraded, there are a few steps you can take to restore degraded polymer.
Polymer parts that have already degraded can be fixed, but it’s always better to properly prevent degradation, so it doesn’t become an issue in the first place. Adding a layer of protection between the polymer part and the external elements is the best way to prevent future degradation.
Cleaning Your Exhaust System
To ensure you get the optimal functionality and performance from your exhaust, cleaning your exhaust system is a car maintenance task you can easily do yourself, which will save you money in the long run.
To remove the black coating of carbon dioxide build-up inside the exhaust pipes, they can be cleaned using simple soap and water. Following this, applying a degreaser will break up any carbon deposits. Finally, a polish can be applied to the inside and outside of the exhaust tip.
As well as cleaning the pipes, the manifold should be cleaned now and then. Over time, it collects carbon build-up, grease, and rust. Check our article with full instructions on cleaning your exhaust system for a more detailed guide.
A clogged catalytic converter can cause your exhaust to fail an emissions check. While cleaning the catalytic converter can be done yourself, it’s a much more involved task and will require you to purchase an OBD-II scanner to diagnose the issue.
Clean Your Alloy Wheels
Regular cleaning of your alloy wheels will help you avoid the future risk of corrosion.
There are several cleaning products and a few simple cleaning products that will give you the best result. These include a microfiber washing mitt, Boars hairbrush, and wheel cleaning products like Sonax and CarGuys Super Cleaner.
The process of cleaning alloy wheels begins with a rinse and a soak, followed by a scrub using a soft-bristled brush. Once the wheels have been thoroughly scrubbed, both front and back, then the wheels are rinsed off and wiped down. Finally, applying a wax sealant will give extra protection to your alloy wheels post-cleaning.
Changing Your Battery
Generally, the lifespan of a car battery is between about 4 and 6 years, depending on several factors, including how often you drive, the climate you live in, and whether you tend to go for long joy rides or quick trips.
When it comes to changing your battery, setting a regular schedule will help you avoid headaches. If you simply wait for it to die, you may be stranded out in the middle of nowhere and have to pay expensive fees to have it replaced. By setting a schedule of changing your battery every 4 or 5 years, you won’t need to worry about getting stranded due to a dead battery.
Replacing the battery is an easy task. Simply purchase a new battery and using a wrench, first remove the black negative cable of the old battery and be sure to replace the black negative cable last when installing your new battery.
Make sure you are 100% certain that you are replacing the correct cables, as a mistake can result in a short circuit. Cable terminals can easily be cleaned with some baking soda and water.
DIY jobs are genuinely satisfying and save money, but when undertaking a DIY job, you are unfamiliar with, just be sure you feel confident enough. The DIY guides found in motorist.org walk through each task step-by-step. Watching online tutorial videos is also another great way of getting familiar with each DIY task, and for some people, watching it done visually helps instill greater confidence.
Daniel Calvin has been a car enthusiast for as long as he can remember. He started working on cars in his teen years, learning from mentors and auto mechanic books. He is now sharing his auto knowledge by writing for Euromotorsport, Mercedes Benz mechanics in Melbourne.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.