Do it Yourself Car Vehicle Repairs

by Christopher John

Knowing how to perform basic repairs on your vehicle can help you bypass the costs of taking your car to a mechanic every time it coughs. It saves you money, plus it helps tremendously on those occasions where your car needs repairs and you are on the road or otherwise far from the nearest mechanic. Performing these basic repairs, using basic automotive tools, can help save your car from additional and more costly repairs in the future.

Before changing the oil, drive the car for approximately one mile to warm up the engine. Position two auto ramps in front of each of the car's front tires. Slowly drive the car forward until its front wheels rest securely on top of the ramps. Set the parking brake. Remove the oil filler cap from the top of the engine head. Locate the drain plug underneath the car. The drain plug is the large plug or nut underneath the oil pan. Loosen the drain plug with a wrench. Position a container to catch the old oil underneath the drain plug and remove the plug by hand. Allow the oil to drain into the container for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Grip the oil filter tightly with an oil filter wrench and turn it counterclockwise. Remove the filter and hold it upside down to keep from spilling oil. Empty the filter and wrap it in newspaper. Wipe the filter holder with a cloth to remove any debris. Tighten the new oil filter in place by hand, followed by a 3/4 turn with the oil filter wrench. Screw the oil drain plug into place, tightening the plug with a wrench. Remove the oil container. Back the car off the auto ramps. Add oil, following the vehicle's instruction manual on the amount and type of oil needed. Replace the oil filler cap and turn on the car for 60 seconds. Turn off the car and check the oil dipstick. Add more oil, as needed.

If the coolant level is low, check the hoses from the radiator for any leaks. Also check for loose hose clips. Dilute antifreeze with water, if the antifreeze is not already pre-diluted. Fill the expansion bottle near the radiator with the proper level of antifreeze, as marked on the side of the bottle (approximately 1/3 full). Tightly seal the cap on the expansion bottle.

If you have a flat tire, position the car on a firm surface and apply the parking brake. Remove the rim cover and loosen the tire screws with a lug wrench. Do not fully unscrew the tire screws. Place a car jack beneath the car, in a secure spot near the flat. Raise the car. Finish loosening and then remove the tire screws with a lug wrench. Remove the old tire and install the replacement tire. Hand-tighten the screws on the tire, and then lightly tighten them with a lug wrench. Lower the car and tighten the tire screws completely with a lug wrench.

Items you will need

About the Author

Christopher John has been a freelance journalist since 2003. He has written for regional newspapers such as "The Metro Forum" and the "West Tennessee Examiner." John has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Memphis State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Girl repair car on road image by Vasyl Dudenko from Fotolia.com