Certain vehicle repairs or maintenance tasks are best left to the professionals—don’t get any crazy ideas about tinkering with your AC System Compressor or transmission. Others, however, can easily be done from the comfort of your own garage. If you’re interested in saving some money and avoiding a trip to the auto shop, consider trying your hand at these car maintenance tasks you can do on your own.
Changing Your Engine Oil
Changing your engine oil may be a dirty job, but most people can do it on their own with the help of a few basic tools. All you’ll need is a ratchet, a filter wrench, an oil pan, and a funnel.
After letting your engine cool and jacking your car, unscrew the drain plug and drain out the engine oil into your oil pan. Then replace the drain plug and use the filter wrench to remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. Next, refill the new filter with fresh oil and screw it in by hand.
Lastly, use a funnel to fill the engine with new oil and use a dipstick to ensure it is at the right level. To keep your engine in good condition, you should generally change its oil after every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or so depending on the instructions in your owner’s manual.
Checking Your Transmission Fluid
There is no need to drive your vehicle to the auto shop every time you need to check your transmission fluid, as doing so is another car maintenance task you can do on your own. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that drivers change their transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.
However, because an ample amount of high-quality transmission fluid is essential for the operation of one of your vehicle’s most expensive components, it’s a good idea to check it more frequently. Fortunately, checking your automatic transmission fluid is as easy as locating and removing the transmission fluid dipstick and taking a look inside.
Cleaning or Replacing Your Air Filter
To ensure that your heating and AC systems work effectively, it’s important to change your air filter regularly. Otherwise, it could become blocked and prevent proper airflow. If you notice that your air filters have become clogged with dust and other debris, you can easily change them on your own. To do so, unscrew the cap that coerces the filter. Then simply slide the old filter out and clean it or replace it with a new one. The cost of a new air filter for a car is generally only around $10 to $20.