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7 Car Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself - - BlackboxMyCar

7 Car Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself

With all social gatherings and entertainment cancelled this Holiday season, there is no better time to get some car maintenance done. After all, you do have a few hours to spare once the turkey's in the oven! Back in April we wrote an article on how to go about DIY car maintenance projects at home. This time, we are excited to have Will Ryan, Marketing Director for Husky Liners, share his words of wisdom with us.

Will Ryan has 20+ years of experience as a mechanic. When he's not working on his car or buying and selling them, he's creating content to inform others about car-buying, safety, maintenance, upkeep, road trips and much more. Although he doesn't have children, he treats his '78 Camaro like his baby.

Owning a car can feel like a part-time job. We rely on our vehicles in so many ways, but many of us don’t have the time or energy to make sure our car is up to the task at hand. Studies show that around 7.9 percent of consumers have delayed routine vehicle maintenance. We’re talking about common things like changing the oil, switching out the windshield wiper blades and making sure your tires are properly inflated.

According to Consumer Reports, older vehicles tend to require more maintenance than new vehicles over time. For example, a 2010 model incurred $458 in annual maintenance costs, while a 2017 model cost only $83 to repair for the entire year. The more often you maintain your car, the less money you will have to spend down the line. You don’t have to be a trained mechanic to take care of your car. Here are six car maintenance tasks you can do by yourself, usually from the comfort of your own home.

In order to determine what maintenance your car needs, you’ll have to conduct a diagnosis. Rather than taking it to a mechanic, who can charge you whatever they want and get away with it, scan your car yourself. An OBD-II Scanner isn’t crazy expensive, and it’s an investment you’ll want to make. Now, whenever your warning or check engine light goes on, you can determine the problem yourself because it might be something you can fix yourself, too.

Install Floor Mats

The floor tends to be one of the most overlooked areas in any vehicle. We tend to pay more attention to the upholstery and exterior than what’s lurking underneath our feet. In reality, most floors are full of excess moisture, bacteria, crumbs, dirt and other debris. It can also be a trap for mold, mildew and nasty smells, especially during the winter months.

Preventative maintenance is always the best kind of maintenance. With thick rubber floor mats, you won’t have to worry about dust, dirt and excess fluid staining your floors. You can just pull out the mat, wipe it off and you’ll be good to go. Don’t neglect the interior of your car as time goes on. Install floor mats for more protection and lasting peace of mind.

Additional Storage

When it comes to maintenance, keep your car stocked with must-have essentials in case you run into trouble in the middle of your trip or upon arriving at your destination. If you only maintain your car when you’re at home, you run the risk of getting stranded on the side of the road.

Use under seat storage to make the most of the space inside your car. This is the best place for your tools, spare rags, jack and other maintenance essentials, such as windshield wiper fluid, engine oil and WD-40. You never know when you might need to make repairs or fix the occasional issue. Don’t wait until you get home. Keep these items on hand for around-the-clock DIY maintenance.

Monitor Your Tire Pressure

Flats happen for a reason. If the air pressure in your tires gets too low, it’s only a matter of time before you end up on the side of the road with your hazards lights on. Low pressure will also reduce handling behind the wheel and overall fuel efficiency. It can also lead to a blowout if your tires get overheated.

Use an automatic air pressure gauge to keep an eye on your PSI levels, especially during a long road trip. Subtle shifts in temperature can cause the PSI to drop on a dime, so make sure you’re always one step ahead of any potential issues on the road. Add air to your tires right away if you notice a change in pressure. It’s so much easier and less stressful than trying to fix a flat on the shoulder of the road.

Check Your Fluid Levels

This is a no-brainer, but many of us still forget to check our fluid levels under the hood. Be sure to park on a flat surface before refilling the engine.

There’s some difference of opinion in terms of when to check your engine fluid. Some say it’s best to run the engine until it reaches a normal temperature and then turn it off for five to 10 minutes before checking the fluid. Others say you can do it with the engine cold, but double-check your owner’s manual just to be sure.

If your car comes with a transmission dipstick, check the fluid when the engine is running. On the flip side, make sure the engine is off when checking your coolant levels. Don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid as well while you’re poking around under the hood.

Wax the Exterior

Nothing will ruin the exterior of your car like a healthy dose of winter. Before the worst of winter weather arrives, coat your car with some quality wax. This will be your car’s first line of defense against dirt, mud and other flying debris. Instead of seeping into the paint job or rusting the inner workings of your car, the mess stays on the outside of the wax for less hassle. You can quickly wipe off the dirt, snow and mud without damaging the underlying beauty of the exterior.

Protect Your Car and What’s Inside

Unfortunately, not everyone out there is a good driver. And even worse, someone might hit your car when it’s parked and just drive away, without even leaving a note. Plus, there are car break-ins constantly around the world, and police don’t always find the criminal, let alone the goods that were stolen. To protect your car and whatever you keep inside, it’s best to have a BlackVue dash cam. That way, when an accident or thievery arises, you’ll be able to hold the culprit accountable and take legal action. And people will be less likely to break into your whip if there’s a camera that will record them.

Change the Engine Air Filter

The engine works as the heart and lungs of your vehicle, so you should do everything you can to protect it. Replacing the engine can cost a fortune and, at that point, you may be better off getting a new car. To fend off everyday wear and tear, change the engine air filter to help it breathe. The filter will clog up with dirt and debris over time, limiting how much clean air the engine can pull in. This forces the entire engine to work harder, decreasing its overall lifespan. Changing the filter every 15,000 to 45,000 miles will add years to the working life of your engine.

As you can see, maintaining your car doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Use these tips to keep your car as healthy as possible as the years go on. Spending a little time here and there addressing these issues before getting behind the wheel. You can also post a checklist on the dashboard as a handy reminder. It’s all about making sure your car reaches its full potential every time you pull onto the road.

A word from BlackboxMyCar

Thank you Will, for sharing so many valuable tips with us and our readers. Taking care of your car is more than just making sure there's gas in the tank, and performing basic DIY maintenance on your car is a great "anytime" project, but if you do not have the patience or proper tools, you could be doing more damage than good. Got a mechanic on your Christmas list? OBD-II Scanners make great, useful gifts!

Got tips you want to share with the BlackboxMyCar community? Sign up to become a Safety Scout!

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