10 DIY car maintenance projects you can do to save money

Car maintenance can be a sensitive topic for Filipinos. On one hand, we want our periodic maintenance schedules (PMS) to be affordable experiences. On the other hand, we want reliable vehicles that won't break down all that often. 

The truth is, you can rarely have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes it takes getting down and dirty and doing things yourself if you want to save cash and keep driving a hardy machine. With that said, here are 10 DIY car maintenance projects you can do to save some money.

Tire rotation

Tire rotation is an essential maintenance procedure that you shouldn't neglect. Due to being in different positions, the tires on your car don't wear at the same rate. It doesn’t matter if you drive a hatchback, a crossover, or an SUV, tire rotation is something that every car owner should do. Doing this ensures your tires wear evenly and last as long as possible. On the question of how often to rotate tires, the answer is usually every 8,000 km. To start this project, you'll need a few tools, including a lug nut socket wrench, a scissor or hydraulic jack, and jack stands.

Spark plugs

Spark plugs deliver the spark that ignites the engine's air and fuel mixture. As your car gets older, you may need to change your spark plugs more frequently. Signs you should get on this project include experiencing spotty power, misfiring cylinders, and reduced fuel economy. You'll need a set of spark plugs, spark plug socket and extensions, and a torque wrench.

Changing oil

A lot of car owners already do this themselves, but if you're new to filling up or replacing fluids, here's what you should know. Check the levels of your oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and radiator coolant. Before buying any products, you should check with your manufacturer, dealer, or mechanic regarding the best options for your particular car. Putting an ill-fitting fluid or coolant inside your engine can do more harm than good, so do your homework for the best results.

Radiator flushing

The radiator is part of a car's cooling system. It helps eliminate excess heat from the engine, and in the process, it accumulates corrosion and other deposits that can be bad when left unchecked. To flush your car's radiator, you'll need a coolant flush, a funnel, a wrench, and a screwdriver.

Changing car battery

In our era of technology and convenience, it can be incredibly easy to pick up the phone and have someone change your car's battery. While that's well and good, it can be rewarding and useful to learn how to change it yourself. Depending on the battery's condition, you can either give it a good cleaning or replace it outright. For cleaning the battery, you might need an anti-corrosion solution, a pair of pliers, a wire brush, rag, and an anti-corrosion solution.

Changing car fuse

Car fuses are there to protect your vehicle's electrical system from any power surges. When a fuse blows, it suspends the electrical circuit and prevents damage to the rest of the components. If you suspect that you have a fuse blown, you can access the fuse box to replace it yourself. Be sure to check with your owner's manual for the electrical diagram and exact specifications of the fuse.

Changing brake pads

Good braking is a must for any car. Having fully functional brakes can spell the difference in life or death situations. While this project might be out of the question for some drivers, it can be a good learning experience to have under your belt. You'll need some tools for replacing brake pads. These include a hydraulic jack, a C-clamp, a set of wrenches, a wire brush, and a quality lubricant like WD-40.

Changing air filter

Most modern cars have two air filters installed—one for the engine and another for the cabin. The engine filter helps keep contaminants out of the powertrain, while the cabin filter helps rid the interior of pollutants, allergens, and other elements. If you're looking to replace your air filters, you can find the engine filter under the hood and the cabin filter somewhere under the dashboard.

Changing headlight and taillight bulbs

Like any vehicle component, your car's headlights and taillights are bound to wear out with regular use. Luckily, it's pretty simple to change the bulbs. You'll only need to take out the old ones and buy new bulbs that are similar. When changing bulbs, keep your hands clean and have a screwdriver ready if it's needed for your car.

Changing windshield wipers

Windshield wipers tend to do extra work here in the Philippines, especially when the rainy season comes around. That said, you should make a habit of replacing your wipers. You'll usually know when it's time to replace them when you hear squeaking noises. For this, you'll need to buy a pair of wiper blades and clip them on in place of the old ones.

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