Going to a mechanic every time something is wrong with your car can get very expensive. A lot of the time the problem with your car is very minor, and with a little bit of know-how, you can fix the problem yourself. Doing so will allow you to learn more about cars, along with save yourself some money. Below are some of the most common problems that you may experience with your car, and how to deal with them. Remember, as with any car problem, it is important to have the right tools and the right instructions. Make sure you feel confident that you know what you are doing before you start, or you could risk further damage to the car.
- Flat Tire – A flat tire is a very common problem. If you notice that the bottom of one of your tires seems flat, your car is tilting to one side, or if it blows out while you are driving, these are all signs that you need to replace the tire. To do this, pull out the emergency jack from your car and put it underneath the car close to the tire. There should be a spot marked under your car telling you where to put it. Before you jack up the car, loosen the lug nuts on the tire, as they will be harder to get off once your car is jacked. Don’t take them off all the way, just loosen them. After that, proceed to jack up the car until the tire is off the ground. Remove the lug nuts entirely, pop the old, flat tire off, and put the donut tire on. Reattach the lug nuts, then lower the jack until the car is back on the ground. Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can before driving your car again.
- Lights Out – Another common problem is if your head or tail lights are out. You’ll notice a problem with them if your blinker is going too fast, or if there is no light at all. Replacing the bulb is simple, and is certainly a job you can do yourself. First, find out what type of bulb you need either by searching online or asking a local auto parts store. Then, with the car off, simply switch out the bulbs. Getting to the bulbs is usually pretty easy, and wont take much more work than opening your trunk or hood usually.
- Dead Battery – You’ll know you likely have a battery problem if your car won’t start, and none of the inside lights turn on. While you can give your car a jump to keep it going for now, you will probably need a new batter pretty soon. To make sure that the problem is your battery and not the alternator or the starter, have a local auto parts store use a battery tester. If the problem is the battery, you’ll have to purchase a new one (again, the auto store can help you) and swap it out. To do this, Unbolt the negative terminal battery first, then the positive. If there is a ground wire, take that off too. After that, you just have to put the new battery in.
- Bad Brakes – If your brakes are not working, that is likely a job for a mechanic. If however, your brakes are just squeaking very loudly, that could be a problem you can handle yourself with a little bit of work. The problem is likely old brake pads that have worn down, and they’ll need to be replaced. Jack up the car and remove the tire from where the squeaking is coming from. First you’ll have to remove the slide pins (they look like big bolts). They can be a little tricky, so you might need a good deal of muscle and some lubricant if they’re stuck. You can probably get away with just taking out the bottom one, but both wouldn’t hurt. Once you’ve done that, you can remove the covering on top of the brake pads. You’ll see the old brake pads inside, and you’ll have to wiggle them out. Put some lubricant on the back of the new pads and work them into where you just removed the old ones. Put the cover back on, put some lube on the pins you took out, slide them back in, and tighten everything up. This may sound like a long process, but it can really save you a lot of money. If you need more instructions, there are plenty of resources on the web that can help you.