When it comes to auto repair New Jersey has a lot of different repair shops to choose from. Unfortunately, shops like these usually charge extremely high rates. That means that even relatively simple car repairs can wind up costing a fortune.
If you own a vehicle, you may be able to save money by taking on some of those repairs yourself. Although certain types of auto repairs are too difficult to handle yourself, others are easy enough that you can tackle them on your own. Doing basic repairs like these at home can wind up saving you a lot of money. Here are DIY auto repair New Jersey residents can use to lower their expenses:
1. Installing new windshield wiper blades.
Over time, your wiper blades can wear out, which can leave your windows streaky, reducing visibility when it rains. Fortunately, replacing your wiper blades is an easy project that you can do on your own.
All you have to do is visit your local auto parts store and purchase a new set of wiper blades. Make sure the blades you buy will fit your vehicle. Most stores have a reference book available in the aisle where the wiper blades are located that you can use to find the right pair for your car’s make and model.
From there, it is simply a matter of following the installation instructions that are printed on the back of the package that your new wiper blades came in.
2. Changing your oil.
Even though professional oil changes aren’t very expensive, the cost can add up over the life of your vehicle. You can save a lot of money by learning to change your oil on your own. It is a lot easier than you might think and can dramatically reduce the long-term costs of owning and maintaining your vehicle.
All that you have to do is drain the old oil, replace the oil filter, and add new oil. There should be instructions in the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Alternatively, there are also detailed videos online that show every step of the process. Following along with these videos is an excellent way to learn how to do it on your own.
To complete this project, you will need an oil pan, an oil filter wrench, a funnel, and a ratchet. All of these tools are inexpensive and can be used over and over again, making them a worthwhile investment.
3. Replacing your spark plugs.
Typically, spark plugs need to be replaced every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. Depending on your vehicle, the distance may vary. To find specific guidelines for your car, check the owner’s manual.
To complete this project, all that you need is a spark plug socket and a socket wrench. Both of these tools are inexpensive. Replacement spark plugs are also quite affordable, making this a low-cost project.
The key to success is to focus on one spark plug at a time. If you try to do them all at once, you may not get them put back in the right order. You can find excellent instructional videos and tutorials online. Look for a tutorial that is made specifically for the make and model of your vehicle to get the best results. There should also be guidelines or basic instructions in your owner’s manual if you need additional help.
4. Replacing headlights, taillights, or turn signal lights.
The lights on your car are essential for safety. Your headlights help you clearly see the road in front of you, while your taillights and brake lights alert the cars behind you that you are stopping. Your turn signals let other vehicles on the road know when you plan on changing lanes or turning in a particular direction.
With so much riding on your lights, it is important to make sure that they are all working correctly. At least once a month, you should walk around your vehicle to check all of the lights. Have someone step on the brakes, as well, to make sure that the brake lights are working.
If any of the bulbs are burnt out, you can easily replace them on your own. The key is to purchase the right type of replacement bulb. When you visit an auto parts store, they usually will have a small kiosk or reference manual in the aisle with the light bulbs that you can use to figure out which bulbs you need for your vehicle.
Once you find the right bulb and get it home, it is just a matter of taking out the old lightbulb and putting the new one in. Your owner’s manual should provide detailed instructions on how to access or remove your headlight or tail light covers so that you can get the new bulb in place.
5. Repairing chips in your windshield.
If your windshield has significant cracks or if it is severely damaged, it should be replaced. If it has small chips, however, you may be able to repair it on your own. You can purchase windshield repair kits online for very little money.
These kits make it quick and easy to fill the crack with clear resin. The process takes just a few minutes and can help keep the crack from spreading to the rest of your windshield. It is worth putting a little bit of time and money into making repairs like these. Otherwise, you could find yourself having to pay hundreds of dollars to buy a replacement windshield if the crack spreads.
6. Replacing your brake pads.
If you notice strange squeaking sounds coming from your brake pads, it most likely means that it is time to replace them. A lot of times, people are intimidated by the idea of working on their own brakes. In this case, however, replacing the brake pads is an easy auto repair New Jersey car owners can usually handle on their own.
All that you need is a jack, a lug wrench for your wheels, some pliers, and a few simple wrenches. You also need to purchase replacement brake pads that are specifically designed for your vehicle.
Once you have all of your tools and your new brake pads, you can begin. The process is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is remove each wheel, take off the old brake pad, put the new one in place, and put the wheel back on the vehicle.
To learn more about all of these steps, try watching instructional videos online. There are plenty of detailed videos that show the step-by-step process involved in replacing brake pads. You may be surprised by just how easy the project is – especially when you consider that repair shops charge hundreds of dollars to do it for you. Learning to replace your own can save you a lot of money.
7. Replacing your battery.
On average, car batteries last about six years before they need to be replaced. If you have had your current battery for a long time, you may want to consider putting a new one in. Even if your battery is working well right now, it is best not to take a chance since a dead battery can leave you stranded in less-than-ideal conditions.
Batteries themselves are relatively inexpensive. You should be able to buy a nice one for about $70-$80, depending on what type of vehicle you have. Replacing the battery is simple and doesn’t require any special tools. You just need some basic wrenches. Again, the best way to learn how to do a battery swap is by watching a video on the Internet or by looking up instructions on a reputable website.
8. Putting in a new air filter.
Replacing the air filter on a vehicle is usually a quick, straightforward project. Instead of having to pay exorbitant rates for a mechanic to do it for you, you can easily do it yourself.
All you need to do is find the air filter box. You should be able to spot it easily when you open up the hood. If you can’t, you can find a detailed diagram of where it is located in your owner’s manual.
The cover on the air filter box will usually be held in place with a couple of metal clips. Simply remove the cover by releasing these clips. From there, it is just a matter of taking out the old filter and putting a new one in. Make sure that the new filter is positioned exactly the same way as the one it is replacing. Then, replace the cover on the air filter box, securing it back in place with the metal clips.
These are eight DIY auto repair New Jersey residents can easily handle on their own. All of these projects are relatively simple and don’t require any fancy tools. Taking on basic repairs like these is a great way to save money. Buying parts on your own is a lot less expensive than purchasing them from a mechanic. Additionally, since you are doing the work yourself, you don’t have to worry about paying high labor charges.