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Want to fix your car at home? These five tips can help before you get started

Added September 2, 2020
Someone checking air pressure on a car tire

Your vehicle requires regular maintenance and repairs to keep it running smoothly, but you don't necessarily need a professional mechanic for everything. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to perform some of the basics, we’ve got advice to help get you started.

1. Secure the necessary tools

  • Mechanic’s tool set: These versatile tool sets generally include Allen wrenches and socket sets with a range of sizes.
  • Oil filter wrench: Your oil filter’s lid can stick due to infrequent opening between oil changes. This tool will come in handy if you decide to refill your oil.
  • Car jack with stands: This is an essential tool for performing tasks underneath your vehicle. Not only does the jack help lift and hold your car up, the stands add more support for your safety.
  • Battery charger and jumper: If your car battery dies, a battery charger and jumper cables will help can help you start things up again.
  • Tire gauge: This tool helps you measure the air pressure in your tires, indicating when it’s time for a fill. Maintaining the appropriate air pressure helps keep your tires in good, safe working condition.
  • Safety gear: The right safety can make all the difference. At a minimum, make sure you have good-quality mechanic gloves and safety eye glasses.

2. Review your car’s service manual

Your car’s service manual contains information that can make your repair jobs easier. Manuals include detailed instructions on how to repair various parts of your car including its engine, transmission, and brakes.

If you can’t locate yours, you can typically find model-specific manuals for purchase online.

3. Do your homework

Start every car repair by conducting some research.

There are plenty of resources available from online experts through video and step-by-step guides to help you perform specific repairs to your vehicle.

Skipping research when learning something new can cost you extra time and money in the long run.

4. Have a camera available

Throughout the repair process, it’s helpful take pictures of your car to document specific placement of parts. You can refer to the images to reduce error and complete repairs more successfully.

5. Keep a car repair maintenance log

Once you’re finished with your repair, record it in a detailed maintenance log, including date and type of work completed. This will help you keep track of recurring maintenance needs.

You can use a notebook or purchase an actual maintenance log from your local auto parts store to track your information.

Once you’ve got the standard tools and knowledge base, you’re ready to start fixing your car at home—and potentially saving money too!

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