3 articles Tag maintenance

Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Car Maintenance You Can Do YourselfAnyone who knows me knows that I’m quite headstrong, which means that I don’t like deferring to other people if there’s something I can do myself. Sure, I ask for help with the bigger things which are beyond my skill-set but there’s plenty of things I do by myself, including certain areas of car maintenance. Youtube is a great source for videos on how to do things yourself and I thought I’d give you an insight into things I do myself, especially before an MOT!

Keeping Tyres Properly Inflated

If your tyres are under-inflated it can have various knock-on effects and can even have an effect on the fuel consumption of your car. Making sure they’re fully pumped up is something that can be done at home and it’s wise to get an air compressor bundle to make the whole process easier.

Changing Your Wiper Blades

Ensuring that your wiper blades fully clear your windscreen is really important from a safety point of view and is something they’re hot on during an MOT. Changing them yourself is surprisingly easy and most models of car have blades with just clip off and on. It’s very simple to do and will save you a labour cost if you take them to a garage.

Changing Bulbs

Bulbs are another area where you can possibly fail an MOT so checking them before you take your car in can save you money. Buying from a local autoparts store, bulbs will set you back under a couple of quid each but more unscrupulous garages will charge four or fives times what they pay for them wholesale.

Topping Up Fluids

Checking your oil is something that most people remember to do, but it’s important to keep your radiator, screen wash, brake fluid and power steering fluid topped up too. They’re all available to buy quite cheaply and checking a diagram of what’s going on under your bonnet will show you where each of them is supposed to go – just don’t get them mixed up!

Valeting

Believe me, as a mum to two messy kids who spends a lot of time in the car, I know how messy things can get and it’s always tempting to drop it off at a valeting centre and take yourself off for a cup of coffee, but doing it yourself can save you a bunch of money. Get the kids involved with washing and hoovering the interior and they might think twice before messing it all up again!

Do you do your own car maintenance or is this something that you’ll happily pay a little extra for someone else to do? Leave me a comment below!

Pink Jobs/Blue Jobs?

pinks jobs blue jobsOne of the things on which I pride myself is my willingness to give things a go. I come from a family of do-ers, choosing to mend cars, decorate houses and generally fend for themselves, rather than hiring someone in, and Husband’s family is like this even more so than my own. Husband has an aunty of whom I’m constantly in awe, who’s a true role model for my girls. She’s genuinely one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to cars that I’ve ever met and she’s never fazed by a building project or getting her hands dirty in a multitude of ways.

I know that in a lot of houses, there are jobs which are characterised as ‘pink jobs’ and ‘blue jobs’, with domestic chores such as cleaning and child-rearing falling firmly in the female camp, whilst the men do the heavy lifting, car maintenance and rubbish-taking-out. This isn’t the case in our house. Husband is just as at home changing a nappy as changing a tyre, and I’m certainly not shy when it comes to getting involved in DIY.

A few months ago, I was talking to some friends at Sausage’s school when one of the Grandads who regularly does the school run approached me. He mentioned that he’d noticed that my break light was out and suggested that I “get the Husband to look at it” for me. I had to laugh. Yes, Husband would be more than capable of changing a bulb, but as it happens, I’m the only driver in the house and actually deal with car maintenance myself. When our car needed a new battery, I bought one from BuyCarparts.co.uk and fitted it myself, with no more than a YouTube video to give me confidence that I was doing it correctly and it never even occurred to me to think that I wouldn’t be able to do it myself.

For me, I’ve always tried to be as independent as I can be. Husband and I are a team and pitch in together with everything that needs doing, but I still like to know that I can do things myself. It’s also hugely important to me that the girls see Mummy as a capable human being; I remember, as a kid, seeing my Nan and Grandad living an oddly symbiotic life; he’d NEVER set foot in the kitchen and conversely, she never used a cash point, set the video and rarely even changed the TV channel. It worked for them, as it so often does in marriages from a bygone era, but I also remember worrying about how they’d cope if the other wasn’t around. I had visions of Grandad living on fish and chips every night, or my Nan only ever watching one TV channel!

A few years ago, my Uncle kindly gave us his old Honda Civic as we were without a car at the time and although he didn’t need it anymore, it was far too good to scrap. It really invigorated my thirst for independence and I relished taking care of the car myself, doing the vital maintenance as well as the non-vital things like fitting a new stereo, something I’ve done myself in almost every car I’ve owned.

I’ll definitely be encouraging Sausage and Burrito Baby to learn these kinds of self-sufficiencies, so that they’re both able to take care of things for themselves, as well as having the comfort of knowing they’re capable enough to do so. Having that confidence can be the making of a young woman and I can only hope that by seeing other family members doing things themselves rather than always deferring to someone else, they’ll see that there are so many things that you can do at home, without spending huge amounts on labour.

Tips for Mummies on Frugal Car Maintenance

car maintenance Copyrights (Chandra Marsono) on Flickr

Forking out for a mechanic every time that a simple bit of maintenance to your car is needed is an expensive way of running a vehicle. Of course, if you simply do not have any knowledge when it comes to car maintenance, then this is what you have to do. Nonetheless, maintaining a car does not require a great deal of engineering skill or mechanical know how, especially when finding the best speakers for car. For the more advanced jobs, then you will need a trained mechanic, but for simpler jobs you can do it yourself. Remember that the more of these little maintenance jobs that you do for yourself, the more you will save.

Spark Plugs

An essential maintenance job to keep your car going is to change its spark plugs once in a while. This is because the metal on the plugs’ electrodes can wear away over time and suffer from carbon deposits which coat them. Spark plugs that are in poor condition tend to have problems igniting the fuel and air mixture in the engine. As a result you will notice a drop in power and the fuel efficiency of the car. Fitting new ones can be done by anyone. Installation of new plugs is as easy. Just remove the ignition wires from the old spark plugs so you can work safely. Then pull the old spark plugs out of their sockets. Before installing new plugs, coat the inside of the ignition wire boots with a little grease to get a good connection.

Tyre Maintenance

Check your own tyres every few thousand miles. This is cheaper than having them inspected professionally each time. Keep your tyres fully inflated to the car maker’s specification because this will lower the amount you spend on fuel. Check your tyres’ tread with a twenty pence coin. If the rim goes in fully, then you have enough tread. However, if it does not, then you’ll need to have new ones fitted by an expert like Point S to remain street legal. Remember to check all over the tyre – not just in one place.

Lights

Check all the lights on your car once every few months. You can do this yourself and – if you don’t have someone to help you with the rear lights – place a mirror behind the car so you can see them. Don’t forget the side lights, reversing light, fog light and even the number plate light. Car owners’ manuals tend to not be that helpful when it comes to changing bulbs and – as a result – tend to encourage you to take the car to dealer. Look for advice on your specific model online, because many car owners post instructional videos which can help you do the job for yourself. You seldom need anything more than a screwdriver.

Air Filter Replacement

With the majority of cars, switching the air filter is nothing more than flipping a few clips or undoing a couple of screws to remove the filter box. Then you simply take out the old filter and place the new one in. It should take no longer than a couple of minutes and be conducted about once every 15,000 miles depending on your model.