Even drivers who depend on their mechanics completely for routine maintenance and repairs understand there are a few simple tasks they can handle on their own.
Sure, you could pay the professionals to handle these things for you next time you get your oil changed. However, you could save quite a bit of money by taking the DIY approach.
- Windshield wiper blade replacement
Good visibility during a rainstorm is crucial, and your windshield wiper blades need to be in top condition to keep water off your windshield. If you notice streaks or spots where the wiper’s squeegee isn’t connecting to the surface of the windshield, it’s time for new wiper blades.
Depending on the type of car you drive, a dealership could charge you $150-$200 to replace your windshield wiper blades. You can buy top-of-the-line blades at any auto parts store for half as much money.
Wiper blades last six months to a year, depending on the weather and how frequently you use them. The new blades should have some basic instructions about how to connect them to your car’s metal arms. Be sure to wear gloves when removing the old blades and installing the new ones to protect your hands from cuts.
- Check tire pressure and fill to manufacturer-recommended PSI
Don’t wait for your car’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to alert you that the air pressure in one of your tires is low. In most cars, TPMS systems won’t kick in until one or more tires is more than 25% below the manufacturer recommended psi. The system is designed to alert the driver of an air leak.
Over time, tires naturally lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per square inch (psi) per month. Temperature drops cause a one pound per square inch drop for every ten degrees, as well.
Driving on tires that are even 10% lower than the recommended psi can cause a decrease in fuel mileage. At high speeds, underinflated tires are more likely to blow out.
Use a tire pressure gauge to check your tires once a month. You can get a digital tire gauge anywhere that sells basic auto supplies for less than $10. Keep it in your car’s glove compartment. Check tire pressure when the car has been sitting still for a few hours. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended psi. Keep in mind that there may be different requirements for front and rear tires.
If your tires are underinflated, you can take care of the problem yourself by stopping by a gas station with an air compressor. Be sure to recheck with the tire pressure gauge to avoid overfilling the tires.
- Repair scratches in your car’s paint
Dealerships charge hundreds of dollars to repair small scratches, chips, and dings. Neglecting this maintenance could result in rust spots, peeling clearcoat, and further damage to the car’s paint.
There are three types of paint on top of a car’s metal exterior: the primer, the base color, and a thick layer of clear coat. Theoretically, the exterior of your vehicle should remain shiny and nice looking throughout its lifetime. Unfortunately, rock chips, parking lot dings, and even damage from a car wash are common causes of paint scratches and scuffs.
You can take a much less expensive DIY approach to keep the exterior of your vehicle looking perfect, but you must choose the right products. Many scratch repair kits sold at auto parts stores and big-box retailers cover the damage with matching colored paint. This helps prevent rust and keeps the clearcoat from peeling around the damaged area. You can see the repair, though.
A scratch isn’t the same depth from one end to the other, so it’s difficult to repair. If the scratch is visible when the car is wet, it’s deeper than the clear coat and will be even more difficult to camouflage. The process of using trial and error to repair a paint scratch can be painstaking and a bit terrifying.
If you decide to try the DIY approach to paint scratch removal, you’ll need to have science on your side. Plastic deformation, to be exact. Use the patented polish compound in the Quixx Paint Scratch Remover kit to remove the abrasion permanently. This causes the paint to actually flow back into the scratched area. Use the Quixx Finish, also included in the kit, to restore the original shine to the repaired area.
Repairing small scratches in your car’s paint shouldn’t cost you hundreds of dollars. It’s crucial to buy the right repair kit, though. Be sure to get the top rated, Quixx Paint Scratch Remover (PSR), and grab the box with the double “X” for Quixx.