Ten DIY car hacks to save money on
- Dead battery
Jump starting your car can be a wise solution to a dead-battery, but it may reach a point where the only option is replacing the power station with a new one.
This wouldn’t need a visit to the garage. Some of the leading causes of premature car battery failure include chronic overcharging (or undercharging), abuse and excessive vibration.
Your new car battery should be fully charged prior to installation, otherwise you risk damaging the charging system, which could be costly to replace.
2 . Car won’t start
It gets quite frustrating trying to ignite the car only to find out that it can’t start.
Before you call on the towing services or your mechanic, you can attempt to turn it on in different ways if the starter goes click.
You can try to tap the battery terminals or smacking the starter if you have access to the starter motor.
You could also try cycling the key to heat up the battery, terminals and starter.
Alternatively, if your engine cranks, but won’t fire up, you can try swapping relays or unflooding the engine by pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor and holding it there while you crank the engine.
Lastly, if all these attempts fail, trick the computer by pressing the accelerator halfway and starting the engine.
3 . The spark plugs
For years, spark plugs have been vital components of the internal combustion engine.
They are designed to transmit an electrical signal sent from the ignition coil at a predetermined time to create a spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber.
In most fuel driven cars, spark plugs are changed after a milage of between 30,000 and 70,000 kilometres depending on the spark plug prescription.
The symptoms of worn plugs are engine misfiring, poor fuel economy, slow acceleration and difficulty in starting the vehicle.
The good thing is, you won’t need a mechanic to fix the new ones as long as you have the right tools that include gap gauge, needle-nose pliers, rags, spark plug wire puller, swivel socket and a torque wrench.
Painting the whole car may cost you an arm and a leg, so the best way to deal with dents on your car body is to patch it yourself.
Dents are unattractive and annoying, but luckily, they are easily fixable. All you just need to do is to scoop in some filler after mixing it and press it hard into the rough metal. Spread the filler to form a “tight” coat.
That will expel air out of the scratches and wet the bare metal. Then apply a fill coat.
Sand the filler to match the contours of the car body using sandpaper. Lastly, spray the patch with primer, and follow up by painting it.
5 Cloudy headlights
Driving at night with cloudy headlights is synonymous with driving along the Limuru-Mai Mahiu Road without the fog lights.
However, that shouldn’t be a big problem to solve. You won’t need a mechanic to do it or going for new headlights.
But before you buy a headlight cleaning kit, make sure the cloudiness is on the outside of the lens.
If you see moisture droplets on the inside of the lens or hairline cracks, the problem is on the inside and the headlight can’t be easily restored. You start off by applying the elbow grease.
Clean off the entire polishing compound and make sure the headlight lens is dry before you apply the new clear coat.
Wipe on the clear coat and let it dry for four to six hours before driving.
6 The fluids
A great way to keep your car in good running shape is to check the fluids yourself.
Regularly replacing your vehicle’s fluids at the proper intervals will greatly extend the longevity of your vehicle, prevent untimely breakdown, reduce the likelihood of expensive repairs, and keep your car running in the best shape possible for long.
The key fluids to check on include: brake fluids, transmission fluid, engine oil, radiator fluid, power steering fluid, air conditioning coolant and washer fluid.
They are easy to replace. What is important here is considering the genuine products.
If your music system, lights or other electrical feature in your car suddenly stops functioning, chances are that a fuse has blown out.
Look under “Fuses” in your owner’s manual for help finding your fuse panels.
Most manuals have a diagram showing you where each fuse box is. Each fuse panel cover should have a diagram listing each device and the corresponding fuse.
There are no professional skills needed to replace them; you can do it on your own.
8 Wiper blades
It is recommended that you change your wiper blades every six to 12 months.
Windscreen wipers are made from degradable rubber, which becomes less effective over time.
You will note that it needs a replacement when it starts leaving some ugly streak marks on the windshield.
You should get into the habit of checking your wipers regularly and know what signs to look out for as they begin to wear out.
Changing the blades is simple. You just press the stopper and unhook the old wiper blade to separate it from the metal arm and then insert the new wiper by sliding it into the same end of the arm where you pulled the old wiper out. Gently pivot the new wiper until the hook snaps into place to secure it.
9 Power windows
A sticky, slow moving power window can be really frustrating. You can usually fix the problem by lubricating the window channels.
But if you don’t fix the problem, the slow-moving pane will stress the window regulator mechanism until it breaks, costing you a big amount of money to replace. Here’s the fix.
Buy an aerosol can of dry Teflon spray. Insert the straw into the nozzle and aim the spray into the window channels.
Wait a few minutes for the solvent to evaporate, then operate the window up and down several times to spread the dry Teflon spray through the channels.
10 The tyres
Replacing a flat tyre is one of the most common experiences a motorist would encounter while driving. It is as easy as Sunday morning.
All you need is just a lug nut wrench, car jack and a spare tyre. Before you begin, make sure your vehicle is in park, with the ignition off.
Using the lug nut wrench, loosen the lug nuts without removing them (a single turn counter-clockwise should be enough).
Using the car jack, slowly lift the car until the flat tyre is three inches off the ground, then completely loosen the nuts with the wrench and remove the flat tyre.
Place the inflated spare tyre on the car, replace the lug nuts, and tighten them by hand just enough to secure the tire. Then lower the jack and tighten the nuts using the wrench.