DIY Car Repairs Anyone Can Do

Basic Repairs are Not as Complicated as you Might Think

Whatever the age or type of your vehicle, there are plenty of things you can fix for yourself, without needing to call in the professionals.

You will often hear car enthusiasts bemoaning the fact that these days you need to plug a car into diagnostic equipment and have the right software to do anything, and that the DIY mechanic is now limited to tinkering with those automotive survivors from a bygone age.

You also hear people saying: “never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” and that’s certainly the case here. Sure, if you want to get down and dirty with the engine management system, you’ll need some diagnostic equipment, but there are still plenty of areas such as renewing braking or electrical components and car paint repair that have really not changed at all over the years, and certainly will not need any special computer software.

Battery

With winter here, now is the time to be checking your battery. You used to get plenty of warning when a battery was about to die, with that slow cranking in the morning, but these days, car batteries give up suddenly. You can get a great price on a replacement online, and it will be delivered direct to your door. Fitting it is a cinch, as it just involves slackening and removing the two terminal connections removing the securing clamp, taking out the battery, slotting in a new one and reconnecting the terminals and the clamp. A few extra points worth noting:

  • Always disconnect the negative terminal first, and reconnect it last.
  • Keep the car keys on you in case the central locking suddenly deploys.
  • Make sure you’ve got the PIN codes to hand for the radio and any other systems.

Car paint

Minor paintwork damage is annoying. It can really spoil the look of your car, but you’d probably think twice about taking it to the bodyshop for a little graze sustained in the supermarket car park. Car paint in itself has certainly changed over the years, but the basic principles for its application and repair are the same as they ever. Be patient and allow as long as it takes to get a perfect key and you will be able to get a finish that a professional would be proud of.

Brake pads

Brakes starting to squeal? That’s almost certainly because the pads have worn down and need replacing. That’s exactly what friction components are designed to do, so it is a job that will inevitably come up from time to time. If the squealing becomes a grinding, you’ve left it too long and are starting to damage the disc, and that’s when things get expensive, so sort those pads out now.

Windscreen wipers

If you are struggling to see where you are going, you are putting lives at risk. Like brake pads, the wipers are made of a material that naturally wears down through usage, so if you are getting streaks across your screen, invest in a new pair of blades. They come with a choice of fittings, so look carefully at the old ones to see exactly how the clips work, and always replace them one at a time, so you will have the other one to look at as a pattern.