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DIY Tips For Auto Repairs And Maintenance – Checklist

Auto repairs and maintenance are mandatory, and at the same time, they are expensive. But, did you know that you can cut these costs and save a lot by doing it all yourself? Well, you can take some of the adjustments and self-care exercises, even if you are not an expert. 

Let’s dive into the checklist required for DIY car care tips.

  • Air Filter
Auto Repairs and Maintenance

Tools Required: None

Time duration: 10 minutes

Estimated cost: $ 10

Air filters require replacement after every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. For this, either you can hire a mechanic and leave your car for a day, or else you can also replace your air filter at home, which takes about 10 minutes. 

Steps for replacement of air filter at home:

  1. Find your filter: You can locate it under your car’s hood, in a black rectangular box and metal clips on the side. Check your manual if you are unable to see it as you pop the hole.
  2. Open the casing, and check how the air filter fits inside it. You can make a note of its position and place.
  3. Now, take out the old air filter, and place the new one exactly as the old one sits.
  4. Close the metal clips when finished.

And you’re done! You can extend your new air filter’s life by hitting it with some compressed air as it removes debris.

  • Windshield Wipers
Auto Repairs and Maintenance

Tools Required: None

Time duration: 15 minutes

Estimated cost: $10 to $20

Your wiper blades usually last for six months or a year after regular use, and if they are not replaced on time, there are dangers of streaking that can cost you high.

Setting up a Wiper blade may differ in each car so that you may follow a few separate steps according to your car manual. However, the process remains the same:

  1. Lift the blades, as if you are washing windshield with hand, and then pull out the old blades.
  2. Notice the connection of the old blades to the metal parts.
  3. On most models, you will see a tab at the bottom of the wiper. You need to push this tab to remove the former blade.
  4. Now, attach the new blades. Be careful that wiper arms are not bent as they will scratch the windshield. Line everything up, ensuring that the new windshield wipers are secure and tight.
  5. If you are confused or can’t remember exactly how the new blades should fit the wiper arm, don’t worry. The box for the new blades would have a set of general instructions and a helpful diagram.
  • Spark Plugs
Auto Repairs and Maintenance
  • Tools Required: Spark plug socket, Ratchet/socket wrench, and 12″ socket extension
  • Time duration: 20 to 30 minutes
  • Cost: $10 to $15

Most spark plugs require replacement after up to 30,000 miles but check your manual to see if your car is different. While turning spark plugs may sound like a daunting task, it is straightforward. Don’t rush and be patient as installation requires attention for proper order.

  1. You can locate your spark plugs quickly as they are connected to thick rubber wires.
  2. You can find four, six, or eight seals, depending on your car’s number of cylinders.
  3.  Do not detach all wires at once; instead, pull out the wire to the first spark plug. Since your spark plugs are installed in one command, so you need to maintain it.
  4. Use your spark plug and ratchet to remove the main plug.
  5. Add a new spark plug, tighten it first manually and then using a wrench. Don’t over tighten it!
  6.  Re-connect the wire of the spark plug.

Repeat all the above steps for each spark plug. Just remember that one at a time! Also, the right plugs come pre-gapped, so you need not worry about gaps in that case. You can buy high-quality auto repair and maintenance parts at The Auto Parts Shop.

  • Radiator Flush
Auto Repairs and Maintenance
  • Tools Required: A wrench, radiator flush solution, rags, funnel, coolant, and used coolant receptacle
  • Time Duration: 30 minutes
  • Estimated cost: $ 25

Your car cooling system and radiator must be clean to function correctly and efficiently. With regular wear and tear, your car heater makes deposits that can ruin the cooling system. Radiator Flush is a fast and inexpensive way to keep your system in shape. Check your owner’s manual to find out if you need to flush the radiator annually or after every two years.

  1. Make sure your car is entirely cool before you start.
  2. Check your master’s manual to locate the radiator drain plug. Put the used coolant receptacle in place, open the drain plug, and let the old coolant drain.
  3. Replace the drain plug and take out the radiator cap.
  4. Make use of a funnel to add the radiator flush cleaning solution and then fill water in the radiator.
  5. Replace the radiator cap.
  6. Turn on your car! Let it run and wait for the average operating temperature.
  7. Turn your heater on to the hottest position, and let the car run for 10 minutes.
  8. Now, turn off your car and wait for the machine to cool.
  9. Drain everything off the radiator and then put the fresh coolant in the radiator.
  10. Dispose of the old coolant safely to a hardware store, gas station, or mechanic as its enticing smell can be dangerous for pets.

Working with cooling is a step towards more advanced DIY projects. Temperature can be problematic when working on your car, especially the radiator, so make sure your engine is cold. Do not rush this work, and be patient and cautious.

Final Words

While performing any auto repairs and maintenance DIY projects, you must know what can be done and where the point is when you should stop. Don’t try an extensive DIY project that becomes difficult to handle. Do not take apart complicated pieces that you cannot put together.

Avoid injuries and save yourself a few bucks!

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Symptoms of Automatic Transmission Issues

Because repairing an old car can be costly as the car is likely to be more than ten years old, it is essential to keep it in good condition. Automatic transmission issues are prevented if you take care of your car, pay attention to its performance, and get it for service timely.  A little maintenance can make your vehicle in good condition for several years beyond average.

Here are some of the transmission issues to look for and what they might mean.

  • The smell of burning

If your car smells something burning while running, that’s a bad thing.  It is essential to be concerned and find a source of the burning odor.  It is sometimes associated with transmission.

Automatic transmission

In cases where the burn comes from the transmission, it is because the fluid becomes too hot.  Your fluid plays a role in keeping your transmission cool by keeping it working correctly while lubricating.

If the flow of fluid begins to decrease, it will not lubricate. That’s when the friction occurs, which further builds up sludge and debris that breaks down the transmission parts.

It will be a costly and inconvenient issue if you ignore the situation.

Low fluid transmission may be the reason for the issue.  It can be caused if there is a leak in the line or your transmission.  For many cars, fluid delivery does not go down by itself, such as motor oil or other lubricants.

It is crucial to take some immediate action as soon as you sense a burning odor coming from your car.  Even if it is not a transmission fluid, it may be a problem that you need to address promptly.

  • Difficulty in getting Car in Gear

If you have trouble getting your car in gears, you will have serious issues.  If your vehicle is running in the wrong gears, it can cause severe problems with your transmission.

If your vehicle’s automatic transmission is not engaging when you put it in the drive or pull it back, it could be a problem.  It matters if you try to put your car in the drive or reverse it, and it does not respond immediately.  These issues may indicate a more significant problem or maybe minor.

Automatic transmission

It is up to you to find out.

It may be a computer system problem.  Sometimes all you are required to do is start the computer to solve the problem you are facing.

You can diagnose the issue yourself by disconnecting the battery for half an hour or more.  Or else, you will require a qualified mechanic to do the job for you.  Working with a professional is the best way to solve this problem.

If you see a delay or your transmission still doesn’t work the right way, you should talk to someone.  While the problems may be small, it is always wise to make sure you do not have to spend 1000 bucks on it.

  • Whining or humming noise

If you hear a whining or humming sound that usually doesn’t come out of your transmission, check it out.  Hearing a squeaking, clunking, or humming sound from your engine may indicate that you are having trouble in your transmission. However, it is difficult to tell before you investigate the problem.

When the transmission fluid breaks down, then there are chances that it starts making unusual sounds.  The fluids are tasked with ensuring that all heavy gears run smoothly.  There are several ways that it can go wrong.

Automatic transmission

Over time and after a particular volume of usage, the fluid will lose its protective properties.  It will start to allow for more frictions, which will begin to break your transmission.  Friction causes significant damage to automatic transmissions, and it’s complex interlocking parts.

Clunking noise while the operating vehicle can be heard from the affected parts. If this happens internally, then you need an automatic transmission machine to monitor your vehicle.  If you don’t look for it right away, you might risk yourself in some serious problems.

Simple issues can be solved with more fluids.  More complex matters will deserve to be considered more seriously of what’s happening in your transmission.

  • Vibration or Grinding

If you feel shivering or grinding when using your vehicle, it may be due to transmission.  It will also be a challenging and tough time, as switching gears might become tough. An automatic transmission operates typically smoothly as it shifts.

If your transmission starts giving you slippery or shaking sensations when you change gears, you may not notice it first.  Even a certain amount of grinding may seem familiar to a worn-out car or maybe a delicacy to various engine issues.

However, you need to pay attention at this stage—feeling jarring when a car shift is not regular. If your transmission seems to be dealing with damaged gears, your issues will only get worse.

Automatic transmission

It is a serious, as well as a significant issue that needs the help of automatic transmission professionals. 

Most of the transmission issues can be resolved with simple maintenance, so there’s no reason to pay a large amount for them. However, there are some conflicts and problems that can be complicated. Keeping an eye out for such symptoms can save you thousands. Also, you can find automatic transmission components affordably at The Auto Parts Shop.

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DIY: How To Fix Engine Oil Pan Leakages

Oil is considered one of the essential fluids in a car because it lubricates the internal engine components.  It provides a barrier between the elements, and without its presence, the friction would increase, causing the engine parts to overheat and fail.

The oil sits in a reservoir known as the oil pan.  You will find the pan bolted to the bottom of the engine block.  An oil pump sips the oil from the pan and pushes into the engine oil galleys.

Engine Oil Pan

The most common place where an engine develops leakages is in the engine oil pan.  If the leak is unfixed, it may cause your engine to run low on oil.  This could lead to a catastrophic internal failure.

Oil Pan Leakages – Causes

An engine can leak oil from many different places; one of them is the oil pan.  There are two common reasons for a leak from the oil pan: a damaged gasket or impact damage.

  • Impact damage

The pan itself may leak if it experiences impact damage from an accident or road debris.  In such a scenario, the damage will usually make a hole or crack in the oil pan.  Consequently, the oil will leak out, potentially leading to significant engine damage.

Engine Oil Pan
  • The damaged oil pan gasket

Most of the time, the oil pan gasket will wear off over time.  When this happens, leaks can develop.

The oil pan gasket lies between the oil pan and the engine block.  The gasket works as a seal, preventing oil from leaking between the two components.

Oil Pan Gasket Leak – Symptoms

The symptoms associated with a leaking oil pan are relatively straightforward.  Here are the signs you want to look for:

  • Puddle of oil under the car

Engine oil dripping under your vehicle can indicate a leaking oil pan or pan gasket. Indeed, there are many other places from which your engine could leak, so you need to determine its source.

Engine Oil Pan

Take a peek under your vehicle and look in the oil pan — does it look like it is leaking?  If so, double-check that nothing above the pan (i.e., valve cover gaskets, timing cover, etc.) is dripping down. It will ensure that the pan isn’t leaking.

You may need to clean the engine and check everything to find the leak.

  • Low level of oil

A low oil level also indicates leakages from the oil pan area.  Engines can leak oil from many locations, plus they can also burn oil.  Therefore, you need to look into the matter deeply before condemning the oil pan or gasket.

  • Smoke or a burning smell coming from the engine

Smoke coming from the hood is always a bad thing.  An engine oil leak is one of several reasons why you may see smoke.

There are cases when the oil drips on the hot exhaust, causing the oil to vaporize almost instantly.

How To Fix An Oil Pan Leakages

In most cases, to repair a leak from the engine oil pan, you need to replace the gasket or the oil pan itself. You can buy all the automobile components online at The Auto Parts Shop.

There are some instances that you get lucky by a more straightforward fix.

Oil Pan Leak Quick Repair

You might be aware that the engine oil drain plug acts as a cap for the oil pan.  Every time your car gets an oil change, the plug is removed and reinstalled.  Because the plug is tampered with so often, it can quickly become the source of a leak.

Engine Oil Pan

To fix the leak, you can often tighten the drain plug or install a new gasket behind it.

In other instances, the drain plug may be replaced.  The pan may also be repaired or replaced.

Oil pan gasket – leak repair

Typically, to repair a leak from the oil pan area, you need to replace the oil pan or gasket.

It is important to note that other components must first be removed on many vehicles to gain access to the oil pan.  In some instances, the entire engine needs removal to reach the pan – so make sure to consult the repair manual for your vehicle before digging in.

The following is a general outline for engine oil pan replacement on a vehicle that offers direct access to the pan.

  1. Prepare the vehicle

Get on on a level surface, set the parking brake, and block the rear wheels with chock.  Then, lift the car safely with a jack and jack stands.

Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  1. Drain the oil

Place a container directly under the location of the oil pan.  Remove the drain plug to drain the oil.

Engine Oil Pan
  1. Remove all the bolts of the oil pan area

Locate all the bolts that hold the oil pan to the bottom of the engine block.  Then, unbolt them one by one.

Leave a few bolts at one end of the pan in place until you finish as you can use the end of the pan opposite the bolts to drain the oil and avoid a mess.

  1. Remove the oil pan

Finally, you can remove the oil pan.  If it is stubborn, blow on it gently with a dead blow hammer or rubber mallet to release it.

  1. Remove the old gasket

Remove the old gasket and carefully scrape the remaining material from the engine.  Clean the mounting location on the engine with solvent – the area must be spotless for the new gasket to form a good seal.

  1. Install the new gasket and the oil pan

After everything is clean, you can install the new gasket and the oil pan.  Start by placing the gasket on top of the pan.  Then, put a pair of bolts through the pan to hold the gasket in place.

Finally, thread the bolts into the motor by hand.

Once the pan is in place, you can rotate the rest of the bolts (also by hand).  Next, tighten the bolts using a torque wrench.

Engine Oil Pan

If you reuse the old oil pan, reinstall the drain plug and tighten it to the specification.

  1. Refill the engine oil pan

Lower the vehicle by carefully removing the jack stands.  Once you’ve done that, refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil.

Reconnect the negative battery cable, then start your engine and thoroughly check for leaks.