Five Easy Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself

You won’t even have to put your car on a jack for these easy car repairs.

easy car repairsPhoto by shixart1985 (CC BY 2.0)

If your car broke tomorrow, would it ruin your week? Us too. And the saddest part is, most of us couldn’t even begin to fix our cars. But what if there are some easy car repairs you can do yourself?

Cars are the thing most of us use the most and know the least about. 

We’ve got some great news! Many of the repairs we dread are actually easy car repairs. Some you can easily do in your driveway, most for under $100. 

Use a Code Reader

We rarely know what our check engine light means, and that’s precisely what makes it so terrifying. But for $50 or less, you can purchase a code reader and get answers from your phone. 

And most of the problems that trigger the check engine light are inexpensive, easy fixes, and we even made a guide for fixing them.

Replace Your Wiper Blades

Do your windshield wipers almost make it harder to see? Do they drag and squeak?

Your local auto parts store knows exactly what type of wiper your car uses, and you can spend as little as $10 and 10 minutes replacing them. And the kind folks at the parts store will probably even replace them if you ask nicely. 

Repair a Dim Headlight

Often dim headlights are caused by a dirty headlight cover. And over time, the sun can cause the plastic in the headlight cover to oxidize, making it hard for the light to pass through.

The Toothpaste Fix

My mother-in-law swears you can fix dim headlights with toothpaste and a microfiber cloth. It sounds crazy, but it works. First, clean your headlight with soap and water. Then, carefully rub a small amount of baking soda toothpaste into the light cover. Once you’ve scrubbed the entire surface clean, you can apply a clear sealant as a protective coat.

DIY Kits

You can also purchase a headlight restoration kit from most auto-parts stores, which includes a step-by-step guide to returning your headlights to their former glory.

Replace Headlights

If your headlight cover is crystal clear, your dim headlights are probably a sign you need to replace the bulbs. 

Headlight bulbs are often less than $50 and, with new LED technology, can last for as long as your car.

Replace Engine Air Filter

This fix will make driving a little easier and save you money at the gas pump. 

This video from Toolbox Divas breaks the process down step by step. 

Here’s the best part: You can buy a new engine air filter for less than $10 in many cases. 

Your engine should run smoother, use less gas, and have lower emissions. 

Clean Corrosion From the Battery

A corrosion build-up on your battery terminals can keep your car from starting and cause inconsistent driving performance. 

But you can fix this with some baking soda and a toothbrush. 

First, make sure your car is all the way off. This is VERY important. You don’t want any electricity flowing.

Now disconnect the negative ( – ) battery terminal. Then disconnect the positive ( + ) terminal. 

Mix hot water and baking soda, and use the solution and toothbrush to scrub any corrosion from the terminals. Finally, clean with a towel and cold water, and fully dry before reconnecting the wiring. 

Replace Your Battery

If a solid scrubbing didn’t bring your battery back to life, you could replace it quickly. This can cost more than $100, making it the most expensive chore on the list, but it is just as simple as cleaning your old battery. 

Turn off your car, disconnect the battery (negative terminals first), and remove the old battery. This may also involve unscrewing a protective plate that keeps the battery in place. 

Then, plot the new battery in, hook everything back up the way you found it, and voila, it’s as good as new.