You wouldn’t go see your doctor every time you sniffle or sneeze. Most people know better than to seek medical attention for a small cut, bruise, or a minor cold virus. So why would someone take their car in for every minor thing? Because most of us are intimidated by car repairs. What such people do not realize is that there are several repairs that almost anyone can do for their vehicles without any prior experience.
Start by using your computer to look up how-to articles for the repair you are looking to do. Read through the steps more than once and bring the steps out with you to refer to as you work on the vehicle. Take a picture of the area you will be working on before you disassemble anything, so you know what it should look like when you put it back. You may also need to have your vehicle’s manual with you, pulled up online or in hard copy format.
There is a small list of tools that you will need that can handle most minor repairs on a vehicle: a socket and ratchet set, pliers, a jack (which probably came with your car or truck), an adjustable wrench, a torque wrench, and both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers.
When you are replacing a part like the battery, belt, or a filter, you will need to buy a replacement part. Many parts can be looked up by the make and model. Or you can refer to your vehicle’s manual for part information. The important thing is that you get the right part for your vehicle. It does not have to be of a particular brand, as long as it is designed to be compatible with your particular year, make, and model.
There are several minor repairs that you can do yourself by looking up the simple how-to online, such as replacing a damaged or broken drive belt, replacing your brake pads (yes, really!!), repairing exterior coolant leaks, changing out the battery and/or alternator, and doing regular maintenance and checkups. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so check your vehicle fluids, belts, tires, battery operation, lights, and suspension regularly. And if you have trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help or take it in to your local auto repair center to finish the job.