Simple Repair Tips For The Everyday Auto Driver

Changing a tire on the roadsideSome Auto Repair jobs can be done at home with a little skill, simple instructions and the right shop tools. In fact, replacing a burned out bulb in your vehicle’s headlamp requires the simplest of auto parts: a screwdriver, gloves and a replacement bulb. To change or install a new tire, all you’ll need is a jack, tire iron and tire. Changing your engine air filter requires even fewer tools and will even save you money by performing the maintenance yourself! With the following tips, you can start saving money on basic auto repair for each item below.

Bulb Replacement For Front Headlamps

First check your owners’ manual for the bulb model you will need to purchase, often either the H7 or 3457 model. Next, lift the engine hood and locate the headlamp assembly, ensuring it is accessible. Some models allow for bulb replacement without ever having to remove the assembly itself. You would either see the bulb’s end protruding or see an access cover to flip open. If these are not visible or the area is too tight, you’ll have to remove the headlamp assembly itself.

  • To remove the assembly, locate 2 to 3 pins to release. If pins are not visible, locate either bolts or screws and open with a screwdriver or socket wrench from your shop tools.
  • Once open, remove the old bulb by turning and loosening the metal clip or spring that secures it. Next, remove the bulb from the electric harness or, if it has none, simply pop it out and plug in the new bulb.
  • To complete the task, reverse the above instructions to replace the headlamp assembly and you are done.

Change Your Own Tires

The first item of business before changing a tire is to secure your car with the parking brake on and locked in a stationary gear. Safety Note: If you are changing a tire while traveling, make sure your vehicle is completely off the pavement before beginning. Once the vehicle is properly secured, follow these simple steps below:

  • Loosen lug nuts with the tire iron. If your vehicle has wheel covers hiding the lug nuts, you will have removed them first.
  • Jack up the car. The diamond jack opens and closes by twisting the lever clockwise or counter-clockwise. If your car’s jack does not have a lever, you will need to use the tire iron instead. Next, place the jack in the car frame’s slot closest to the tire you are changing and begin opening the jack. Creaking noses are common as the car begins to rise from the ground. Continue jacking until you have enough clearance to spin the tire freely.
  • Remove the old tire, install the new. Once the old tire is free, finish loosening and remove the lug nuts. Pull off the old tire and insert the new one, matching the holes on the rim with the car’s bolts, lifting and putting it in place. Once in place, first tighten the nuts with your hand as much as possible then finishing tightening once the car is on the ground.
  • Lower the car and tighten the nuts. Slowly lower the car reversing the jacking process. Once lowered, take the tire iron and tighten each lug nut, diagonally across from one another until all nuts are secure.
  • Finally, replace wheel covers and you are ready to drive on your new tire.

Replace Your Engine Air Filter

One of the easiest automotive services you can do at home is to change your engine air filter. You are often asked by your mechanic if you would like your air filter changed out and many times they will charge an additional installation fee for a task that takes less than a few minutes. To save a few dollars and increase your maintenance confidence, follow these simple steps below:

  • Visit your local auto parts store and provide them with your vehicle make and model to obtain the correct size filter.
  • Park your car on a flat surface and turn off the engine.  (If you have been driving recently, let the engine cool down to avoid burning your hands.)
  • Open the hood and locate the engine air box.
  • Loosen the hose clamp that secures the hose to the air box.
  • Loosen the clamps or remove the securing bolts/wingnuts to access the air filter housing. (Keep parts together in a safe place!)
  • Lift the lid and remove the filter housing from the air box and toss the old filter.
  • Use compressed air to clean out the filter housing and install the new filter.
  • Place the new filter/housing into the air box and secure the lid.
  • Re-attach the air hose and clamp.
  • You are now ready to drive again.
  • Be sure to change your air filter every 50,000 miles (or more often if you drive in and near dirty terrain) to maximize your fuel efficiency.