Every motorist worth his or her salt knows that running a car costs a fortune. From insurance and car tax to the sting of rising fuel prices, the per-mile cost of driving in the UK is at an all time high – and that’s without adding unexpected maintenance fees.
According to the AA’s 2014 Motoring Costs report, the average motorist spends around 2p a mile on servicing and a further 2p on replacement parts. This means, that should you drive an average of 12K miles a year, you’ll be spending around £480 on repairs and maintenance alone.
To help you cut the cost of running a car, we’ve listed 7 car repairs that are easy enough to tackle at home. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect to have your car serviced by professional mechanic; nor does it mean you should settle for a botched job. Instead, these simple tips can help you avoid a costly trip to the garage when your car is in need of some TLC.
1. Changing a Battery
Explosions, chemical burns and heart-stopping shocks; these are just some of the horror stories linked to the car battery. Of course, when handling any electrical equipment, accidents can happen, but they’re much less common than you might expect – particularly on modern cars.
Provided you follow the correct procedures, changing a car battery in your driveway is a proverbial piece of cake. Simply remove the negative terminal, then the positive; unfasten any tie-downs and pull the unit out of the car. If you plan to install a new battery, just reverse the steps listed above.
2. Repairing an Exhaust
Should a hole form in your exhaust, you’ll need to have it patched, filled or repaired to prevent fumes leaking out of the system, before they cause any damage to other components. Having an exhaust repaired at the garage can be costly, but there is an alternative.
To repair small holes in your exhaust at home – try our specialist product Gun Gum. This exhaust paste is easy to apply and creates a gas-tight seal over any ruptures; offering an effective way to permanently repair exhaust holes, even in hard-to-reach areas.
Take a look at this guide to using Gum Gun to repair your exhaust.
3. Replacing Disc Brake Pads
Motorists with squeaky brakes and a free Saturday on their hands will enjoy the fiddly satisfaction of replacing their car’s brake pads – provided the problem is a simple squeak. Should your car wobble, jolt or veer to one side under braking, you’ll need to book yourself a slot with your friendly neighbourhood mechanic to get the problem sorted properly.
With the right equipment and minimum technical prowess however, changing your disc brake pads at home is wholly doable. To complete the job, you’ll need a jack, c-clamp and suitable spanner – not to mention the compatible new pads. For a step-by-step guide to how to replace disc brake pads, click here.
4. Repairing a Flat Tyre
Punctures and blowouts are a bugbear for many drivers, and they can leave you stranded on the hard shoulder in just a few, hapless seconds. Luckily, there are a number of affordable ways to fix a flat before it completely ruins your day.
Did you know that a lot of cars these days don’t come with spare tyres? Many luckless motorists only realise this when it’s too late. And then there are those of us who don’t know how to change a tyre or don’t feel confident doing that at the roadside. Your best bet to get you back on the road quickly is a puncture repair product. Some kits are tricky to use, but Tyreweld emergency puncture repair kit is really easy and safe, repairing your tyre quickly so you can get to the nearest garage.
You can find out more about how Tyreweld works here.
5. Changing Oil
Checking your dipstick is all well and good – but what about changing the oil itself? Many motorists are intimidated by the idea of fiddling with their car’s black stuff, yet it’s a relatively simple procedure that could set you back close to £100 should you take it to a garage.
To change your oil requires just three caps to be unscrewed – the filler cap, filter cap and drain plug – before being retightened in reverse order. Of course, you’ll need a bucket to catch the oil as its drizzles out of your car’s innards – not to mention a steady hand to top your engine up with fresh juice once the caps are back in place.
6. Fixing a radiator
Suddenly noticing steam billowing from your car or fluids leaking underneath can be scary and can disrupt your day, but fixing the problem doesn’t have to be difficult. If your radiator’s leaking, a trip to the garage will usually result in a new radiator – which can be expensive and means your car will be in for a while.
You can buy radiator repair products, which you just pour in through the cooling system (the white box with a screw cap), and they work through the system to repair leaks. You don’t have to remove anything or drain anything, and you should be driving again the same day. You can read more about how to repair a radiator here.
7. Replace Wiper Blades
Replacing wiper blades may sound like an easy DIY procedure, but it can be more fiddly and time-consuming than you think. But, with a little determination and patience, you can say “no thanks” to the auto repair staff that offer to fit the blade for a small fee and instead do it for free from the comfort of your driveway.
Whether you buy a third-party or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) wiper blade will depend on how easy the blade is to fit. Usually, third-party compatible blades will take a little extra manoeuvring before their seated securely in the wiper arm, whilst OEM blades should fit smooth as a whistle. For info on how to change them, this Halfords article can help you out.
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From filling holes in your exhaust to preventing leaky radiators, Holts make driveway DIY a doddle. To find out more about our innovative car care products, visit our homepage.