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10 Common Car Repairs New Owners Should Know

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Congratulations on your new car! Owning your own car is a big step.

Most of us have been driving since our teenage years. It’s almost impossible to get around in America without owning your own car. 

But just like everything else, cars can break down and need repairs. Here are 10 of the most common car repairs you should be familiar with. 

1. The Oil Change

An oil change is the most basic thing you will do to care for your car and keep it in good running condition. Regularly checking your oil should be apart of your routine. Having the oil changed will help prolong the life of your engine. 

Whether you take it to a mechanic’s shop of do-it-yourself, you should at least be familiar with the fundamentals of an oil change. 

Automobile engines have moving parts. These parts rub against each other and create friction. That friction gives off heat. Oil lubricates these parts and allows these parts to work smoothly absorbing the excess heat. 

Over time the oil breaks down and can no longer lubricate your engine properly. This is where the oil change comes in. An oil change changes the oil in your car and prevents any major problems from occurring. 

The basic steps of an oil change involve removing the oil drain plug, unscrewing the oil filter, and emptying it. Then you put a new oil filter on and reinstalling the drain plug. Once it’s in place fill your car with fresh oil. 

There are lots of videos available online if you would like to learn how to change your own oil. 

2. Replacing Wiper Blades

Windshield wipers keep your field of vision clear while driving. They also wipe off rain during a storm. Changing your windshield wipers is a basic repair that can help you see better when you are driving. 

No one wants to get stuck in a heavy storm with wipers that don’t work properly. Check your wipers often to make sure they are in perfect condition. 

Changing your windshield wipers is a simple DIY fix that anyone can do. To change your wipers simply lift up both wiper arms away from the windshield. Press the small tab that allows you to remove the wiper on both sides and take the old wiper off.

Carefully line up the new wiper and push it in tightly. Then put both the arms back in place.

Automechanic shops can do this for you if you get stuck. Once you put them on the first time or watch someone else put them on, you should have no trouble doing it the next time around. 

3. Changing a Flat Tire

Changing a flat is an important skill that all new drivers should know. A flat tire can happen anywhere. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road without cell phone service because you don’t know how to change a flat. 

Changing a flat tire doesn’t have to be a big deal. You just need to have the right tools in your vehicle. To change a flat tire you will need the following. 

  • Jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Fully inflated spare tire
  • Vehicle’s owner’s manual

Steps to Changing a Flat Tire

First, if you are changing your tire on the side of the road be sure to find a safe place to pull over. Turn on your hazard lights so other cars can see you, especially if it is raining. Always apply the parking brake.

Remove the hubcap or wheel cover from the tire you wish to change and begin loosening the lug nuts using your lug wrench

Next, place the jack underneath your car. Your car’s owner’s manual will tell you the safest place to put your jack and it varies from car to car. Then raise the car using the jack. 

Finish unscrewing the lug nuts and remove the flat tire. Mount the spare tire on the car and hand tighten the nuts. 

Then use your lug wrench to tighten them even more. Lower the vehicle from the jack and tighten the lug nuts one more time. The last thing you want is for your tire to come off the car. With a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it. 

4. Change the Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are small cylindrical parts inside your car’s engine that provide the sparks needed to ignite the gasoline. Eventually, these parts become less “sparky” and need to be replaced. 

Replacing car parts like spark plugs is an easy task if you have the right tools. You’ll need the following tools.

  • ⅜” rachet
  • ⅜” swivel socket adapter
  • Spark plug socket
  • ⅜” rachet extension
  • A spark plug gap gauge
  • A clean towel

Steps to Change a Spark Plug

First, locate your spark plugs. Drape the towel over the fender do you don’t get dirty. Remove the negative terminal from your battery just in case. 

Remove the spark plug wire and take out the faulty spark plug using the ratchet wrench. Some vehicles may also need to use the extension to reach the plug. 

Insert the new spark plug in its place and screw it on tightly. Put the wire back and rehook the negative battery terminal. 

5. Remove a Scratch

Cratches in the paint of your car are the worst. Whether they were done on accident or on purpose they can still kill the appearance of your car. Damage to paint can cost thousands to repair if you get it done at a body shop.

Save time and money by doing this simple DIY fix. First, determine how deep the scratch is and access the length. Next, lightly sand the scratch using sandpaper.

After you have the area with the scratch flesh against the rest of the body panel clean away and paint chips from the area. Then apply a light rubbing compound and polish the area.

Then you will want to clean this area one more time before you add a coat of wax to seal the area. And there you have it. The scratch has been fixed. 

6. Change a Dead Battery

Car batteries always die at the most inconvenient time. To avoid getting stranded with a dead battery be sure to check your car’s battery voltage often and replace it before that happens.

Steps to Replace a Dead Battery

Replacing the battery is simple. First, make sure your vehicle is in park. Then pop the hood and locate the battery. 

Identify the positive and negative ends of the battery. Just like a regular battery, car batteries also have positive and negative sides. Most batteries will tell you which is which. 

First, detach the negative or black cable, then detach the positive or red cable. Remove the dead battery from the car. Take a look at your battery connectors and clean them if they look dirty. 

Insert the new battery into the same place and apply an anti-corrosion solution to the new battery terminals. This will help prolong the life of your new battery. 

First, attach the red or positive cable then the black or negative cable. Double-check the connection and then start your car to make sure it works. 

7. Replace an Out Headlight or Taillight 

Driving with an out headlight or taillight is illegal. Taillights and headlights alert other cars as to your position on the road and it can be very dangerous to drive without them. 

Change your car’s out taillight or headlight as soon as you notice it needs to b replace and have someone help you check your lights often. 

The cost of auto repairs can be expensive and this is an easy DIY fix you can do in your driveway. 

Steps to Replace a Headlight or Taillight

First, most bulbs are changed from the back. Remove the headlight or taillight housing to access the bulb. Look for the bulb fasteners on the back of the light to remove the bulb. 

Disconnect the bulb from the wires and gently remove the bulb. You may have to turn it slightly.

Install the new bulb being careful not to touch the glass with your fingers. 

Connect it to the wiring harness and secure the bulb faster. Then place the taillight or headlight housing back into the car and make sure it is snapped on tightly. 

8. Add Antifreeze to Your Car

Antifreeze is essential for keeping your car’s engine cool. Plain water will work in a pinch or in hotter climates where it doesn’t freeze. Antifreeze has special properties that prevent it from freezing inside your motor. 

Adding anti-freeze is a simple DIY repair you can make. Should you have to replace the thermostat, that is a much more difficult repair. New drivers should be aware of this process and learn how to do it for their cars. 

We should also mention that antifreeze is poisonous to humans and animals so eep it out of reach of children and pets. 

Steps to Add Antifreeze to Your Car

First, make sure the engine is completely turned off and cool. Pop the hood of your car and locate the car’s coolant reservoir. For the exact location check your owner’s manual. 

Locate the drain cock and turn it counterclockwise. Pour in the antifreeze to the fill line on the reservoir. When you are finished return the drain cock and turn it clockwise to snap it in place. 

Then start the engine and allow it to run for a little while so it can circulate the antifreeze throughout the motor. 

9. Replace an Air Filter

To run your engine needs air. The air mixes with the spark and gas to combust and move the car forward. For the engine to run properly you need that air to be as clean as possible. That’s where the air filter comes in. 

Dirt. pollen, bird feather, and salt are all filtered out before the air is run through the motor via your car’s air filter.

Changing your filter regularly will help reduce your car’s emission and keep your gas mileage efficient. It will also help prolong the life of your engine. 

It is recommended that your change your air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Steps to Change Your Air Filter

First, you will need to buy and air filter. Check your car’s owner’s manual to determine what size you need. Then open the hood and look for your air filter box. Again, that owner’s manual can show you where yours is located. 

Open the box and remove the old filter. Replace the old filter with a new one and snap it back into the box. That repair only took a minute and didn’t cost you more than the new filter and your time. 

Break repairs, on the other hand, can be very tricky and require a lot of tools. You’d be better of taking your car to a mechanic shop to have them done. Search brake repair near me to find a nearby shop of professionals to help, 

10. Jumpstart a Car

Now, this last one isn’t really a repair, but it is a necessary skill that all new car owners should know how to do. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road without knowing how to jump a car.

And you can also really make someone’s day by giving them a jump when they need it. 

All you need is a pair of jumper cables and another car. Line the cars up next to each other so it is easy to reach both batteries using the cables.

Now attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal on your battery and then do the same on the other car.

Then carefully attach the negative or black clip to the negative battery terminal. You may need to wait a little while to give the battery time to start.

Then, simply start your car and you are good to go. 

Fix These Common Car Repairs Yourself

And there you have it, folks. A list of the 10 most common car repairs that every new car owner needs to know how to do before they sit behind the wheel. 

No one likes it when a car needs to be repaired but you can save yourself time and money by following this guide on how to perform these 10 common fixes. 

Share this article with your friends who just bought a car and be sure to read more of our articles about cars. 

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10 Common Car Repairs New Owners Should Know