oil change http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1277/all en-US Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3643274326_b40b6a422b_b.jpg" alt="car maintenance" title="car maintenance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may wonder if you're being taken for a ride every time you fork over a wad of cash for a car maintenance procedure that only took the <a title="4 Ways to Find a Reputable Mechanic" href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic">mechanic</a> two minutes. If you're also someone who can't make toast without a fire extinguisher at hand, however, you may think there's no way around it.</p> <p>But truthfully, there are some maintenance tasks that are simple enough for even a novice, so why not save the dough instead? Here are five simple tasks that require only a little time, a little knowledge, and a few specialized tools. (See also: <a title="5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses">5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>1. Change Your Windshield Wiper Blades</h2> <p>Don't you hate the screech of worn-out windshield wiper blades and the streaks they leave behind on your car's windshield? Well hate no more, because changing them is a snap.</p> <p>Usually there's no cost for the labor involved in changing a windshield wiper blade, but that's because you buy the blades at the auto shop. By replacing them at home, you can scout around for a deal first. And lo and behold, <a title="Advance Auto Parts" href="http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/home___">Advance Auto Parts</a> currently cuts 20% off sitewide via coupon code &quot;P20&quot;. (Or click for a list of additional <a title="Advance Auto Parts coupons" href="http://dealnews.com/Advance-Auto-Parts-coupons-20-off-no-minimum-10-off-30-more-/484744.html?eref=wisebread">dollar-off codes</a>.)</p> <p><strong>Tools You'll Need:</strong> A flat-blade screwdriver.</p> <p><strong>Parts You'll Need:</strong> New windshield wiper blades (obviously), but don't forget the rear window blade if you have one. Be aware that the two front windshield blades could be different sizes. Know your make, model, and year of your car before buying. Also, you might as well buy a gallon of windshield wiper fluid while you're at it.</p> <p><strong>The Fix:</strong> Most windshield wiper blades snap on and off. First, pull the blade upright, so that it stands clear of your windshield. At the midpoint, you'll see where it hinges into a crook. There should be a release pin or clip there that you can push or pry up; use the screwdriver if you have to pry.</p> <p>Once you do this, the blade should slide out and be free of the crook. Insert the new blade into the crook the same way the old one was oriented, then push until it locks. Lower the blade assembly to the windshield, and you're done. It's that simple.</p> <p>Then fill your windshield washer reservoirs. There will be one in the engine compartment, usually near the rear. If you have a rear window wiper, there may be a separate reservoir that you will need to fill in the back of the vehicle.</p> <h2>2. Replace Your Fuses</h2> <p>The electrical system in a car has numerous fuses designed to burn out when the current spikes, protecting more expensive systems in your car. If something on your car abruptly quits working, such as your car radio, headlights, or wipers, you may have a blown fuse. Luckily, these are usually a snap to replace.</p> <p><strong>Tools You'll Need:</strong> A pair of pliers, or even better, a plier-like device known as a <a title="fuse puller" href="http://www.amazon.com/Littelfuse-Fuse-Puller-00970023Xp-Holders/dp/B002NZUJW4/ref=lh_ni_t">fuse puller</a>. A <a title="flashlight" href="http://www.meritline.com/5-in-1-led-flashlight---p-35832.aspx">flashlight</a> might also come in handy.</p> <p><strong>Parts You'll Need:</strong> Replacement fuses are dirt cheap; this bundle of fuses ranges from 5 to 30 amps. Check your owner's manual for the correct type for your car. (Most use blade mini-fuses.)</p> <p><strong>The Fix:</strong> First, make sure the car is turned off. Then, consult your owner's manual to locate which fuse controls the system that's not working properly. Unfortunately, the fuse box is often positioned under the dashboard, requiring some yoga-like contortions to view.</p> <p>Once you locate the fuse you suspect is bad, pull it and examine it closely; if the wire running through the center of the fuse is broken, it's bad and you should replace it with one rated for the same amperage. But regardless, when in doubt, replace it; the per-unit cost of the fuses is negligible.</p> <h2>3. Replace Your Air Filter</h2> <p>A dirty air filter is to your car what pneumonia is to your body, and it robs your car of air and reduces your mileage. Replacing it is a very cheap way to make your ride more efficient.</p> <p><strong>Tools You'll Need:</strong> A flat-blade screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. The <a title="adjustable wrench" href="http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-85-610-10-Inch-MaxGrip-Adjustable/dp/product-description/B00009OYGZ/">Stanley 10&quot; MaxGrip Locking Adjustable Wrench</a> is a good all-purpose tool for working on cars.</p> <p><strong>Parts You'll Need:</strong> A replacement air filter for your make, model, year, and size of engine.</p> <p><strong>The Fix:</strong> Check your owner's manual for the location of your filter. It may be covered with a plastic shroud that is held down by a few plastic clips that you can flip, or it may be held in place with a nut on a long screw. Either way, remove the cover, and you should find the filter lying loose. Simply pick it up and put the replacement filter in the same position. Then replace the cover. Job done. Did we mention these were <em>simple</em> tasks?</p> <h2>4. Replace Your Battery</h2> <p>Many companies such as Autozone will <a title="battery test" href="http://www.autozone.com/autozone/landing/page.jsp?name=car-battery-summer-preparation">test your current battery</a> free of charge (no pun intended), so you have no excuse if you're stranded on a cold February night because you put off testing and installing a new one.</p> <p><strong>Tools You'll Need:</strong> A wire brush, like this <a target="battery brush" href="http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-11120-Battery-Brush/dp/B0009OMY92/">Lisle Battery Brush</a>, and an adjustable wrench.</p> <p><strong>Parts You'll Need:</strong> A new battery. Your parts store will help you select a battery that matches your car's requirements. Check to see if you can drop off the old one for recycling when you've finished replacing it.</p> <p><strong>The Fix:</strong> Turn off your car. Pop the hood, and, using your car's manual, locate the battery. It may be under a plastic housing, but most likely it will be conveniently placed.</p> <p>There are two cables connected to your battery: a black one (the ground, or negative) and a red one (the positive pole). Using the adjustable wrench, loosen and disconnect the black one first and pull it away, then disconnect the red one. Lift the battery out of the housing and set it aside. Keep it oriented upright, especially if it's not a sealed unit.</p> <p>Using your wire brush, clean the metal terminals of the black and red cables, both inside the clamp and outside. If they're corroded or dirty, clean them with a solution of baking soda and water.</p> <p>Then lower the new battery into position. Once secure, attach the red cable to the positive pole of the battery, then the black cable to the negative pole.</p> <h2><strong> </strong>5. Change Your Oil and Filter</h2> <p>Changing your own oil is not difficult and can save you a little cash to use on your next night out.</p> <p><strong>Tools You'll Need:</strong> An adjustable wrench, an <a title="oil filter wrench" href="http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Best-Universal-Filter-Wrench/dp/B000UD0CTQ">oil filter wrench</a>, an oil drain pan, a funnel, and perhaps a car jack and jack stands, like this <a title="jack stand" href="http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_x_10014620-P_x_x">Torin Jack Stand 2-Pack</a>.</p> <p><strong>Parts You'll Need:</strong> Oil (check how much your car holds), an oil filter, and a drain plug gasket.</p> <p>Before you begin, figure out if you can reach the oil pan drain plug without jacking up your car. The oil pan will be hanging off the bottom of your motor, and the drain plug will be located at the lowest part of it. If you can reach it without jacking your car up, it makes an oil change much easier (and you won't need the aforementioned jack stands).</p> <p>Start by running your car for a few minutes to warm the engine oil; this will allow it to drain more completely and quickly. Park your car on a level surface and engage the parking brake. Then, if necessary, begin by jacking your car up and placing jack stands on either side of the car. Never work under a car supported only by a single jack. Place the oil drain pan beneath the drain plug, then turn the plug counterclockwise with the adjustable wrench until it comes free. Be careful; the oil that comes gushing out will be warm. Let the car drain until it stops.</p> <p>Next, locate the oil filter. Using the oil filter wrench, loosen and remove the filter. Keep it tilted upright until you can empty any oil into the oil pan. Then replace the gasket on the drain plug and screw it into place, taking care to not over-tighten, which will cause the plug gasket to distort and allow oil to leak out. Rub the rubber gasket on the oil filter with a little clean oil for a better seal, then screw into place. If you have a good grip, hand-tightening should be enough. If not, snug it up with the oil filter wrench. Again, don't overdo it.</p> <p>Once the plug and filter are in place, locate the oil filler cap on top of the motor, remove it, and add oil to your engine using a funnel to prevent spillage. When done, use the jack and remove the stands, lowering the car to the ground. Run the car for a couple of minutes, then turn it off and check your dipstick to make sure it's filled to the height indicated. Also check for leaks under your car. Lastly, dispose of dirty oil properly; many oil change shops will accept it for recycling.</p> <p>If you've mastered these simple tasks, you may be ready to take on even more complicated ones, such as flushing and filling your coolant system or replacing your brake shoes. Who knows, maybe you've even tapped your inner grease monkey, and that alternate identity will emerge to save you a lot of money on car repairs.</p> <p>Another way to save? Always check <strong>Dealnews</strong> for discounts while shopping for parts and tools, like the aforementioned <a title="Advance Auto Parts" href="http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/home___">Advance Auto Parts</a> code &quot;P20&quot; that takes 20% off sitewide. (Click for a list of additional <a title="Advance Auto Parts coupons" href="http://dealnews.com/Advance-Auto-Parts-coupons-20-off-no-minimum-10-off-30-more-/484744.html?eref=wisebread">dollar-off codes</a>.)<em> </em></p> <p><em>If you enjoyed this story please share it on StumbleUpon!</em></p> <div align="center"> <p><script src="http://www.stumbleupon.com/hostedbadge.php?s=5"></script></p> </div><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Some car maintenance tasks are simple enough even for novices. These tasks require only a little time, a little knowledge, and a few tools. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em>This post is by </em><a href="http://dealnews.com/" title="Dealnews"><em>Dealnews</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-car-repair-mistakes-that-can-cost-you">8 Common Car Repair Mistakes That Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/removing-car-scratches-the-revenge-of-the-frugal-body-shop">Removing Car Scratches: The Revenge of the Frugal Body Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation DIY auto repairs car maintenance oil change Wed, 10 Aug 2011 10:24:16 +0000 Dealnews 652446 at http://www.wisebread.com January: The Perfect Maintenance Month http://www.wisebread.com/january-the-perfect-maintenance-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/january-the-perfect-maintenance-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/oil_change.jpg" alt="oil change" title="oil change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="192" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In between doing my own household chores on New Year's Day, I noticed that my husband (a.k.a. Mr. Handyman) seemed very busy.&nbsp;Rather than focus on my own boring list, I decided to pester him and see what he was up to. As it turns out, he was doing his &quot;January 1<sup>st</sup> money-saving stuff.&quot; Why January 1<sup>st</sup>, I wondered? He says it&rsquo;s just because that&rsquo;s a pretty easy date to remember to do his &quot;money-saving annual chores.&quot;</p> <p>I was intrigued and figured he might be doing something I could parlay into a post for Wise Bread readers, a crowd that is also pretty darned interested in money-saving stuff. Don&rsquo;t worry, we&rsquo;re not too late. He says if you don&rsquo;t actually get these things done right on the first day of the year, the system still works, because &ldquo;approximately annually&rdquo; is close enough. Once you get into the annual, first-of-the-year cycle, you can catch everything on time next year.&nbsp;</p> <p>I began by quizzing him while he was underneath his truck. Frankly, he is not much of a conversationalist in that position, but I persisted in the name of thorough reporting. Patiently, he explained that he uses synthetic oil, which is more expensive, but it does not break down over time the way petroleum-based oils do. Thus, because he does not put very many miles on his pickup, he can go for extended periods of time between oil changes. He says he could go even longer than a year, but he always errs on the conservative side when it comes to oil changes. Of course, changing it himself also saves the labor charges. Though he admits that the labor charges for an oil-and-filter change are often not significant, he also reminded me of the several-hundred-dollar repair bill we wound up splitting with a national muffler chain when we had to replace the oil pan on my car, and we weren&rsquo;t confident that we could prove the chain&rsquo;s negligence in cross-threading the oil plug when they replaced it the previous time. He carefully threads the plug in by hand and then tightens it with a torque wrench to the manufacturer&rsquo;s specs, instead of jamming it in with an air wrench the way the muffler shop apparently did. I wish I had taken auto shop in high school.&nbsp;</p> <p>While he had all the tools out and the rubber gloves on, he also changed the oil in the lawnmower, which Briggs &amp; Stratton recommends be done at the lesser of every fifty hours of operation, or (wait for it&hellip;) annually! Since he definitely doesn&rsquo;t mow the lawn every week, and it usually takes less than an hour to mow each time, he changes the oil once a year, near the first of the year. Mr. Handyman says that most small-engine mechanics will tell you that the single best thing you can do to prolong the life of your four-cycle, air-cooled engine is to regularly change the oil. For the cost of less than a quart of oil, the use of a wrench, and a few minutes, you can keep your lawnmower engine purring for years after your neighbors have had to shell out for new ones.</p> <p>To support himself through college, my husband sold tires for a living. That experience taught him the importance of proper tire inflation and wheel alignment in maximizing the life of tires. So he regularly checks the tire pressure on our cars &mdash; about semi-monthly &mdash; to make sure they are inflated to our cars&rsquo; specifications (not, as some people think, to the maximum pressure stamped on the side of the tire). Every set of tires we have owned since we have been married has lasted more than 55,000 miles. He reminded me that we have been married for a very, very, very long time (sarcasm noted). At several hundred dollars per set, that really helps the cause.</p> <p>But there&rsquo;s something else I learned on New Year&rsquo;s Day. Not only did I spy him under the front of his pickup, changing his oil, but also under the rear. I suspected he was trying to ditch me, but he had removed his spare tire from its winch under the truck bed to check its pressure and general condition. After that, he did the same for my car. <em>Somewhat </em>patiently, he explained that if we happened to have a blowout on the mountain road we frequent, we would either need to use that spare or call a tow truck (if we happened to be in an area with cell phone coverage).</p> <p>If he left the spare under there the way many people do, without ever checking it, chances are it would be flat when we needed it &mdash; as he found most of his tire customers&rsquo; spares to be back in his college days. The average car old enough to have worn out a set of tires is also old enough for an unattended spare to have naturally gone flat. So for the cost of only a few cents in electricity to run the compressor while filling the spare, he avoids the potential tow-truck call up the mountain, which could easily run a couple hundred dollars, depending upon the location. You do the math: Even if you have towing insurance, it is reassuring not to be completely dependent upon your cell-phone coverage and a towing company.</p> <p>For his last auto-related New Year&rsquo;s task, he also changed our wiper blades. Because East Hawaii is known for its prodigious rainstorms, wiper blades last just about a year before becoming noticeably less effective.</p> <p>I thought he was trying to ditch me again by going inside the house, but he still had some chores. While putting the Christmas ornaments away in the attic, he paused to change smoke alarm batteries. Most fire marshals recommend that you change smoke alarm batteries every six months. When we lived on the mainland, he changed them at each Daylight Savings Time change. However, the state of Hawaii does not participate in Daylight Savings Time, so his reminder dates are January 1 and July 1. Though this technically isn&rsquo;t a &ldquo;money saver,&rdquo; you can&rsquo;t put a price on having working smoke detectors, should ever need them.</p> <p><em>Readers, if you have other suggestions to add to my husband&rsquo;s New Year&rsquo;s to-do list, I am sure he would like to know!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/january-the-perfect-maintenance-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips">Make Your Fridge Last (Almost) Forever With These 8 Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dishwasher-smells-bad-heres-how-to-fix-it">Dishwasher Smells Bad? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips car maintenance home maintenance oil change smoke alarms Fri, 07 Jan 2011 14:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 439127 at http://www.wisebread.com