Some people grow up around cars, fixing them when problems arise and generally thinking nothing of it. But there’s a whole swath of us out there who think that if we tinker with our cars, we’ll destroy them forever.
The problem with this attitude is that it winds up costing you big time in the long term. Mechanics aren’t cheap, and there are plenty of common problems that you can solve yourself.
Fixing A Flat Tyre
If your car is tilting to one side, or you hear a loud thumping noise, there’s a good chance you’ve got a flat tyre. You’ll need some top automotive tools with you in your boot to sort the problem out, including a car jack and a spare tyre. Put the jack underneath a metallic part of the car’s frame (not the plastic bumper) and pump the car up. Once the car is in position, remove all the lug nuts and put the donut on. Then tighten the bolts back up and bring the jack down.
Failed Head Or Tail Lights
The symptoms of failed headlights are pretty obvious at night: you can’t see where you’re going. Tail lights can be a little trickier to diagnose if you’re still sitting in the vehicle. The solution? Back up to a wall and watch out for that characteristic red glow. If the wall gets lit up, you know your tail lights are working properly.
Getting new lights is easy and you don’t need to go to your mechanic. Just drop by your local Advanced Auto Parts of Autozone and ask a member of staff which lights will work with your particular make and model of car. Usually, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. Unless you have a supercar, you don’t need to buy ultra premium lights: regular lights will do.
Once you’ve bought the lights, pop off the old housing with the car switched off, remove the old bulb and slide the new one in.
A Dead Battery
Your car not starting is never a nice feeling. All of a sudden you’ve been cast adrift, unable to interact with the rest of society. Usually, a car that won’t start at all has something wrong with its battery, so this is the first place to look.
The first thing to do is to grab your tester and charger, if you have one at home, and charge up the battery this way. This is to make sure that the problem is the battery and not something else in the engine. If you don’t have a charger or a testing kit at home, most garages will check your battery for free.
Look to see if there is any corrosion on the surface of the battery and clean it off. Then unplug the positive and negative terminals of the battery and lift it out. Replace it with the new one, and you’re done.
The cool thing about a lot of these repairs is just how simple they are, once you invest the time in learning how to do them.
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