You don’t need to be a car mechanic to perform basic maintenance on your vehicle. Learning a few do-it-yourself strategies can go a long way toward saving you money, helping you bond with your car, and keeping your vehicle running smoothly.
1: Invest in a Digital Diagnostic Reader
For around $40, you can get a pretty reliable digital diagnostic tool which will give you an accurate read on what is wrong with your car. When the check engine light comes on, you don’t have to be afraid anymore! After a quick hookup and just a few minutes, the reader will give you an error code and tell you what this means.
From there, you can go to YouTube and watch a video on how to perform the needed maintenance, or you can make a decision as to whether or not you want to have it done by a repair shop.
Either way, you will have a leg up by knowing what is wrong with your car ahead of time. You can either tell the mechanic the issue or let him tell you first to see if you both have the same idea of the problem.
2: Try Minor Repairs Yourself First
Getting over the fear of performing maintenance on your car is step one. Minor repairs can be done by a novice; it’s just a matter of knowing what to do and how to do it. As long as you are following a step-by-step video, it’s hard to do irreparable damage to your car when attempting a minor fix.
If you try first and still need help later, then at least you will have learned something in the process. Over time you will be able to fix more and more things, and your confidence will build. Soon, you’ll be completing car repairs that you never thought you’d be able to do alone.
3: Familiarize Yourself with the Engine
Wash your engine regularly to become familiar with it. During the cleaning process, you will start to notice where the different hoses and belts are located. If they ever act up, you’ll know where they are and what sort of condition they were in the last time you saw them.
Washing your car’s engine is easier than you might think. It will make your car last longer and help you notice small issues before they become big problems.
4: Keep Your Eye on Your Dashboard
Your dashboard is essential when it comes to letting you know that something is wrong with your vehicle. When your check engine light comes on, don’t just disregard it and keep driving your car as per usual. This is a notice that something needs attention, and it’s important to know whether that something is large or small.
Some check engine lights come on for something as simple as a loose gas cap, so it’s not time to panic until you get confirmation that a bigger issue is present. But, it is definitely time to figure out what caused the light to come on in the first place.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
You won’t become an instant master of doing your own car maintenance. It will take time for you to evolve from not knowing how to do anything to knowing how to do quite a bit. The old adage of “at first you don’t succeed, try try again” is very apt here because, in all likelihood, you won’t get it right the first time. Perfection is not the goal here; moving forward and learning each time you try something new is.
You might never become a car maintenance professional, and you don’t have to. As long as you raise yourself out of the ranks of total novice, then you are doing good. You will have a stronger connection with your car and less anxiety when something goes wrong.
When All Else Fails
There will be times when you have a problem that can’t be fixed with a minor solution. On those days, you’ll need the help of a professional, so it’s good to have a reputable repair shop on your list. At Ride Time, we know all about what it takes to get your car back on the road and better than before. Bring in your car the next time you’ve got a problem you can’t fix, and we will help you out!