Car Care Advice

Top 10 Easiest DIY Auto Repair Jobs

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Top 10 Easiest DIY repairs
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Save at Least $1,000 with These 10 Easy Auto Repairs for DIYers of All Skill Levels

Performing DIY auto repairs can be extremely rewarding, and it can also save you lots of money. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, these repairs can quickly spiral out of control and cost you both time and money. Here at FIXD, we’ve helped millions of drivers save money with DIY maintenance and repairs. So we put together this list of the top 10 easiest DIY car repair jobs anyone can do.

While there are some automotive repairs you should leave for the professionals, these 10 jobs can all be done by beginner DIYers, and they don’t require any specialized tools, skills, or experience.

The best part? You’ll save a trip to the shop and an estimated $1,000 in labor costs.

10. Replace Disc Brake Pads

disc brake pads

Time Required: Less than 2 hours

Estimated Savings: $87-$110

The braking system is one of the most important maintenance and repair items on your vehicle, but don’t let the high cost of a repair shop’s brake job make you put off this critical job. If you have the tools to perform a tire rotation and a few wrenches and sockets, then you can perform a DIY brake job with minimal experience. 

One thing to keep in mind: This applies only to disc brakes, not drum brakes. Drum brakes can be harder to work on and usually require specialty tools. The good news is that all modern vehicles have disc brakes in the front and most have disc brakes in the rear as well. 

After replacing disc brake pads, don’t forget to check the level of your brake fluid and top it off, if necessary.

9. Perform Oil Change

Oil is the heartbeat of your car

Time Required: 30-60 minutes

Estimated Savings: $43

The engine is one of the most expensive components of your vehicle, so be sure you’re protecting your engine with proper maintenance. That starts with regular oil changes, which are a great DIY job. When performing a DIY oil change, don’t forget to properly dispose of the used oil. Most auto parts stores will take used oil, but if not, you can contact your city or county government to find used oil drop-off locations.

Trucks and SUVs generally offer enough ground clearance that you can slide underneath them to drain the oil and remove the oil filter, but most cars will require the vehicle to be lifted in some way. Portable ramps are a quick and easy way to raise the front of the vehicle, but even if you don’t have these, a jack and jack stands will do the job perfectly, too.

In place of those windshield stickers that often fade or fall off, set a reminder using the FIXD App so that you never forget! 

Get DIY steps here >> How to Change Your Car’s Oil

8. Clean/Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor

Cleaning the mass air flow sensor

Time Required: 5-90 minutes

Estimated Savings: $84-$321, depending on if you need to clean or replace the MAF

While this list contains mostly preventative maintenance, a faulty mass air flow (MAF) sensor is one item that can lead to a check engine light. Not only are MAF sensors easy to replace at home, sometimes you can clean the sensor to cure whatever set off the malfunction indicator light. All you’ll need for that is a $3 can of mass airflow sensor cleaner. 

If your check engine light is on, use the FIXD sensor and app to pull the codes. And if you suspect the MAF sensor is the root cause, try cleaning it first to avoid the unnecessary expense of buying a brand new sensor. 

Get DIY steps here >> How to Clean Your Mass Air Flow Sensor

7. Replace Windshield Wipers

Raised windshield wiper arms

Time Required: Less than 30 minutes

Estimated Savings: $44

When it comes to safety items on your vehicle, none are simpler to replace than windshield wipers. Removing the wiper blades takes less than a minute, and most wipers are designed for a universal fit making installation quick and easy. If you buy the wipers from an auto parts store, some will even do the installation for you at no cost!

Get DIY steps here >> How to Install Windshield Wipers

6. Replace Car Battery

Mechanic replacing dead car battery

Time Required: Less than 2 hours

Estimated Savings: $36-$46

A dead car battery can leave you stranded without notice, so knowing how (and when) to replace a battery is important. In today’s heavily computerized vehicles, even a low battery can cause wacky problems when it comes to the electronics. Replacing a dead or dying battery will save you from any inconvenient surprises, and it will also save you a lot of money compared to having it replaced at a repair shop.

Like windshield wipers, some auto parts stores will perform the battery installation for free, but knowing how to do this yourself is extra insurance against someone else accidentally putting the battery cables on backward.

Get DIY steps here >> How to Replace a Car Battery

5. Replace Liftgate Struts

Pneumatic strut holding up a liftgate

Time Required: 30 minutes

Estimated Savings: $123-$155

On SUVs, hatchbacks, or anything else with a rear liftgate, faulty struts can result in the liftgate failing to stay up. This can be a minor inconvenience or a safety hazard depending on the situation. Replacing the struts is extremely easy, and while sometimes a ratchet and socket are needed, you can usually do it with a screwdriver.

4. Recharge Air Conditioning Freon

A/C system being recharged

Time Required: 5 minutes

Estimated Savings: $123-$155

With the summer heat in full effect, there’s nothing worse than an air conditioning system that is blowing anything but ice-cold air. If your A/C compressor (it’s under the hood and driven by the serpentine belt) is cycling on and off rapidly and the air is blowing warm inside the vehicle, then chances are your system is running low on freon. 

As a quick fix, you can buy a freon kit at any auto parts store to recharge your HVAC system. However, there is usually an underlying problem causing the leak in the first place that still must be addressed.

Get DIY steps here >> How To Recharge the A/C on Your Car

3. Restore Headlights

how to restore headlights

Time Required: Less than 1 hour

Estimated Savings: $500+

Modern vehicles have headlights that feature an acrylic lens, which can become hazy or foggy over the years turning the clear lenses yellowish and/or cloudy. Causes of this condition include oxidation from being left outside in the sun all the time to the use of certain car washing chemicals, and this can limit the functionality of your lights day or night. 

Of all the tasks listed in our top 10 DIY auto repair jobs, restoring your headlights is the one that will save you the most money. While some repair shops will attempt to sell you new, replacement headlights that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, there are plenty of products for DIYers to restore your headlights back to original condition in your own garage. In most cases, you can restore your headlights without having to remove them from the vehicle, but sometimes removal is required. Removing the headlights isn’t a bad skill to have as some vehicles require the headlight housings to be removed from the vehicle in order to replace burned-out bulbs.

Get DIY steps here >> How to Restore Your Headlights

2. Replace Engine Air Filter and Cabin Air Filter

Time Required: Less than 30 minutes (each)

Estimated Savings: $60-$76 (combined)

One of the easiest maintenance items you can replace on a car is the filter for the cabin or the engine. The engine air filter is located under the hood, and it’s mounted in the air filter housing, which is usually held together by metal clamps or screws. The air cabin filter is located inside the vehicle under the dash on the passenger side, and replacing this filter can sometimes be a bit of a challenge depending on the year, make, and model of the vehicle.

Get DIY steps here >> How to Change Your Air Cabin Filter in 4 Simple Steps
Get DIY steps here >> Car Engine Air Filters: A Complete Guide

1. Rotate Tires

tire rotation pattern

Time Required: Less than 1 hour

Estimated Savings: $35-$44

Proper tire care isn’t just important for prolonging the life of these expensive wear items, it’s also important to maximize your safety on the road. Tire rotations are the easiest DIY automotive repair jobs since the majority of the tools required (a jack and lug wrench) come standard on all cars. The only tools you’ll need to buy to perform DIY tire rotations are the jack stands for added safety: don’t rotate the tires using just a jack. On average, repair shops charge between $35 to $44 to rotate tires, you can do it yourself for free in less than an hour.

In between recommended tire rotations, you can also easily inspect and properly inflate the tires to ensure optimal performance and minimize tire wear.

Get DIY steps here >> How to Rotate a Car’s Tires

Conclusion

If you’re looking for quick and easy ways to save money while repairing or maintaining your vehicle, these top 10 DIY auto repair jobs should be at the top of your list. No matter which DIY automotive repair you’re preparing to undertake, don’t forget to download the FIXD App today for helpful money-saving tips.

Jeffrey-Ross

Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals

Jeffrey N. Ross
Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a '91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals

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