Car Care

50 Easy DIY Car Repairs You Can Do at Home

mechanics at work

Need your car fixed but have no money? You’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of 50 easy DIY car repairs you can do at home to save on labor costs and keep your car running smoothly.

This list of repairs includes some of the most common car repairs that shops perform. By following our step-by-step how-to guides, you can easily save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year on car repairs by doing them yourself.

But before we dive into how to fix your car problems for cheap, you might be asking: “Can I really DIY my own car repairs? Don’t you need to be a professional? Do I even have the right tools for this?”

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in the next section.

What Car Repairs Can I Do Myself?

More than you might think. The most common car repairs people DIY are oil changes and topping off fluids. But if you’re comfortable turning a wrench and getting your hands a little dirty, many car repair jobs are easier – and more affordable – than you may think.

While few car repairs are free, some are. For example, did you know that the most common fix for a check engine light is to simply tighten your gas cap? It’s easy, costs nothing, and is always a good first thing to try.

Many repairs that do cost money can be far less expensive if you tackle them yourself. You’ll always need to pay for the parts, but you can save the high labor costs of a professional mechanic by diagnosing problems and making easy repairs yourself. Even if you can’t fix it yourself, you’ll at least know what’s wrong. You’ll also be able to question the shop if they give you a much more expensive repair estimate than you expected.

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What Basic Car Repair Tools Should I Keep in My Garage?

To work on your own car, you’re going to need a few tools. Don’t worry – unlike a professional mechanic, you don’t need to buy every tool under the sun. These will help you get started:

Specific jobs may require you to buy specific tools to complete them. In many cases, it’s still cheaper to buy the tool than to take your car to the shop – plus, the next time you need to do that job, you’ll already own the tool. But if it’s truly a one-off job that you’ll probably never do again, many auto parts stores will rent you the special tool you need. Often it’s not even so much a rental, as you buy the tool with the understanding that you will be returning it for a full refund when you’re done.

It can also be useful to keep a few basic tools in your car as well for roadside repairs. These are 10 tools you should consider taking with you.

List of 50 Easy DIY Car Repairs

The following list contains the “beginner” and “intermediate” difficulty car repairs we’ve documented on the FIXD blog. We’ve also thrown in a few other other common fixes that should be well within your capabilities. The list is broken up by topic, so if you have a problem with your brakes, feel free to skip down to the Brakes section.

Basics

Here are a few basic car repair tasks you can tackle with no experience whatsoever.

check engine light illuminated in car dashboard

#1: Diagnose the Check Engine Light

If your check engine light is on, you can find out why by using an OBD2 scanner, such as FIXD. These work by plugging either a wireless sensor or the scanner itself into your car’s OBD2 port. Turn your ignition to the “on” position, then either turn on the scanner or open the appropriate app on your phone. The scanner will communicate with your car’s computer, and read out the diagnostic trouble codes it has recorded. If the description provided is unclear, look up the code, such as P0300, on the FIXD blog for more information.

plugging FIXD OBD2 Scan Tool into OBD2 Port on 2008 Ford Escape

#2: Find Your OBD2 Port

Every modern car, regardless of the manufacturer, has an identical OBD2 port. It’s usually located somewhere near the steering wheel, either under the dashboard or behind a trim panel.

Still, the precise location of the OBD2 port varies from one vehicle to another. Use our free guide and port locator to learn exactly where this port is on your car.

#3: Use Car Jack Stands

You should never crawl underneath a car supported by a floor jack alone. While it’s okay to change a flat tire without them, you should support your car with jack stands for any other job that requires lifting your car off the ground. While a jack is made to raise and lower your car, jack stands are designed specifically to hold up your car. They can’t fail and drop the car unexpectedly in the ways that jacks can. Check out our complete guide to using jack stands.

Fluids

Fluids are literally the lifeblood of your car with most of them providing lubrication for major components.  Check out our Ultimate Guide to Car Fluids for a general overview of what fluids are in your car and what they do. Keep reading to learn more about fluid maintenance and changes you can do yourself.

Windshield washer fluid filler

#4: Replace Windshield Washer Fluid

This one’s a no brainer that you’ve probably already done yourself. When you run out of washer fluid, you can pop the hood, pour more in, and you’re done. But there’s more to washer fluid than just pouring in the blue goo. See how to replace your windshield washer fluid here. 

Checking the oil

#5: Check Your Oil

Your engine requires a certain amount of oil in order to run properly. If it runs out of oil, bad things will happen, up to and including catastrophic failure of the engine. Fortunately, it’s easy to check your oil, top it off if needed, and prevent this from happening to you.

#6: Change Your Oil and Oil Filter

Keeping it full is important, but so are regular oil changes. Despite having a filter in the system, oil gets old and dirty over time. Both should be replaced every 3,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on your manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. Changing your oil yourself is an easy job and can save you some money. It’s also a great opportunity to take a close look at everything under the hood and spot any potential issues before they become big problems.

closeup view of the differential cover

#7: Change Your Rear Differential Fluid

If your vehicle has rear or all-wheel drive, it has a rear differential that requires periodic fluid changes. (Front and all-wheel drive have front differentials, but they share the same fluid as the transmission.) Every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation, you should drain the differential and add fresh fluid. This is typically an easy job that you can do yourself.

radiator cap off

#8: Change Your Coolant

Engines generate a great deal of heat, and keeping that under control is the job of your cooling system. This is another system that absolutely must be reliable, and is very simple as a result. Coolant degrades over time, and must be replaced occasionally. Our article about how to change your coolant will tell you what you need to know.

#9: Change Your Manual Transmission Fluid

Although they should be on the endangered species list, manual transmissions are still the favorite of driving enthusiasts who enjoy changing their own gears. Transmission fluid lubricates the gears and gear change mechanisms inside the transmission. This, too, should be changed regularly to ensure peak performance.

This is an easy job to do yourself on a manual transmission. Automatic transmissions are far more complicated than manuals. While you can change automatic transmission fluid yourself, it’s a far more complex process. We recommend that you leave this job to the professionals instead.

Power steering fluid reservoir

#10: Change Your Power Steering Fluid

Although more and more new cars are switching to electric power steering systems, most cars on the road today still have hydraulic power steering. These systems have special fluid that must be changed from time to time. This is another simple DIY job if you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty.

check brake master cylinder fluid reservoir

#11: Check Your Brake Fluid

If the red BRAKE warning light on your dashboard turns on and you have not engaged your parking brake, chances are your brake fluid level is low. There are many reasons why this could be the case, but what’s important is to top off the fluid and make sure it’s full. Otherwise, air could enter your brake lines and severely affect your braking ability.

Locate the brake fluid reservoir under your hood. Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly where it is and what it looks like. There should be a line on the side with the word FULL next to it. The brake fluid inside the reservoir should come up to this line. If it’s below it, buy a bottle of the correct type of fluid (your manual will tell you what that is), open the reservoir cap, and pour in enough fluid to bring the level up to the FULL line. Put the cap back on, and you’re done.

#12: Change Your Transfer Case Fluid

Four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles have a transfer case, which splits power between the front and rear wheels. On some vehicles, such as pickup trucks, Jeeps, and other off-road oriented vehicles, this is what enables you to manually switch from two wheel drive to four wheel drive, and in many cases into four wheel drive low range. Like transmissions and differentials, transfer cases contain lubricant to keep their gears meshing smoothly, and changing it is a simple DIY job.

Diesel exhaust fluid bottle

#13: Replace Your Diesel Exhaust Fluid

While not common in passenger vehicles, modern ones equipped with diesel engines require an additional fluid known as diesel exhaust fluid, or DEF. This fluid gets sprayed into your exhaust system to ensure cleaner burning of any residual particles to reduce emissions. Like washer fluid, it simply needs to be refilled occasionally, which any diesel driver can do themselves.

Filters

Both you and the engine need to breathe clean air. The fluids flowing through your car need to remain clean, too, in order to do their jobs properly. We’ve already covered your oil filter, so here are a few other filters that are easy to change yourself. 

#14: Change Your Cabin Air Filter

Your cabin air filter makes sure that you’re breathing clean air inside your car. This can be particularly helpful if you suffer from allergies, as this will keep pollen and spores from getting into your car. This is an easy filter to change, requiring just four simple steps to complete.

Clean and dirty engine air filters

#15: Change Your Engine Air Filter

Your engine needs clean air just as much as you do. This ensures a clean combustion process to provide maximum power and efficiency. Engine air filters are just as easy, or sometimes easier, to replace than cabin air filters. Check out our complete guide to engine air filters.

Inline fuel filter

#16: Replace Your Fuel Filter

Just like the air entering your engine, the fuel also needs to be clean and free of contaminants to ensure maximum power and efficiency. Some fuel filters are easy to replace yourself, while others can be a bit more challenging. Here’s what you need to know to make that decision yourself.

Wheels and Tires

This is literally where the rubber meets the road. Tires are critical to your car’s safety, handling, and performance, as well as the wheels that wear them. Here are some simple, yet important, DIY jobs you can do involving your wheels and tires.

#17: Change a Flat Tire

Most of us have been there, on the side of the road, with a flat tire. You can call roadside assistance to change it for you, but you can save a lot of time by changing it yourself using the tools most cars already have on board. The process involves jacking up your car, removing the wheel with the flat tire, putting the spare in its place, and tightening the lug nuts to hold it on. Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow.

#18: Repair a Car Tire Puncture or Leak

Tire leaks can have many possible causes. Most often it’s because you ran over a piece of debris that embedded itself in the tread of your tire. Not all punctures of this type can be repaired, but sometimes you can use a patch kit to remove a nail or screw from your tire, patch the hole, and head on down the road. If the puncture is through your sidewall, or close to the edge of your tread, the tire must be completely replaced. 

Sometimes the leak isn’t the result of a puncture. Tire valve stems, which are where you put air into the tire, can sometimes leak. Sometimes replacing the valve inside the stem can fix the problem, but most often the rubber stem itself is damaged and must be replaced. If your wheels are old and a bit beat up, air can also escape between the tire and a deformed wheel. In this case the wheel itself must be repaired or replaced. 

Close up mechanic inflating tire hand holding gauge pressure for checking and filling air in car tire. Automobile concept.

#19: Fix Low Tire Pressure

After repairing a leaky tire, you’ll need to inflate it to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Tires can also slowly lose air over time, so you should check your tire pressure regularly whether you have a puncture or not. Our guide on how to fix low tire pressure will tell signs to look for that may indicate that your pressure is low, how to check your pressure using a tire gauge, and how to inflate your tires properly.

#20: Install a TPMS Sensor

TPMS stands for “tire pressure monitoring system.” Most modern cars monitor your tire pressure automatically, and light up a warning on your dashboard if low pressure is detected. You can add an aftermarket system to any vehicle, which utilizes valve caps with built-in sensors to report your pressures to the main unit inside your vehicle. These are easy to install yourself. Sensors for systems already built into modern cars are generally inside the tire and wheel, and are not a DIY job.

tire rotation pattern

#21: Rotate Your Tires

Your front and rear tires wear differently because these tires do different jobs. Your manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule will tell you when to rotate your tires, which involves putting your front tires on the back, and your back tires on the front. This extends the life of your tires by slowly wearing them out in different ways as your drive.

The procedure for doing this isn’t much different than changing a flat tire. You’re just removing and installing all four of them. See our tire rotation guide for details.

#22: Replace a Broken Wheel Stud

Wheel studs are what your lug nuts that hold your wheel on attach to. Sometimes, if they get corroded or a lug nut is installed improperly, when you try to remove the lug nut the stud may break instead. This may seem like a complete disaster, but it’s not as bad as it seems. There’s a good chance you can buy a cheap replacement stud and do the work yourself, saving you big money in shop labor costs. If you’re not comfortable doing this job yourself, that’s fine! While it will cost more, it won’t break the bank, either.

Brakes

Your car’s brake system is one of the most critical safety components on your car. The fewer parts there are to a system, the less that can go wrong, so brakes are actually a rather simple system. There are a couple of jobs that you can easily do yourself if you’re comfortable with turning a wrench.

disc brakes

#23: Replace Your Brake Pads and Rotors

You have to remove more nuts and bolts to take off the wheel than you do to replace your brake pads. Take off a couple more bolts, and your rotors are accessible, too. While not a job to be taken lightly, this is a beginner level repair for DIYers.

Some cars still use drum brakes on the back wheels. The procedure to replace these is much more complicated, and usually best left to a professional.

#24: Bleed Your Brakes

If you check your manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule, you will see that your brake fluid should be replaced from time to time. While a complete brake fluid flush requires tools only a mechanic will have, you can replace nearly all of the fluid by bleeding the system yourself. While regular flushes are still recommended, bleeding will provide most of the benefit for a fraction of the price.

Electrical

Electrical issues can be intimidating. It’s not like you can point at a part busted in half and say “Well there’s your problem right there.” But there are still some simple electrical jobs that are easy to tackle yourself.

#25: Jump Start Your Car

You turn the key, but nothing happens. The most likely culprit is a dead battery. The alternator will recharge it once the engine is running, but you have to get the engine running in order to do that. 

What you need is a jump start. This is simply the process of connecting another battery, either a booster pack or another car, to your own battery. This provides enough power to start your engine, which will then run on its own and recharge your battery while you drive. Check out our procedure on how to do this.

Mechanic replacing dead car battery

#26: Replace a Dead Car Battery

In most cases a jump start will get you going again, but sometimes you may find yourself needing a jump every time you try to start your car. In this case, your battery is not holding the charge that the alternator is providing while the engine is running. It’s time for a new battery. Replacing it yourself is a simple process.

corroded battery terminals
Car battery with corroded terminals

#27: Clean Off Battery Corrosion

Your battery terminals should be clean, bare metal. Sometimes the chemical reactions inside the battery cause corrosion to form on these terminals. You can easily clean this off yourself with a solution of baking soda and water or vinegar.

#28: Find and Replace a Blown Fuse

When something electrical stops working in your car, your first step should always be to check for a blown fuse. Each fuse protects a certain electrical system from getting damaged by a short circuit, or too much voltage or current. The idea is that the fuse will blow before the systems connected to it get damaged, shutting off power to protect them from damage.

Every car has one or more fuse panels, usually located under the dashboard and/or in the engine compartment. Check your owner’s manual for the exact locations in your car. The manual, and often the lid of the fuse panel, tell you which fuse corresponds to what circuit or component. For example, if your infotainment system stops working, you’ll want to check the fuse for the infotainment system. Remove the fuse from the fuse box. If the metal filament inside is blown, that’s the problem. Replace it with a new fuse. It’s important to replace it with the same amperage fuse that was there before (that’s the number on the fuse – 5, 10, 20, etc.)

Start your car, and check the system that stopped working before. Chances are this was a one-time problem, and everything will work normally again. If it doesn’t, check the fuse again. If the replacement is blown, there’s a problem with the electrical system itself. Unless you know a thing or two about electronics, you’ll likely need a shop to diagnose and repair the root cause of the problem.

remove blower motor resistor to replace it
Shop Car Manuals.

#29: Replace the Blower Motor Resistor

Your climate control fan can run at several speeds, from a gentle breeze to a powerful blast. Sometimes a problem can occur where the blower will run at full speed but not any of the lower settings. The fact that it runs at full speed tells us that the blower itself works, so the problem is likely the blower motor resistor.

To enable the blower to run at intermediate speeds, power goes to the blower through a resistor pack. Resistors reduce the amount of power going to the blower, causing it to run more slowly. The highest setting allows power to bypass all of the resistors, which is why the blower still works on this setting. If none of the other fan speeds work, the resistor pack has likely failed, allowing no power to flow to the blower except for the high speed bypass circuit.

This may sound complicated, but the solution is actually quite simple: replace the blower motor resistor pack. This is usually in a rather accessible location so that it can be serviced easily. We have an entire article about how to do this.

Lighting

Your lights are an important safety feature of your car. They allow you see and be seen in poor lighting conditions, both at night and in bad weather. It’s important to keep your lights working well at all times. Here are some ways you can do this yourself.

how to restore headlights

#30: Clean Your Headlights

Modern headlights are made of plastic rather than glass like the old days. While this is safer when they break, plastic can degrade in the sun, causing formerly clear lenses to fog up, blocking much of the light that should be coming out. Fortunately, this fog is on the outside of the lens. You can clean this off yourself with a little bit of polish and elbow grease.

#31: Change Your Headlight Bulb

Winking is nice, but it’s not so good when your car winks at you with only one headlight. Replacing a headlight bulb yourself is easy on some cars, and more difficult on others. On rare occasions it does require a professional, but in most cases you can swap the parts out yourself. The difficulty of this job mostly depends on how many other pieces you need to remove under the hood to reach the back of the headlight assembly.

#32: How To Fix a Taillight

Taillights may not show you where you’re going, but they show other drivers where you are, where you’re going, and when you’re slowing down. A broken taillight is a major safety concern, but it’s also generally easy to fix yourself. We have an article all about it.

Exterior

Your vehicle’s body and windows are what other people see. Chances are you want your car to look good. It’s also important for you to be able to see out the windows well when you’re driving. Here are a few tips and tricks to help with that.

#33: Make Your Ride Shine

This is our complete guide to making your ride look great. It covers washing, polishing, fixing clear coat, protecting your paint, and what products you should use for all of these. Follow these tips to take your car to the next level of sparkle.

Camry dent

#34: Fix Scratches, Paint Chips, Dents, and Rust

Maybe your car doesn’t look so good right now. Fear not – if the professionals can turn a rusted out piece of junk into a work of art that could’ve just rolled out of the factory, you can address some simple body issues yourself.

Scratched paint is annoying, but there are ways to deal with it. Touch-up paint can hide the scratch, as well as protect the metal underneath. There are also scratch repair kits that can also help. Paint chips follow a similar procedure to repair. It’s possible to fix small dents yourself using a variety of tools and techniques, from a suction cup to pull out the dent to replacing dented body panels such as fenders and doors. Rust is a bit more challenging, but you can repair small rust areas before they turn into big ones, saving time, money, and possibly your entire vehicle in the process.

#35: Replace Your Windshield Wipers

You need to be able to see where you’re going, and windshield wipers help. There comes a time in every wiper’s life where it wears out, smearing water across your windshield instead of clearing it, and doing more harm than good. You can always have the person at the auto parts store install them for you, but it’s quite simple to install new wipers yourself.

#36: Clean Your Wiper Blades

Believe it or not, cleaning your windshield wiper blades will not only make them work more effectively, but also extend their life so you don’t have to replace them as often.

Interior

The outside of your car is what the world sees, but the inside is what you look at all the time. Here are some ways to make this a nicer place to spend your drive time.

2021 Toyota GR Supra review

#37: Clean Your Car Interior

You could pay a detailer hundreds of dollars to make your interior look as clean as the day you bought your car, but there are many simple ways you can clean it yourself. We have a guide that details how to clean your roof, windows, fabric, hard surfaces (like the dashboard), and even the cargo area.

#38: Fix Your Rear View Mirror

Sometimes you need to look at where you’ve been instead of where you’re going, or to check traffic behind you. Conveniently located at the top center of your windshield, sometimes this mirror can break off, leaving you a blind spot to the rear. Fortunately, putting the old mirror back on or installing a new one is a simple process that you can do yourself.

#39: Fix Your Stuck Window

At best, a window that won’t open is an inconvenience at the drive-thru. At worst, a window that’s stuck closed can make your car too hot (especially if you haven’t fixed your AC), and a window stuck open can let the rain, snow, and cold into your car. Fortunately, window problems are typically easy to fix. Often the problem is simply an electrical part, like a switch of the motor. If it is something mechanical, it’s still not too difficult to remove and replace the entire mechanism from your door.

Pneumatic strut holding up a liftgate

#40: Replace Your Hatch Struts

Your SUV or hatchback has a large door on the back to provide easy access to the cargo area. This hatch is pretty heavy, yet you can lift it with ease thanks to struts that help you open it. When these struts wear out, you’ll feel the full weight of the hatch, making it difficult to open and impossible to leave open without some kind of prop rod. These struts are easy to replace yourself, which can literally save you some headaches.

2021 honda ridgeline rear seat

#41: Repair Your Car Seats

Car upholstery repairs may seem difficult, but once you know how they’re really quite simple. You can sew tears back together, patch small holes yourself, and buff out scratched leather. While major repairs may take an upholstery professional, you can handle these small jobs yourself. Alternately, you could simply install seat covers and call it done.

Under the Hood

Probably the most intimidating part of any car is what lies under the hood. But once you know what things under there are, what they do, and why, the mystery is gone, revealing many simple maintenance and repair jobs you can do yourself.

serpentine belt routing diagram

#42: Replace Your Serpentine Belt

The serpentine belt is a rubber belt that runs along all of the pulleys on the front of your engine. It transfers the rotation of your crankshaft to other components and accessories that run other systems, such as the alternator, water pump, power steering, air conditioning, and more. These belts wear out over time and should be replaced regularly. If you don’t, the belt will break, and you’ll need to replace it immediately. This generally isn’t too difficult in most vehicles, and is a job you can do yourself.

Air conditioner recharge kit

#43: Recharge Your AC

Summer is here, and it can be a challenge to keep cool if your air conditioner isn’t working. The first step to any AC repair is to use a recharge kit to try breathing some new life – or more accurately, refrigerant – into the system. In many cases, this, by itself, will get your AC working again. If it doesn’t, you’ll likely need to call in the professionals, but it’s a good first step that you can do yourself before then.

use a funnel to fill radiator with new engine coolant

#44: Fix Your Radiator

Your engine needs to keep cool as well, and that’s your radiator’s job. The radiator literally radiates the heat that your engine generates out into the open air. Problems can occur the radiator springs a leak, requiring a patch or complete replacement. This isn’t as hard as it may seem. It’s a job you can do yourself.

#45: Replace Your Starter

If you turn the key, nothing happens, and you know you have a good battery, the problem is most likely a failed starter. This is one of the more complex jobs on this list, and may require you to crawl under the car to reach the starter itself. Once under there, though, there are just a couple of bolts holding the starter to the side of the engine or transmission, a nut that holds the positive battery cable on, and sometimes a wiring harness to unplug. In most cars this job is easy enough to tackle it yourself.

#46: Clean Your Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors spray precisely the correct amount of fuel into your engine’s cylinders to mix with air, ignite, and make the engine run. Sometimes injectors can get clogged with debris that makes it past the fuel filter, causing poor performance. If this happens, you can get a kit that will pretty much do all the work for you once you connect it to your engine, which is easy to do yourself.

a worn out spark plug in need of replacement

#47: Replace Your Spark Plugs

Spark plugs ignite the fuel/air mixture inside the cylinder that enables the engine to run. Like dirty fuel injectors, spark plugs can get dirty or fouled over time, requiring inspection and replacement. Although they can be difficult to reach on certain engines in certain cars, you can typically replace your spark plugs yourself. Even in hard-to-reach places, you can usually buy socket extensions and other tools that’ll let you reach them.

Cleaning the mass air flow sensor

#48: Clean Your Mass AIr Flow Sensor

The final piece of the puzzle, air, enters the engine through your intake system. The mass air flow sensor measures how much air is coming in, allowing the engine computer to adjust the flow of fuel for the best possible mixture. This, too, can get dirty and clogged at times, which will send false readings to the computer and harm engine performance. A good first step at diagnosing the problem is to clean the sensor yourself. Even if this doesn’t fix the problem, you now know where the sensor is located, making it easy for you to take the next step and replace it.

egr valve

#49: Clean Your EGR Valve and EGR Ports

EGR stands for “exhaust gas recirculation.” To improve emissions, your engine will sometimes send a little bit of your exhaust back into the intake side of your engine, burning it a second time. Sometimes the valve can get stuck open or closed, or the ports leading to and from the valve can get clogged with debris, each resulting in a poor running condition. You can clean the EGR valve and ports to make your engine run smoothly once again.

#50: Replace Your Oxygen Sensor

Once the combustion process is complete, the oxygen sensors tell the engine computer how good a job it’s doing. By measuring how much oxygen remains in the exhaust before and after the catalytic converter, the engine computer can adjust the fuel/air mixture to optimize power and efficiency.

Sometimes an oxygen sensor fails, giving false readings to the engine computer. When this happens, the sensor needs to be replaced. This is typically done either under the hood or underneath the car, but either way, with the help of a special oxygen sensor socket, you can do this yourself.

FAQs

What Are 10 Basic Car Repairs You Should Know?

We have an article all about the Top 10 Easiest DIY Auto Repair Jobs. These are the ten easiest jobs on our list, including oil changes, replacing your wipers, and rotating tires. If you’re starting to work on cars yourself for the first time, any of these jobs is a great place to start.

What Car Repairs Should You Not Do Yourself?

You won’t find these jobs on our list above. The Top 10 Car Repair Jobs to Outsource Instead of DIY are all on the difficult end of the spectrum. All of these are quite complicated to tackle yourself. Some of them require specialized equipment that only a shop will have. In other cases, the consequences of not getting it right the first time can have disastrous consequences, including catastrophic engine or transmission failure. Save your money by doing the easy jobs yourself, and let the shop change your timing belt so you know it’ll get done right.

Why Do Car Repairs Cost So Much?

Some diehard DIYers will tell you it’s because shops are ripoffs, interested in nothing more than padding their pockets with your hard-earned cash. While bad eggs like this do exist, they are few and far between. Yes, taking your car to a shop will cost more than fixing it yourself, but there are good reasons for that.

Professional mechanics have gone to school or otherwise been trained in the art of car repairs. They know what they’re doing, and have more resources than we do to figure out what’s wrong with your car and how to make it right. Tools are expensive, and each technician usually buys and provides their own. They need to have more tools than the average home hobbyist. While you might only use a crank pulley removal tool once, they have to use it regularly. Since professionals use their tools all the time, they also need higher quality tools than the ones at your local discount hardware store, which will last while being used day in and day out.

The shop itself costs money to run, too. Costs range from overhead expenses like rent and taxes, to specialized equipment like car lifts, tire mounting and balancing equipment, professional OBD2 scan tools that are far more capable than the ones we use. The shop needs to stay in business, and the technician working on your car deserves to be paid fairly for their skill and knowledge.

What Are the Easiest Things To Fix On a Car?

Check out our 10 Car Maintenance Tips for Beginners. To summarize:

  • Read your owner’s manual
  • Clean the windshield
  • Check tire pressure and tread
  • Check fluid levels and top off as needed
  • Check your battery
  • Change your oil at the right time
  • Replace your air filter
  • Replace your windshield wipers
  • Replace your headlight bulbs
  • Clean EGR valve and ports

When Is It Not Worth Repairing a Car?

Sometimes, your vehicle may break down so badly that it will cost more to repair than it’s worth. That money would be better spent on a replacement vehicle that’s in better condition. But how do you know when the time has come? There are some red flags it’s time to replace your car that you should look for. If one or more of these is true, it’s probably best to think twice before spending more money on your current car.

Justin-Hughes

Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

Justin Hughes
Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.

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