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Car Maintenance 101, Do It Yourself

Paying for maintenance and repairs on your car can get expensive, although it is necessary to ensure that your car continues to run smoothly and safely over an extended period. If you recently purchased your car, your warranty may be contingent upon having the maintenance done at the dealership or a licensed mechanic shop. If this is so, then it may be worth it to pay for the maintenance. Otherwise, the best things that you can do is to know how to work on your car. Not only will doing maintenance yourself help you understand more about how the car runs, but it can also save you money. Even if you have absolutely no automotive experience, there are some maintenance tasks that you can do yourself.

Air Filter

When the air filter becomes dirty and clogged, the engine can begin to choke and sputter. Changing the filter regularly may keep your car running well, and it only takes a few minutes. Air filters can look different from car to car. It is helpful to look under the hood and find the air filter, so you know what it looks like. The easiest way to make sure that you choose the right one at the auto parts store is to find the make, model, and year of your car in the manual that they have. If they get it out, and it looks right, then you know you have a match!

Air filters usually aren't very expensive, so it isn't usually a big deal to replace the old one with a new one, although you may simply try to clean your filter out if you are interested in putting off your purchase for a while longer.

Oil Change

When it is time to change the oil and oil filter in your car, the first thing you should do is sure that you buy the right type of oil. Your owner's manual should say what type of oil is right, although you can ask the person at the auto parts store to look it up if you need to. Also, make sure that you have a container for the old oil to drain into.

Avoid changing the oil when the car engine is hot. Heat causes the oil to expand and pressurize, so you are much more likely to get burned if you don't wait for the oil to cool. Locate the oil pan underneath the car engine and place the container underneath. Unscrew the plug and allow all of the oil to drain. An oil filter wrench can help you easily remove the filter and the rubber gasket. Replace it with a new gasket and a new filter. Then, replace the plug in the oil pan and use a funnel to pour the oil into the engine. Use the dipstick to check the oil level and ensure that you have used the appropriate amount.

These are just a few of the types of car maintenance 101 that you can do to save money and ensure that your car is safe and ready to drive. If you have never replaced a filter or done an oil change, you may be surprised at how simple it is.

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