2 car repairs to do on your own

On the Road 2 min read

Car repair isn’t as complicated as you think. You don’t have to be an auto expert. You just need to be mindful of your vehicle’s needs. If you want to embrace a DIY mindset, here are two car repairs to do on your own. (#2 could save you from getting stranded someday!)

Change your windshield wiper blades

Visibility problems are a common cause of traffic accidents. If you can’t see the road clearly, potential for running into or over something is high. Do you want to take that risk? No!

Wiper blades are like glasses or contact lenses for your car. Without them, your windshield would be covered in debris and you couldn’t see. It’s like driving with a blindfold. Scary!

Most automotive experts recommend replacing your wiper blades every six months. How can you tell it’s time for a replacement? It’s simple! Use your senses.

Look — do the wiper blades leave streaks? Listen — are they making any squeaking noises? If so, your wiper blades are probably worn out and need to be replaced ASAP. Buy a new set and replace them in these easy steps.

1. Pull both wipers away from the windshield (so they are pointing up).

2. Remove the old blade (details vary depending on type of blade – you might need a screwdriver).

3. Align your new blade with the wiper arm (the hook where you just disconnected the old blade). Make sure the blade is secured as tightly as possible and push both wipers against the windshield.

Top off your coolant (antifreeze)

Coolant does just what its name implies — keeps your car cool. If you ever have to pull over because your engine is overheating, make checking your coolant your first step.

Note: There are different kinds of coolant available, so you need to choose the right blend for your car. Read your owner’s manual or do a search for “coolant for (your make/model)” to access that info.

If your owner’s manual is already open, look for a diagram of your car engine. The most important auto parts are labeled so you can find them quickly. Check for the coolant reservoir tank.

Got it? Good! You should see some markings that indicate “min” (minimum) and “max” (maximum) on the reservoir tank. If it’s low, that means you need to top it off with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water (always let your engine cool off first).

Most blends of coolant already have the appropriate amount of water added. I recommend buying one of those, because then you can refill your coolant on-the-go without having to find a source of water. Buy a filter, too (unless you want to make a mess).

You’re almost done. Look for your radiator. If you need help, consult your owner’s manual for a hint. Does it have a cap? If not, do nothing. If so, take off the cap and look inside. Can you see any coolant? If not, add coolant until it’s visible at the lowest point of the filler neck.

Understand: it’s rare to run out of coolant unless you have a leak somewhere. Check its level again the next day. If it’s getting low, schedule an appointment with a mechanic to address the problem. Overheating could damage your engine and cost you thousands of dollars. Don’t procrastinate! 

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