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DIY Car Maintenance: 6 Projects You Could Finish in a Day

There is no question used cars require maintenance. And if you are a first-time car owner, you might be surprised how much maintenance they'll actually need. However, this shouldn't be alarming, nor does it have to be expensive. There are many routine maintenance tasks that you can do yourself.

"Keeping your air filter clean will increase your car's overall power and gas mileage."

Doing your own maintenance is a great way to save some money, get to know your car and extend the life of your vehicle. Cars get dirty and run down, so keeping them fresh and clean will help you in the long run.

Here are six tips, or areas that you can focus on, when doing your own maintenance:

  1. Wiper Blades: These babies keep your windshield clean and allow you to see, so there is no argument regarding their importance. Additionally, waiting until the last minute to replace your wiper blades is never a good idea. According to Money Crashers, you should replace your wiper blades every six months to a year. If you do it on your own, this will take you only 15 or 20 minutes, and can cost as little as $10.
  2. Spare Tire: You should always keep adequate air pressure in your tires, and check this periodically. But that doesn't mean you should neglect your spare tire. When the temperature changes air pressure does as well, so make sure your spare is ready to go in case it is needed. Not all maintenance tasks mean fixing a problem - just being prepared.
  3. Fluids: Keeping your fluids topped off is something you can do on your own. Whether it's windshield wiper fluid or brake fluid, you should periodically make sure your levels are as they should be. According to Bankrate, windshield wiper fluid is only about $2 to $4 a gallon, while brake fluid can be anywhere from $3 to $17. Anti-freeze is also an important fluid to keep an eye on, especially as the weather is changing. Gallons of anti-freeze tend to run about $10 to $16.
  4. Air Filter: The engine air filter is important because it allows oxygen to move through your engine and keep it cool. Like any filter, it accumulates dust and filth and needs to be replaced. According to One Cent at a Time, a lifestyle and financial blog, keeping your air filter clean will also increase your car's overall power and gas mileage.
  5. Headlight Bulbs: If you find your headlights are getting low, or maybe one has already gone out, don't waste time. Headlight bulbs are simple to replace and don't require the assistance of a mechanic. While there are some vehicles that contain sealed-beam headlights, which will require you to visit an auto shop, many do not, making it simple for you to simply take out the old bulb and put a new one in. Just make sure you get the right type of bulb.
  6. Battery: Cleaning your battery from time to time will keep it efficient and help it last longer. Your battery will accumulate dirt and grime, which is normal, and you should  scrape it away. This can be as simple as using a wire brush. If corrosion is pretty bad on your battery, then you should consider purchasing an anti-corrosive fluid that will help break it down.

Don't be afraid of doing maintenance on your own car. You can save a great deal of money, and if you get in the habit of taking care of it, your vehicle will last longer. You should also get into the routine of having the items you need in your garage, so as time goes on you'll spend less money to keep your car in good working order.