Put that phone down! You don’t need to phone the garage just yet. Here are five car DIY jobs you can easily do yourself.
01 Upgrade your bulbs
Changing your bulbs is one of those things that’s quick to do, but makes a big improvement. No matter what your car, brighter bulbs are available off the shelf, so there’s no problem there (unless you drive a new car with LED lights).
Even better, the car’s handbook will tell you how to change them, or if you’ve not got a handbook, there’s always a Haynes Manual. Quick to do, and it’ll make driving at night much safer.
02 Change your oil
People get ‘the fear’ when it comes to changing oil, but they really needn’t. It’s literally one bolt and an oil filter that screws on/off.
You can get the parts from almost any motor factor (check your Haynes guide for the correct oil) and all you need in terms of tools is a jack, a spanner, an oil filter wrench and some axle stands.
Jack it up, support it, undo the bolt in the oil pan, remove the filter, fit the new one, put the bolt back in, fill it up with fresh oil. So very simple indeed, and your engine will thank you.
03 Check your coolant
What’s not good is getting to winter and not having enough coolant – as in the concentration of it, not the level. If the mix is too weak, your engine can still freeze up, rendering your car as nothing more than a big ice cube. Handily, you can buy tester kits (they look like a big pipette) that will tell you if you need more.
It’s dead easy to do. Just pop the lid off your header tank, take a sample with the tester, and add coolant as required. If you need to remove some, you can do this by undoing a jubilee clip on a lower radiator hose.
04 Rotate your tyres
No, we don’t mean just go for a drive. Though we suppose that is also technically rotating the tyres. What we mean here is swapping the wheels around. It’s more the preserve of older cars that don’t have electronic traction systems.
The logic here is that it spreads tyre wear over all four, rather than wearing out your fronts first, which generally wear faster what with turning.
For a rear-wheel drive car, you want to go right front to left rear, left rear to left front, left front to right rear, right rear to right front. For front-wheel drive, right front to right rear, right rear to left front, left front to left rear, left rear to right front. If you have directional tyres, just swap front and rear on each side.
05 Fit a new stereo
Who doesn’t love some solid, pumping bass? Exactly, nobody. Most modern car stereos have everything you need, AUX inputs, Bluetooth, CD, MP3, the list goes on. Older cars don’t though.
Buying a stereo is simple enough, and so is the fitting. You’ll need to buy removal pins (normally a couple of pounds off the internet) to yank the old one out.
The new one will come with a ‘cage’ to hold it. This fits in the hole and has tabs that you push out with a screwdriver to secure it. Most cars have a standard ISO connector, so all you have to do is plug it in and away you go. Turn it up to 11!