Video:Basic Auto Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourselfwith Mitchell Zelman
You don't need to leave all of your car's maintenance tasks to professionals; you can do some yourself. This video from About.com will show you some basic auto maintenance tasks you can do yourself.See Transcript
Transcript:Basic Auto Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself
Hi, I'm Mitchell Zelman, owner and mechanic at Mitchell's Auto Repair in Brooklyn New York and the author of "What The Experts May Not Tell You About Car Repair," here for About.com. Today I'm going to show you some simple things that you can check and repair yourself underneath the hood.
DIY Car Repair: Windshield Washer and Power Steering Fluids
We're going to check the windshield washer level. First of all, find the blue cap – which usually designates windshield washer fluid. Some have a dipstick on it, so you can see exactly how much washer fluid is in here. If it registers low on the dipstick then you would just fill this up almost to the brim.
With power steering fluid there's a level – a lower and a higher level. You can see through the plastic bottle to make sure that the amount of power steering fluid is in between those two levels.
DIY Car Repair: Checking Oil
With checking oil level in the car the engine needs to be off, pull out the dipstick, take a rag, wipe it down, reinsert it into the hole, push it in all the way and then of course look at the level. When you remove it, look for a tab. In this case it has two dots. So, the oil level is at the upper dot. Which indicates that it's full. If it were at the lower dot, it would need about a quart of oil. Then you would open up the oil cap and add the oil into here. And, of course, on most caps it'll tell you. In this case it's 5W30 oil.
DIY Car Repair: Changing an Air Filter
With regard to checking and changing an air filter: the air filter captures the particles of dust and dirt before they actually enter the engine. So it's a very important part. Eventually the air filter gets clogged and it needs to be replaced. If it's not replaced and it gets dirty, then of course it affects your engine performance and gas mileage. Some cars have clips that hold this cover down. Some cars have a screw. In this case it's a screw. Lift up the cover, remove the air filter. This is a new one. Insert it into the box. Put the cover back down and then tighten up the screws that hold it in place.
DIY Car Repair: Hood Struts
Sometimes a hood will not remain up once you lift it. The reason is that the hood struts, the little shock absorbers, get weak over time. And they can be replaced and most people can replace them themselves. Just block off the other side because once we open that the hood will drop. To change the hood strut, simply take a small screwdriver, insert it here, remove the clip. Same thing on the bottom. Pull the clip back and the strut is out.
DIY Car Repair: Clean Grill
Another thing a person should do is raise up the hood and take a look in this area. One thing you notice is that there's a grill. And there could be a build of leaves and other debris in this area. So a person should either vacuum it out or use a garden hose and wash this area and keep it clean. Whatever dirt and dust does get through will eventually get into what is called the cabin air filter. And this filter prevents all of this dust, pollen, leaves and other debris from getting in through the vents of the cabin of the car and getting into the cabin of the car. So, periodically, I'd say abut every 15,000 miles or so, pull the cabin filter and replace it.
DIY Car Repair: What to Avoid
Two things I wouldn't recommend doing yourself, one of which would be changing the oil in the oil filter because of the risk that's involved in sliding underneath a car that's lifted onto a jack. God forbid it should fall. The second thing would be, any time you're going to be working or looking in your engine compartment and the engine is running, just be aware that if you're wearing a scarf or a necktie, it could get caught in a fan belt and pull you into the engine.
Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.