More maintenance, less problems
Knowing how to do basic automotive maintenance is just as necessary as being able to manage homework, work and having a decent social life.
Although it might require you to buy some tools and spend a bit out of pocket, it will definitely be worth your time in the long run.
By maintaining your own car you’ll be able to save yourself from getting stuck at the side of the road and use the money you save from paying a mechanic to eat something other than grilled cheese for the eighth time this week.
One major service car owners might forget is checking fluid. No, not your Jameson stash. Fluids are important because they’re in places that you may not have thought of — like the car’s brakes.
Changing your oil is also crucial.
In fact, my first convertible blew up because my oil pan started leaking after hitting a parking meter, which caused my engine to explode, all because there was no oil in my car.
Not having oil or coolant can cause a rod to go straight through the engine, requiring an expensive engine swap. Neglect can cost you a lot of money, and I’m pretty sure everyone is trying to save that money for an extra slice of pizza.
“These cars run forever. The only thing that would kill it is if you don’t put oil or coolant in it,” said Ben, my mechanic from Ben’s LLC Specializing in Mercedes-Benz.
Keep in mind, I don’t have a new Benz — I drive a 39-year-old 4-speed 240d, with a diesel engine and only 68 horsepower. My old 1989 BMW E30 daily driver had 171 horsepower. I like old German cars, fight me.
The real fun comes with how much dough you save from doing all of these tasks by yourself. Trust me, it’s not that hard, especially with the power of Youtube and how-to guides. A synthetic oil change at a Pennzoil or Jiffy Lube costs $44.99, and you’re going to have to wait in line at these service stations. If you decide to be adventurous, you can pay $6 for an oil filter.
The average car needs five to eight quarts of oil, according to your mechanic.com. The exact amount really depends on the year, model, make and size of your car.
A Camry doesn’t need 15 quarts of oil but an enormous V8 powerstroke diesel truck, the size of your old elementary school portable classroom, does need those 15 quarts.
Along with checking fluids, changing worn out parts is important because you don’t want to find yourself driving up Scott Street — the super steep hill part of San Francisco — with worn out brakes. Worst case scenario, you’ll be rolling back into a car behind you.
The total cost of buying the necessary amount of oil ends up being more expensive than just the supplies, depending on what brand you decide to buy. A 10, 12 or 13 millimeter wrench and drain pad will cost under $30.
Buying tools can be intimidating.
You might ask yourself, “Why exactly do I need to buy a $200 tool kit when I can buy a few wrenches and call it a day?” The answer to this solution is at Harbor Freight.
Harbor Freight is the best place to get these tools for non-mechanics.
Most of these tools are cheaply made but they work. You can get a 9-piece fully polished wrench set for $7.99 instead of spending extra money at an AutoZone or ACE Hardware.
With any modern car, the only tools you truly need for basic maintenance are a jack, a wrench and some towels. You might stress yourself out and break something unless you already know what you’re doing with power tools.
Over time, minor maintenance that keeps your car from utter demise really adds up. A service that has to be done every three thousand miles or so, by you, the now motivated do-it-yourselfer, can save you some big bucks.
After a year, you can save up to a third of the costs if you buy discounted tools and take four minutes out of your day to learn these simple maintenances. The amount of time you’d spend sitting around waiting to get your car back
can be used to binge-watch Netflix instead of crying, I mean, studying for midterms.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about your car blowing up, just your GPA.