Whenever you bought your first vehicle, its fairly likely you were told that it wasn’t all just fun and games. Despite the freedom a car would give you, owning one is exactly like any other major life decision – it comes with a lot of responsibility that cannot be overlooked.
Maintaining and repairing your vehicle is one of the responsibilities that is vital. While there are many repairs or small bits of maintenance you can DIY (do it yourself), there are many maintenance items that are best to leave in the hands of a Maine auto repair mechanic.
This article will help give you some guidance on some basic car maintenance tips that you can use yourself, but also go over what maintenance you’d be better off going into the shop for. For the tasks that you can’t DIY, we here at Berube’s Auto Care in Auburn are here and ready to help you with all of your Maine Auto Repair needs.
Although complex car maintenance certainly isn’t for everyone, there are a lot of small, easy fixes that you can do yourself with little to no risk of damaging your vehicle. In fact, most of these tips are based on general repair ideas you should have in handy as they are entirely manageable by even the least auto-savvy out there.
- Replacing Windshield Wipers
You’ve likely already done this as there are few service points that offer this at a baseline. Replacing them simply involves inspecting the blades you’ve got and figuring out which model your car uses. Wipers typically are easy to detach and replace, and should be done annually (or if suddenly damaged).
- Replacing Engine Air Filter
Air filter replacement is another bit of maintenance that should be done annually as it can cause harmful particles to be released in the car if not replaced often. This can be done in the same manner as swapping out your wiper blades i.e. checking the model your car needs and inspecting it at regular intervals. Depending on your vehicle’s model, this can often be a simple task.
- Inspecting / Changing Lights
Headlights and taillights are essential to keep in check for safety reasons and because you can be fined for not doing so (just another bit of inspiration). In any case, the best course of action once you know one is burnt down is to turn off your vehicle, open the hood (or trunk for taillights), disconnect the power, unscrew the old bulb and screw in the new one, and finally reconnect everything. It’s usually quite simple depending on your vehicle model.
- Changing the Oil
This is a common bit of routine maintenance that you can easily perform yourself without much issue, though it can also be brought into a service center if you’re not entirely confident. Before beginning, consult your owner’s manual to change it as directed and also find out which oil your car will require (synthetic/non-synthetic). From there, disposing the old oil, setting the level, and draining the fluid will also be important.
- Replacing a flat tire with your Spare / Donut Tire
Knowing how to replace a tire could save you a lot of time and money… maybe even your life! Most vehicle’s have a spare tire, commonly referred to as a “donut tire”. The spare / donut tire is meant to be used in emergencies and low speeds. Consult your vehicle’s manual if you’re not sure if you have a spare / donut tire. A good place to look is under the floor of the trunk. It will usually contain a small jack to lift the vehicle, as well as a lug wrench which is used to remove the lug nuts from the wheel.
Before beginning, you’ll first want to make sure your vehicle’s emergency brake is engaged. Next you will use a jack to lift your vehicle. For safety purposes, it’s extremely important to only place the jack where your particular vehicle manufacturer recommends. Once lifted, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel by turning counter clockwise with your lug wrench. Finally, remove the lug nuts and wheel, and place the spare / donut tire onto the vehicle, making sure to secure the lug nuts on the wheel before lowering the vehicle back down to the ground. Note that spare / donut tires are typically only recommended for emergency use. They can help you out in a jam, especially if you’re broken down in a rural area and unable to find a tow truck, but they are not recommended for regular / everyday use.
It’s important to remember that even if you’re incredibly self-sufficient, it would be best to let a professional handle serious issues with your vehicle. To name just a few of these, this would include things like engine or transmission work, brakes, belt replacements, suspension / steering maintenance, and electrical work.
For those times when you do need to call a Maine auto repair pro, get in touch with Berube’s Auto Care in Lewiston! We’re here to help. Give us a call at 207-782-1125 or text us at 207-576-4156. You can also drop us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!