Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Four easy car repairs you can do yourself

Replace worn wiper blades

Thirty years ago shops used to replace just the rubber insert portion of a wiper blade because that’s the only part that wears out. Unfortunately, it takes longer to replace the insert than it does to replace the entire blade assembly. So shops now replace the entire wiper blade assembly and that can cost you up to $25 each.

When to replace wiper blades

• As soon as they begin to streak or chatter

worn wiper blace



• If they skip areas of your windshield as they wipe

• If the rubber squeegee is tearing

damaged wiper blade


















• If the rubber portion is weathered or cracked.

Replacing the wiper blade assembly is a DIY repair

Windshield wiper blades attach to the wiper arm with one of these three popular methods: J-hook, side pin, and bayonet. But rear window wiper blades attach with one of many different methods. No matter which attachment method your vehicle uses, replacement is simply just a matter of activating the unlocking latch and snapping on a new blade.

Understanding the different types of wiper blades

The oldest style wiper blade is referred to as a spring arm. It has multiple supports that apply pressure to the rubber insert. They’re the least expensive of the three types, but they tend to clog with snow and ice in the winter.

A beam arm wiper blade is built with a single piece of spring steel, so it doesn’t clog with snow or ice in winter. See this post for more information on the different wiper blade styles. See this post for more information on the different wiper blade styles

How to shop for new wiper blades

You can buy new wiper blades at any auto parts store buy you’ll pay far more than buying the same part online. Here’s a great alternative. Anco and Trico are the two largest wiper blade, manufacturers. Go to their website and enter your vehicle information to find the wiper part numbers for your vehicle. Then search for those part numbers using any search engine. In my experience, Rockauto.com and amazon.com are the two cheapest sources. Click on the Anco and Trico logos below to find the right wiper blade for your vehicle.

Anco wiper blade

trico wiper blade



Wiper blade installation videos

See this post for a step-by-step installation of a J-hook wiper blade. If your vehicle has one of the other styles, visit the manufacturer’s website for installation videos. Click on the manufacturer logos below to find their installation videos.

Anco wiper blade

trico wiper blade



Fix cloudy headlights yourself

Modern composite headlight lenses are made from polycarbonate plastic. Carmakers chose polycarbonate because it’s highly resistant to breakage from flying objects. The downside to polycarbonate lenses is it’s poor resistance to scratching. To counteract that, carmakers coat the front of the lens with a scratch-resistant clear coating. Over time and with exposure to UV rays, the clear coating degrades and turns milky white, thereby reducing the light output from your headlights. At that point you have only two options: recondition your existing headlights or buy new ones.

Recondition cloudy headlights

Reconditioning cloudy headlights is a perfect DIY project that takes about an hour and saves you about $80 over what a shop would charge. The process involves sanding off the old clear coat, polishing the lens, and applying a new clear coat. Reconditioning kits cost about $20 and include everything you need to recondition both headlights. See this post for the step-by-step process.

Lubricate window tracks

If your side windows don’t move up and down as quickly lubricate window channelas they used to, all it takes is a couple of shots of lubricant spray to free them up. Purchase a can of aerosol silicone lubricant or dry Teflon lube at any home center. Then lower the window and spray the lube into the window channels. Wait a few minutes for the solvent to evaporate, then run the window up and down several times to spread the lube.

Lubricate weatherstripping

Old rubber weatherstripping can cause your door to stick on hot summer days, and it can also cause your side windows to stick. Simply apply a thin film of silicone to all rubber surfaces to rejuvenate them. Purchase a can of aerosol silicone lubricant or dry Teflon lube at any home center. Spray the lubricant on a rag and wait a few minutes for the solvent to evaporate. Then wipe the lube onto the rubber weather stripping.

lubricate weather stripping

Change engine air filter

Quick oil change places often recommend replacing your engine air filter because it looks dirty. But look alone doesn’t mean it’s time to replace yours. What really counts is how much debris is stuck between the pleats and whether the filter pleats are coated with grease.

when to replace air filter

The image below shows two engine air filters that should have been replaced long ago. But the image below that shows a “dirty” air filter that doesn’t have debris in the pleats or oil/grease on the surface. That filter does not need to be replaced.

engine air filter

Find and install a new engine air filter

Fram, Wix and Purolator are well known and respected brands of engine air filters. Each brand has a parts catalog and installation instructions on their websites and on youtube.

Find the Fram engine air filter for your vehicle here.

Find a Wix engine air filter for your vehicle here

©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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