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
• If they skip areas of your windshield as they wipe
• If the rubber squeegee is tearing
• 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.
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.
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 as 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MuscoplatPosted on by Rick Muscoplat