DIY vehicle fixes
Just changed the motor that runs the windshield wiper fluid in my 89 toyota pickup yesterday.
Wow so easy! 20 bucks for the pump, 2 bolts and one screw.
I recommend to anyone to do a little research on the net before they just take their vehicle into the shop.
Some things are super easy to fix.
I also installed 2 new rear shocks last night, one had rusted in two - wasn't even attached so had to be down.
Cost me 30 bucks for each shock.
It's great isn't it.
I haven't taken a vehicle to a shop in about four years, except for flat tire repairs.
The savings of doing stuff on your own are pretty amazing and it gets addictive, I find myself getting more ambitious the more I do. I've done shocks, brakes, abs pump, water pump, thermostat, spark plugs, replaced interior parts, paint and body work, and a bunch more. Not to mention the regular maintenance (oil & filter, transmission service, coolant flush, new battery, air filter).
Looking to change a CV joint soon. Hardest part looks to be removal of the old one.
Depends on the vehicle really.
On my S2000 I did everything, clutch, transmission change, suspension, brakes you name it I did it. I could probably rebuild one from scratch.
But on my truck, I've done brakes, suspension and a few other things but everything is so heavy and so big and hard to get to I bring it in. But I usually check to see what it is first before I do bring it in and if it's an easy job I do it. A 30 minute shop job can sometimes take 2 hours at home because of limitations like no lift so it's not worth the struggle sometimes for the $50 savings.
Wheel bearings are surprisingly easy these days. I was quoted upwards of $1200.00 which motivated me to research it a little. Turns out I could buy the new bearings for about $60.00 each and because there was one very large socket required that most people don't own the store allowed customers to buy the socket and return it for a full refund within 7 days, total cost came in under $300.00. I've also changed a water pump(most retailers will give a $5.00 or $10.00 rebate for the old pump if you bring it in within a certain time limit of buying the new/rebuilt one) and repaired punctured tires with a $7.00 kit that does 5 punctures and takes about as long as it takes to pull the tire off, spend about 2 minutes fixing the puncture, and put the tire back on. The hardest part of replacing the water pump was getting the serpentine belt on, and even that wasn't as bad as I was fearing it to be.
ya, its amazing what you can do if you have a bit of time and so some research. there are lots of forums on the net where you can ask questions.
I am lucky to have a couple of buddies that are very knowledgeable and are willing to help out.
Possible leaking head fix
Here is a good diy fix that surprised me when it actually worked and that may work for someone else if they ever have a leaking head, which in my case had the symptom of very large amounts of steam exiting the tail pipe, and they do not want to sell the car for parts, pay a mechanic large sums of money to rip the heads off and fix it or spend many hours fixing it themselves.
What worked for me was to buy a block sealer which contained sodium silicate and then I drained out the water that had antifreeze in it and poured in straight water, let it heat up for about half an hour and then added in the sodium silicate mixture. From what I have read once the sodium silicate reaches the leak, which if it's leaking into the exhaust is going to be a hot-spot, the sodium silicate crystallizes and seals it up and should dissipate the heat fast enough that it doesn't reach that temp again.
My car ran fine for about 4 years after I did that, and was still running when I parked it and drove something else, and instead of junking the car or getting a really large mechanic bill all it took was about $25 and a half hour of standing around waiting for the water to heat up. I would be really surprised if that would work when water is leaking into the oil but at that point in time I don't think there really is that much to lose anyway so it's worth a shot, especially considering the negligible cost and time it takes.
Absolutely. The fuel door on Civics (at least my generation) has to be opened with a lever in the cabin. One day it quit working - seems part of the cable assembly between the lever and the door rusts out or breaks after a while. The shop would have charged me at least $160 to replace the whole assembly. Instead, after about 1 hour of researching, ordering a part online for less than $20, and 20 mins of farting around in the cabin, it was good to go. It was ingenious too... the part was just a little plastic clip that holds two parts together so that it still works, instead of having to take apart a whole bunch of trim and whatnot to replace the cable.
Originally Posted by Hawkdog
The only downside was that I had to wait for the part to be mailed out... so I suppose there was more time involved because I had to fiddle around in the trunk to open the fuel door in order to fuel up.
Last edited by Barwelle; 2012-10-30 at 02:18 PM.
My trusty Honda failed inspection because the DRL's stopped working.. The bulbs were fine so I went to the shop and they quoted something ridiculous for a new Honda chipboard. I googled it and turns out it was a common issue, and easily fixed with $20 soldering iron and a few screw drivers. I google all those little characteristics cars have now and there are a lot of good homemade solutions.
I'm pretty annoyed right now that whenever I change so much as my own tires, I have to have a dealer plug in a special computer. Luckily I found a nice mechanic who does it since I order parts through him, but there's no reason I can't do it with a smartphone or laptop really. I prefer to do all the basic stuff now even for the sake of it not being so rushed. You pay them for a full 1 hr job but if they finish it in 20 mins, bonus for them..
Mechanics make a killing now. My neighbour told me it was great, he makes 16 hours of pay in 6-7 hours if he plans his jobs correctly!
Fixing your own car is a good way to save money. Many small jobs can be done at home in the garage or driveway.
After doing this for 40 years may I offer a couple of tips?
Buy a good repair manual. Parts stores sell them specific to your car, but the best one is from the car dealer, the one their mechanics use. You can order them from the dealer but they are expensive like over $100. The parts store ones are smaller and less detailed but only $20 or $30.
The public library has repair books if you don't want to spend the money. Check out the book or photocopy the pages you need, that way you don't worry about getting their book greasy.
Second tip, today's cars will run an amazing long time with minimal upkeep as long as you follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. Read your owner's manual and go by that. You may be amazed to find you only need to change the oil half as often or less, as what the oil change place says.
One tip that saved me a bundle was in my 1996 Dodge Caravan owner's manual. It said, change the alternator brushes at 150,000 KM. Sure enough, at 180,000 KM the alternator light came on. I bought new brushes for $14 and installed them in 1/2 hour without taking the alternator off. If I had not read the book I would have been stuck for a new alternator at $320 plus labor.
I know people who follow their owners manual to the letter and have driven 300,000 or 400,000 KM with no major repairs. They even have their brake fluid changed (look in the book). When they need a brake job it's $40 for a set of pads not $700 for pads, rotors and calipers.
So, dig the owners manual out of the glove box and read the section on maintenance, it is only 2 or 3 pages. And get a repair manual. Good luck.
Last edited by Rusty O'Toole; 2012-10-30 at 05:54 PM.