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Simple do-it-yourself maintenance tasks

While it may seem daunting to the uninitiated, there are some simple car maintenance tasks that you can do yourself, saving some hard-earned cash and valuable time in the process. The following can easily be handled with basic tools and in no time.

Changing spark plugs: With a plug spanner, this is a fairly simple process. The main rule to remember is to change one spark plug at a time as they are arranged in a specific order. Refer to the manual to get the correct spark plugs for your vehicle and the rest is as simple as remove, replace and re-attaching the spark plug wire.

Changing the oil: This again seems more daunting than it really is. First, make sure you have the right oil and that the car is parked on a flat surface and the engine has cooled down. Unscrew the drain plug and wait until all the oil is drained into a container before untwisting the oil filter. Replace the filter, lubricating the rim with new oil and the plug before putting in new oil.

Battery maintenance: Over time, a crunchy white residue forms on the battery terminals and this can prevent the free flow of current, meaning a stalled car, especially in the morning. Simply, remove the terminals, starting with the negative pole and use a wire brush and a cleaning agent like WD40 or simply cola soda to get rid of the gunk. Dry the terminals thoroughly before replacing the terminals.

Tyre rotation: It is generally advisable to rotate the tyres with every service. Move the left tyres to the right and then front tyres to the back and vice versa. This ensures even wear as tyres wear differently depending on whether the car is a Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) or All Wheel Drive (AWD).

Replacing wiper blades: This is one of the simplest of tasks. First of all, get the right wiper blades for your car. These vary from car to car and it’s not advisable to get them from traffic hawkers. Simply locate the release latch, which is more or less similar for all cars and replace the old blades, making sure that the blade sits perfectly on the windshield. If they’re not completely worn, you can extend the life of your wiper blades by wiping them with brake fluid to keep the rubber from drying in the sun.

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