Versatile Parent: How to Double as a Mechanic and Save Needed Cash

After housing, transportation is likely to be one of your biggest expenses. As a parent, you need a safe and reliable vehicle to take your child to school, extracurricular activities, pediatrician visits and family visits. With these do-it-yourself mechanical tips, you can save some much-needed cash and handle many of your own vehicle maintenance and repair needs.

Fluid Levels

Your vehicle has many different fluids. Each of these fluids must be maintained at optimal levels and changed as recommended in your owner’s manual. Instead of taking your car to the mechanic for this, you can add power steering fluid, transmission fluid, wiper fluid and brake fluid yourself. The owner’s manual will explain which types of fluids are required for your vehicle, the amount and where the access portal is located.

Oil Changes

Oil changes are simple enough to do on a weekend afternoon. You’ll need a collection pan for draining the old oil. Wear a pair of gloves, a face mask and goggles. A jack is helpful for lifting up your vehicle while you work. Check your owner’s manual so you know what kind of replacement oil to buy for your vehicle. Recycle the old oil at an appropriate hazardous waste collection center.

Windshield Replacement

A chipped or cracked windshield is a common problem. Traveling behind a vehicle such as a semi-truck or tractor trailer can cause a flying rock to hit the windshield. Professionals, like those at Martin Glass Co., know that ice, birds, and other impacts can also damage the windshield. Replacing your own involves removing the plastic moldings and clips, releasing the old windshield and preparing the frame to receive the new windshield. It is best to do this project with another person because the glass is heavy. If you cannot do your own repair, consider a professional windshield replacement.

Tire Inflation and Rotation

When warm temperatures suddenly drop, your tires can lose pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires yields poor fuel economy. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires wear unevenly and may cause problems with traction control and braking. A computerized air pump allows you to accurately fill your tires with the correct amount of air. With a jack and some mechanic’s tools, you can rotate your own tires. For the best results, rotate your tires about every 3,000 miles.

Being a parent is expensive. By making your own simple car repairs and doing your own maintenance, you can save a bundle on routine transportation costs. These tips will provide you with the confidence to do it yourself.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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