1. Air Filter
- Tools You Need: None
- Time to Complete: 10 minutes
- Estimated Cost: $10
You need a new air filter for your car every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. You can pay a mechanic and give up your car for a day, or you can replace your air filter at home in about ten minutes.
- First, find your filter under the hood of your car. It’s in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Check your owner’s manual if you don’t see it as soon as you pop the hood.
- Open up the casing, and check out how the air filter fits inside it. Make a note of which way the filter faces.
- Remove the old air filter, and insert the new one exactly how the old one sat.
- Remember to close the metal clips when you’re done.
That’s it. For extra savings in the long run, you can extend the life of your new air filter by hitting it with some compressed air to clear out any debris.
2. Windshield Wipers
- Tools You Need: None
- Time to Complete: 15 minutes
- Estimated Cost: $10 to $20
- I laugh when I visit my local auto parts store and see that they’re having a sale on wiper blades, offering free installation. The free installation only applies if I buy the most expensive blades in the store, so I started changing them on my own. You’ll need new wiper blades after about six months or a year of use. You probably tend to go a little longer before asking your mechanic to change them, but you shouldn’t deal with the danger of streaking while you put off an inconvenient trip to the auto shop.Wiper blade setup differs quite a bit from car to car, so you may have to follow a few different steps according to your owner’s manual. Basically, the process is similar to changing your air filter:
- Lift the blades, as if you were washing your windshield by hand, and remove the old blades.
- Pay attention to how the old blades connect to the metal arms.
- On most models, you’ll see a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab to remove the old blade.
- Attach the new blades, being careful not to bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Line everything up and make sure the new ones are secure and tight.
If you get distracted or just can’t remember exactly how the new blades should fit on the wiper arm, don’t worry. The packaging for the new blades should have a general set of instructions and a helpful diagram.