Car Repair Basics You Need To Know

Repair is obviously an essential part of car maintenance.  If you want to keep your car in a good condition, then expect to have to carry out the odd repair every so often to keep your car looking and performing at its best.

Massive books and manuals, hundreds of hours of Youtube videos and entire careers have been built around the subject of car repairs, so it’s not exactly a subject that you can do justice to in a 250 word blog post.

I’m up for a challenge though, so here’s a really rough guide to car repairs!

How to repair your car

Here's a basic guide to the basics you should probably bear in mind if you're going to try and repair your car.

1. Read the car's handbook/ manual

It’s boring, but reading the manual or the handbook for your car is pretty essentially if you want to attempt a car repair and be able to use your car properly after it!

If you’re leasing a car, you’ll be given the handbook for the car when you first get it. If you’ve got a preowned car, locating the manual might be a bit more challenging – especially if the previous owner of it wasn’t that organised.

So, why is the manual or handbook important? Well, it’s because it will detail some of the most common types of maintenance that you might have to carry out on your car.  

2. Measure twice, cut once

Okay, you aren’t really going to be doing much cutting when you’re repairing a car (it’s not a hunk of wood) but this is a metaphor that’s particularly relevant when it comes to car maintenance.

Translated, it basically means 'do loads of preparation before you do anything that might have a permanent effect on the car'. The rule is a good one to hold by when it comes to car maintenance, and any form of maintenance at all really.

3. Invest in a decent toolkit

Investing in a decent toolkit will save you a lot of time, effort and swear words in the long term when it comes to car maintenance.

Good toolkits make doing repair jobs that little bit easier – you’ll really be able to feel the difference between a good set of tools and a bad set. Expensive doesn’t always necessarily mean better. Obviously don’t go for the cheapest tools available, but don’t go for the most expensive either. Mid-range toolkits are probably your best bet if you’re on a budget but want a decent set of long-term tool.

You’ll want: a jack, torque wrench, a good socket and ratchet set, a plier set and a set of screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench.

4. Record everything that you do with a camera, notebook or phone

Recording everything you do methodically is the key to a successful repair.

Some repairs can be pretty intricate, involving lots of removable parts that fit together in very specific ways. This can make it quite hard to put things back together, so using a camera or phone can be a great way to make sure that you can replace things exactly as you found them.

Easy car repairs

Some repairs are obviously harder to make by yourself than others, but not all car maintenance needs you to own a massive garage with an array of pneumatic tools. I explore a lot of commonly made car repairs in this section, but for those of you who hate reading, here are some of the easiest car repairs you can carry out yourself.

Check your battery

There isn’t much you really need to do to maintain a battery to be honest. Just the odd visual check to make sure that the terminals are clean, not leaking and are well-connected is probably enough. In the winter, a good way to make sure that your battery doesn’t run flat is to use your car regularly – not running your car for a while can increase the likelihood of it running flat.

Fill up your fluids

Keeping on top of your car’s fluids; like the oil levels, radiator level, screenwash level, brake fluid levels, under the bonnet, is a super easy way to look after your car. It’ll take you less than 15 minutes to check all of the fluid levels in your car and it will contribute to keeping your car working well.

Change your windscreen wipers

After a while, your windscreen wipers will start to wear down, reducing their effectiveness in rain and could possibly even break in some case. Changing them is a useful way to keep good visibility.