The word repair has a lot of baggage with it but it actually covers a lot of tasks – some of which you wouldn’t even really consider repairs, like changing brake pads and tyres.
It’s not just old cars that need repairs either. Even new cars will probably need small tweaks from time to time to be kept working at their best.
In this section, I’ve created a range of blogs about the most essential aspects of car repair that you’ll need to know when it comes to running a vehicle.
How to use a car jack
Car jacks are one of those essential car tools that you really need to get your head around if you want to be able to carry out really important car maintenance tasks, like changing wheels and brake pads.
There are two types of car jacks:
- Scissor jacks
- Pump jacks
Scissor jacks are pretty small and quick portable, but they’re a bit more labour intensive to use. A pump jack is much larger but is more efficient in terms of the energy you have to expend to get it to work.
They’re not that difficult to use. You basically put your scissor jack or pump jack under the car, and then wind it or pump it up. The jack will then lift the car off the ground, enabling you to access the very bottom of the car or the wheels.
I’ve written a guide on how to use a car jack to help you get to grips with the basics.
How to check your brake pads
Your brake pads are one of the most important parts of your car. They’re also one of the things that you’ll need to get regularly checked and replaced.
The key signs you need to check your brake pads are:
- Hearing squeaking noises whenever you brake
- Feeling the car pull to one side whilst braking
- General sluggishness when braking
To check the brake pads, you’ll need to take your wheel off and then do a quick visual check, measuring the depth of the pad to check that it’s legal.
Replacing worn-down brake pads is one of the most common car repairs that practically all garages are able to carry out. That said, they’re easy enough to change yourself too. If you’re feeling ambitious, then check out my guide about how to check your brake pads.
Common car problems
Luckily, a lot of problems are common to all different types of cars and can be relatively easily fixed. We’re not saying that every single car on the UK road is shoddily-built – just that the shared design and technology common to the vast majority of cars makes it easier to pinpoint potential problems that might occur.
Common car problems like scratches to the car’s finish, flat batteries in the winter, broken lights and flat tyres can all be easily fixed.
I thought I’d help you out and create a guide to the most common car problems you’re likely to encounter when you’re leasing.
Easy DIY car repairs
Let’s face the awkward truth – car repairs don’t come cheap.
Admittedly, some problems are going to be pretty serious and will need to be repaired your local garage, but some can be relatively easily repaired by yourself – if you know what you’re doing, that is.
For example, changing your air filter isn’t as hard as you think if you’re confident enough with the process. The same goes for changing tyres, replacing windscreen wipers and filling up fluids.
So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite easy DIY car repairs so that you can have a go at saving money on your car maintenance routine.
Car glass repairs
If you aren’t careful, slight damage to the glass in your car can end up causing much more extensive damage in the long term. That’s why getting it fixed as soon as possible makes sense.
What might seem a slight crack or chip in the glass of your car today can actually end up causing massive damage tomorrow.
How easy it is to actually fix the glass in your car depends on the extent of the damage. No crack or chip will stay the same size – it will only grow over time. That obviously means that stabilising the problem as soon as possible makes a lot of sense.
Kits to stabilise small cracks and chips exist but getting it repaired professionally can improve the lifespan of the glass in the long term to be honest.
You can find out more information about the different types of car glass repairs in my blog.
Most reliable cars
The majority of people don’t really enjoy carrying out car repairs. And I don’t blame them. I know I certainly don’t.
Unless you’re a mega car buff who lives, eat and sleeps everything to do with internal combustion engines, you’ll probably want to spare yourself as much non-essential car maintenance as possible. That means that you’ll be looking for reliability above everything else.
I decided to make a list of the most reliable new cars that are available on the UK market, using the pretty damn powerful, LeaseFetcher search function.
I’m going to keep you in suspense. Read my blog about the most reliable cars I've found here.
Does toothpaste remove scratches?
It might sound like I’ve lost my mind, but there’s a widely held belief that toothpaste can help remove scratches on the surface of your car.
Ever the sucker for wacky old wives’ tales, I thought I’d do some more research into this and find out if there was any truth behind the mystery.
It turns out there might be a smidgen of truth to the tale, after all.
You can find out more in my blog, Does Toothpaste Remove Scratches?.
How to fix deep scratches on a car
Removing scratches on a car isn’t usually that difficult – but it does depend on how deep they’ve gone down into the protective layers and paintwork of your car. There are usually three or four layers of finish to your car:
- The basic, bare metal of the car
- The primer/ undercoat layer
- The paint layers of the car
- The top clear coat layers of the car
Deep scratches that go as deep as the paintwork but not as far as the bare metal of the body panel can usually be fixed with a top-up paint pen and a can of clear coat spray. Scratches that hit the bare metal layer of your car are much more serious and will probably need to be fixed by a bodyshop or a professional.
I look at how to fix deep scratches on a car in my blog.
How to repair scrapes on a car
Personally, I’d define a scrape as damage that covers a wide area but isn’t that deep. Scrapes usually just affect the first couple of clear coat layers of the car’s finish, so they can be easily fixed with a handy can of clear coat layers.
That’s not to say that some scrapes aren’t deep – if you can see bare metal, you’re probably in trouble. Seeing bare metal means a potentially expensive trip to the garage or bodyshop.
I’ve written a guide about how to repair shallow scrapes on a car which can help you through the process!
How much does it cost to repair car scratches
So, if you’ve got a scratch on your car, how much does it cost to fix it?
In my blog, How Much Does It Cost To Repair Car Scratches, I look at the amount of money it will cost you to repair your car scratches. I’ve tackled this question from the angle of DIY repairs and also professional repairs, so I’ve given you the prices for both.
Check it out here and get clued up on what your scratch repairs might cost.
Car warning lights
We’ve all been driving along and noticed one of those terrifying car warning lights flick on.
They can often seem like you need a code book to determine what they actually are, so what do these strange hieroglyphs that appear on your dashboard at the most awkward times mean?
You’re in luck, because I’ve decided to write you a cheat sheet about car warning lights.
What does a car warranty cover?
A car warranty is essentially a type of guarantee that says car manufacturers will repair or replace a new car, if there are any problems with it over the particular period of time that the warranty runs for.
Warranties are useful when it comes to protecting you from unexpected repair bills.
The good news is that most car manufacturers rely on warranties as promotional tool for their cars, so they’re often in competition with each other to net leasers and buyers. This means that most warranties are pretty extensive and you can get some good deals if you shop around a bit and check out different manufacturers.
You can find out more about what a car warranty covers in my blog.
Top 10 common car repairs
Luckily (although it might not seem it at the time if it happens to you) some car repairs are more common than others. This means that they’ll actually be easier to fix – and probably less expensive to get sorted. The 10 most common car repairs that I’ve found over my time running a lot of cars and doing my own research are:
- Fitting new tyres
- Fixing the brakes
- Changing the oil or oil filter
- Replacing the battery
- Aligning the wheels
- Tuning up the engine
- Replacing windscreen wiper blades
- Adding antifreeze
- Replacing the air filter
- Regular maintenance and servicing
In my blog, I explore these in more detail and give you all the info you need to fix them.