Things to Know About DIY Auto Maintenance - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru

Vehicle maintenance can be a hassle. Sometimes there's just not enough time to handle everything you need for work and the house- AND drop the car off at a shop. Luckily, there are things that you can do on your own time. These DIY tasks are simple and straightforward so you can handle these maintenance procedures on your own.

Please remember, automotive work can be dangerous. Always make sure you take the necessary safety precautions and have the proper tools for the job. If you feel uncomfortable with performing any of these tasks, please bring your vehicle in to an authorized service center like ours for professional service.

Air Filter Inspection

5. Change The Air Filter

Replacing your air filter is a great place to start DIY maintenance. This process is incredibly simple, and it usually doesn't require any tools.

  1. Locate air box under the hood
  2. Open air box and inspect the filter.
  3. If the filter looks exceedingly dirty or clogged, replace it with a new one.

If you're not certain whether your engine's air filter is ready to be replaced, hold it up to a lightbulb. If you see little or no light coming through it, then it's definitely time to replace the air filter.

Replacement headlight bulbs

4. Change The Headlights

The process for replacing traditional headlights is usually very simple and only requires basic hand tools.

  1. Turn the vehicle off and pop the hood.
  2. If you can access the back of both lamps- continue to step 4
    • If not, remove anything blocking access to the lamps
  3. If necessary, remove the headlamp entirely
  4. Carefully remove the bulb and install the new one
    NOTE: Do not touch the glass of the new bulb with your bare fingers- use gloves if necessary.
  5. Reinstall everything and test the new bulb

3. Practice Changing A Flat Tire

Knowing how to change a tire is an incredibly important skill that can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money if you're ever stranded on the side of the road. Luckily, you can practice this simple process from the safety of your home.

  1. Engage parking brake
  2. Loosen the lug nuts with the tire iron, but don't remove
  3. Place the jack along the metal frame rail closest to the tire
  4. NOTE:Make sure the jack isn't under something plastic, uneven, or not made for jacks.
  5. Lift until the tire no longer touches the ground.
  6. Place the jack stand stand along the frame rail
  7. Lower vehicle on to jack stand and check that vehicle is secure
  8. Remove the lug nuts and replace the tire
  9. Tighten lug-nuts in a star pattern - crossing across to the next nut with every turn.
  10. Remove the jack stand and lower the vehicle.
  11. Ensure lug nuts are torqued to about 90lb/ft and slowly drive the car to test the new tire.
Draining oil from engine

2. Change The Oil

Changing a vehicle's old, dirty oil is an easy, important task that needs to be done several times over the course of a vehicle's life.

  1. Lift the front of the vehicle so you fit underneath
  2. Important: Use a jack stands to secure vehicle
  3. Make sure oil is cool to touch
  4. Locate old oil filter and drain plug
  5. Place the drain pan under the drain plug to catch the falling oil
  6. Unscrew drain plug until it is completely removed and oil falls freely
  7. Replace drain plug
  8. Move the drain pan underneath the oil filter.
  9. Repeat the process with the oil filter.
  10. Before you replace the filter, clean the area where the filter screws into, and make sure the old o-ring came off with the filter.
  11. Only hand-tighten the oil filter
  12. Add new oil and turn vehicle on
  13. Address any leaks seen

1. Change the Brakes

Changing your vehicle's brakes requires tools, patience, and time, but it's something that anyone can do given they take their time and pay attention.

  1. Safely lift the vehicle and remove the tire
  2. Locate the clamp-like object called a "caliper" gripping the disc where the tire sat.
  3. Remove the two large sliding bolts that hold the caliper in place.
  4. Remove the caliper- revealing the old brake pads.
  5. Replace the old pads and retainer clips.
  6. Retract the hydraulic piston inside of the caliper to accommodate space for the new pads.
  7. Replace the caliper and sliding bolts
  8. Replace tire and lower vehicle
  9. Repeat this process for all other brakes that need to be replaced.

Before you drive your vehicle, turn it on and press the brake pedal several times until pressure rebuilds in the system and your foot feels some resistance in the pedal. Also make sure that you're not leaking brake fluid anywhere.