7 Simple Car DIY Repairs You Can Do yourself

Here are a couple of very simple DIY car repairs that you can do yourself. The good news is that these require no special skills nor complex or expensive tools. Some even need no tools! Some of these are preventive maintenance tasks and would keep your car properly tuned to deliver optimum performance.

Cabin air filter

A dirty cabin air filter

1. Changing the cabin air filter: When last did you do this? On most cars it should be replaced around 12,000-15,000 miles. The correct timing is listed in the car manual. However in dusty environments, the practice is to replace this more frequently. Good news is this can be done in under 5 minutes in most vehicles. What happens if this isn’t done? I had a practical experience with the power of a clogged cabin filter on a 2008 Toyota Matrix. The AC was not cooling adequately and before examining I had thought the system was low on charge. In the end, when I pulled the cabin filter it was loaded with dust and debris, and had a tear as well. After it was changed the AC was stone-cold chilling again! Good news is, this can be done in under 5 minutes on most vehicles. It’s usually located behind the glove box and doesn’t even need any tool!

rotating car tires

A tire with even wear

2. Rotating car tires: Car tires need to be rotated after fixed mileage to encourage even tire wear. If not rotated, tires will wear unevenly and you may notice that the car pulls to one side when you let go of the steering wheel. I have seen some tires that wore on one side down to the reinforcing belts! This can eventually lead to a blow-out. The sequence of tire rotation goes beyond taking the tire at the front to the rear, it depends on whether the tire is directional or non-directional amongst other factors. Most car owner manual will list the correct rotation sequence and mileage at which it should be done. For instance, the Toyota Matrix should be rotated every 5000 miles while the Honda Accord 7th gen should be done every 10,000 miles.

Replacemen of air filter o 2003 - 2007 Accord

Old and dirty air filter

3. Engine air filter change: The why and benefits of replacing the engine air filter was handled in this previous post.
On some cars, no tools are even needed e.g. On the Toyota Corolla or Matrix, you just pop 2 locking tabs to uncover the filter housing and that’s all. The filter can be changed in less than 5 minutes!

4. Replacing a dead car battery: This is another simple DIY. Just remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal first before the positive when removing the old battery. When installing the new battery, attach and tighten the positive terminal first then the negative terminal. You may find this post useful in shopping for your replacement battery; Buying a new car battery: manufacture date?

5. Changing windshield wiper blades: Has your wiper blades started leaving streaks as it wipes? it’s time to ditch it. No tools needed. A careful look will sure show you how to go about replacing the blades. Unhook the old and slap in the new guy.

6. Changing light bulbs: Pretty straight forward, twist and pull out the dead bulb and plug in the replacement.

Fuse from car fusebox

Fuse from under hood fusebox

7. Replacing fuses: Did your radio, cigarette lighter, headlights e.t.c. suddenly stop working? The answer may lie in a broken fuse. Such fuses are commonly found in the under-hood fusebox. The under side of the fusebox cover will have the labelling for the location of the respective fuses and their amperage. There’s also an under dash fusebox which has fuses for interior lights etc. Most fuseboxes I’ve come across even have a few spare fuses. Always replace with a fuse of same amps.


  • eddie

    Nice one, once again
    Please can you suggest tools that one an have in cars. Spanners etc!
    I think that wil also help DIY enthusiasts alot

    • Hello Eddie,
      Nice to have you drop by. As regards tools that DIY enthusiasts should have, I suggest this earlier post that I made on buying tools:


      As it stands I carry a toolbox in my trunk and I have an ELM OBDII scanner (that works with my phone) permanently left in my car. The toolbox contains everything in the image in that post and more. I guess at the end of the day, it just depends on how deep one wants to get involved in DIY repairs and having just enough tools to ensure you can fix any unplanned repairs that come up on the road!

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