auto

Can I really do my own car maintenance?

Tara Baukus MelloDear Driving for Dollars,
I've read several articles on Bankrate.com that talk about saving money by doing your own car maintenance -- things like changing your own oil and filters or basic repairs. I'm a pretty handy guy and have a decent set of tools, but I've never worked on a car. Can I really do my own simple car maintenance correctly, without a lot of headaches?
-- Spencer

Dear Spencer,
There's no easy answer to this question because there are so many factors, including your ability, your set of tools, the age and type of the car you drive, and exactly what car maintenance task you need to complete. For most cars, it's pretty easy to replace things like headlights, battery and hoses with simple tools, regardless of model or age.

Do-it-yourself car maintenance that requires going under the hood, such as an oil change or swapping out certain filters, can be easy on some cars and more challenging on others. You may have trouble getting to the engine compartment and may need to remove a special cover that protects the engine and its components. You also may need brand-specific tools to perform tasks such as removing the oil drain plug.

To determine if you can do your own maintenance, assess what you want to accomplish and the tools you need for your specific car. The good news is that many of these procedures can be found online at do-it-yourself sites such as ChiltonDIY.com and RepairPal.com, or by searching for a description of the repair plus the year, make and model of your car.

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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

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