7 Easy DIY Car Repair Fixes

February 2nd, 2024 by

At Kia Country of Charleston, our service department is prepared to assist you with any repair or replacement your car needs. But not every issue is worthy of bringing your car into the shop, so here are some repair tasks that, with the right guidance and knowledge, you can take care of yourself.

  1. Replace your wiper blades/wiper arms
    Your car’s wiper blades should be replaced periodically, to prevent them from going dull and losing their effectiveness. You can always notice when this needs to be done when water streaks after using your wipers. The blades themselves are typically swapped out by holding a tight grip on the wiper arm and sliding out the blade’s hinge toward the windshield. Do this with caution so as not to hit and crack the windshield when the blade pops out of the socket.
    The arms that hold the wipers should also be replaced if you notice that they have started to bend or warp, causing the wipers to skip certain spots, even with a new blade. To replace the arms, first, identify how they are mounted to the vehicle. If they are held in place with a nut, remove the protective cap over it and then remove the nut. The arm should then pull off to be replaced. Other arms are held on with a locking clip. To remove this type of mount, lift the wiper arm a few inches off the glass and slide the locking clip out. Then lower the arm and pull it off of the mounting base.
  2. Change a flat tire
    Changing a flat tire is something any car owner should be prepared to do in an emergency. Being prepared to do this also means having the necessary tools and a spare tire on hand. When you do need to replace a flat tire while driving, always start by finding a safe spot to pull over. Do this as quickly as possible, as any distance you put on a flat tire could damage your wheel too. Once you’re safely pulled aside, first loosen the lug nuts, then lift your vehicle with a jack, and finally spin the loosened lugs once the tire is lifted high enough to take off. To put on the spare tire, line up the studs and holes to put the lugs back on. Tighten them by hand before lowering the car back to the ground. Once the car is lowered, you can then tighten all of the lugs with your wrench or other tool.
  3. Fix a leaky gasket
    A head gasket leak can cause issues with your engine over time if left unaddressed. Fixing the leak before it can result in a fully blown gasket head is crucial. A blown head is NOT replaceable as a DIY solution. The most common sign that you have a gasket leak is if your vehicle is consuming more engine oil than usual, or you notice the actual leaked oil under your car when you’ve parked it. To repair the leak, you’ll need to pick up a Head Gasket Sealant. This repair can be done by a knowledgeable owner, so be sure to follow the detailed instructions on the product or consult your parts shop when purchasing the sealant.
  4. Replace a headlight/Clean cloudy headlight covers
    Far too often, car owners will let their headlights go very dim before replacing them. You should always replace your dim headlights before they fully die out while you’re in the middle of driving at night. Additionally, cloudy headlight covers will cause your headlights to get significantly dimmer. But they can be easily cleaned, both inside and out. There are at-home items that can be used to clean your headlights if you don’t have store-bought cleaning kits. Effective cleaners include toothpaste and baking soda. Use these items in tandem with old rags or towels and water for rinsing to restore that clear shine to your headlights.
  5. Replace your cabin or engine air filter
    This is an essential task to take care of and you don’t need to wait for your next trip to the car shop to do it. An engine filter should typically be replaced every 30,000 miles or every 3 years.  Your engine’s air filter will be located in a housing unit by the engine. Remove the clamps holding it in place, slide out the housing, remove the old air filter, and then simply pop in the new one. Replacing your cabin air filters is a very similar process and should be done between 15,000 to 30,000-mile intervals, or if you notice they are dirty during an inspection. These filters can usually be found by removing the glove box. Your owner’s manual will have instructions for how to take out the filter’s container.
  6. Clean corrosion on battery connection terminals
    Over time, your battery and its connection terminals will inevitably build up corrosion. If you find that only minor corrosion has occurred on your terminals, you can simply remove and clean them yourself. You should use a wire brush for this, in conjunction with a baking soda/water solution. Dry the terminals afterward with paper towels and apply acid-neutralizing felt pads to the posts and connect the cleaned terminals. You can then coat the terminals with an anti-corrosive spray.
  7. Repair weather stripping
    During cold weather, water can freeze around your car door’s rubber weather strip, which can lock you out of your car. This stripping can tear right off when you open your car door in this state. If this happens and you need to repair your weather strip, start by buying a tube of weather strip adhesive, spray brake cleaner and a can of spray silicone. Pull the weather strip away from the door and clean it and the metal surface using the brake cleaner. Once that dries, squeeze some adhesive onto the weather strip and the car door before pressing the strip into place on the door. The brake cleaner can also be used to clean off any residual adhesive.