How awesome would it be if fixing your car was as simple as pushing the green, yellow or red buttons on a vending machine? Obviously, not very. Even though you don’t have access to vending machines with auto repair instructions, there is a life hack for everything. From hiccups and head gasket issues to checking engine lights and blown fuses, cars are bound to break down from time to time. Knowing how to fix your car is essential for avoiding costly trips to the mechanic and extended road trips with your hood up and hazard lights on. Having a working knowledge of what each part does and how it functions can be invaluable when diagnosing issues. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful resources out there that can get you back on the road again quickly. Here you will find some of our favorite tips and tricks for fixing six common problems in any car:
Ceiling fans can get dusty, but nobody wants dirty headlights. Unfortunately, even the cleanest drivers will experience yellowing of their headlight lenses at some point because of oxidation. Fortunately, a quick fix is easy with a little toothpaste. All you have to do is scrub the headlights with a little toothpaste and then rinse them off with water. Once dry, you can scrub them again with a toothbrush to get off any leftover grime. The toothpaste acts as a mild abrasive that will scrub the oxidation right off.
Blowouts are a common occurrence for truck drivers, but fortunately, there’s a DIY solution that’s easy to apply yourself. All you need is a disposable coffee cup and duct tape. The coffee cup acts as a plug to hold the air in so you can drive to the nearest gas station and get a repair. Once you’re there, duct tape can be used to cover the hole and seal the tire. Obviously, this is an emergency fix only suitable for short distances. You could also use a Shop-Vac if you have one or borrow one from a neighbor.
Check Engine Light Fix
If you have ever been faced with the dreaded check engine light, you probably know how frustrating it can be. Thankfully, there are a few possible solutions to this problem. The most common solution is to reset the check engine light by unplugging the vehicle’s battery for a few minutes. Other possible causes include a loose gas cap, a clogged fuel filter, or loose spark plug wires.
Hiccups and Shuddering
If your engine is shuddering or hiccuping, it could be an indication of low oil. You can check your oil level with a dipstick, but it’s also a good idea to have it checked at a shop so they can determine the source of the problem. If you determine that you’re low on oil, adding some more should be able to fix the issue. If your car is low on oil, try a quick fix like using corn oil or vegetable oil until you can get to a shop and purchase new oil.
Blown Fuse Fix
Fuses occasionally blow out and leave you in the dark. Fortunately, replacing blown fuses is a simple DIY project that only takes a few minutes. It’s important to work with the correct fuses so you don’t blow them again. Fortunately, most cars come with a fuse box diagram, so identifying the correct fuses is easy. It’s also a good idea to have a few spares on hand, especially if you have a car that’s prone to blowing fuses.
Windows and Doors That Don’t Go Up or Down
The problem with windows and doors that don’t go up or down is typically a broken or bent track. Thankfully, you can fix this problem with a little elbow grease and a hammer. Open the window or door all the way, then place a thick, sturdy piece of cardboard between the door and the track. You can then use a hammer to tap the track back into shape. If your track is bent or broken, you can buy a new track online or at a hardware store for a few bucks.
Worn Out Tires
If your tires are worn out, it’s important to get them replaced as soon as possible. Unfortunately, tires are expensive, and replacing them can be costly. Fortunately, there are a couple of quick tests that can help you identify when your tires are worn out. The penny test is a classic trick that can help you identify if your tires are worn out. Simply take a penny and flip it so the heads are facing down. If the tread on the penny is completely covered by the tread on the tire, you need new tires.
Cars are complicated, and while most of the time they function perfectly fine, there might come a time when you are unable to fix them on your own. This can be especially true when attempting to fix a complicated problem that you’re unfamiliar with. No matter what you are doing, it’s important to make sure you are not putting yourself or others in danger. Before attempting any repairs, always be sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual carefully, and remember: when in doubt, bring it in. There are a lot of ways to fix your car on the cheap and without special skills. The key is to know what the issue is so you can be sure to fix it properly.