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Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: I'm Not a Car Guy, What Maintenance Should I Consider Doing at Home?

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: I'm Not a Car Guy, What Maintenance Should I Consider Doing at Home?
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Taking your car into the repair shop car is an expensive endeavor. You go in for an oil change and then find out you need tires, or have worn brake pads. Wanting to do everything you can to maintain what’s likely your second largest investment makes complete sense.


While attempting some things might end with unintended consequences, there are some things you can definitely challenge yourself with. Not only would you be helping keep your car up to par, you would save yourself a bit of money in the process.

Change Your Air Filter

Replacing your own air filter is one of the easiest maintenance items you can tackle. On most cars, opening your air filter box is as easy as popping two clips. A clean air filter helps maintains your fuel economy and prevent particles from entering your engine.

The filter itself can cost anywhere from $10-$25 and will take less then 15 minutes to install. When choosing your filter, make sure that you get the correct one for your car. There are many variation of filters so imputing the correct information down to the engine size when you buy.

Check Your Tire Pressure

With this handy digital tire pressure gauge, checking your tire pressure should take minutes. Checking your tire pressure is one of the more overlooked and simple maintenance services you can do. Proper tire pressure prevents everything from car accidents due to over inflated tire, uneven tire wear, and unnecessary fuel usage. Take the time to check it at least once a month or every two weeks if you can make it happen.

Check and Top Off Fluids

Checking your fluids often can help you catch problems before they become major. If you find your oil low multiple times, you may have an oil leak or your engine may be burning oil.


Make sure you buy the correct fluids before you top off. The proper viscosity oil, correct power steering fluid variation, properly diluted coolant, and so on are vital to making sure that doing this maintenance does more good than harm.

Replace Your Wiper Blades

Did you know that wiper blades are typically recommended to be replaced every six months? Weather plays a number of the thin rubber intended to clear your windshield effectively and with ease. Determine the correct length of your wiper blades, most cars have two different lengths.


Change Your Cabin Filter

Your car’s cabin filter doesn’t really fall into the category of something that will prevent major future problems. However, the cabin filter filters all the air the blows into your car when you turn on your A/C or heat. It traps dust, debris and allergens, preventing them from blowing in your face as you are driving.


Changing this filter is especially important to people with seasonal and environmental allergies. It can also help if you have an unpleasant smell in your car. On most cars it is located directly behind your glove box. Replacing is not super difficult but a little trickier than the other items in this article.

Bottom Line

Not all maintenance is expensive nor does it always have to be done at the shop. With a little research and finesse, the above listed tasks are worth the effort and entirely possible to do on your own. As a non-car guy.


Chaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, freelance writer, and empowerment speaker who's made it her mission to engage and empower people in her community and beyond.