Like some people are scared of computers, others are scared of cars. They wrongly believe that an engine will bite or break if looked at in the wrong way! Of course, safety is our number one priority, and we would never recommend doing alterations to your car that do require a skilled mechanic or a COSHH licence, but we do believe that regardless of your ability, you can do a Mini car service yourself, with a little help from us.
If you see our other post on “What’s involved in a car service” you’ll understand what your garage looks for when conducting your car service for you. You can help your mechanic, and your bank balance, with regular maintenance and by swatting up on a few car maintenance basics.
Here are jobs you can tackle yourself to give your car a Mini service. These are also good skills to learn before taking your car on a long journey.
Use Your Smart Phone
Technology has come a long way in the auto industry and there are a wealth of APPs and websites that will walk you through a Mini car service. YouTube is one of them. Keep your phone with you if you are unsure and take advantage of online tutorials, it will save you money in the long run!
Replacing your Fuel Filter
This sounds daunting, it isn’t. If you’ve replaced the filter on your dishwasher or a vacuum you can replace a fuel filter on your car. It stops particles of dust entering the fuel, it’s like your car’s kidneys. It’s essential for optimum performance and when running correctly can save you money on fuel costs.
It looks just like a couple of straws in a bottle top. Of course, this is petrol so don’t light anything around this! It’s well within your limits and you can usually buy a fuel filter online for pennies.
Search : Replacing fuel filter model for the YouTube tutorial
Replacing Your Air Filter
If the fuel filter scared you, you’ll find this a piece of pie. It’s so simple. You’ll find it on the side of your engine under a screw fix cap. Unscrew the cap, remove the filter and fit the new one (we say fit, we mean place, there’s no technique involved). You’re done!
Are you feeling confident? Then let’s replace the…
Spark plugs are small and easy to dislodge and fit. Almost like Lego, you can take them out and put them back in. In fact, they seem to be a roadside mechanics best friend, as if you’ve ever broken down you’ll be familiar with the mechanic pulling these out and tutting before saying, “now this is the problem right here, let me see if I have any in the van.” If a spark plug is damaged, the engine won’t fire up. You can easily find spark plugs at our friends over at EuroCarParts and replace them yourself!
Top Tip: If you notice any erosion on wires or frayed edges, you can use a new product called Sugru for an instant, waterproof, safe fix. It’s mouldable rubber that bonds to any surface and sets within 24 hours. Check it out!
As long as you have somewhere safe to dispose of the oil you can perform an oil change yourself. You probably already do this with a lawn mower, a car is no different. Ideally the oil should be changed every 5000 miles, so there will be times you need to do it in between your Mini MOT or car service.
Use the car jack that came with your car to jack the car. Check the manual for the car jack points.
Unscrew the cap on the top of the engine by hand. It should have been screwed on by hand too. Using a wrench will tighten it too much and oil changes in future could become difficult.
Have a container to hand to drain the oil.
Now underneath the car, remove the drain plug. There are two plugs that look similar. Do not remove the transmission fluid plug. If you’re uncertain, check your car manual. Also, look for the exhaust that is always attached to the engine, just as the oil drain plug is!
Use the socket set that came with the car so you use the right one!
Replace the washer if it needs it.
Top Tip: Run the car for a few minutes beforehand so the oil warms up and is more viscous- especially in the winter months.
Dispose of the oil safely.
Add a small amount of oil to lubricate it first, and then add enough so it’s at the optimum level on the dipstick. Dipsticks can lie though, so check your manual under “capacities” to find out how much oil your car takes.
Screw the lid back on by hand!
You’ve just changed the oil and saved yourself a lot of money! Your car will also thank you for it!
If you’re in any doubt, don’t worry, we offer the cheapest car service prices in the UK, as you can compare garages in seconds. Use our website for FREE to find “Garages Near Me” that will pick up and drop off your car and perform a trusted car service or MOT.