What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

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rtt22
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by rtt22 »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:40 pm Otherwise, I take it in for coupon $19.99 oil changes, let them tell me what is wrong and then take it to my trusted mechanic to actually fix what needs work.
I always worry about the lube guy stripping the oil pan threads by putting his power gun to work on the bolt immediately rather than tightening it by hand then with a wrench. Many stories like that on the 'net :-( So I tend to change the oil and filter myself.
Last edited by rtt22 on Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Leif
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Leif »

runner3081 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:20 pm
Leif wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:50 pm I have a Tesla. I give it a car wash on occasion.
And paid a lot of money for that convenience :)
Not to turn this thread into a back and forth on Tesla, but...

Teslas are not cheap. It is, after all, a luxury car. It has other advantages then just low maintenance.
Last edited by Leif on Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
oldfort
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by oldfort »

inbox788 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:28 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:33 pmnothing.
This is probably the average answer.

With little driving, keeping the battery alive with a battery tender and taking it around the block once a month might be all the maintenance you would need to do for the next few months.

Once things get back to normal, for many, given all the unaccounted costs, it's more like a hobby than a real cost savings. Just to change the oil, you have to buy tools. Then you have to buy the parts. You need space to store the tools. You need time to do the work. You need more time and expense to properly dispose of the waste. More modest maintenance require more tools and time that unless you enjoy it or want to make a future career out of it, will not pay back.

Anyway, knowing all the drawbacks, you can still get started slowly learning and doing one thing at a time. I've even considered looking into city colleges or other shop classes to see if it's suitable to learn how to rebuild a transmission or engine or maybe these days youtube videos are sufficient. Who knows, in 30 years, when all the mechanics are retired or working on electric vehicles, the skills you have developed can be used to keep up and repair your classic and antique ICE cars. In 2050, ICE cars may be declared illegal like the incandescent bulb, and a cash-for-clunkers program to eliminate those gross polluters built back in 2020 may be the thing.
I have neither the tools, the garage space, nor the expertise to perform repairs or in most cases diagnose what's wrong with the vehicle in the first place. Even the routine maintenance can be more of a pain than I want to deal with. If I did an oil change, I have to drive someplace to dispose properly of the waste. In trying to change an air filter, I found the non-OEM parts didn't fit the vehicle, despite supposedly being the same dimensions.
Spirit Rider
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Spirit Rider »

FrugalInvestor wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:02 pm Like Doom&Gloom I also do most of my own maintenance largely due to bad experiences with mechanics.....independent and dealership. More than once I've had a dealer overfill my oil by more than a quart. When I do need to have the dealer do it I now always double-check the level before I leave the dealership. :annoyed
You think that's bad. I too had been declining the amount of self-maintenance I have been doing after retiring. Well so much for that plan.

I checked the dip stick after an oil change and it was way high. I thought; "Hmmm, maybe they put in an extra couple of quarts." I didn't want to drive it with such an overfill. So I decided to drain the oil and refill up to the correct level myself. Imagine my surprise when the oil overflowed my 10 quart drain pan (6 quart fill).

I called the dealership and they came right out with a tow truck and called a professional cleaning company to clean up the spill in the driveway. The service manager personally delivered the car when it was redone. He was mortified and offered my next oil change for free.

I declined and now don't let anyone else change my and my girls oil or rotate the tires (that is a whole other story). To give you a hint, I now forbid anyone doing the annual inspection from using a power torque wrench to tighten lug nuts. I insist they spin the lug nuts on by hand, use a hand tool torque wrench to specs and let me watch (insurance requirements or not).

Still I have given up front end, suspension, drive train, exhaust and major repairs, but I am back to doing fluids, brakes, electrical, emissions and any reasonable components under the hood.

My dad as usual was right with one of his 10,000 odd expressions. "If you want something done right, DIY. Nobody, you pay to do it will take the time and care you will." Of course, this assumes you have the equipment, tools and skills to DIY.
Frugalbear
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Frugalbear »

Oil change... Fluid top off...air filter...tire pressure..almost anything that won't take me more than 30 minutes to do...life is short! Lol
cabfranc
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by cabfranc »

I used to change fluids (oil, coolant, transmission, brake) but stopped because:

1. I am too busy with work and family
2. It is not *that* expensive to pay someone else to do these things
3. I do not have the skills to spot other needed maintenance with the vehicles so it needs to go to a mechanic from time to time anyway

Unfortunately, the things that are easy to do are not the things that save you a lot of money by doing yourself. Sure, I could save a few hundred dollars a year by changing the fluids myself. But when the car needs something more complex, it has to go the shop anyway. So I just take it to the shop for everything.

However I stay away from dealers at all costs.
Normchad
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Normchad »

cabfranc wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:32 pm I used to change fluids (oil, coolant, transmission, brake) but stopped because:

1. I am too busy with work and family
2. It is not *that* expensive to pay someone else to do these things
3. I do not have the skills to spot other needed maintenance with the vehicles so it needs to go to a mechanic from time to time anyway

Unfortunately, the things that are easy to do are not the things that save you a lot of money by doing yourself. Sure, I could save a few hundred dollars a year by changing the fluids myself. But when the car needs something more complex, it has to go the shop anyway. So I just take it to the shop for everything.

However I stay away from dealers at all costs.
Yep, a lot of truth here. A lot of these things are not that expensive to just pay for. Especially given how much longer a lot of the maintenance intervals are now. 5 year coolant, 100,000 mile spark plugs, etc etc. The frequency of maintenance needed is much lower, which makes the price of it easier to tolerate. Nothing wrong with that.

Modern cars are a marvel.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by jabberwockOG »

Have always done most car maintenance work myself. Three reasons - 1) To save money especially initially when I was just starting out. 2) To make sure the job is done right, lots of sloppy mechanics out there cutting corners or just plain and simple incompetent 3) because I like working with machines, and doing the work carefully and correctly and like the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. Now that I'm retired I can really take all the time in the world, makes it even more enjoyable.

A side benefit to doing something as simple as an oil change. If you take your time and do it right you will be able to inspect the car's mechanical condition from above and below as you do the oil and filter change. Its a great opportunity to notice some small issues or changes that need preventative maintenance before they become serious or leave you unexpectedly stranded.

Invest in good heavy duty lift jack and extra heavy jack stands, wheel chocks, etc - there is no way to be too safe working on or under a car. It is very easy to get seriously hurt or worse.

A word of caution to folks new to working on hybrids or all electric cars - the super high amp electrical current from the batteries, electrical cables, connectors, etc. can injure or kill you if you are not extremely careful.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Hiker-Biker
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Hiker-Biker »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:02 pm For good wheels, I'll pay for that, but I always bring in just the wheels as I don't need some clown torquing the wheels to a bazillion foot pounds, requiring wheel stud replacements next time I try to remove the wheels.
Hmm, what are the signs you need wheel stud replacements? Last year's state inspection, the guy torqued my wife's lug nuts so tightly, I couldn't loosen them so I drove the car back to the shop. The guy said, "Mazda has a problem with their wheels falling off." He must've been thinking about the a recent Mazda 3 recall that I was aware of. It didn't affect my wife's older car. I told him to loosen the lug nuts and I would torque them myself. He used a battery powered impact wrench.

This year's inspection, the lug nuts were not over-torqued. I guess that guy was fired or retrained. Just wondering if there's anything I should look for in case it was damaged in 2019.

H-B
Spirit Rider
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Spirit Rider »

The key is that lug nuts should spin freely by hand and only need to be hand torqued to specifications. Impact torque wrenches should really only be used to loosen lug nuts.

Yet time is money and most shops use them for both. The torque settings on impact wrenches are notoriously unreliable. If they must tighten them with one, they should still start the lug nut by hand, only power torque to a roughly 50% level and hand torque the final 50%.

Unfortunately, the standard practice of most mechanics is to drop the lug nut in the socket, start the lug nut with the torque wrench and torque to limit. Adding to the problem they very often use one torque setting which is often 50% or higher than many vehicle specifications.

The issue is not just cross threading which is usually catastrophic with both the wheel stud and lug nuts needing replacement.

Over torqued lug nuts can strip the threads, warp rotors and damage wheels. Depending on how stripped the threads are, some can be restored by running a rethreader (not a cutting die) over the wheel studs. Otherwise, the wheel studs have to be replaced.

My rule of thumb when d/dealing with this yourself is to replace any stripped wheel studs (they are inexpensive) when they are easily replaced such as on the rear wheels of most vehicles. If they are on the front wheels and/or require significant effort to replace, try running a thread restorer first.

There is always a chance when lug nuts have been over torqued enough to strip the threads, a micro fracture has occurred in the wheel stud.
dubsem
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by dubsem »

Youtube is amazing for directions on almost any car maintenance.
  • Oil change
    Transmission fluid change
    Air filters
    Cabin filters
    Rotate tires
    Coolant flush / refill
    Wash / wax
    Wipers
G.O.O.D.
CurlyDave
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by CurlyDave »

DSInvestor wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:49 pm I change my the engine oil in my 2013 Subaru Outback. I do not have to get under the car to drain the engine oil because I use a topsider oil extractor which uses a little tube that is inserted into the dip stick tube to suck the oil out of the engine. The oil filter on my engine is on top of the engine.

I have changed spark plugs, wires and PCV valve on my 1997 Toyota Camry - youtube videos were helpful.
+1 on the oil extractor. I got one at Harbor Freight that works on a compressed air hose (creates vacuum through an ejector).

I made a mess the first time I used it, now I do it on the gravel part of my driveway.
inbox788
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by inbox788 »

oldfort wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:42 pmIn trying to change an air filter, I found the non-OEM parts didn't fit the vehicle, despite supposedly being the same dimensions.
That sucks, but sometimes the part is wrong or the information is wrong. Sometimes it's user error, which is not what I'm saying happened to you, but did you know there are 7 wrong ways of trying to insert some of the filters or a SIM card? It's more obvious with the SIM card. Once you've seen how easy changing an engine air filter, or a cabin air filter, or a wiper, you start wonder how much labor is a reasonable amount to charge and how much dealerships are getting away with charging.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Anything beyond wiper fluid, wiper blades and air, I take it to a shop.

I never go to a dealer. There's a mechanic in my town who is universally adored by anyone here with a Japanese car because his shop is trustworthy with fair pricing and their work is professional. They don't rip you off and they'll go the extra mile to help you get a good deal on parts.

I only go there. That, and Discount Tire for my twice-yearly tire swaps.
Ykcor
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Ykcor »

Changed oil and filter in my 2004 Acura today. Usually I take it to local mechanic, but with COVID decided to continue my shelter in home. Technically not difficult, but I had to go down to basement and get the ramps to drive the front wheels on. Then I had to locate the wheel blocks. Then after placing cardboard underneath the engine and sliding under the front end with a ratchet wrench, I found out I needed my breaker bar to free the drain bolt. Another trip to basement. Fortunately the oil filter I could hand loosen to get off. However, even with precautions of having oil pan and cardboard still got oil on driveway. Messy job changing oil. Now I have to take the used oil to Walmart where I bought the new oil. I may have saved $20. Not worth it, IMO.
Swansea
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Swansea »

See if your local school system offers evening auto repair classes. I benefited greatly from working on my own car there with an experienced instructor on hand to help when I got stuck.
Oil service
cabin and engine filters
plugs
engine coolant
gas tank removal
shocks

full disclosure: repairs were on domestic vehicles of 70 and 80s vintage

I take my newer cars (foreign) to a mechanic.
neilpilot
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by neilpilot »

Ykcor wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:04 am Changed oil and filter in my 2004 Acura today. Usually I take it to local mechanic, but with COVID decided to continue my shelter in home. Technically not difficult, but I had to go down to basement and get the ramps to drive the front wheels on. Then I had to locate the wheel blocks. Then after placing cardboard underneath the engine and sliding under the front end with a ratchet wrench, I found out I needed my breaker bar to free the drain bolt. Another trip to basement. Fortunately the oil filter I could hand loosen to get off. However, even with precautions of having oil pan and cardboard still got oil on driveway. Messy job changing oil. Now I have to take the used oil to Walmart where I bought the new oil. I may have saved $20. Not worth it, IMO.
Unusual that a breaker bar was required to loosen the oil plug. You didn't mention it, but I hope you used a new oil plug gasket. Many mechanics fail to do this, which maybe why the plug had been over torqued.

Yet another reason to consider an oil evacuator. I've never removed the oil plug on my 2008 Saturn VUE, nor on the 2002 Mercedes C240 I sold at 150k miles.
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sunny_socal
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by sunny_socal »

I do virtually all routine maintenance:
- Differential & transfer case fluids
- Transmission fluids
- Regular oil changes, filter
- Air filter, cabin filter
- Brakes (pads, fluids, rotors)
- Lube propeller shaft
- Air blowers
- Broken turn signal relays
- Broken light bulbs
- Audio upgrades (head unit, speakers, subs, amps)
- Tire rotations

All that stuff is pretty easy. Buy some basic tools:
- Good metric socket set (expect to pay $100, I recommend Gearwrench brand)
- Good screwdriver set (I recommend Husky from HD)
- Good jack (I recommend costco)
- Jack stands (any brand, but not harbor freight - they've had many recent recalls)


I don't do:
- Air conditioning
- Engine
- Transmission
Jack FFR1846
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Leif wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:50 pm I have a Tesla. I give it a car wash on occasion.
Your car has a ginormous air filter in front of the frunk. It's wicked expensive from Tesla. Also, at the same 3 year interval, the 12V battery should be changed. The filter with labor seems to be about $220. Battery $200.

Don't forget to jam your brakes now and then to engage the calipers, otherwise they'll freeze in place (very common) and have to be replaced. About $1500.

Another helpful hint.....check for aftermarket door handles if you have a model S. They are pretty common annual replacement parts at $800 each. The aftermarket ones fix the built in failure mechanisms. Not difficult to replace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9DBnT26lO8
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tdmp
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by tdmp »

I have a Prius prime :
-oil change every 12 to 15 months at dealership for ~$50. I trust the dealership
-I DIY the following: engine air filter every 30k miles, cabin air filter every 10k miles, windshield wipers once a year or so. These are easy task I can do and get parts ordered pretty easy and cheap. Doesn’t take much time to do.
-next big maintenance when it is 100k miles will need engine coolant: dealership can do this . It will be a while.
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Marmot
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Marmot »

Leif wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:50 pm I have a Tesla. I give it a car wash on occasion.
Plug it in. Get updates via wireless. Tiring.
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mnsportsgeek
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by mnsportsgeek »

I’ll do air filters, but usually if I tell them that I’ll put them in myself the tech just takes care of it anyways.

I’ve done brakes and spark plugs in the past, but I don’t care to take the time these days.
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Leif
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Leif »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:04 am
Leif wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:50 pm I have a Tesla. I give it a car wash on occasion.
Your car has a ginormous air filter in front of the frunk. It's wicked expensive from Tesla. Also, at the same 3 year interval, the 12V battery should be changed. The filter with labor seems to be about $220. Battery $200.

Don't forget to jam your brakes now and then to engage the calipers, otherwise they'll freeze in place (very common) and have to be replaced. About $1500.

Another helpful hint.....check for aftermarket door handles if you have a model S. They are pretty common annual replacement parts at $800 each. The aftermarket ones fix the built in failure mechanisms. Not difficult to replace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9DBnT26lO8
Thanks for the tips. I must say the service is not big on selling extra maintenance. I have never had the HEPA filter replaced. It is almost 4 years. Probably due. Thanks for the tip on the breaks. Never heard that one. With regenerative breaking I hardly touch the breaks.

I know door handles were a problem in early models. I've never had a problem (looking for some wood nearby).
conservativeinvestor
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by conservativeinvestor »

I used to like working on cars as a hobby and did a lot of maintenance on my own. I don't have the ambition to do my own maintenance anymore due to more responsibilities, more hobbies, and newer cars generally being harder to work on.

It has also been my experience that for basic stuff there isn't much cost savings either. You can generally save a lot of money on larger jobs if you already have the tools, but they are larger jobs and take a lot longer, and I need my car every day. I can't chance having something go wrong, or needing a last minute non-stocked part. The shop I go to can also give a free loaner car if it is a multi day repair.

I pretty much just fill up the windshield washer fluid and change the air filter when it needs it these days.
sschoe2
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by sschoe2 »

I'm doing more and more myself. I also had a fear of being crushed but I always support the car with 2 jack stands as well as the jack so that is very unlikely. I do oil changes, transmission fluid changes, simple repairs so far, a transmission sensor replacement, replaced a bumper cover and side mirror.

I just have a hard time hiring people for things both fixing cars and houses because they just price gouge. Not long ago I tried to hire a person to change out my simple front door and they wanted $3300. I know the door runs $500-1000 and takes me ~4hr work so it would take a pro 2 hr max so they want about $1000 an hour in labor. Yea not going to happen.
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Sandtrap
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Sandtrap »

Ykcor wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:04 am Changed oil and filter in my 2004 Acura today. Usually I take it to local mechanic, but with COVID decided to continue my shelter in home. Technically not difficult, but I had to go down to basement and get the ramps to drive the front wheels on. Then I had to locate the wheel blocks. Then after placing cardboard underneath the engine and sliding under the front end with a ratchet wrench, I found out I needed my breaker bar to free the drain bolt. Another trip to basement. Fortunately the oil filter I could hand loosen to get off. However, even with precautions of having oil pan and cardboard still got oil on driveway. Messy job changing oil. Now I have to take the used oil to Walmart where I bought the new oil. I may have saved $20. Not worth it, IMO.
Some ramps collapse over time. Be careful.
Low profile floor jack and jack stands and tire chocks as an alternative.

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tibbitts
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by tibbitts »

Superleaf444 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:37 pm
VGisforme wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:22 pm Youtube can be very helpful, it is true that modern cars can be hard to work on with all the electronics but there is still a lot of general maintenance that can be done in your garage at home.

I do brakes (pads and rotors) but I don't change brake fluids and I usually don't change the oil. It is easier for me to buy the oil or fluids and take it to a local shop. I swap from a full set of winter wheels/tires to summer wheels/tires twice a year so brake changes can be done then if needed. If you buy your own rotors and pads it's pretty cheap and easy to do and you can also change things like the caliper slide pins if your old ones dried out or a boot was torn etc.

I also do spark plugs on my Dodge 5.7, they were needed every 30k miles and at 16 plugs it was a great way to save money and know it was done right. My new 5.7 doesn't have copper plugs anymore so not needed every 30k miles thankfully.

I'll also do simple repairs like sway bar bushings and changing out PVC and EGR valves etc.

Most more involved work like control arms etc. I'll buy online thru Rock Auto or other suppliers and have a local shop install.

You don't need a huge investment in tools, a good jack and two sets of jack stands plus a nice set of sockets and a couple torque wrenches will get most jobs done (on and a breaker bar too!)

A lot of modern brakes need the pistons twisted in while they retract, your local AutoZone or similar store can lend you the tools to do that work. Same goes for things like pickle forks and ball joint and spring tools if you want to do more suspension work.

I won't spend an hour changing the oil in my car when I can take it to a shop and have them do it for $25 (with the oil I bring) and they'll dispose of the old oil. But I will certainly do a $450 spark plug job in two hours with tools that cost me ~$60. By the 4th time I changed the spark plugs in my Dodge I was doing it way faster and those same tools where used each time. The plugs are like $1.79 each...

Yeah the spark plugs is what has sent me down this rabbit hole. I think the purchase of all the tools will make me break even (looking at you pricey af torque wrenches), but then I can also so other things that use the same tool. Like cleaning out part of the EGR and hybrid fan.

I'm not even much a tinkerer, but with Coronavirus and everything being weird, why not try a new skill and save money as well.
I haven't changed spark plugs in years, but back then they were (for me) on the sides of the car and so visible and accessible. Now a front and back side - those back side ones would be hard to get leverage on. I'd think they might be a little stubborn after 150,000 miles or whatever the interval is these days. Even getting the plug wires off without damaging them might be difficult after that long.
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Sandtrap
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Sandtrap »

Spirit Rider wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:43 pm The key is that lug nuts should spin freely by hand and only need to be hand torqued to specifications. Impact torque wrenches should really only be used to loosen lug nuts.

Yet time is money and most shops use them for both. The torque settings on impact wrenches are notoriously unreliable. If they must tighten them with one, they should still start the lug nut by hand, only power torque to a roughly 50% level and hand torque the final 50%.

Unfortunately, the standard practice of most mechanics is to drop the lug nut in the socket, start the lug nut with the torque wrench and torque to limit. Adding to the problem they very often use one torque setting which is often 50% or higher than many vehicle specifications.

The issue is not just cross threading which is usually catastrophic with both the wheel stud and lug nuts needing replacement.

Over torqued lug nuts can strip the threads, warp rotors and damage wheels. Depending on how stripped the threads are, some can be restored by running a rethreader (not a cutting die) over the wheel studs. Otherwise, the wheel studs have to be replaced.

My rule of thumb when d/dealing with this yourself is to replace any stripped wheel studs (they are inexpensive) when they are easily replaced such as on the rear wheels of most vehicles. If they are on the front wheels and/or require significant effort to replace, try running a thread restorer first.

There is always a chance when lug nuts have been over torqued enough to strip the threads, a micro fracture has occurred in the wheel stud.
Torque sticks.??
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OldBallCoach
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by OldBallCoach »

I am probably the worst guy here...I take mine to the dealership every 10K and they do everything. Actually they pick up and deliver. And I mean everything...I dont question anything they just do it. Tires, brakes, whatever...Oil every 10K. My Landcruisers have all made it 300K plus with no issues. I have them detail the truck too while its there. I dont have any knowledge about how to fix or repair a car so I let them do it. I have never had a breakdown and my resale has been great and I love my truck. I try to stay with what I do best and leave the rest to the experts. I think most Toyota dealerships are decent. I take good care of the service manager and he/she takes care of me. Winning!
likegarden
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by likegarden »

Basically nothing, except on my wife's Camry the rear bumper was dented, I used a hair blower for 5 minutes. I brushed my car against my son's parked car, sprayed some black paint on my son's car - looks perfect, but spraying grey paint on my car does not look good.
tibbitts
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by tibbitts »

sschoe2 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:21 pm Not long ago I tried to hire a person to change out my simple front door and they wanted $3300. I know the door runs $500-1000 and takes me ~4hr work so it would take a pro 2 hr max so they want about $1000 an hour in labor. Yea not going to happen.
I'd multiply by 10 at least for me vs. a pro. Plus extra parts for the ones I ruined. I just sanded through my belt sander power cord insulation a couple of hours ago, but had anticipated the problem and had a fresh tube of Shoe Goo on hand, so it's back in action.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I stopped working on cars when I started making enough $$$ to pay someone else.

It wasn't the actual work so much as it was not having a place to do the work easily, safely. I didn't miss crawling underneath a car either on dirt or a sun-baked driveway at all.

A nice garage with a lift would have kept me wrenching years longer. I still have scads of hand tools. It seems the current generation of young adults (our children) has little interest in DIY car maintenance. Can't say I blame them. They didn't start out life as poor as DW and I.

Honestly, for several years my Saturdays were spent carting a DD to various activities. DW was doing the same, as it seemed the schedules of DDs were never in sync. One DD was going hither, the other going yon.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
BBBob
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by BBBob »

We've done zero maintenance since 1997. That's when we got the first of three EVs. Since then, just checking tires and topping off washer fluid.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

sschoe2 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:21 pm I'm doing more and more myself. I also had a fear of being crushed but I always support the car with 2 jack stands as well as the jack so that is very unlikely. I do oil changes, transmission fluid changes, simple repairs so far, a transmission sensor replacement, replaced a bumper cover and side mirror.

I just have a hard time hiring people for things both fixing cars and houses because they just price gouge. Not long ago I tried to hire a person to change out my simple front door and they wanted $3300. I know the door runs $500-1000 and takes me ~4hr work so it would take a pro 2 hr max so they want about $1000 an hour in labor. Yea not going to happen.
$3,300? Ouch! I had a new door with two sidelites installed for $975 and I thought that was pretty expensive. Though, it did take three men to get the door placed into position as it was prehung. It is a beauty, though. So, all good.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by NHRATA01 »

I'll do almost everything myself at this point. Part of it being a mechanical engineer and enjoying it, part of it knowing it will be done right, and part of it just being aghast at the prices charged for very basic maintenance services. But I'm 40 and still able to roll around on a garage floor, son of a former GM engineer and was doing basic maintenance before I could drive so it's not intimidating to me. That said as mentioned there's still certain things that with the complexity of cars, you can't even do yourself without some very expensive tooling. One of my GM cars has an electric power steering rack known to fail, that finally got recalled so now it's covered in the future. But while I could do the mechanical portion of replacement myself, I lack the GM tech 2 tool (or whatever the fancy new name is with a 5 figure price tag) to reprogram it with the car's modules so it would still have to go to a dealer in the end anyway. And anything with a hybrid system is going to need to see a dealer for repair.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by tibbitts »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:10 pm
sschoe2 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:21 pm I'm doing more and more myself. I also had a fear of being crushed but I always support the car with 2 jack stands as well as the jack so that is very unlikely. I do oil changes, transmission fluid changes, simple repairs so far, a transmission sensor replacement, replaced a bumper cover and side mirror.

I just have a hard time hiring people for things both fixing cars and houses because they just price gouge. Not long ago I tried to hire a person to change out my simple front door and they wanted $3300. I know the door runs $500-1000 and takes me ~4hr work so it would take a pro 2 hr max so they want about $1000 an hour in labor. Yea not going to happen.
$3,300? Ouch! I had a new door with two sidelites installed for $975 and I thought that was pretty expensive. Though, it did take three men to get the door placed into position as it was prehung. It is a beauty, though. So, all good.

Broken Man 1999
That sounds like a bargain for what you got. I paid about $500 to have my sliding door installed, not including the door. The frame was a non-standard size so some extra work to adapt the smaller standard-sized door and cover the gap was required. That was several years ago. I would have still been working on it.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Marmot »

BBBob wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:07 pm We've done zero maintenance since 1997. That's when we got the first of three EVs. Since then, just checking tires and topping off washer fluid.
Its funny. Sometimes I wonder why people buy something with over 1,000 points of failure. That being said, I have a Mercedes Sprinter RV, talk about a 1,000 points of failure. Love our Tesla though.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by alfaspider »

I've done just about everything down to full engine rebuilds. However, I still take under warranty cars to the dealership for oil changes to maintain warranty history, but I turn down any offers to pay hundreds of dollars for simple "inspections" and fluid changes.

I generally try to DIY just about anything that I can within reasonable bounds of time and expertise. More often than not, I am disappointed when I pay someone else to do something for me. It's not the money, it's the quality (or lack thereof). Don't get me started on machine and paint shops, which I am still beholden to not having appropriate space/equipment.

Still looking to get a lift in my garage (COVID put it on hold), but I've used jack stands exclusively. Ramps seem to have more that can go wrong (parking brake could fail, chocks could slip, plus you could drive the car off the ends) and aren't an easy way to get the whole car in the air. I use 6 ton jack stands on a 1 ton car, with backup stands placed unweighted along with a barely unweighted jack hovering under the jack point.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by iamlucky13 »

Fluid changes and flushes (oil, coolant, etc), brake pads replacements, (would do calipers and maybe discs if ever needed), shock/strut replacement, batteries, and light bulbs (surprisingly difficult in some cars - I'm looking at you Subaru...Nay, I'm glaring icily at you!).

My income is modest, at a level where a professional mechanic would have to work at least twice as fast for the cost to break even compared to how much independent shops charge per hour and mark up parts, and I already have the tools and space to work. I'd say a competent professional mechanic probably does work about twice as fast, so the cost benefit is getting marginal, but I also take satisfaction in doing the work myself, and for the times I've turned to a shop, the experiences have not always been good (a couple good experiences, one workmanship issue, one honesty issue).

If it is likely to take me more than 4-6 hours, the effect of the downtime and risk of needing to spread work over multiple days push me towards using a mechanic. Those bigger jobs may also involve more learning that extends the time ratio.
Superleaf444 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:22 pmBecause of coronavirus I bought my first car in years. Always used to rely on public transit, but oh how the world has changed.

I've become more confident the older I've become to work on cars and, of course, YouTube has helped greatly. But like I said I've not owned a car in years and thinking about things that I might do. I don't have any tools and I'm trying to decide if it is the time to start purchasing them, or see how long this virus alter my commute lifestyle. I suspect it has changed longer than not, but who knows anymore.

Another big issue I have is that I have this deep seeded fear about the car falling on me.
For what you describe, I'd focus on the key points everyone needs to know: checking fluid levels, topping off oil and coolant, changing a tire, and tracking what maintenance is due. Given you might not be driving for more than a year or two, it doesn't seem worth spending time or money on DIY maintenance unless working on your own car specifically appeals to you.

In case of failure, I'd suggest just being prepared ahead of time with a plan for who to call for assistance (eg - AAA, dealer or lease company assistance number), and where you'd prefer the car be taken if its needs towing.
Marmot wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:51 pm
BBBob wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:07 pm We've done zero maintenance since 1997. That's when we got the first of three EVs. Since then, just checking tires and topping off washer fluid.
Its funny. Sometimes I wonder why people buy something with over 1,000 points of failure. That being said, I have a Mercedes Sprinter RV, talk about a 1,000 points of failure. Love our Tesla though.
The drivetrain usually lasts 150,000+ miles, by which time, most people are looking for (or have long since found) and excuse to buy something newer and shinier. The desired feature list and budget don't often intersect at Tesla.

Personally, I'm at 230,000 miles, and every time I re-run the numbers on doing some prudent repairs for another 15-25k miles versus buying a newer car, the former looks cheaper. So currently, I'm on the excuses step, substep B, which is validating my excuses. My budget is about half the cost of a Tesla. Maybe the next car after whatever I buy this time will be electric.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by bloom2708 »

I check my tire pressure.
I add windshield washer fluid.
I change wiper blades.
I change filters (air/cabin).
I wash my car in the driveway sometimes in the summer.
I vacuum the inside and switch between winter and summer floor mats.

I have done extensive DIY repairs in the past. No longer. I do not have the will or tools/hoist/expertise to do work on newer cars.

I am fine paying $60+ for a full synthetic oil change. I drive about 6k miles per year, so 1 oil change per year is reasonable.

I have a small/independent mechanic for some thing. I have the dealer close for other things.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by an_asker »

Superleaf444 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:22 pm Heya,

Because of coronavirus I bought my first car in years. Always used to rely on public transit, but oh how the world has changed.

I've become more confident the older I've become to work on cars and, of course, YouTube has helped greatly. But like I said I've not owned a car in years and thinking about things that I might do. I don't have any tools and I'm trying to decide if it is the time to start purchasing them, or see how long this virus alter my commute lifestyle. I suspect it has changed longer than not, but who knows anymore.

Another big issue I have is that I have this deep seeded fear about the car falling on me. But I should prolly get over that at this point? Then again 2020 has been a terrible year so maybe I shouldn't try anything new. Ha!

Anyway, what kind of car maintenance does the average person do here?
Once upon a time I thought I was average. Then I found Bogleheads. :oops:

Anyway, if you want to know what I do for car maintenance ... I drive the car to my mechanic's. And he does what he thinks needs to be done. Unless it is expensive ... and not urgently required.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by quantAndHold »

I drive it to the shop myself....does that count?

Seriously, I change the wiper blades and add windshield washer fluid myself. And keep air in the tires. Everything else is done by a local garage.

I had the idea that I was going to change out my battery the last time it went bad. Went to Costco, bought the battery, then....realized I’m not strong enough to lift the old one out and put the new one in. And anyway, battery acid. So I heaved it into the back, got another jumpstart, drove to my regular mechanic, and they put it in on the spot for $20.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by alfaspider »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:06 pm I drive it to the shop myself....does that count?

Seriously, I change the wiper blades and add windshield washer fluid myself. And keep air in the tires. Everything else is done by a local garage.

I had the idea that I was going to change out my battery the last time it went bad. Went to Costco, bought the battery, then....realized I’m not strong enough to lift the old one out and put the new one in. And anyway, battery acid. So I heaved it into the back, got another jumpstart, drove to my regular mechanic, and they put it in on the spot for $20.
Most auto parts stores will do it for free unless your car has an unusual battery location or procedure (like certain BMWs that need to be programmed).
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Hiker-Biker »

Spirit Rider wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:43 pm The key is that lug nuts should spin freely by hand and only need to be hand torqued to specifications. Impact torque wrenches should really only be used to loosen lug nuts.

Yet time is money and most shops use them for both. The torque settings on impact wrenches are notoriously unreliable. If they must tighten them with one, they should still start the lug nut by hand, only power torque to a roughly 50% level and hand torque the final 50%.

Unfortunately, the standard practice of most mechanics is to drop the lug nut in the socket, start the lug nut with the torque wrench and torque to limit. Adding to the problem they very often use one torque setting which is often 50% or higher than many vehicle specifications.

The issue is not just cross threading which is usually catastrophic with both the wheel stud and lug nuts needing replacement.

Over torqued lug nuts can strip the threads, warp rotors and damage wheels. Depending on how stripped the threads are, some can be restored by running a rethreader (not a cutting die) over the wheel studs. Otherwise, the wheel studs have to be replaced.

My rule of thumb when d/dealing with this yourself is to replace any stripped wheel studs (they are inexpensive) when they are easily replaced such as on the rear wheels of most vehicles. If they are on the front wheels and/or require significant effort to replace, try running a thread restorer first.

There is always a chance when lug nuts have been over torqued enough to strip the threads, a micro fracture has occurred in the wheel stud.
Thanks for the explanation. The wheel studs were not stripped so that’s reassuring.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by bighatnohorse »

The dual rear wheels are too big for the car wash, so I wash it at home. It's faster, provides some exercise and no damage to the vehicle.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Superleaf444 »

*delete*
Last edited by Superleaf444 on Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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celia
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by celia »

I wash my windows every year, whether they need it or not! No use wasting too much water. :D
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by Spirit Rider »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:44 pm Torque sticks.??
https://www.amazon.com/Astro-78810-10-P ... 461&sr=8-7
That's great and what are that odds that the gorilla training to be a Neanderthal who is working on your car uses them... Slim to none!
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by VGisforme »

Superleaf444 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:37 pm
VGisforme wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:22 pm Youtube can be very helpful, it is true that modern cars can be hard to work on with all the electronics but there is still a lot of general maintenance that can be done in your garage at home.

I do brakes (pads and rotors) but I don't change brake fluids and I usually don't change the oil. It is easier for me to buy the oil or fluids and take it to a local shop. I swap from a full set of winter wheels/tires to summer wheels/tires twice a year so brake changes can be done then if needed. If you buy your own rotors and pads it's pretty cheap and easy to do and you can also change things like the caliper slide pins if your old ones dried out or a boot was torn etc.

I also do spark plugs on my Dodge 5.7, they were needed every 30k miles and at 16 plugs it was a great way to save money and know it was done right. My new 5.7 doesn't have copper plugs anymore so not needed every 30k miles thankfully.

I'll also do simple repairs like sway bar bushings and changing out PVC and EGR valves etc.

Most more involved work like control arms etc. I'll buy online thru Rock Auto or other suppliers and have a local shop install.

You don't need a huge investment in tools, a good jack and two sets of jack stands plus a nice set of sockets and a couple torque wrenches will get most jobs done (on and a breaker bar too!)

A lot of modern brakes need the pistons twisted in while they retract, your local AutoZone or similar store can lend you the tools to do that work. Same goes for things like pickle forks and ball joint and spring tools if you want to do more suspension work.

I won't spend an hour changing the oil in my car when I can take it to a shop and have them do it for $25 (with the oil I bring) and they'll dispose of the old oil. But I will certainly do a $450 spark plug job in two hours with tools that cost me ~$60. By the 4th time I changed the spark plugs in my Dodge I was doing it way faster and those same tools where used each time. The plugs are like $1.79 each...

Yeah the spark plugs is what has sent me down this rabbit hole. I think the purchase of all the tools will make me break even (looking at you pricey af torque wrenches), but then I can also so other things that use the same tool. Like cleaning out part of the EGR and hybrid fan.

I'm not even much a tinkerer, but with Coronavirus and everything being weird, why not try a new skill and save money as well.
Well in my case the 8 cylinder engine used 2 plugs per cylinder so I'd make the money back easily the first change. Plus the 30k mile interval was every two years for me so it was a no brainer. All I had to buy was a new torque wrench, a couple wobble joints I didn't have and the rubber coated fancy plug socket to make sure they came out and stayed in etc.

I suppose if you are changing 4 or 6 plugs and only doing it every 100k miles it might not be worth the hassle.

Some cars it is actually really hard to change the plugs like a transverse mount V6 with tight packaging. Just have a well thought out plan, I usually start my repairs on Friday in case I need to get something on Saturday that I didn't anticipate. A few years ago during a brake job I had a seized rear caliper pin and rather than trying to heat it up and yank it out of the bracket I drove and picked up a new $15 bracket and set of new pins.

Lately I just order the boots and pins, they're so cheap and brake jobs are infrequent enough that it makes sense to change them and make sure they're well lubricated and the boots are nice and clean.

Don't go crazy on tools, a decent torque wrench isn't that expensive, if it is off +-2% you will live, you're not assembling the space shuttle.
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Re: What Car Maintenance Do You Do?

Post by willthrill81 »

inbox788 wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:28 pm Once things get back to normal, for many, given all the unaccounted costs, it's more like a hobby than a real cost savings. Just to change the oil, you have to buy tools. Then you have to buy the parts. You need space to store the tools. You need time to do the work. You need more time and expense to properly dispose of the waste. More modest maintenance require more tools and time that unless you enjoy it or want to make a future career out of it, will not pay back.
There's some truth in what you say. I only have to change the oil in our vehicle two or three times a year, and doing so myself probably saves us $50 each time. It takes about an hour of my time, including disposing of the old oil at a nearby auto parts store, but it would take at least that long to take it somewhere, wait for them to do it, and then drive back home. The savings from one oil change were enough to pay for the few needed tools. $100-$150 per year is not much savings, but I also know that the job was done well, which is more than can be said for many of the oil change shops out there. As the OP noted further up the thread, even dealers can make obvious mistakes with surprising regularity.
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