How to Service a Car Step by Step

Service your Own Car

DIY Car Service Guide

Where I live, the mechanics operating from behind alleys are barely out of adolescence. So, naturally, they don’t really know what they are doing. Of course, I am talking about Zimbabwe, where most people will never drive a new car. The ones that we drive are ten, fifteen, or even more years old by the time that we get them from Japan. So, there is no worry about warrants and such niceties. If you live in a normal country, and your car is still under warranty, then you would probably be better off letting professionals handle its servicing. There are indeed professionals even here, though they cost an arm and a leg. Their services, in any case, are not that much better than those by their counterparts on the street. If you are the daring type, then this article will show you how to service your own car step by step.

DIY Car Servicing Checklist?

There are some things that you are going to need as part of the process servicing your car. I drive a Toyota Corolla from way back in the year 2000. I got it about 5 years ago, yet in all that time, I have never had it serviced by anybody else. Anyway, whenever I decide it’s time to service my vehicle, I usually need the following;

  1. The correct amount of new oil at the correct grade. My car needs 3.4 liters.
  2. A rag to wipe off the oil should some spill out during the process.
  3. An empty tin to collect used oil.
  4. An appropriate spanner to open the drain plug. On my vehicle, that’s a 14 socket spanner.
  5. An oil filter removal tool. I bought mine from China via eBay and it works great. If you have strong hands, you can use them to remove the oil filter on your car, but that’s probably going to be a chore.
  6. You also need a brand new oil filter.
  7. If you are really into it, you can also buy an air filter.

Should I change the spark plugs when servicing my car?

Corolla spark plugs schedule
Corolla Spark Plugs Schedule

You will notice that there is no provision for the removal of spark plugs on the list above. That’s because most cars do not actually need to have their spark plugs changed as often as the wannabe mechanics will have you believe. I have never actually changed the spark plugs on my Corolla. They are iridium spark plugs and, according to Toyota, those are good enough to go 150 thousand kilometers without being changed. If someone, therefore, tries to argue that you should have your spark plugs changed at every service, they clearly do not know what they are talking about. Indeed, it’s apparent that I will probably never change the spark plugs on my vehicles. The car still only has about 54 thousand kilometers on the odometer.

The DIY Car Service Process

Those are the things that I usually collect before servicing my own car. Note that I have never actually changed the air filter on my car. I usually just remove it and whack it on some hard surface to remove the dust. Air filters are not that expensive, however, and you should probably not be as frugal as I am. Anyway, here are the steps that you should follow when servicing my own car at home;

  1. Run the engine for a minutes till it’s hot. That’s supposed to soften the oil in the car.
  2. Open the bonnet and let the engine cool down to a comfortable temperature.
  3. Jack up your car so that you have access to the oil drain plug.
  4. Open the oil cap on the engine and set it aside. You should not open the drain plug before removing the oil cap.
  5. Go under your car and remove the oil drain plug. Have the empty container that was mentioned above ready so the oil can drain into it.
  6. Use the oil filter removal tool to remove the oil filter.
  7. Leave the car for about 30 minutes while the oil is draining. I usually remove the jack from the car so the engine is level and all the oil gets drained.
  8. When no more oil remains in the engine, jack the car up one more time so you have access.
  9. Restore the drain plug. Don’t over tighten it.
  10. Now it’s time to put on the new oil filter. Rub oil around the rubber on the rim so the process is easy. Tighten the oil filter by hand. You can use the tool, but don’t over-tighten it.
  11. Pour the correct amount of the new oil into your car. You are going to have to do research to find out how much your car takes. My Corolla takes about 3.4 liters of oil.
  12. When done, you can now change the air filter.
  13. Afterwards, start your car and let it run for a few minutes.
  14. Check if there are any oil spills.

That’s it. That’s how you service your own car at home. It’s not really a complicated process. You only need, while carrying out DIY car servicing, to make sure that you are getting the correct type of oil filter as well as the correct oil grade. Indeed, one of my major concerns when it comes to having the oil changed by professionals is that they do not seem to care about the type of oil that they put into cars. If it’s a petrol car, they will use a petrol oil without regard for viscosity. Anyway, hope this information is helpful. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below if you have anything to say.

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