35 Car Problems You Can Easily Fix Yourself (And Save Up to $800)

You may have experienced a problem with your car once or twice.

And, let me guess.

You’d rather just have the mechanic take care of it since he knows what to do.

Well, allow me to let you in on a little secret.

Sometimes, car problems are so minor that with just a little knowledge, you could fix them yourself.

This would not only save you time, but money as well.

If you don’t believe me, check this out.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average American household spends between $500 and $800 per year on car maintenance. This brings the amount to about $42 – $67 per month. That excludes insurance, fuel, and other costs incurred outside repair and maintenance.

But, these are just ballpark figures, since repair and maintenance costs vary widely depending on the car you own.

Saving more than $800 a year is, therefore, possible.

And you don’t need to be a mechanic to do it.

There are several car repair tasks that, if done well, could see you putting some extra cash aside for other expenses.

The good news is, they do not take too much time to perform and neither are they difficult.

We’ll go over a list of 35 common car problems that you can easily diagnose and fix yourself.

But first, let’s take a look at some of the tools you need to get started.

Because a man is only as good as his tools.

Use the table of contents if you’re interest lies in just one or two car problems.

10 Essential Tools to Get Started with Car Repair

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Here are some of the tools every DIYer must have before performing repair and maintenance tasks on their car.

1. Adjustable wrench

2. Torque wrench

3. Socket and ratchet set

4. Car Jack

5. Support stands

6. Philips and flat head screwdrivers

7. Pliers

8. Drain pan

9. Multimeter

10. OBD Code Reader

When buying tools, there’s no real secret as to what brand works and what doesn’t.

All you’ll need to do is to ensure that the tool you pick provides a good grip. Go for solid handles.

You may also need to buy replacement parts when doing car repairs.

Check the existing part for a part number before heading to your nearest store or ordering one online.

This will come a long way in helping you identify the right replacement part for your car.

Now, on to the most important part of this post.

Here Are 35 Car Problems You Can Diagnose and Fix Yourself

1. Dead Battery

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you’re having trouble starting your car or powering up your car electronics, a dead battery could be one of the few possible culprits.

Dead batteries are mostly a result of a defect or mistreatment, such as leaving your headlights on overnight.

But worry not…

A jump pack should get your battery up and running in a matter of minutes.

You can buy one from the nearest auto shop, or borrow from a neighbour.

This should help you jump start your car.

To learn how to do this, click here.

In case the terminals on your battery are corroded, use a metal brush to clean off the rust.

If the terminals are loose, check this post on How to Tighten Loose Battery Terminal.

Do not work on a battery that is leaking or has reached its end of life.

To find out if your battery is no longer usable, use a multimeter to see if it measures enough power. (The nominal power of the battery should be printed somewhere on the label).

If it doesn’t have enough power, go and get yourself a new one. Or, you could learn how to revive and recondition a dead car battery to save money.

A new battery should cost you about $80 – $140, with the possibility of spending more or less depending on the type of battery you pick.

When taken good care of, it should last between 4 and 6 years.

And as a good gesture, prepare early when its end of life draws near.

You could start preparing by learning how to replace the battery yourself. Here’s how.

The average mechanic will charge you $100 plus to replace a dead battery.

But, knowing how to do it yourself with a set of wrenches can save you money.

2. Flat Tire

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

You’re driving to your destination when you suddenly hear a thumping noise.

Your car starts to tilt on one end and you can feel it struggle to move a bit.

These both sound like the symptoms of a flat tire.

You probably ran over a nail or a sharp object that caused a puncture, who knows.

But, it’s time to fix it.

A flat tire is one of those car problems that you can fix yourself.

The two easiest ways to fix a flat tire is to use tire sealant or to replace it with a spare tire.

Some tire sealants not only patch up the puncture but also inflate the tire as you wait for further repair and replacement.

Check out this 3-minute video that shows you how to use tire sealant.

If you choose to replace the tire, you should find your spare tire, a small car jack with an inbuilt lever, and a lug nut ratchet inside your trunk.

Here is a guide that will teach you how to use these.

3. Burned Out Headlight Bulb

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

A headlight bulb that has burned out means that you have no vision when driving at night.

And trust me, driving at night with no light on the road can be dangerous.

The process of replacing a headlight bulb varies from car to car.

The simplest models only require you to open the hood and change the bulb from the back of the headlight assembly.

Upper-market car makes may require you to unscrew a couple of bolts, remove the headlight housing, front grille, or fender liner, to access the headlight assembly from the bottom of the car.

You can refer to this guide for a step-by-step process of how to replace your headlight bulb.

Two of the most important things to remember here is to choose the correct replacement bulb size for your car and to avoid touching new bulbs with bare fingers.

Oils from your hands cause new bulbs to burn out prematurely.

For the correct bulb size, check for a part number on the old bulb or consult your user manual.

You can also run a quick search online or call your car manufacturer or dealership to retrieve the information.

4. Oil Warning Light

Whenever your oil light comes on, the best thing to do is to pull over and switch off your engine.

You can check the level of your oil on the side of the road.

An engine running low on oil can overheat and experience increased friction between its moving parts.  

This can lead to permanent engine damage that cannot be fixed.

If the oil is too low, you’ll need to add more to bring it to the correct level.

There are two critical things that you should know before doing this:

1. The type of oil you need – Check your user manual to determine what type of oil is appropriate for your engine.

2. How much oil your engine holds – Most engines need 5 to 8 quarts (4.7 – 7.8 liters) of oil. A 4-cylinder engine requires about 5 quarts.

Here is a quick clip that will help you check your engine oil and add it to the correct level.

5. Worn Out Wiper Blades

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you hear a screeching sound every time your windshield wipers operate, chances are the rubber blades are worn out.

The same thing applies if they leave streaks on the windshield as they move from side to side.

You can try wiping them off, but in the first scenario, this might not work.

You’ll need to replace your wiper rubber blades.                                

You do not want to drive around struggling to look through your windshield under harsh weather conditions.

So, go and grab a new set from your nearest store.

There will probably be a reference manual that you can use to confirm the size of your wipers.

And the purchase will cost you anywhere between $20 and $40 on average.

If you go to your local mechanic, he will charge you about $100 to replace the wiper blades.

Save the money by doing it yourself.

The process takes less than 5 minutes, making it one of the easiest car problems that you can fix on your own.

The old wiper rubber blades slide out, and the new ones slide in.

Just follow the instructions provided with the replacement windshield wiper blades that you buy.

Or better yet, take a look at this guide.

6. Dim Headlight

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Most dim headlights are caused by a corroded electrical connector or ground connection.

It’s hardly ever a power supply issue.

Your headlight electrical connector is found just behind the headlight bulb.

You can access it under the hood, from the back of the headlight housing.

Unplug it and check for any rusting.

Use a small wire brush and electrical contact cleaner to clear the corrosion.

Your car’s headlight ground connection is found just where the ground wire terminates into the frame or fender.

Unscrew the termination and clean off the rust.

You can apply some dielectric grease to prevent further rusting.

Here’s a short guide that shows you how to fix a dim headlight.

7. Clogged Windshield Washer Jet

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If one or both of your windshield washer jets no longer shoots water, you might have a clogged jet.

What most DIYers do is to insert a pin to unclog the jet.

Sometimes this works. Other times, not so much.

The best solution is to open the hood of your car and disconnect the rubber tubing that sends water to the clogged jet.

Shoot some compressed air backwards to dislodge the clog.

This will help to remove the clog that was causing you restless rides.

If that doesn’t work, your car may have a damaged washer pump.

You can replace it yourself using this guide.

8. Broken Antenna

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Most modern cars have replaced that thin tall whip-like antenna that used to swing and dangle on top of older cars for smaller stubby antennae that resemble a shark’s fin. 

However, a lot of used cars still feature the long antenna for better radio transmission.

When your car antenna breaks, you’ll have trouble listening to your local FM radio.

A broken antenna could be a result of vandalism or damage caused after forgetting to retract it.

Fortunately, this is one of the easiest car problems that you can diagnose and fix yourself.

In case of a fender mount antenna, all you need to do is to unscrew the remaining part of the mast that supported the broken antenna.

Buy a new one from your nearest auto parts store and replace it.

If your car uses a pillar mount antenna, the process is a bit involving but can still be easily performed.

You’ll have to disconnect the antenna cable from your radio, connect its end to a string before removing the antenna from the outside.

This helps you not to lose the cabling within the car’s frame.

Here’s a short video on how to replace your fender mount antenna.

 9. Clogged Engine Air Filter

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

An air filter prevents dirt, debris, and small particles from reaching your car’s engine.

One that is too old and ineffective can heavily affect engine performance and reduce fuel efficiency.

Replacing your engine air filter is another car problem that you should never pay someone else to do for you.

This is because the process is simple and only takes a few minutes to complete.

All you have to do is open the hood of your car, locate the engine air filter housing, unscrew it and any retaining components, replace the old filter with the new, and screw everything back together.

To find out if your old filter needs changing, hold a light behind it and check to see how much of the light passes through.

If it blocks more than 50% of it, it’s time to replace it.

A new engine air filter will cost you anywhere between $15 and $20.

A mechanic or dealer will charge you about $100 in labour costs.

This can be higher if you drive a German import.

But since you’re reading this, I assume you don’t want to spend that much.

Well, neither do I.

Here is a quick video on how to replace your engine air filter by yourself.

10. Clogged Cabin Air Filter

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you’re not getting enough air out of your AC, you could be driving around with a clogged cabin air filter.

A clogged filter can cause the AC to run harder and longer under warm weather.

It also causes damage to your car’s blower motor, which could cost you upwards of $150 to replace.

However, you shouldn’t worry. This is a car problem you can easily fix yourself.

Cabin air filters are typically located behind the glove box and air ducts in older models.

Newer models may have them installed between the windshield and rear end of the hood or just behind the instrument cluster.

All you’ll need to do is unscrew the glove box and remove the access covers to reach the filter.

And just like with the engine air filter, out with the old, in with the new.

Take note of the airflow arrows so that you’re able to place the new filter in its correct orientation.

After spending about $25 on the purchase, you could save in excess of $100 by doing the replacement yourself.

Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you replace your cabin air filter.

11. Old Fuel Filter

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

A fuel filter works just like the two filters mentioned above.

It keeps dirt, debris, and particles found in the fuel line form reaching the engine.

A typical fuel filter resembles a soda cup with two straws sticking out.

Replacing an old one is a quick fix.

However, it can be a bit of a challenge in fuel-injected vehicles which may require you to disable the fuel pump to release the pressure from the fuel lines.

The average cost of a new oil fuel filter is $15, with the amount varying depending on the type of car you own.

And, with the right tools and instructions, you could save hundreds of dollars in labour costs by taking care of this car problem yourself.

Here is a detailed guide that will help you replace your fuel filter safely.

12. Chipped Car Paint

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you take a look around your car, you’ll likely notice small parts of chipped paint.

This is mostly caused by flying gravel that hits your car as you drive around.

Most of the time, it isn’t an issue of concern for many drivers.

However, if left for too long, paint chippings could cause the metal to blister and rust.

This may end up causing serious corrosion problems that cost more to fix.

A little touch up with paint should get you out of the woods and keep your car looking shiny and bright.

All you have to do is visit your local auto parts store or auto dealer for some touch up paint, fine tip paint applicator, wax, and grease remover.

Remember to check your user manual for the right car colour.

Use the wax and grease remover to clean up the chip.

Then dab some touch up paint onto the chip using the paint applicator.

Avoid using too much paint as it may drip to the lower parts of the car.

Let the paint dry completely.

Come back after 30 days and apply some wax.

Here’s a video that illustrates clearly what I’m talking about.

13. Small Dents

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

There are different ways you can patch a dent on your car.

The most professional and time-consuming method involves sanding the dent down to bare metal, feathering the edges, cleaning the dents with grease remover and wax, mixing and applying body filler, and painting the dented area with touch up paint.

That’s a long process.

One that will cost you a lot of time and money as you’re likely to make plenty of mistakes as a DIYer.

Here are 4 quick solutions to this car problem that you can use to fix yourself, especially if you don’t have much damage to your paint.

The good news is you only require household items such as a hairdryer, a plunger, hot water, and vacuum cleaner.

a) Hairdryer

Start by heating the dent with the hairdryer while holding it six inches away.

Cover the dent with an aluminium foil and rub some dry ice over it.

The drastic changes in temperature will force the dent to pop out, fixing your car in a matter of minutes.

Here’s a video that shows you an alternative way to use a hairdryer to remove a car dent. .

b) Plunger

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Start by pouring some hot water on the dent to improve suction.

Then push the plunger up and down over the dent until it pops out.

This process doesn’t always work.

So, do check out this video to help set the right conditions before using a plunger to remove dents on your car.

c) Hot water

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Using hot water is also another magical process that will help fix the dent on the plastic parts of your car. 

However, it only works on parts that can be accessed from the back such as the bumper.

Pour the hot water on the dent .

Reach behind the dented part and pop it out with an object.

d) Vacuum cleaner

Lastly, you can use a vacuum cleaner and a bucket.

Make a small hole at the bottom of the bucket and cover the dent using the top part of the same bucket.

Suck the dent out from the bucket hole you just made using the vacuum cleaner.

Here’s a guide that will help you out.

Not all dents can be easily fixed as explained above.

So, if the dent it too large to fix, you may have to take it to your mechanic for repair.

14. Tears in Vinyl and Leather

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

You’ve probably been driving around with torn car seats for a while now.

And you plan to fix them, some day.

You don’t see yourself spending upwards of $200 to patch the tears and neither can you afford to buy new seats.

I get it.

Well, for as little as $20, you could get yourself a leather and vinyl repair kit that you can use to fix the tears on your car seats.

This can be bought from the nearest auto parts store.

You may have to practise doing the patches to get the right colour mix.

It may take longer to produce a perfect match but trust me, the results will be better than driving around with your car looking like that.

Here’s a video that will put you up to speed on how to use a vinyl and leather repair kit.

15. Hose Leaks

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If, after driving you notice your car has been leaving a trail of yellow, orange, or green liquid on the ground, you most likely have a leak.

The liquid could be antifreeze and chances are it’s coming from a crack or a hole in one of the exterior hoses found in your car.

This is a car problem that you can fix yourself, so don’t let anyone lie to you that it is too hard for a DIYer.

Make sure your car is parked at a safe spot.

Pop the hood and take a look around.

See if there’s any liquid of the same colour that’s draining from any one of the hoses.

Be careful not to touch anything until your car cools down completely.

Once you find the damaged hose, the process of replacing it is as simple as hooking up an accessory to a vacuum cleaner. 

Out with the old, in with the new.

Here is a short video that guides you through this.

Remember to reinstall any clamps that held the hose in place.

If you can’t find any leaks, the liquid is probably flowing from the radiator.

And if you’re willing to fix the radiator, check out the next step.

If not, you’re best off taking the car to your mechanic for a proper fix.

16. Leaking Car Radiator

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Car radiators can be notoriously problematic if not well taken care of.

For one, they tend to build deposits that clog the car’s cooling system.

This calls for regular flushing to keep the system in its best condition.

But, the most common problems that DIYers encounter involve pinholes.

It’s possible to fix the radiator if there’s only one or two pinholes.

Three of the easiest ways to do this is to use a radiator sealer, black pepper, or raw eggs.

a) Radiator Sealer

The best radiator sealer is the powdered type that is sold in a plastic tube.

But, this is normally not the best way to fix leaks in your radiator.

Some sealants have been known to lock other passage ways, causing bigger problems to your car.

Be sure to check out online reviews to pick up the best one.

b) Black Pepper

As for black pepper, look for the finely ground type.

Pour it into the radiator and, voila.

It will easily find its way to the pinhole and swell to prevent leaks.

c) Raw egg

On the other hand, beating a raw egg into the radiator cooks it up well enough to seal the hole.

Avoid pouring any into the overflow tank.

As you can see, these three methods are things you can easily do by yourself to fix car problems.

But, remember that they are just temporary solutions that will allow you to get to where you want to be before taking the car to the repair shop.

If you’re radiator is leaking severely, it may be best to replace it entirely rather than patch it up with a sealant or welding.

Here’s a detailed video that will teach you how to replace a car radiator.

17. Bad Brake Pads

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

You’re probably wondering how brake pads made it to this list.

Could they be misplaced?

Well, no.

Bad brake pads are one of those car problems that people assume are hard to fix.

The auto industry even charges hundreds of dollars for this, thanks to the existing thought that replacing brake pads is a difficult process.

With a wheel lug wrench, pliers, some basic wrenches, a hammer, c-clamp, a jack stand and a jack; you can easily swap your old brake pads for new ones.

A new set will cost you between $20 and $40.

And it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to replace them on all 4 wheels.

This is depending on the type of car you drive, of course.

Alternatively, you could get them replaced at the auto shop.

But, this will set you back an average of $250 for every axle.

Do I need to mention how much money you’ll save by fixing them yourself?

An important thing to note, new brake pads typically last between 30,000-50,000 miles.

It’s recommended that you check them after every 10,000 miles.

If their pad thickness is under 3mm, it’s time to replace them.

Do the same if you start to hear loud and unbearable squeaking and squealing sounds.

Just remember to pay attention to the calipers, rotors, brake fluid, and wheel bearings.

All of these are part of the braking system.

If you get any of them wrong, you could put yourself and fellow car occupants in a lot of danger.

Here’s a short instructional video that will help you replace your brake pads safely.

18. Slow Moving Power Window

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

A slow and sticky power window can be really stressful.

On top of that, it can be a huge embarrassment, especially at a drive-thru.

Imagine struggling to pull down your window before making an order. I cringe at the very thought of it.

Fortunately, fixing a slow electric window is easy.

But, if neglected, can break the window regulator mechanism due to undue stress.

This could easily put you back $400 in repairs.

But let’s not go there. Here’s how to fix it.

Grab an aerosol like Teflon spray.

Shake it vigorously and insert its nozzle into the window channels.

Spray the chemical until it runs down the door.

Then wait for a few minutes before testing your windows.

If this does not work, you probably have a broken power window regulator.

And that’s not something I can teach you how to repair in one sentence.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s a car problem that you can’t fix yourself.

So, here’s how to fix it.

19. Squealing Drive Belt

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Apart from noisy brakes, squealing belts come second in my list of the most annoying car problems.

And it’s not once that I’ve driven next to a car that produces an annoying squealing sound.

This mostly originates from the engine compartment.

The most common cause of the high-pitched squeal is a rubber belt that slips around the pulleys after having lost its grip.

On rare occasions, it could be caused by component misalignment or a worn out and slow-moving pump, alternator, or AC compressor bearing.

But, what you’re most likely to encounter is a worn out, loose belt that has been contaminated with coolant or oil.

Start by performing a visual inspection of your drive belt.

A bad belt will have cracks and look thin. It will also appear loose.

Before you go ripping it off, pick a pen and paper and draw the belt diagram.

You’ll want to remember the path the belt takes when carrying out a replacement.

Here’s a guide that will help you replace your worn out drive belt.

If the noise persists, the belt or the components it pushes are misaligned.

That’s not a car problem that you can fix yourself. You’ll have to take it to the car repair shop.

20. Spark Plugs

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Spark plugs ignite the fuel and air in your engine.

If they are dirty, rusty or worn out, they will misfire.

And this will result in rough idles, hard car starts, low gas mileage and even failed emissions tests.

Replacing your spark plugs is a relatively easy process if you don’t have to reach extremely far back in your engine compartment to access them.

And this is one of those essential car problems that you can learn to fix yourself.

The first thing you have to do is buy a new set of spark plugs.

They are fairly cheap and most cost about $30 for a complete set.

Here’s an instructional piece that takes you through the entire process of replacing your spark plugs.

A visit to the auto shop can put you back as much as $300 for the same process.

Save the extra money by doing it yourself. Use a spark plug wrench alongside other tools.

Once you’re done replacing the plugs, remember to check them every 30,000 – 40,000 miles (50,000 – 65,000 km).

21. Leaky Sunroof

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

You’re sure that your windows and doors are completely closed.

But you can still feel tiny drops of rain hit you as you drive.

Or worse, you can see water leak through the roof.

You may be driving around with clogged sunroof drains.

This is car problem you can easily fix in a few minutes, all by yourself.

Your sunroof has drain holes installed at the front and rear corners.

Connect a small plastic or rubber tube to each drain using duct tape.

Connect the end of that pipe to a vacuum and suck out any dirt or debris that may have clogged the drains.

Dribble some water into the drains and check under the car to see if there’s any water draining to the ground.

If you do, you’re good to go. Your sunroof drains are no longer clogged.

But if you have a completely blocked drain, insert a thin cable into it and gently push it down.

Be gentle as you do not want to puncture the drains.

If the water runs free, you’re now good to go.

Here’s a video that adds on to what I’m talking about.

22. Burned Out Non-Headlight Bulbs

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Apart from replacing your headlight bulbs, you may have to replace burned out side marker, fog light, and license plate bulbs.

This is especially if the bulbs are blinking or flashing rapidly.

Though rarely, interior bulbs could also burn out.

Replacing these is as simple as unscrewing the retaining screws that hold the casing together, removing the bad bulb and replacing it with a new one.

And as mentioned earlier, use gloves or a paper towel when handling the bulbs.

This prevents the oils on your skin from causing the new bulb to fail prematurely.

23. Tire Pressure Sensor Warning Light (TPMS)

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

All newer cars now include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that helps to monitor tire pressure as you drive around.

This is because driving with low-pressure tires can put you and your passengers at a lot of risk.

The system is designed to alert the driver any time tire pressure falls beyond the required level.

And once that happens, all the driver needs to do is fill up the tires to the specified pressure.

If the light doesn’t turn off, drive for about 10 miles at varying speeds.

Counter-check your tire pressure as well.

If you’re using your spare tire, you may have to increase its inflation pressure since spare tires normally require much higher pressure.

If these tips don’t work to eliminate the TPMS light, here’s how to turn off service tire monitor system light the right way.

24. Sticking Car Door

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If your car door has been getting harder and harder to open, the rubber that sticks to the door frame might be wet or dirty.

Clean it off with a spray cleaner to remove the dirt and debris.

Sometimes, hot weather might also make the rubber to stick to the frame making it difficult for you to open the door.

After wiping off the debris, coat the rubber with dry Teflon lube or silicone.

You can spray the lubricant on a rag and wet the entire rubber.

Let it dry for a few minutes.

You’ll have taken care of another car problem that you can fix in less than 10 minutes.

25. Rusty Hood Release/Latch

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Hood latches are exposed to road grit, salt, and water on a daily basis.

This can cause them to rust, stick and gum up; making it hard for you to open your hood.

Before you call your mechanic, this is a car problem you can fix yourself in a matter of minutes.

Fixing a sticky hood latch starts with buying a can of spray white lithium grease and another can of aerosol rust penetrant.

Apply the rust penetrant on the rusted latch.

If you can’t open the hood, insert the spray straw through the front grille and shoot the penetrant at the latch.

Apply about half a can of lubricant onto the latch. Here’s how.

Leave it for an hour. If it does not open, repeat the procedure.

Once you’re able to open the hood, apply the white lithium grease.

Open and close the hood repeatedly until the latch works smoothly.

Apply grease every once a year before the start of the cold or wet season.

26. Weak Gas Lifts

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Gas lifts are also known as gas struts.

Do not confuse these with the gas lifts found within the suspension system.

They are that part of your hood/bonnet or trunk/boot that enables you to lift the lid.

Over time, they can lose pressure, making them ineffective.

If you find yourself having to hold the trunk or hood lid by yourself when accessing the inside, you need to replace the gas lift.

Fortunately, this another car problem that you can quickly and easily fix yourself.

Visit your nearest auto store and grab new replacement lifts for your car.

Have a friend hold the hood or trunk lid for you as you remove the bolts that hold the old lift in place.

Or you can use a long strong piece of wood instead, like this guy.

If you have two gas lifts, replace them as a pair because they experience the same amount of wear.

27. PCV Valve

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

The PCV valve is also known as the positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV).

It prevents harmful vapours from reaching the crankshaft casing (crankcase) or being dispelled into the atmosphere.

Over time, the valve accumulates carbon, causing the springs to lose tension.

This then puts the engine at risk of damage.

But worry not…

Replacing the PCV valve is a simple process. All you need to do is simply swap the old for the new.

It’s definitely one of those car problems that with a little bit of patience, you can fix yourself.

Every car has its own replacement intervals, so be sure to consult your user manual for that.

Here’s a guide that will get you started with identifying the PCV valve and replacing it.

28. Changing Your Oil

As a rule of thumb, you should change your oil after every 3,000 – 5,000 miles (4,800 – 8,000 km).

And this is because engine oil wears out and breaks down over time.

This makes it less effective at absorbing heat and lubricating the engine, causing major engine problems.

Replacing it at an auto shop could cost you between $30 and $100 depending on the type of car you drive.

Then there are those places that charge $15 for the same.

Pretty affordable, right?

Well, here’s the thing, oil changes are not just oil changes.

A cheap change comes with conditions.

You get low-grade oil that isn’t any close to the synthetic or synthetic blend required for your engine.

And, chances are, they will not put in the correct amount, especially if you bring in a truck or an SUV.

So, do it yourself. It’s pretty simple.

Find out what type of oil your engine needs and buy the good quality type.

After that, locate your oil pan, your oil filter, jack and jack stands, oil filter wrench, and get started with changing your oil.

All you need to do is to loosen the drain bolt, let the old oil pour out into the oil pan, replace the oil filter and refill the engine with the new oil.

Here’s a video that will show you what exactly I’m talking about.

29. Check Engine Light

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you see a “Check Engine”, “Reduced Power” or “Service Engine Soon” warning message, chances are your car’s system has identified a problem with the transmission or engine.

In some cases, the problem could be a problematic sensor that needs a replacement.

In others, it could be a bigger problem.

Fortunately, the car’s computer system is designed to store trouble codes in its memory anytime such happens.

The first thing you need to do is to retrieve the trouble code from the computer using an OBD code reader.

This is a scan tool that costs less than the average cost of a professional diagnostic charge.

The most important thing here is to get the correct car problem diagnosis.

If you’re not able to, visit your nearest auto shop.

They should have a car diagnosis machine that they can use to do a free car diagnostic test.

Once you get the code, search through the internet for advice on how to fix that particular code.

For example, if you drive a Toyota Corolla, search for “P0500 Toyota Corolla” if the trouble code was P0500.

This will turn up multiple results with step-by-step tutorials and video guides.

30. Poor Acceleration

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

One of the many causes of poor acceleration is a faulty Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF).

This is a sensor that monitors the mass, temperature, and volume of the air entering the engine.

It calculates the proper amount of fuel the driver needs to add.

But, if dirty, it can cause the computer to display incorrect readings and miscalculate the amount of fuel that should be added.

This then translates to performance issues.

You can have your car reading the correct fuel levels by simply cleaning the MAF sensors.

To start you off, buy a can of MAF Sensor Cleaner from your nearest auto parts store.

Use a socket wrench or screwdriver to remove the MAF sensor from the air duct.

Here’s how.

Aim the spray cleaner at the sensing elements within the MAF housing and soak them with the cleaner.

Don’t touch them with your fingers, a brush, or rag to avoid damage.

Once the cleaner has dried off, reinstall the MAF sensor.

If the cleaning process doesn’t alleviate your acceleration problems, it’s time to reach out to a pro.

31. Hanging Exhaust

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

If you’re driving around town and you hear a strange clunking sound from underneath, you may be dragging a hanging exhaust.

Chances are you’re even leaving a trail of sparks behind you as the metal gets in contact with the ground.

Most hanging exhausts are caused by a failure of the exhaust hangers, also known as muffler straps.

These are made of tough rubber which eventually wears out with time.

Take a peek underneath your car to check if the thick rubber hangers are out.

If any is broken, you’ll have to replace them.

You’ll have to first visit your nearest auto shop to get replacement muffle straps.

Afterwards, follow this simple guide to get your exhaust pipes back in the right position.

32. Overheated Engine

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Your car’s engine produces a lot of heat.

And if this heat is not expelled properly, the engine could experience some serious damage.

The first thing you need to do when you experience an overheated engine is to stop the car and let the engine cool down.

After that, open the hood and have some water nearby.

Look for any water leaks.

Where there’s a leak is where the problem is.

Possible sources of leakages include the radiator, overflow tank, radiator hoses, water pump or cabin heater.

Here’s a video that shows you where to locate these.

If none of these show any leaks, then the problem could be the thermostat. A faulty thermostat is a car problem that you can fix yourself.

You can find it enclosed in a housing where one of the radiator hoses attaches to the engine.

Read the next step to find out how to fix a faulty thermostat.

33. Thermostat Repair

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

The thermostat controls the flow of coolant between the engine and the radiator.

And, there are several temporary solutions to a faulty thermostat.

It’s one of the car problems that may require some patience to fix by yourself.

The first solution involves removing the thermostat and using the car without it. This works better in older models. I’d strictly advise against removing any component from a modern car as this could open a can of more problems.

The downside to this solution is that the engine warms up slower than usual.

But, it works well if the engine was warming up too fast.

One important thing to note is, you may not be able to take out the thermostat in most of the newer cars without removing the gasket seal.

But once you do, you’ll need to break the thermostat, remove the plunger that sits at the center, return it into the gasket and reinstall the gasket.

In case you break the gasket, you can fix it or make another using cardboard, silicone tub sealant, silicone gasket sealer, or chewing gum.

These are just but temporary solutions that will give you enough time to head over to the auto shop for a full thermostat repair.

Here’s a video that will help you change your thermostat.

34. Dead Alternator

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

The alternator is a device that works with the car battery to produce power for the electrical components of your car.

It’s mostly located at the front of the engine and is connected by a belt.

If your car has difficulty starting or keeps stalling frequently, you may have a dying alternator.

You may also experience electrical failures and flickering lights when this happens.

While these are still symptoms of a dead battery, you can perform a simple test to confirm that you indeed have a faulty alternator.

Run your car and then unplug the positive terminal from the battery.

If the car shuts down, you have a problematic alternator.

You can test it to see if it measures enough power using a multimeter.

If it doesn’t, you’ll need a replacement. 

Replacing it is as simple as removing the electrical connections from the alternator, unbolting the brackets, freeing the serpentine belt and replacing the old alternator with a new one.  

Here’s a video that takes you step-by-step through the process.

35. Side View Mirror

You’re driving along a narrow road when someone decides to knock your side mirrors off.

Or worse, you park your car somewhere only to find one of its mirrors hanging later on.

Rather than driving around with a broken or hanging mirror, the best thing is to do a complete replacement.

This is a car problem that isn’t too hard nor time consuming to fix by yourself.

A side mirror replacement will cost you between $35 and $90.

Labour costs range between $100 and $250.

Consider doing the replacement on your own because there’s a lot to save.

Remember to follow the instructions keenly.

Here’s a guide to help you out.

Once You’re Comfortable Performing Minor Car Repairs, The Possibilities Are Endless

Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

The sky is the limit now.

Having successfully fixed a couple of the car problems listed above, you’ll be on your way to perfecting minor vehicle repairs in not time.

You may even start working on more complicated problems, with the exception of engine works.

Learning how to fix a car engine takes longer and more experience.

It’s also one of those car problems that takes a long time or even days to fix.

While you may not be able to fix common car issues as fast as a mechanic, there are very few minor car problems that will have you glued to your car longer than you have to be.

And if you ever doubt your ability to fix something, a resource like AutoMD can come in handy when diagnosing car problems and repairs.

It gives you a difficulty estimate based on the time it takes to repair something, the tools required, and the location of the part that you need.

You’re able to see if this is a problem you can handle or not.

Just remember that even the most modern of cars have a thing or two that you can work on in your garage.

Car repairs are never as difficult as they are assumed to be.

You’ve got this!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in technical matters.