It's happened to all of us. One minute you're driving along without a care in the world, and the next, you're pulled over on the side of the road wondering how to fix the flat tyre, broken headlights or dead battery.
The good news is, these are all car problems you can fix yourself without having to fork out the up-front cost of a trip to the mechanic. Just follow our handy DIY tips below.
1. A flat tyre
Flat tyres are one of the most common problems drivers come across, but they're also one of the easiest to fix on your own if you've got the right tools and knowledge.
To replace your flat tyre, you'll need:
- A car jack and lever
- A socket wrench or ratchet
- A spare tyre
- A healthy dose of elbow grease
It may seem daunting, but the jack will be doing most of the real work here. Start by finding a flat, safe area to pull over and loosen up (but don't remove) the lug nuts - the nuts that are holding the wheel to the car - on the wheel with your wrench. You may or may not need to take off your hubcap, depending on the type of tyre you have. Then, position the jack beneath a stable surface of your car. Once you've got the jack set up, pump it with the lever to raise the wheel off the ground. Then, you'll fully remove the lug nuts from the wheel to remove the flat tyre and replace it with your spare. Replace the lug nuts loosely, then lower your car. Once your car is back on the ground, tighten up your lug nuts all the way.
2. Replacing a dead headlight
A headlight bulb can fizzle out at the most inconvenient of times, but luckily it's a simple fix you can do yourself.
- A spare bulb (your car manual will tell you what type)
Once you've turned your engine off and allowed it to cool, simply pop the bonnet and unscrew the old bulb. They are normally very easy to reach, and replacing the lights can be as quick and easy as changing a bulb in your home. Your car owner's manual will have any model-specific details you need to locate the right components.
3. Jump-starting a dead battery
There aren't many sounds more disappointing than a car with a dead battery. The lights might flash and put on a show, but you won't be going anywhere. To get it started again, you’ll need:
- Jumper cables
- A good samaritan with a healthy car battery that matches your vehicle's voltage
Park your cars nose to nose, turn both cars off and pop the hoods. Attach the red clips of your jumper cables to the positive terminals of each battery (yours first). Then, attach one black clip to the negative terminal of the second car's battery, and the final black clip to an unpainted, metal part of your vehicle that's as far away from the battery as possible. Start the working vehicle and let it run for a few minutes.When you're ready, try to start your vehicle. Once it works, make sure to leave your engine running for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery.
With these tips, you should be back on the road in no time. However, If worse comes to worst, you can always call roadside assistance and someone will be along to jump your battery, fix your flat or even give you a top up of fuel.
With those tips, you should be back on the road in in no time, but unfortunately, not all car repairs are DIY. Check out our other post on 3 car problems you should never fix yourself.