Mechanic Antics: 3 Easy Repair Hacks for the Average Driver

by / Tuesday, 25 November 2014 / Published in Automotive Maintenance

Repair Hacks

With great power comes great responsibility. In other words: with great muscle comes an even greater need for proper auto maintenance. “Great” may be a big word, but hey, you don’t always need a professional mechanic to get the job done. Seriously, you don’t need to start researching on steel tubes and camshafts to do a fine job on certain repairs. You just need a few hacks to get you started.

Before we start, you’ve got to have the right mindset, so tone down those fears! With enough control and care, you’re not going to scratch or cut yourself and neither will you end up setting yourself on fire in trying to patch a few holes. Once you’re equipped with the necessary tools and instructional material, you’re surely on your way to returning your baby to tiptop shape.

Repair Hack #1: The Drive Belt Solution

Hearing a bit of a squeal when you start your engine? How about when you click or turn a particular switch or knob in your car? Don’t panic just yet. There may be a simple problem behind that: your drive belts finally needs a look-see.

If you’re unsure of what this is, the drive belt is basically any of the belts you see under the hood. Looped around the pulleys located in front of the engine, these rubber straps control the wipers, the cooling system, and your car’s power steering. The squealing means you either need to tighten the belt, or to replace it entirely. You’ll need your screwdriver, sockets, wrenches, and ratchet for this, as well as a reliable online video tutorial.

Repair Hack #2: The Brake Pads Shift

Still hearing that nightmarish squeal even after your drive belt fix? That may not be in your head. If you listen very closely, the shriek comes every time you hit the brakes. Dear friend, it may be time to replace your brake pads.

The brake pads are the magical contraptions that apply friction to the wheels, making the car stop. They “scream” as a warning that they need to be replaced so, if you heed their warning, you’d never have to experience the scenario of having your brakes give out on you in the middle of your road trip. You can also think of it as a warning to your doom, for more effect.

Repair Hack #3: Ye Olde Battery and Alternator

It’s easy enough to tell whether or not your battery and alternator are busted: you can’t use your car or any of its accessories.

It doesn’t mean you’re already doomed, though. You just have to get your manual and your multimeter out to check which one of the two has the problem. Whichever isn’t measuring enough power between the two, you automatically have to say goodbye to. If there is a reason you simply cannot however, it’s time to get the jumper cables out and summon a victim of which power you shall harness—did we say “victim”? We actually mean a kind stranger to help you jump your battery.

Having someone else help you with this not only makes it possible, but also easier and clearer. Just remember: red goes to positive while black—you guessed it—goes to negative. If jumping leaves your car still, well, still, then maybe it’s time to send the kind stranger back his way, and to call for tow services. You’re getting pulled out of there.

Now if you still don’t believe in the miraculous birth of your mechanical skills, you can always stick with performing simple tune-ups on your car. I still won’t leave you there though; you have to try these repair hacks for your baby. Just think about this: where did your mechanic start if not from where you are right now?

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