Save Money With These DIY Car Repair Tips

Automotive Blog

You still love your car but over the years it's taken on its share of dings and bruises. You may have had the thought more than once that "I should take the car in and have that fixed" and now there are a dozen things to repair. If you're handy with a set of household tools, you can do several of these cosmetic repairs yourself. By getting parts at an auto salvage yard, such as Karr Parts, you'll save money over buying new aftermarket or original parts. Here are some simple repairs that you can do in your driveway with parts you can find in a used auto parts shop.

Exterior Repairs

Mirrors - It's often easier to replace the entire assembly than just the mirror. With older cars, a couple of screws will free up the old mirror for replacement. A cosmetic plate on the base of the mirror may need to be pried up to see the screws. In newer cars, you'll have to detach then reconnect the mirror adjustment cables to remove and replace the assembly. If you find a set of mirrors in a used car parts shop, then replace both on your car for a matching look.

Cracked lenses - Taillights and turn signal lenses can be replaced with just a screwdriver. Remove the screws at the outside corners of the lenses then gently pry the lens from the car. Your lens may have a small rubber gasket between it and the car body. Pick the best of the gaskets between the old and new lens and set the new lens in place and replace the screws.

Hub caps and wheel covers - These are often removed from old cars and sold separately in the shop. You may have to call around to different auto parts yards to find the exact ones for your car. The hub cap uses small clips to hold it in place. If removing an old broken hub cap, use a screwdriver to pry it off. Put the new one on by lining up the hub cap on the wheel and gently tapping it into place with your hand, the screwdriver handle or a rubber mallet.

Hood ornament - It's sad to see a car with the hood ornament broken off. This was the manufacturer's way of showing off the car's identity. Find a replacement from the used parts shop and give your car back it's pride. Many hood ornaments use a spring that attaches under the engine hood, up through a hole and onto the hood ornament. Some use a friction clip that slides onto the hood ornament from under the hood.

Interior Repairs

Rear view mirror - Replace a broken or loose mirror with a good used one. A special adhesive is used to attach the mirror to the windshield. Any auto parts store will have this adhesive and they can show you how to use it to get a good seal.

Knobs and levers - Search through the used car parts to find any knobs, buttons, levers or other controls that are broken or worn in your car. These often have a small set screw that holds the part in place, or it may just stay on by a friction fit.

Vent grills - If the small plastic grills that cover your air vents inside are broken, replace them with good used parts. These often just snap into the dashboard but a few may have small screws or clips that hold them secure. Remove the screws or compress the clips and pull the old vent grill out. Put the new gill in place and push it in until the clips snap onto the grill. Replace any screws to hold the grill secure.

With a few tools and a couple of afternoons, you'll have your car looking great again. Many of the parts you'll need you'll find at a used car parts shop. Make a list of shops close to you in case you have to call around to find just the right part.


26 February 2015

About Greg Chapman

When I was little, I'd watch old movies with my grandfather. One of my favorite scenes was when Steve McQueen tried to jump that big fence on his motorcycle in "The Great Escape." After I saw that, I just wanted a motorcycle. I was obsessed with them! My grandpa knew that, and he helped me build one for myself. He took me shopping for all the parts, taught me about the mechanics of it all, and walked me through all the building and repairs. Since then, my love has expanded to all things that run with a motor, including cars. Even though I'm not a professional, I'm quite skilled, and that has proven handy when it comes to my own repairs and the simple enjoyment of riding my bikes. Check out my blog!