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Do it yourself car repairs

With expensive gas prices and auto insurance rates, you pay a lot to make sure your car is working well. While you can't control the price of gas, there are a few areas you can cut back in your car budget, such as repairs. Unless you are a pro, you should leave the heavy duty stuff to trained mechanics, but here are a few simple car repairs you can do all by yourself:

Air filter

When you stop into a repair shop, the mechanics probably ask you the last time you changed your air filter. While it needs to be changed periodically, there's no need to fork over a lot of money for a mechanic to do it for you. Instead, you can do it yourself with relative ease. First, open up the hood and locate the air filter, which looks like a black case with metal clasps. Once you pull it out and inspect it. If it's completely black, it is time to get a new one. They are relatively cheap and should only take a few minutes to change.

Oil change

You might have been told that you should change your car's oil every 3,000 miles. Though you don't have to get it changed the instant your odometer rolls over to 3,000, waiting too long can cause damage to the engine. To change the oil, park your car on a flat surface. You don't want to park in a steep driveway or hill, as the oil will spill down and create a huge mess. Find the oil pan, unscrew it and put a bucket under it to catch the oil. Take off the oil filter with a wrench and replace it with a new one. Depending on the type of car you have, you may need a specific type of oil, so be sure to check your owners manual. Once you have the correct type, open up your hood and pour the new oil in, checking the dipstick to make sure you have added enough. Though it may take a bit of time, changing your own oil is one of the most common and easiest repairs to do.

Radiator flush

Repairing your radiator is a bit more complicated than an oil change, so make sure you have all the necessary items, such as the proper radiator flush solution, a container to drain the old liquid, coolant and a screwdriver. Find the radiator plug for your car, place a container under it and drain it. The flush solution is a substance that will go through your radiator and clean everything out and help your car last longer. Once all the old liquid is gone, add the radiator flush and fill the rest up with water. Once this is done, screw the cap back on and turn your car on for about 10 minutes. Once you have turned it off and your engine has cooled down, empty the radiator flush and replace it with 50 percent coolant and 50 percent water. This should take about 30 minutes and can help make your engine last longer.

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