Auto Repair Cincinnati OH

A person is shown under a vehicle doing DIY Auto Repair in Cincinnati OH.

Owning a car is a lot of fun: you gain freedom, the ability to get where you need to go quickly, and it provides you with a space that is all yours. With all of this enjoyment comes a fair amount of responsibility, however, including driving safely, respecting others on the road, and taking proper care of your vehicle. Car maintenance and repairs might not be an exciting thing for a lot of people, but it can be, especially if you take care of some of these things yourself. Here at McCluskey Chevrolet, we’re pleased to offer auto repair in Cincinnati, OH, for all of our customers, but we also recognize that doing the work yourself is very satisfying.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with working on cars, then one of the scariest and most intimidating aspects of it can be figuring out which things you can actually do yourself. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of car maintenance work that needs to be done on vehicles. We’re going to briefly go over each one and let you know how much skill and experience you should have before trying any of these things yourself. Bear in mind that this won’t be a “How to” guide, and instead, we’re going to help you get a sense of which tasks you should tackle and which you should leave to a trusted professional.

We’ll be using the following levels of experience, in order of increasing difficulty:

  • Beginner – Someone just getting started who’s never worked on a car before.
  • Intermediate – A person with a little experience but not much.
  • Proficient – Someone who’s changed some tires, flushed out an oil system, and knows their maintenance schedule by heart.
  • Advanced – You’ve been working on your cars for years, and you feel very comfortable with everything under the hood.
  • Expert – This is someone who could be, was, or is a professional mechanic.

Now let’s look at some of the most common types of car repairs and see which ones of these you might want to tackle.

Replacing Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Beginner

Your windshield wipers are incredibly important and also one of the easiest things to start with. You typically don’t need any special tools to remove the wiper blade from the arm and install a new one, though if you need to replace the wiper arm itself, then it’s a bit trickier. Checking and replacing your wiper fluid is also incredibly simple – best of all, this is very inexpensive too. You should replace your wiper blades about once each year, sooner if needed, and check your fluid regularly to make sure you can keep your windshield clear.

Checking Your Coolant System – Beginner-Intermediate

One of the easiest things to spot under your hood is the coolant reservoir, especially since it’s filled with fluid that’s brightly colored. You can easily refill your coolant – just be sure to use the same type – or even drain your old fluid and pour new stuff in. If you need to replace coolant hoses or do other work on the system, then things can be a bit tougher, but it’s still not usually something too difficult, and you can pretty easily tackle it.

A close up shows a person removing the battery tie down during a battery replacement.

Battery Replacement – Beginner-Intermediate

This is generally pretty easy to do, though it’s important to know what you’re doing and make sure you follow every step properly. Be very careful and safe since battery acid is highly corrosive and dangerous, and double-check that everything’s attached properly afterward. The biggest thing to remember is that a lot of modern vehicles need to have their computer reset or be told that the battery has been changed, which might require extra effort or even having a professional help you with a quick connection and update.

Air and Cabin Filter Change – Beginner-Intermediate

Replacing your cabin filter or air filter for your engine can be pretty simple, and this is usually something a beginner can tackle. Every car is designed differently, however, so the location and configuration of the filters can potentially make them harder to get to than they need to be. This is the only reason it might be easier with more experience to handle this job, but it’s something you should be able to do rather simply.

Oil and Filter Change – Intermediate

Refilling your oil is very easy as long as you use the proper type of oil for your vehicle and what you already have in the engine. Completely draining and replacing your oil, plus the oil filter, is a bit more work, but it’s still very accessible even for people new to auto care. You’ll typically need to lift your vehicle with a jack and stand to get under it and do all of the work, so just remember to take your time and be careful to avoid injuries or damaging your vehicle. Also, make sure you follow every step carefully and double-check your work; mistakes when changing your oil can damage your engine and lead to very expensive repairs.

Tire Replacement/Rotation – Intermediate-Proficient

This isn’t as difficult as it might seem at first, but it’s important that you do everything correctly to avoid damaging your suspension or having an accident on the road. You’ll need to jack up your vehicle and make sure you use the right tires for your model. Knowing how to replace your tire in an emergency is an essential skill for every driver, and going from that to rotating or replacing your tires yourself is a pretty easy jump to make.

Wheel Alignment – Proficient-Advanced

Checking and adjusting your vehicle’s alignment, on the other hand, is a bit trickier – you can still do this yourself, but it helps to have more experience before you try it. You can check your alignment without much more than a jack and stands to lift your vehicle up and a few common items like spray paint and a tape measure. There are some tools and equipment that can make this easier, and you’ll need a good wrench set with a torque wrench to actually adjust your alignment, plus it will probably take you several hours. Still, if you have the experience for it, this is a very satisfying bit of maintenance to tackle.

A close up shows a person holding brake pads during a brake service.

Brake Repair – Advanced-Expert

You can replace your brake pads and do some similar work at home, but you absolutely need to know what you’re doing. The brakes are one of the most important items on your vehicle, and any mistakes you make while working on them can have potentially catastrophic results. This is definitely not something you want to try to do without a lot of experience, and you’ll need the right equipment to handle it properly. When in doubt, you should always trust a certified service center to do any work on your brakes for you.

Engine Work – Beginner-Expert

Working on your engine can cover such a wide range of tasks that there’s really something here for everyone. Replacing a spark plug or replacing a leaky gasket cover is generally pretty simple, quick, and inexpensive – perfect for beginners. More extensive work often requires more experience and can need specialized tools. If you’re thinking about completely rebuilding an engine, then you’re talking about much-more advanced work, and this is where having an expert to help you out or a ton of experience really becomes essential.

Handle Your Repairs Yourself or Just Bring Your Car to Us

As you can see, there are plenty of common types of car repairs that you can do at home and really connect with your vehicle in a new way. A lot of people feel intimidated by car repairs or maintenance, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing your vehicle on a deeper level and the confidence of being able to change your own oil, rotate your tires, or even check your wheel alignment. It’s important to know your limits, however, as mistakes can result in costly damage or even disasters on the road. If your vehicle needs service that goes beyond your experience level, then don’t hesitate to visit our experts at McCluskey Chevrolet to make sure your car is well cared for.