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The Ultimate Car Repair Cheat Sheet – Infographic

Take the guesswork out of your car repairs for good! Know the level of time commitment, cost of parts, and the tool kit necessary before you start your next project.



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A wiper blade change is easy -- anyone can do it! Inspect your wiper blades every 6,000 miles.

Replace air filter every 10,000 miles.  Some air filter cases require a screwdriver for removal.

Replacing a headlight bulb is easy, once you get access to the bulb. Check for cracks or holes in the headlight case and lens.

Changing oil is a common DIY auto project that should take about a half-hour, assuming the filter's easy to access.

A cold air intake helps boost your engine's MPG efficiency. Once you have the parts, installation takes about two hours.

Spark plugs keep your engine running on all cylinders. Use deep-well sockets and make sure they're "gapped" correctly. Use OEM-compatible plugs.

Changing a tire requires a jack, lug nut driver and a new tire. Oh, and a little sweat and toil, too. Everyone should learn this fix.

A dead starter is a dead car. Ensure there is steady power flow to the new component once it's installed.

Test the battery every year. Battery replacements are a quick DIY project. Ensure terminal connections are snug.

Your car needs to stay cool under pressure.  If you're working on your radiator, make sure the cooling fan is good to go.

The scraping sound when braking is probably the break pad wear indicators. Change your pads if you're replacing the rotors or calipers.

If your driving and braking have gone all wobbly, the rotors probably need replacing. Don't wait too long to change; old rotors are tough to remove.

A good battery with diminished power (lights, radio, etc.) can mean a failing alternator. This in-depth project involves the serpentine belt and multiple hoses & bolts.

Ignition switch replacement can take a few minutes (dashboard switch) or a few hours (steering column switch), depending on its location.

Forget the folded paper maps, a navigation system gets you headed in the right direction, once you complete the installation.

Your wheel hub enables the wheel to spin on the axle. Check for rust & corrosion when changing brake pads or rotors. A torque wrench helps.

Keep an eye on your temp gauge. If things get too hot, it may be time to replace the radiator. You'll need hoses and clamps, too.

Replacing shocks can be tough without the right tools. Signs of wear include bouncing, difficulty turning and squeaking over bumps.

Struts work in tandem with your shocks to provide a smooth ride. If you're replacing struts, do each side of the axle  for added control.

The catalytic converter filters harmful toxins from your exhaust. Important for emission inspections, it's also the key player in your exhaust system.

When your engine oil pan goes, you'll know. Rust, debris, slush and other substances can damage your oil pan, so inspect it during every oil change.

Fuel pumps are fairly difficult to change, especially when they're located in the fuel tank. Thankfully, you may never have to replace the fuel pump.

Essential for your car's cooling process, the water pump is usually tough to get to. You'll need a toolbox and plenty of time, so plan accordingly.

Replacing a hybrid battery is more time-consuming and more expensive. These batteries have different characteristics than regular ones.

Want more engine power? Install a turbocharger. It's a complex process, so expect significant labor costs unless you can do it yourself.

If turning has become difficult, it's not always the power steering fluid's fault. Your steering rack may need to be replaced. Cost and complexity are high.

Gear slippage and unresponsive shifting indicate clutch problems. To do it yourself, plan on at least a full day of labor, maybe more.

Summer driving is no fun without A/C. No cold air could be a sign of refrigerant or compressor problems.

Don't wait for your timing belt to fail. If it breaks while driving, severe damage could result. Have it checked every 75,000 miles and changed, if necessary.

Without the transmission, you're literally stuck in neutral. Change the gearbox oil or transmission fluid every 50,000 miles. Expert mechanic attention is required for transmission repairs.

Written by Dara Greaney

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