old truck in a field needing maintenance

Got Free Time? 7 DIY Car Maintenance Projects to Take on

It’s nice to have free time, isn’t it? Why not fill it with a few at-home DIY car maintenance projects? You can feel a great sense of accomplishment from seeing your DIY dreams come to fruition. Here are seven manageable project ideas to get you started.

1. Spice Up Your Ride

Your car’s interior is the part you see the most, so why not give it a face-lift? There are numerous aftermarket products that take little to no time to install and really give the space a new feel. Think steering wheel covers, new floor mats, patch kits for torn upholstery — even just taking extra time to give your interior a deep clean (like using cotton swabs to clean the air conditioner vents) can make you feel like you’ve got a whole new ride.

2. Take on a Bigger or Must-Do-Eventually Project

Some things just take more time, so you might as well use it if you’ve got it. If you have a high-mileage engine, the timing belt can be replaced before it gives you problems. If your windshield has a small crack or chip in it, take the time to fix it. This isn’t a huge project, but if you’re putting it off, now’s the time to check it off your list.Got Free Time? 7 Car Maintenance Projects

3. Make or Update Emergency Kits

Go through that box you’ve stashed in the trunk, throw out your expired granola bars and make sure you have all the tools you need, such as flashlights, jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge and a first-aid kit. While you’re at it, brainstorm how to build kits for different seasons, so you’ll always be prepared.

4. Update Your Radio or Sound System

Still carting around a CD collection? Speakers blown or simply not doing enough for you? Upgrade your vibe or install a new system. Again, there are lots of aftermarket products to elevate your sound and more than enough information from manuals and the internet to dig in.

5. Take on All the Little Things

There are many basic, required maintenance tasks that are regularly outsourced for convenience, but if you have the time, why not just do them yourself? Oil and filter changes, spark plugs, windshield wipers, tire rotation, brake pad replacement — all of this is possible with the right tools and easy enough to accomplish by folks who don’t normally DIY. If you’re new to it, though, make sure to pay close attention to all recommended safety procedures.

6. Stay in Suspense

Your vehicle’s suspension system is important, and for some, it’s as much about how it looks as it is about practicality. Trucks that spend a lot of time in mud or on uncertain terrain for business or pleasure will benefit from a lift kit. But if you have a sports car, you may actually want to lower the suspension to decrease drag. Either way, there’s a kit for you.

7. Do Some Light Work

Switching out your headlight bulbs to be more energy-efficient isn’t the only lighting upgrade to consider. Installing LED running lights creates a stylish accent, and it’s a low-impact project with cool results that can be done in an afternoon.

However you choose to spend your time, remember there are projects and upgrades aplenty when it comes to cars. All you have to do is get started.

Check out all the interior accessories available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on DIY car maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe and Public Domain Pictures.

about author

Blair Lampe

Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter.  In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.

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