Taking your vehicle into a mechanic is inconvenient, no matter how much free coffee and donuts they provide. We highly recommend qualified mechanics to service and repair your car however, you can easily perform some of the small stuff yourself, and save time and money.
You may not want to change your vital fluids completely, but keeping them at proper levels will help ensure trouble-free driving. Here are some of the supplies you might want on hand to keep your car in shape:
- Motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid: Your owner’s manual explains how to check the levels of these important fluids, and which ones to use.
- Air compressor and pressure gauge: Improperly inflated tires greatly affect your fuel economy, handling and safety. Gas stations with customer friendly air compressors are getting harder to find.
- Gas can: Hopefully, you’ll never need this, but it comes in handy when you do. Make sure to empty all gas after use—old gas breaks down chemically, and may damage your engine if used.
- Screwdriver: Both “Phillips” and standard flat heads; take care of those annoying squeaks yourself.
- Cleaning supplies: even if you have your car professionally cleaned, spot cleaning between washes can save money as well as your car’s finish.
- Bucket: Plastic, not metal; in case it comes in contact with your car.
- Soap: Made especially to wash cars.
- Wash mitt: Softest available mitts are better than sponges. Never scrub your car!
- Chamois/towels: Needn’t be expensive, just soft.
- Glass cleaner: Use inside and out.
- Wax: Protects your paint finish, and makes it shine.
- Upholstery cleaner: For seats, carpets, and floor mats.
Unless you will perform a lot of work on your vehicle, you need only small amounts of these supplies. The air compressor is the high-ticket item, but good ones are available for less than $50.
Please read your owners manual and product instructions before performing any maintenance on your vehicle.