Sunday, January 4, 2009

When Working On Cars You Need a Good, Stiff Belt

Scott says…

In order to save money around the house I’ve taken to repairing cars on my own instead of using a mechanic. While I’m not the best mechanic around, many of the routine maintenance chores and part replacements I can do myself. Today I put in a stiff serpentine belt and a set of headlights.

There are three ways you can save money on car repair:

1. Buy the replacement parts on line. Once a year I’ll place an order for the parts that I need for both cars. I order them all together to avoid shipping and handling costs. My order will include oil filters, belts, air filters, wiper blades, lamps/lights and any other parts that need placing. Having them on hand makes sure I replace them on time which helps prolong the life of the vehicle, thus avoiding replacement costs. The headlights I bought came from http://http/ and cost me a fraction of the car dealer’s price.

2. Invest in good manuals for your vehicles and rely on internet advice. Today I replaced the actual front light systems since a dump truck with a load of gravel was kind enough to break both of them. My Haynes manual ( for my SUV gave me great instructions for exactly how to replace the headlights. I also replaced the serpentine belt and found the manual wasn’t quite enough, so I jumped on line and found the solution to my problem. No mechanics were injured during the entire process.

3. Do the work yourself. While I didn’t have the exact tools that I needed, I did have similar tools to get the job done. I took my time, made diagrams of parts that I dissected, kept the screws separated in a bin and believe it or not the whole car went back together without any screws being left out. Wow! Ok, I did burn my arm on the portable light. I gave it to my neighbor so that he can burn his arm, too.

All in all I saved $440 on the purchases and the labor and I invested two and a half hours in repair time. Not bad. Oh, minus $0.25 for a Band-Aid.


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