When you have a car that you are trying to extend its life until the right new model is available, and little things going all the time, it is of highest importance to be strict with regular maintenance tasks.

Things like oil changes and fluid top-ups are key in keeping your older vehicle going. A quick trip to your dealership can make sure this gets done. The alternative is to do it yourself. Not everyone is comfortable with this, but if you are, there are minor maintenance tasks that can be done at home, such as putting on new wiper blades, a new cabin bulb, etc. 

For more technical tasks, its best to leave these to the experts at the dealerships.  The last thing you want is a DIY repair to go wrong, leaving you with an even more expensive repair than before.  If you are interested in learning about how to do the small things, its easy to get some great tips and advice, even right at your dealership service center.

First Find Out What's Wrong

If your check engine light comes on, the only real way to be sure what's wrong is to head to the dealership and have the use their code reader. This is one of those situations where you need to turn to the technicians, who have the proper diagnostic equipment. From there, depending on what the issue is, you can opt for your service center to complete the job or to do it yourself.  Here are three things most people can handle with a little guidance:

1)     Wiper Blades

You may want to watch your service center put on new blades at least once before you attempt this. But once you give it a try, you will likely find its something you can handle.  

2)      Burned out lights

My kids LOVE to turn on the cabin light in the backseat, and it burns out incredibly fast. I had to do a little investigating, but my dealership parts center steered me to the right bulb, I figured out how to pop the cover off, and then changing that bulb was incredibly easy. As my car gets older, headlights and taillights are burning out faster too. Turn off the car (completely), use a flat screwdriver to pop off the cover, unplug the light (I use a cloth to cover my hand) and replace it. The first time, I asked for instructions from my service center, a quick YouTube and Google follow up to make sure I could handle it. Once I knew what I was doing, it was easy.

Note: some cars ARE harder than others. My husband's car has headlights that are a complete pain to change. In some cases, a trip to your service center might be necessary.

3)      Fluid Levels

I was ok with adding windshield fluid, but that was my limit up to a few years ago. Once my car developed a minor oil leak, I needed to make sure I kept it topped up, so I got used to opening the hood and adding oil. I noticed that my brake light was on, looked it up, and saw that step one was to check the fluid. It was low, I topped it off, done.


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