Does an evening spent under your car, looking around and tinkering, sound like a fun activity for you? Do you welcome the challenge of getting your hands greased with motor oil and don’t mind smelling of a garage? If the answer is yes, I have the perfect opportunity for you to channel your inner motorhead with 5 easy maintenance jobs that you can do yourself to keep your Volkswagen finely tuned.
Getting things in your own hands (literally) has its benefits. Apart from allowing you to bask in the glory of self-sufficiency, it also has great practical benefits: saved money, saved time, and increased handiness. However, be aware that self car maintenance has its benefits and setbacks both.
My very first job on my Volkswagen Polo was when I was 22, it was an oil change job. I decided to take on the challenge myself because I wanted to level up on my handiness for frequent car maintenance work. Also, I hated waiting in the dull waiting rooms as time snailed past me. I still remember the surge of world-conquering-adrenaline I felt after doing an oil change on my own. So I had to begin the list with this one. Here are the 5 Volkswagen maintenance jobs I think you can handle yourself:
DIY Job #1 – Oil Change
Regular oil changes improve your car’s gas mileage. With the movement of fresh oil moving through the system, the lubrication of the metal parts increases your engine’s performance and helps it run more efficiently with less work so it doesn’t eat up as much gas.
An oil change is also a great way to get under the car and look around to see if anything else needs attention. Due to its periodic requirement of change, it’s a sure way to save some money.
Materials: oil, oil filter, replacement drain plug washer (depending on application).
Tools: wrench (to remove the drain plug), oil filter wrench, oil drain pan, funnel, latex gloves, jack and jack stands, or ramps (optional, depends on ground clearance).
Change Frequency: every 3,000-5,000 miles
Savings: between $25 and $75
#DIY Job 2 – Air Filter Replacement
All fuel-burning engines require a constant supply of air to function properly. This air needs to be cleaned by air filters before it is passed through to the cylinders to prevent dust, dirt, grit, and other debris from causing any damage.
Cleaned air filters maintain your car performances on many levels and increase power and gas mileage.
Materials: new air filter
Tools: standard medium-sized screwdriver and one mid-sized Phillips.
Change Frequency: every 15,000-30,000 miles
Savings: between $20 and $50
#DIY Job 3 – Spark Plugs
Good spark plugs allow your automobile to have better fuel consumption ratings and drive smoother. Spark plugs for most cars are cheap, and changing it is fairly easy. The most important thing to remember is to get the right spark plug, check the plug wires, use a good amount of anti-seize compound, and ensure that the new spark plug is tightly put in place.
Materials: anti-seize compound, spark plugs.
Tools: gap gauge, needle-nose pliers, rags, socket/ratchet set, spark plug, wire puller, swivel socket, torque wrench.
Change Frequency: every 20,000 to 40,000 miles
Savings: between $184 to $252.
#DIY Job 4 – Windshield Wipers Blades
Effective windshield wipers allow a clean and see-through windshield, increasing the driver’s road visibility. It is vital for your safety that you see the road or other hazards when it rains or snows. Replace your old and worn out strips of rubber on your old wipers with new ones. Make sure you get the right size and type of wiper blade before you get started and don’t forget to test it thoroughly before heading out.
Materials: new wiper blades
Change Frequency: every 6-12 months
Savings: between $10-$15 per wiper blade
Whatever your reasons, channeling your inner mechanic allows you to save money, time, and also connect with your vehicle to take control over its maintenance. You can get discounted OEM VW parts online for your maintenance jobs. Also, once you’re comfortable with maintenance, it can give you the exposure and confidence for more complex repairs.