Author Topic: Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs  (Read 2143 times)

Offline NWPilgrim

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Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs
« on: April 23, 2017, 02:53:02 AM »
I thought it would be interesting to collect a list of maintenance tasks and repairs that folks find or pretty easy to do and ALSO save big bucks.  I used to do most of my own maintenance years ago, but as I got busier in my corporate job I just outsourced it all to the local dealer who did pretty good job.  Now I am retired and six figures has dropped to mid-5 figures and I have plenty of time on my hands as well.  It is time to change the brake pads and rotors on our 2003 Accord and the dealer and Les Schwab want about $400-$500 to replace front and rear disc pads and turn the front rotor.  Last time LS replaced the calipers they used remanufactured ones that were rusty as hell and look terrible (in place of of our 12 year old ones that were in pristine silver paint).

So for easy and big saving job #1 I am offering up: Disc Brake Pad, Rotor and Caliper repair/replacement.
For about $180 we went down to NAPA and bought their Ultra Premium front and rear disc pads and front rotors.  Another $20 for wire brush wheel and very high temp primer, paint and gloss sealer.  So a savings of about $250 ($450-$200 = $250) for a 2 hour job.  With the bonus that for the extra $20 and a couple of hours of brushing and painting our rusty old calipers will look brand new.

#2 suggestion is oil change.  My 2004 Dodge Ram does not have any lube points (all bearings are sealed), so it is just an oil and filter change.  For the 13 qts of diesel motor oil and filter they charge about $200+.  I can get Valvoline partial synthetic and the best premium filter for about $80 for a savings of $120 on a $200 job.  Savings are much less for a gas engine and we still get oil changes at the Honda dealer for $15 from our original purchase in 2003.

So two very easy maintenance jobs with savings of $120 and $250.  Other suggestions for big savings for modestly skilled DIYers?

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 04:03:11 AM »
Not to digress at all, keep going, but for those that are interested in how a member worked on getting better at DIY maintenance:
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=45154.0
That thread is also now a sticky on the Transportation board, which should have been done long ago.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 09:23:28 AM »
Depending on the age of the vehicle, changing your own automatic transmission fluid and filter. Not possible on some of the newer vehicles due to the sealed transmissions.

Manuals transmissions, transfer cases, and differentials also need the fluid changed periodically.

One thing to keep in mind on brake jobs is anti lock systems. In my experience, if you don't open the bleeder valve on the caliper prior to pushing the pistons back in on an anti lock system, it confuses the computer and your brake job won't last very long. I learned this the hard way. On non anti lock systems, the pistons can be forced back in without opening the bleeder and it doesn't hurt anything.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 02:18:40 AM »
Good point about the age of the vehicle.  The newer it is the fewer DIY items there are it seems, and the more complicated and tied into the emissions and computer. Back in the 70s or earlier a guy could pretty much repair or replace almost anything on a car.  The good thing is newer cars are designed to have much longer service intervals than they did 40 years ago, BUT when they do need service it is likely to costa lot more (replace entire units rather than repair a component).

We did the brake job today and OF COURSE, the parts store (NAPA) gave me the wrong rotors even after I gave them all the vehicle specs and made sure they wrote down "11 inch not 12 inch." Yep, I got 12" rotors!!  Happens every. single. time.  What is it with auto parts clerks they they seem totally incapable of asking "is it the 11 inch or 12" that you have on there now?"  Sometimes I think they just grab the first item that pops on their screen even if seven items are listed.  Or, the first item off the shelf.  Just about the most frustrating aspect of DIY is dealing with the local parts store.  I don't like dismantling the car and have it out of service before buying parts (what if it is not available local and I have to wait a few days?).  But unless I take the old part in and match it to what they pull off the shelf I only have about a 50% chance what they give me will fit.

The delay meant I did not do the repaint on the calipers at this time and just got the new parts in. Next week I will disassemble again and remove the calipers for more thorough rust removal and painting.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Easy and big cost saving DIY vehicle maintenance and repairs
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 08:59:58 AM »
Not to digress at all, keep going, but for those that are interested in how a member worked on getting better at DIY maintenance:
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=45154.0
That thread is also now a sticky on the Transportation board, which should have been done long ago.


Thanks man! I did learn a lot in that. I may be getting a new vehicle soon so more updates to that thread may be in store.