11 Auto Maintenance Jobs You Can Do In Your Garage

If you have limited time and money, here are 11 jobs that can be done in your garage to help keep your car running smoothly.

The “car repairs you should not do yourself” is a list of 11 auto maintenance jobs that you can do in your garage. The list includes things like changing your oil, checking the air filter and more.

A man repairing the engine of the vehicle.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post by Tony Galloway.

There was a time when almost every guy understood how to tinker with and repair his automobile. With autos becoming more sophisticated and technologically advanced, the notion of working on your vehicle has gotten more scary, and most males take their ride to the shop anytime it has a problem or just need maintenance.

While many modern people don’t have the time, patience, or skill to perform major auto repairs (though with proper preparation and process such projects may be more accessible than you think), there are still plenty of basic maintenance jobs that any man, regardless of experience or inherent handyness, can perform.

There’s a lot to like about DIY vehicle maintenance: Each task provides a chance to learn new skills and get a better grasp of how your automobile operates; things that were previously perplexing become clear. With this improvement in skill and expertise comes the assurance that you can handle any situation that arises, regardless of the time or location. In practice, completing maintenance duties yourself may save you a lot of money compared to hiring an auto shop. Plus, while it may not appear so, DIY maintenance can be more convenient; when you factor in the time it takes to get to the shop, the time you’ll wait while your car is being serviced, and the time it takes to get home, you can often do the job yourself in the same amount of time — and for less money.

If you want to start working on your automobile yourself, we’ve compiled a list of 11 tasks that even the most inexperienced mechanic can do. Not only do they not need any prior expertise, but they also do not necessitate the use of anything other than simple hand tools, and in some instances, no tools at all.

1. Replace the engine air filter

  • Once a year or every 15,000 to 20,000 miles, maintenance is required.
  • Shop prices range from $30 to $60.
  • $5-$15 for a do-it-yourself project

A normal vehicle tune-up consisted of replacing the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and air filter from the 1950s through the late 1980s. Over the past 20 years, significant advancements in spark plug and ignition technology, along with computer-controlled fuel injection, have removed the necessity for a “annual tune-up” for those components. That leaves the basic air filter, a device that hasn’t altered much in the last half-century or so. It’s basically a piece of paper, cardboard, or foam that prevents pollen, dirt, and bugs from entering your engine. It becomes filthy and blocked with debris over time, and the engine is forced to draw air through it. As a consequence, there is a loss of power and a reduction in fuel efficiency.

Changing the air filter in your automobile is nearly as simple as changing the filter in your coffeemaker. While the specific procedure varies by make and model, a how-to graphic is generally included in the owner’s handbook or available online. The filter is normally kept in a plastic box under the hood that is readily accessed and held closed by a clip or latch on most current automobiles. It’s just too simple a work to warrant paying a technician $30 or more to do it for you.


2. Air Filter Replacement in the Cabin

  • Once a year or every 15,000 to 20,000 miles, maintenance is required.
  • Shop prices range from $30 to $50.
  • Cost to do it yourself: $7-$18

Cabin filters are a relatively recent addition to vehicles, having been standard equipment just after the turn of the century. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a filter that cleans the air coming in via the vents of your car. The principle is similar to the filters you replace in your home heating and air system on a monthly basis. It prevents leaves, bugs, and debris from entering the vent system, which might result in damage, weird rattles, or foul odors.

This is a task that is as simple as changing the engine air filter. Depending on the vehicle, this filter will be located in a different area. It’s usually accessible by a plastic door under the hood, directly below the passenger-side windshield wiper, or through the glovebox. You’ll have to do some research to find out where it is on your car, but doing it yourself will save you a lot of money over going to the dealer. Furthermore, most auto parts shops have scented filters, which will keep your vehicle smelling fresh.

3. Wiper Blades for the Windshield

  • Maintenance interval: every 6-12 months, or when they don’t seem to be clearing water as well as they used to.
  • Cost of shopping: $40-$60 (auto parts stores will do this install as a free courtesy if you buy from their store)
  • $10-$30 for a do-it-yourself project (per blade)

It is vital to have working wipers while driving in adverse weather. The rubber blades get worn or dried out over time as a result of sun exposure. Instead of the clean slate swipe you’d anticipate, you get a splatter of water over your range of view. If you purchase your wiper blades from a big auto parts retailer, they will almost always install them for you as a favor. However, there is much to be said about learning how to do things on your own. The blades normally click into place with a simple plastic clip, so this is another tool-free fix. Accept the offer of a free installment if you like, but there’s never a need to pay someone to perform the work for you.

4. Changing the light bulb

  • Maintenance interval: There is no specified time; replace the bulb when it fails, which varies greatly depending on the vehicle and use.
  • Shop prices range from $20 to $30 for a regular bulb to $50 to $150 for headlights.
  • The cost of doing it yourself varies greatly, ranging from $10 to $100.

Although headlights on certain modern models may be a bit hard to change, they, like other bulbs throughout the automobile, are normally removable without the need of special equipment. In the parking lot of my workplace, I once changed a headlight on a coworker’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. The dealership had billed her $500, citing the bulb’s difficult-to-reach position and the hours of effort required to disassemble and reassemble it. Although that specific bulb was pricey, and it did take me about 45 minutes to do the task, she saved more than $400 by doing it herself.


The majority of bulbs are simple to change, but there are a few things to keep in mind. When all kinds of bulbs are turned on, they get quite hot. If you contact the glass section with your fingers, oils from your skin will contaminate the bulb. The oils will burn on the glass’s surface, causing it to fail prematurely. Nitrile gloves make installing bulbs without contamination considerably simpler. Another advice is to apply a thin layer of dielectric grease to the socket (rather than the bulb) to keep moisture out and avoid corrosion.

5. Make a fluid check

  • Check and top up levels on a regular basis for maintenance.
  • Cost of shopping: $20-$30
  • DIY cost: There is no monthly fee; you just purchase the fluids as required.

Monitoring fluid levels used to be a standard activity among virtually all car owners, but as fluid leak detection systems have improved over time, it has become much less prevalent. Part of this is due to the fact that most current automobiles have sensors that will warn you if there is a lack of fluid.

However, you should not rely only on this sensor system to keep your automobile safe. Because so much of a vehicle’s well-being and durability is based on different fluids, it’s important understanding how to do a frequent visual examination; a manual check may help you spot tiny issues before they turn into huge, costly ones.

The engine oil is the most crucial fluid to inspect, both for optimum fill levels and for signs of burnt, discolored, or tainted oil. The engine coolant is just behind it on the priority list, and it can normally be checked by checking at the fluid levels indicated on the reservoir. Check the brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid, among other things. On some autos, the transmission fluid may also be checked with a dipstick similar to the engine oil.

Serpentine Belt, No. 6

  • Every 40,000 to 50,000 miles, or when it becomes noisy and/or broken.
  • Cost of shopping: $80-$140
  • Cost to do it yourself: $12-$40

A serpentine belt is a rubber belt that runs through your vehicle and operates all of your accessories, including the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor. They expand, dry out, fracture, and finally shatter as they age in the heated confines of the engine compartment. It’s simple to keep an eye on since it goes back and forth between so many different pulleys, giving you an excellent view on both sides. It’s also simple to use your finger to check the belt’s tightness.

It may be time to replace the belt if there are apparent fractures in the material, it feels less than tight, or it squeals while the engine is running. To do this, you’ll need some basic hand tools, but all you actually need is a socket of the right size and a long-handled ratchet, or a short ratchet with a piece of pipe over the handle for a little more leverage. Make sure there is a label someplace near the belt that displays the appropriate belt routing among the many different pulleys before you begin. If there isn’t one, a schematic for your make and model can generally be found online, or you may sketch your own before removing the old belt. A schematic for the various models that the belt fits is often included in the box that the new belt arrives in. The most difficult element is ensuring that you have that information. After that, it’s only a question of releasing tension from the belt using a ratchet or long wrench, removing it, and replacing it.


7. Replace the battery

  • Maintenance interval: Most automobile batteries have a service life expectancy of 3-5 years, and it is advised that you replace them within that time frame; but, if you’re feeling brave, you could obtain a little more time; I have an 8-year-old Jeep Wrangler battery that is still running strong.
  • Shop prices range from $170 to $250.
  • Cost to do it yourself: $90-$120

Batteries are one of the most susceptible parts of a vehicle to failure. The larger your car’s battery is, the more difficult it is to obtain enough amperage to kickstart it when it dies. Not only can knowing how to install a new one save you money, but it may also mean the difference between being trapped waiting for a tow or getting back on the road.

To complete the task, all you’ll need is a ratchet set and a pair of extension bars. It’s just a question of releasing and removing the positive and negative battery wires, as well as the clamp that secures the battery. After that, it’s only a matter of removing the old, faulty battery and replacing it with the new one. It’s advisable to detach the black wire first and then reconnect it. It’s nearly as simple as replacing the batteries in your television remote after you’ve done it a couple of times, and you’ll wonder why you ever hired a professional to do something so basic.

Oil Change No. 8

  • Generally, every 3,000 to 5,000 miles; see your vehicle’s owner’s handbook for more information.
  • Shop prices range from $45 to $70.
  • DIY price range: $25-$40

The lifeblood of every combustion engine is oil. We discussed the necessity of checking engine fluids previously, but it’s also crucial to realize that even the finest synthetic oil breaks down and gets unclean with time. So, although your automobile may have adequate oil, it may not be performing as well as it once did. As a result, it’s essential to replace the oil at the specified intervals. Some oil change chains will change your oil for as low as $30, but if your car requires synthetic oil or more than four quarts, the price will rapidly rise to $50 or more, and you should expect to pay at least double that at a dealership. Both shops will attempt to persuade you to get your air filter, cabin filter, and potentially windshield wipers changed, all of which you can and should do yourself.

Anyone who isn’t scared of getting a little filthy can handle this work themself. A jack with jack stands or a set of auto ramps, a simple ratchet set, and a container to capture the used oil for disposal are all you’ll need. You may not even need a jack or a set of ramps if you drive a huge SUV or vehicle. You’ll need them to get enough area beneath the vehicle to work for everyone else. Learn about jack safety on the internet, and never work beneath a car that is only supported by a jack. There are many excellent resources available to assist you in following best practices while using hydraulic or mechanical jacks. The most difficult aspect of this task is getting beneath the automobile. After that, you’re largely done if you can remove a drain plug bolt with a wrench or ratchet and place a drain pan to capture the old oil.


Because this is one of the most common automobile maintenance tasks, the do-it-yourselfer stands to save a lot of money during the vehicle’s lifetime. When you consider that the average oil change interval is 5,000 miles and that most modern vehicles can travel a quarter-million miles with proper maintenance and upkeep, and that most people save $20 to $40 each time they change their own oil, the total savings can easily reach four figures over the course of several years.

Brake Pads No. 9

  • Maintenance interval: every 50,000 miles or when the brakes begin to screech or grind, whichever comes first.
  • Cost in the shop: $120 – $250 per axle
  • Cost: $30-$60 per axle if done yourself

To be honest, I put off installing brake pads for a long time after I finished everything else on my list. It’s a little more complicated than the other professions, and there’s always the risk of making a significant error – the stakes feel a little greater when you consider how important brakes are to your safety. It is, however, dead easy, and once you see it, you will trust yourself to execute the work far more carefully than the technician who is hurrying through your repair in order to get to the next twenty waiting behind it.

With the wheel on, you can examine brake pads, but with the wheel off, you can have a much better look at things. It’s actually simpler to jack up your vehicle to remove it than it is to change the oil; you only have to support one corner of the car at a time, and you don’t have to put yourself in danger by working under the car. When it comes to wheel removal, you’ll need a lug wrench, which most automobiles come equipped with. It’s normally positioned either under the hood or near the spare tire in the trunk. If not, a four-way tire iron is a cheap buy that you could need if you ever get a flat on the side of the road.

There are numerous excellent YouTube tutorials that walk you through the process and show you exactly what to look for. If there isn’t one for your specific make and model, you can usually figure it out by viewing a video of another vehicle; disc brakes are quite similar on most cars. Chris Fix’s YouTube channel has one of my favorite videos on this subject. You can gather all the knowledge you need to deal with this on your own in less than fifteen minutes.

ten. Rotate the tires

  • Every other oil change or every 10,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Shop prices range from $30 to $40.
  • Cost of DIY: none

You’ll be an old pro at getting your vehicle safely off the ground after you’ve changed the oil and checked the brakes. It would be easier to do this task if you can lift the whole vehicle. With two jacks, or one jack and a pair of jack supports, this is a rather straightforward task. You may even accomplish it with only a single jack and nothing else, albeit your tires will be forced to play musical chairs. You’ll need to look up the rotation pattern for your specific ride. The front tires usually change sides and go to the back of the automobile, while the rear tires are pushed straight up to the front, however this varies depending on whether the vehicle has front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. If you’re unsure, conduct some research.


Rotating your tires every couple of oil changes may help you save money in a variety of ways. To begin with, it extends the life of your tires and ensures that they wear evenly. Tires are costly; a set of four may cost anywhere between $400 and $1000. With such a hefty price tag, it’s only natural to want them to endure as long as possible. Furthermore, doing it yourself is basically free, since it just requires your time, but having a store do it for you would cost you $30 or more.

11. Car Detailing

  • Maintenance interval: every 6 months, or as needed.
  • Price range: $100-$200
  • DIY cost: Getting some basic cleaning equipment and materials for less than $30 can last you many years, even if you wash once a month.

You generally don’t think of a vehicle wash when you think of DIY auto care, but there are numerous reasons why you should. Keeping your car’s undercarriage free of salt and road debris may help to lessen the danger of rust, particularly if you reside in a northern region and travel on salted roads. It may also make it much simpler to locate leaks that might otherwise go unnoticed in the muck. The same may be said for your vehicle’s painted surfaces. Keeping the caustic salt out of your paint can keep it looking fantastic for many years. Other risks to your paint include bird feces and tree sap, both of which, due to their acidity, may ruin the beautiful clear layer that covers your paint. Because paint is the sole barrier between the environment and the rust-prone metal that is your automobile, maintaining its exterior will save you money on future body and paint repairs.

During a vehicle wash, the engine compartment is often disregarded. Spraying high-pressure water around all those electrical connections is a source of worry. However, no matter how dusty the engine bay has become, it is easy to make it appear brand new with a little attention. Another excellent Chris Fix video covers all of the processes required to thoroughly clean a car’s engine. 

The final stage is generally cleaning the inside, although it should not be hurried. Because here is where you spend the most of your time, it should be spotless and inviting. The inside of your car is subjected to a great deal of wear and tear from passengers, particularly youngsters, as well as temperature fluctuations that vary from the scorching summer sun shining through the window to the freezing winter ice that accumulates on your vehicle and transforms it into a car-cicle. Your leather seats will eventually fracture, as will your vinyl dashboard. Many solutions are available on the market that are intended to condition and preserve these materials. Taking the effort to clean and maintain your inside, even just twice a year, may make a huge difference in how your vehicle appears when it’s 10 years old. You might pay a few hundred dollars to have your car detailed, but it’s lot cheaper and you’ll do a better job if you do it yourself.


You can do any of the aforementioned chores even if you’ve never worked on a vehicle before. We don’t attempt a lot of things in life because we’re frightened of messing them up. One of them does not have to involve car maintenance. If you become trapped, you can always hire a mechanic to help you out. While a dealership is unlikely to install your home-purchased components, many small businesses will, for a fee. And, although every DIY project has the danger of causing harm, these projects are rather low-risk. So, begin with these easy tasks, save some money, and see where it takes you.

You can do any of the aforementioned chores even if you’ve never worked on a vehicle before. We don’t attempt a lot of things in life because we’re frightened of messing them up. One of them does not have to involve car maintenance. If you become trapped, you can always hire a mechanic to help you out. While a dealership is unlikely to install your home-purchased components, many small businesses will, for a fee. And, although every DIY project has the danger of causing harm, these projects are rather low-risk. So, begin with these easy tasks, save some money, and see where it takes you.

Tony Galloway enjoys reading, writing, and DIY projects. You can typically find him in his basement fiddling with something when he’s not at work or spending time with his wife and four children.



If you’re looking for a way to make some money, but don’t want to work in the automotive industry, there are plenty of jobs that can be done in your garage. This article will list 11 auto maintenance jobs that you can do in your garage. Reference: auto repair basics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of jobs are in the automotive industry?

A: There are a wide range of jobs in the automotive industry, including but not limited to mechanic, engineer, technician and sales.

What is the highest paying job in the automotive industry?

What are some related occupations to a mechanic?

A: A mechanic is someone who repairs machinery in order to restore it back to its original shape or function. Other related occupations may include a metal worker, machinist, and an engine builder.

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