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Continued from last week….

Brake pads:

You’ll need to replace most brake pads around every 20,000 miles, but as always, if you consistently do a lot of “stop-and-go” driving, you’ll need to replace them more frequently. Brake pads are DIY-eligible, but safety is your top priority. Be careful, get everything ready before you start, and if you’re uncomfortable at all, pay a professional to do it for you.

  1. Jack up your car and rest it securely on jack stands.
  2. Break the lugs on your tires before you do anything else.
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4. Remove the brake caliper so that the brake pads slide out through the top. The brake caliper should be at the 12 o’clock position, just above the lug bolts. On the back of the caliper you’ll find a bolt on both sides. Remove the bolts and set them aside. Hold the caliper from the top and pull upwards. Give it a few taps if you need to, making sure not to disturb the brake line (a black hose). Don’t let the caliper hang from the brake line; find somewhere to set it securely. With the caliper out of the way, the old brake pads should slide right out.
  5. Replace old pads with the new pads, securing them with the same retaining clips that held the old pads in place. If you have an older car, you might need to utilize your hammer here a little bit. Proceed gently!
  6. Compress the brake piston. Get out your C-clamp and put the end with the screw on it against the piston with the other end on the back of the caliper assembly.
  7. Tighten the clamp until the piston has moved far enough to where you can place the caliper assembly over the new pads.
  8. Re-install the brake caliper (the opposite process of what you did when you removed it), and then simply put your wheel back on.
  9. With this project, you’re stepping up to what I consider “DIY 2.0.” If you’re still mastering how to change your oil, you might want to build your confidence level a little before taking on this project.

Fuel filter replacement      :

  1. Most importantly, start by relieving fuel system pressure. If you don’t, the results can be explosive, to say the least. Locate the fuel pump fuse on the fuse box. If you don’t have a fuel pump fuse, find the relay that operates the fuel pump. Start your car, and with the engine running, pull the fuse or relay out. When the engine dies, you’ll know that you pulled the right one.
  2. Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter. Find two open-end wrenches that are the correct size for your fuel filter fittings (usually you’ll need two different sizes).
  3. When the wrenches are in place, put a rag over the fitting to protect yourself in case there is still some pressure in the lines.
  4. Hold the wrench that fits on the actual filter, and turn the other wrench counter-clockwise until that bolt comes out.
  5. Slide the fuel line off the bolt and set the bolt aside.
  6. Repeat the process for the other side of the fuel filter.
  7. Remove the old fuel filter. Most filters are held in place by a clamp that you can release by using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful here, as the old fuel filter could still have some gas in it!
  8. Change the fuel filter washers, which are located on the bolts that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter. Make sure to match the new ones up correctly.
  9. Install the new fuel filter, which is the opposite of the process you performed to remove the old fuel filter.
  10. Return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.

Battery Maintenance:

  1. Most importantly, start by relieving fuel system pressure. If you don’t, the results can be explosive, to say the least. Locate the fuel pump fuse on the fuse box. If you don’t have a fuel pump fuse, find the relay that operates the fuel pump. Start your car, and with the engine running, pull the fuse or relay out. When the engine dies, you’ll know that you pulled the right one.
  2. Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter. Find two open-end wrenches that are the correct size for your fuel filter fittings (usually you’ll need two different sizes).
  3. When the wrenches are in place, put a rag over the fitting to protect yourself in case there is still some pressure in the lines.
  4. Hold the wrench that fits on the actual filter, and turn the other wrench counter-clockwise until that bolt comes out.
  5. Slide the fuel line off the bolt and set the bolt aside.
  6. Repeat the process for the other side of the fuel filter.
  7. Remove the old fuel filter. Most filters are held in place by a clamp that you can release by using a flathead screwdriver. Be careful here, as the old fuel filter could still have some gas in it!
  8. Change the fuel filter washers, which are located on the bolts that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter. Make sure to match the new ones up correctly.
  9. Install the new fuel filter, which is the opposite of the process you performed to remove the old fuel filter.
  10. Return the fuel pump fuse or relay before you try to start the car.

Windshield Wipers:

Wiper blade setup differs quite a bit from car to car, so you may have to follow a few different steps according to your owner’s manual. Basically, the process is similar to changing your air filter:

  1. Lift the blades, as if you were washing your windshield by hand, and remove the old blades.
  2. Pay attention to how the old blades connect to the metal arms.
  3. On most models, you’ll see a tab on the underside of the wiper. Push the tab to remove the old blade.
  4. Attach the new blades, being careful not to bend the wiper arms or scratch your windshield. Line everything up and make sure the new ones are secure and tight.

If you get distracted or just can’t remember exactly how the new blades should fit on the wiper arm, don’t worry. The packaging for the new blades should have a general set of instructions and a helpful diagram.

In case you missed the first part

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