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Become your own car mechanic

You are driving to class when you hear a strange noise. Your car is tilting a little to the left and sounds like a squealing cat. You pull over to check it out, and realize you have a flat tire. Not knowing what to do, you start looking for your cell phone to call for help.

Worry no longer: After reading this article, you will be able to fix a flat tire, save some money by performing regular car maintenance and know what to look for when buying a used car.

We all know how expensive it can be to go to mechanics. They always manage to find something else wrong with your car, even if it was only brought in for something as simple as an oil change.

Eli Medina, an employee at Advanced Auto Parts on Bearss Avenue, said there are a lot of things you can do yourself as long as you learn the process.

A flat tire is something we have all experienced or at least will experience in the future. Knowing how to change it can be vital when you are stuck on the side of the interstate without any cell phone reception.

“In order to change your tire, you will need a jack, a four-way wrench and a spare tire,” Medina said. “Almost every car has a jack somewhere and a spare tire. You loosen the lug nuts with the four-way wrench before you jack the car up. After you jack the car up, and once the lug nuts are off, the tire comes right off. Put your new tire on and tighten the bolts. Once you lower the car you want to tighten them one more time.”

In your car owner’s manual you will find an even more detailed description of the process. It is important to find a spot where you are not a disturbance to traffic and where the surface is pretty flat.

Another car maintenance you could easily perform yourself is an oil change. You have to change your oil every 3,000 miles or three months in order to extend the life of your car.

Changing the oil yourself could save you about $20 to $30 every three months. According to Medina it is easy to do and only takes about 30 minutes.

“First you have to drain the oil by loosening the drain plug under the car,” he said. “You place the drain pan underneath to catch the used oil. When you are done draining, take off the oil filter and replace it with the new filter. Then you put the drain plug back on. Afterwards you take off the oil cap on top of the motor and pour the new oil into it. When finished you have to check the level to make sure it is right.”

You might want to check your car manual to find out the proper oil viscosity for your car and the right filter size. When you are done changing the oil, make sure you dispose of it in accordance with U.S regulations. You have to bring it to a gas station or an auto store. You cannot just throw it away.

If you go to Advanced Auto Parts or any other auto store, they are more than willing to give you some instructions not only one car maintenance but also a few tips before buying a used car. Medina said the first thing to look out for is rust.

“You should check for rust everywhere on the car, but especially in the engine body,” Medina said. He explained that it is essential here in Florida because of the humidity.

“Also, you want to check the belt, ask for any maintenance and check the blue book value to make sure you are not paying too much.”

Buying a car or keeping the one you have in good shape can cost a fortune. But by doing some research on how to purchase a used car or performing some of the car maintenance yourself, you can save a lot of money. It’s not that difficult and will give you some extra pocket money in the long run. All it takes is a little effort and the right equipment.