Money savers - Top 10 DIY car jobs

Save a fortune on garage bills with some easy home maintenance

Take a look under a modern car’s bonnet and you’ll be hard-pressed to guess an engine was in there at all! Covered in black plastic and shielded from view, the powerplants of today look nothing like those of old.

Gone is the time when you could spend hours in the garage, spanner in hand, fettling for fun. Now, manufacturers want you to take your car to a dealer for the simplest of jobs. Auto Express has heard of cases where even adjusting your headlights involves a trip to a local main agent.

But it’s not only the makers which have changed – motorists have, too. As modern cars are far more reliable than their predecessors, many owners believe they can forget about simple DIY tasks. “Neglect usually leads to breakdown,” said a spokeswoman for recovery firm Green Flag. “Spending a few minutes checking the essentials is the best way to steer clear of trouble.”

But why are these tasks now so much more difficult? A spokeswoman for industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: “Makers have invested heavily in technology to improve safety, and they need trained technicians to work on it.” Fault finding often involves plugging in costly diagnostic equipment – so, if in doubt, get it checked by a dealer. And before carrying out any routine maintenance, check you won’t invali­date the manufacturer’s warranty.

If you’re still prepared to get your hands dirty, there are many essential checks that are realistic for DIY mech­anics to carry out. We list 10 jobs that will keep your car in great condition, and rate how easy they are to do.

Click on the images at the top of the story for a full explanation of what the job entails.

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