Housewife MacGyver: Automobile TLC from Tricia of Leafy Treetop Spot

Today's Housewife MacGyver guest is the ever-creative Tricia of Leafy Treetop Spot. She's rounded up some great resources for giving your car all the TLC it needs... Here's Tricia:

Why hello, I'm Tricia of Leafy Treetop Spot.  I'm thrilled to be joining in on the Housewife MacGyver fun.   When Lorene first mentioned the series I thought it was a fantastic idea, but when she asked for volunteer contributors I was terrified.   I'm the kind of person that will do my best to figure things out on their own before calling in a professional, but I'm not yet an expert in any area. So I'm going to focus on BECOMING a housewife MacGyver...with an emphasis this year on auto repair.

I grew up in a home where my dad would do his very best to avoid paying anyone to do what he could do on his own.  I remember as a kid being frustrated that it took him so long to repair the car, and I'd like to tell him that professionals are professionals for a reason, and that he should pay them to do their job.

Now that my husband and I have to pay for our own car repairs, I find myself calling my dad regularly for car maintenance and repair advice.  I didn't marry a "Mr. Fix It", or even a "Dear, it's time to take the car in for tire rotation", type of guy, so now it's my turn to figure out how to become more self reliant when it comes to keeping my/our cars functioning properly.

After buying my first car in college, I soon realized that much like with an infant, I was supposed to "know" how to care for a car. My car didn't tell me when it needed changing (oil), or needed to be fed (have fluids topped off), or even when it was ready to sit in a new position (tire rotation).  Fortunately for us all, unlike infants, cars come with owner's manuals, and provide us with a bit of insight as to how we can keep them in their best condition.

The first step to avoiding major automobile repair costs is to prevent them by properly caring for your car.  Much like that newborn infant that needs to keep a regular schedule, your car has a schedule to be kept as well.  While you're car isn't going to cry when it needs it's oil changed, you can find a handy dandy odometer behind the steering wheel, and it will help you easily track when it's time for a change, or a rotation. Your owners manual will give you information on how frequently your particular car will need these services.

 I recommend creating a spreadsheet that lists any and all automotive repairs or maintenance that are done on your car.  List the date, the mileage, and the service performed (even if you aren't the one performing the maintenance).  Keeping an accurate record will help you avoid letting things go for too long.  Some things that you might want to record could be: fuel mileage on each tank of gas, each time oil is added to your car, when wiper blades are replaced, when coolant is added, etc. Keeping an accurate record of these things will also help you diagnose automotive problems early on.  If your car is burning through oil really quickly, or your tires are showing signs of irregular wear, you will be able to take note and look for the underlying cause.

If you are looking for a helpful checklist of when you should be checking different parts of your car, this Expert Advice Tip Sheet, from could help you.

For some of us, keeping accurate records, and knowing what  regular maintenance our car needs, is a big step toward being self reliant.  For others you may be looking for some particular advice on how to perform regular car maintenance.   So for those of you looking for a bit more information or instruction, here are a few links to tutorials and articles to help you perform regular car maintenance, and save a few dollars. There's also a link below for how to create your own roadside emergency kit, something that I'll be putting on my Christmas list this year.

How to Check Your Oil

How to Change Your Oil

How to Check Your Tire Tread

How to Change a Tire

How to Rotate Your Tires

How to Change an Air Filter

How to Clean the Battery Terminals on your car

How to Jump Start a Vehicle

How to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades

How to Check the Fuses in Your Car

How to Create Your Own Roadside Emergency Kit

Thanks, Tricia! Everything we've ever wanted to know and more! Be sure to stop by Leafy Treetop Spot and visit Tricia -- you'll love everything she makes, from her adorable baby shoes to her fantastic quiet book pages and fantastic free patterns!

This post is part of the Housewife MacGyver series on just Lu. Read more about Housewife MacGyver and see all the posts in the series here.
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