In the age of roadside assistance, many drivers hit the roads without basic vehicle maintenance knowledge. Routine maintenance like changing a tire or checking a battery connection is easier than it sounds. Read on to learn the basics of car upkeep.

Replacing Windshield Wipers

If your wipers have seen better days and they’re no longer wiping efficiently, just replace them yourself—it’s easy! It only takes about 10 minutes and new wipers cost around $15, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

First, pull the wiper away from the windshield and locate the small tab on the underside of the wiper. Press the small tab to slide the wiper off of the arm. After you’ve removed the old wiper, align the new wiper with the wiper arm and slide it down the arm. Be sure to pull it tightly so that it clicks into place. Lower the wiper and move on to the next side.

Changing Tires

The telltale signs of a worn out tire include unevenly worn spots and bald tire tread. If you’ve noticed that your tires are looking a little worn, replace the tire by yourself.

Start by loosening the lug nuts with a wrench by turning them counter-clockwise. Next, use a securely-placed jack to lift up your vehicle until the car is about six inches off of the ground.

Remove the loosened lug nuts, place them in a neat pile and continue to pull the tire off of the wheelbase. Proceed to line up the lug nuts with the holes in the new tire and push the tire until it’s completely flush with the wheelbase. Put the lug nuts back on and slowly lower the vehicle back to the ground with the jack. Once the car is back on the ground, tighten the lug nuts completely.

Road trippers and city drivers alike should always carry a spare tire in the vehicle just in case a flat should occur.

Testing the Battery Connection

It takes less than 20 minutes to check out your battery connection, and that can be time well spent. Checking your connection will ensure that the battery is being properly maintained.

Begin by removing the battery cables from your battery (negative cables first). Use a wire brush and corrosion removal fluid to clean the posts. If you want to save a few bucks, consider making your own fluid by mixing water and baking soda together.

Rinse off the fluid with water and dry the area with an old rag. Reattach your battery cables, starting with the positive cables first.

Replacing Headlights

Do you have fading headlights? Instead of taking your vehicle into the shop, simply buy your own headlights bulbs and replace the old set with the new ones. It only takes about 10 minutes. Headlights cost anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the type of bulb your vehicle requires. You can check the Lamp Replacement Guide online to find out what bulbs you’ll need, before heading to the auto supply store.

First, take a look under the hood. Locate the bulb holder. (It’s usually shaped like a trapezoid.) Remove the wires from the bulb holder and pull out the old bulb.

Use a clean rag to wipe down the new bulb. Hold the bulb from the plug end and place it into the back of the headlight. You can tell if the bulb is all the way in by looking to see if the rubber gasket is showing. If it is, the bulb isn’t in completely.

Re-secure the bulb and plug in the wiring again. Conduct a quick test to make sure everything is in working order before heading out on the roads.