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8 Easy In-Home Garage DIYs for Your Car

Oiling K&N air filter

If you have a little extra time on your hands, now might be a great opportunity to finish some quick and easy vehicle maintenance tasks and performance upgrades. Read on for a short list of home-garage friendly DIYs.

1. CHECK WINDSHIELD WIPERS AND FILL WASHER FLUID

Make sure your wipers are working and the fluid reservoir is full. Spring and summer rains often arrive unexpectedly, so make sure your wipers are in good operating condition before you get caught in a surprise storm.

2. INSPECT YOUR ENGINE AIR FILTER

When was the last time you cleaned your K&N air filter (or replaced your disposable if you have one)? A clogged/dirty filter may reduce your engine’s performance. Checking your filter is as quick as popping the hood and opening the air box. If you have a K&N® High-Flow Air Filter™ installed, be sure to clean it when the dirt exceeds the wire mesh (or every 50,000 miles or less).

3. TEST YOUR BATTERY

You get in your car, turn the key, and…nothing. A dead battery can be one of the most frustrating—and unexpected—vehicle issues. Thankfully, dying batteries often leave telltale signs, which can help you avoid roadside frustration. For a quick at-home check, turn on your headlights (without starting the engine) and leave them on for a few minutes. Start the car, and pay attention to the brightness of the lights—if they dim or flicker, your battery may need to be replaced. Keep in mind that your local auto parts store is likely able to check your battery’s charge (often for free).

4. UPGRADE YOUR EXHAUST

Did you know that K&N now offers exhaust kits for some makes and models? Each kit is engineered to increase performance, deliver robust sound, and install quickly and easily—typically in less than 30 minutes using factory mounting points (no cutting or welding necessary).

K&N exhaust system on truck

5. CLEAN HEADLIGHTS

Over time, most modern plastic headlights start to get foggy as their UV-protectant layer wears away. In a pinch, you can use toothpaste—and a rag or toothbrush—to help reduce yellowing and cloudiness. Simply apply the toothpaste to the surface of the headlight, buff it in with a toothbrush or plastic brush, rinse with warm water, and wipe away the excess. (Most auto parts stores also offer headlight-specific cleaning kits). If you choose to simply replace the whole headlight assembly, you can expect to spend an hour or two in the garage.

6. CHECK TIRE TREAD

Regularly inspect your tires to make sure you have the manufacturer’s recommended amount of tread remaining. How can you tell if your tire tread is getting low? For a quick, at-home check, take a penny (with “heads” facing you) and insert Lincoln’s head into the tread groove. If you can see all of his head, you most likely need to replace your tires. Most modern tires also have wear bars—tiny strips of rubber that eventually become visible as the tire tread depth wears down. For a more high-tech solution, invest in a tire tread depth gauge. If your tires have 2/32” or less tread remaining, swap them out as soon as possible.

This is also a good time to check for uneven tire wear, which may indicate the need for a rotation. When in doubt, visit your trusted mechanic or tire shop.

Checking tire tread with penny

7. GREASE HINGES

Are you noticing squeaks and groans when you open your car doors? A creaky door hinge can usually be resolved simply with a bit of lubricant spray. It’s a good idea to spray the front and rear door hinges, as well as the hood and trunk hinges, to help prevent wear and tear.

8. INSTALL A COLD AIR INTAKE

Did you know that K&N intake systems can typically be installed in less than an hour? K&N intake kits come with a horsepower guarantee, allowing you to buy and install with confidence. Each kit comes with detailed, step-by-step instructions—allowing you to complete the full installation process from the comfort of your own garage. Learn more about K&N intakes by watching the video below.

What at-home car maintenance have you completed recently? Let us know in the comments below.

*This post is for informational purposes only, and we do not warrant that the information provided will produce any specific results or achieve any intended purposes. Every vehicle is different and subject to different road conditions and wear and tear. You should always follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, consult the vehicle owner’s manual, and/or have your vehicle evaluated by a properly trained mechanic.

Modifying your vehicle can affect its safety and road worthiness.  Modifications, including maintenance and cleaning, may void any applicable warranties to a product or vehicle. You are advised to contact the product manufacturer or authorized reseller prior to conducting any repairs, maintenance, or modifications.  The information provided herein is provided is not intended for any particular product or purpose and may not be suitable for all users, vehicles, or products.  K&N will not be responsible for any damage to persons or property, including but not limited to any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive, or exemplary damages arising out of or related to your use of or reliance on the content contained in this post. Please read the applicable instruction prior to use of any K&N or other manufacturers’ product.

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