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15 Easiest DIY Auto Repairs

Whether you have savings to spare or you're struggling to make ends meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding costly car repairs on top of your expenses is not ideal. It's a good thing you don't have to take your car to the shop for every repair job.

Save time and money with DIY auto repairs. It eliminates the need to visit your mechanic, which means you don't have to worry about gas and consultation costs, among other expenses. Doing the task yourself is also handy, given the stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic.

Below is a comprehensive list of the easiest car repairs that you can DIY. Note that the exact time of each repair depends on several factors, such as your automotive DIY skills and your vehicle's year, make, and model. If you want a more accurate labor time estimate of your application, consult a repair database.

Auto Repair
Shop Cost
(up to)
DIY Cost
(up to)
DIY Savings
(up to)
Ease of DIY
PCV Valve
$90
$30
$60
Cabin filter
$105
$60
$45
Air filter
$85
$45
$40
Windshield wiper blade
$90
$55
$35
Battery
$300
$250
$50
Ignition coil
$280
$210
$70
Oil change
$200
$120
$80
Spark plugs
$600
$95
$505
Fuel filter
$160
$70
$90
Light bulb
(Headlight, Tail light, etc.)
$150
$90
$60
Drive belt
(Serpentine belt)
$140
$70
$70
Brake pad and Rotor
$600
$185
$415
Transmission fluid service
$210
$90
$120
Coolant exchange service
$120
$35
$85
Radiator hose
$170
$75
$95

PCV Valve Replacement

Shop Cost: $65-$90 (Labor: $45-$60, Part: $20-$30)

DIY Cost: $20-$30 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $45-$60

The positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve draws and directs gases into the intake manifold to prevent them from clogging up the crankcase. The check engine light activates when it is clogged, stuck closed, or stuck open. Other signs that there is something wrong with your PCV valve include engine oil leaks, engine burning oil, lack of power, and rough idling.

Because PCV valves are a part of most factory-scheduled maintenance plans, experts recommend replacing them every 35,000 to 60,000 miles. Save up to $60 when you DIY.

  • Tools: Usually, no tools are required

  • Time: 5 to 30 minutes

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY
PCV Valve Replacement
Cabin Filter Replacement

Cabin Filter Replacement

Shop Cost: $70-$105 (Labor: $35-$45, Part: $40-$60)

DIY Cost: $40-$60 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $30-$45

The cabin filter keeps dirt, dust, and other debris from getting into the passenger compartment via the heating and ventilation air intake. If it gets clogged, the airflow from the climate control system will diminish. The filter also emanates a musty odor if moisture is trapped in its system.

Automakers often recommend replacing the cabin air filter alternately with the engine air filter, approximately every 40,000 miles. Save up to $45 when you DIY.

  • Tools: Usually, no tools are required

  • Time: 5 to 30 minutes

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY

Air Filter Replacement

Shop Cost: $60-$85 (Labor: $30-$40, Part: $30-$45)

DIY Cost: $30-$45 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $30-$40

Usually located under the glove box in most modern cars, the air filter traps the dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris that enters through the air intake. It gets dirty and clogs over time. A severely congested air filter can contribute to drivability issues, such as stumbling, rough running, and diminished fuel efficiency.

The replacement interval of an air filter varies depending on the vehicle and its typical driving conditions. Experts recommend replacing every 40,000 miles approximately. Save up to $40 when you DIY.

  • Tools: Usually, no tools are required

  • Time: 5 to 20 minutes

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY
Air Filter Replacement
Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement

Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement

Shop Cost: $60-$90 (Labor: $30-$35, Part: $30-$55)

DIY Cost: $30-$55 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $30-$35

A windshield wiper blade draws liquid off the glass, giving drivers a clear view of the road during certain driving conditions. Collisions, certain weather conditions, and wear and tear can damage, tear, or crack it. If a windshield wiper blade no longer removes moisture effectively (e.g., leaving streaks or missing large patches), then it is time to replace it.

Replacing a windshield wiper blade is one of the easiest car repairs to DIY. Save up to $35 when you DIY.

  • Tools: Usually, no tools are required

  • Time: 5 to 20 minutes

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY

Battery Replacement

Shop Cost: $290-$300 (Labor: $40-$55, Part: $250)

DIY Cost: $250 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $50

When you turn the key, the battery starts supplying electrical power to your engine to get it started. It must be replaced once it is considered “dead,” which means it no longer has enough charge to power your vehicle. If the engine cranks slowly or not all when you start it, it’s time to look for a replacement.

There is no specific replacement interval for batteries. However, some factors can affect their longevity, including how often you start your vehicle, the climate in your area, and how you maintain the starting and charging system. Save up to $50 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Protective gloves
    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Safety glasses
    • Wrenches
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 15 minutes to an hour

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY
Battery Replacement
Ignition Coil Replacement

Ignition Coil Replacement

Shop Cost: $200-$280 (Labor: $55-$70, Part: $145-$210)

DIY Cost: $145-$210 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $55-$70

The ignition coil helps start the engine by sending high-voltage electricity to the spark plugs. The signs of a failing ignition coil include an illuminated check engine light, an engine that stalls or runs poorly, diminished fuel economy, and increased emissions.

Most ignition coils can continue functioning up to 60,000 miles or more, while some can only last up to 5,000 miles. Some are built to last their vehicle’s lifetime. Some automakers recommend ignition coil replacement at scheduled intervals. Save up to $70 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Safety glasses
  • Time: 10 minutes to an hour

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY

Oil Change

Shop Cost: $30-$200 (Labor: $40-$50, Part: $100-$120)

DIY Cost: $100-$120 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $80

The oil keeps the engine cool and prevents contaminant buildup. Due to its purpose, it naturally gets contaminated over time, thus requiring replacement. The oils gets contaminated faster if you frequently take short trips, which means the engine doesn’t reach its operating temperature regularly. A faulty oil filter may also give way to the need for more frequent oil changes.

Regular oil changes are essential to preventing internal engine damage. Automakers typically implement model-specific guidelines regarding oil changes. Save up to $80 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Fluid catch pan
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Oil filter wrench
    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Tarps, cardboard, or newspaper
    • Torque wrench
    • Safety glasses
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 20 minutes to 1 hour

  • Skill: 3

Learn to DIY
Oil Change
Spark Plug Replacement

Spark Plug Replacement

Shop Cost: $200-$600 (Labor: $130-$165, Part: $60-$95)

DIY Cost: $60-$95 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $140-$505

Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine using high voltage electricity from the ignition coil, setting off the chain-reaction that powers the vehicle. Their failure can disrupt your engine’s performance. On top of an illuminated or blinking check engine light, poor gas mileage, rough idling, power loss or surging, and excessive cranking time may indicate spark plug issues.

Under typically driving conditions, most spark plugs start failing after 100,000 miles of use. They must be replaced immediately once they are worn out. Save up to $505 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Spark plug gapping tool
    • Spark plug socket
    • Safety glasses
    • Torque wrench
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 minutes to 4 hours

  • Skill: Average

Learn to DIY

Fuel Filter Replacement

Shop Cost: $120-$160 (Labor: $75-$95, Part: $45-$70)

DIY Cost: $45-$70 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $75-$90

Tucked between your car's engine and fuel tank, the fuel filter serves as a screen in the fuel line. It keeps dirt, debris, and rust particles from contaminating the engine. The symptoms of a dirty, clogged, or defective fuel filter include engine misfires, stalling under strain, poor idling, lack of engine power, and difficulty in starting the engine.

The fuel filter becomes less permeable over time. Most automakers recommend changing it every 40,000 to 80,000 miles. If your vehicle runs on diesel, you may need to change its fuel filter more frequently as this fuel type is less refined than gasoline. Save up to $90 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Appropriate size flare nut wrenches and/or fuel line disconnect tool
    • Fluid catch pan
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Safety glasses
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 to 1.5 hours

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY
Fuel Filter Replacement
Light Bulb (Headlight, Tail Light, Etc.) Replacement

Light Bulb (Headlight, Tail Light, Etc.) Replacement

Shop Cost: $115-$150 (Labor: $45-$60, Part: $70-$90)

DIY Cost: $70-$90 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $45-$60

There are several light bulbs throughout your car, such as the headlight, tail light, and interior lights. They have different types based on their purpose and location. For instance, there are three types of headlights: halogen, LED, and xenon.

Dimmed, flickering, damaged, or defective light bulbs must be replaced immediately, not only to ensure proper lighting but also to comply with road regulations. Fortunately, replacing a faulty light bulb is one of the easiest and cost-efficient DIY auto repairs. Save up to $60 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Safety glasses
    • Screwdrivers
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 15 minutes to 1.5 hours

  • Skill: 3

Learn to DIY

Drive Belt / Serpentine Belt Replacement

Shop Cost: $110-$140 (Labor: $60-$75, Part: $50-$70)

DIY Cost: $50-$70 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $60-$70

Also known as a drive belt, the serpentine belt typically provides power to the power steering system, air conditioning system, water pump, and alternator. It loops across a complex system of pulleys to power these parts. The symptoms of a failing serpentine belt include physical damage, electrical systems failure, squealing or whining noises, and an overheating engine.

The replacement interval of a serpentine belt varies based on the vehicle. Save up to $70 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Safety glasses
    • Serpentine belt tool or breaker bar
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY
Serpentine Belt Replacement
Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement

Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement

Shop Cost: $275-$600 (Labor: $95-$120, Part: $180-$185)

DIY Cost: $180-$185 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $95-$415

The brake pad and rotor help control your car’s speed and momentum, making them crucial components of a modern vehicle’s braking system. They vary based on their material and structure. Brake pads come in organic, ceramic, and semi-metallic, while rotors come in flat, vented, drilled, and slotted forms.

Due to their close-knit functions, the brake pad and rotor are typically replaced at the same time. Save up to $415 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Breaker bar
    • C-clamp or disc brake spreader
    • Fluid extractor or suction gun
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Large screwdriver or pry bar
    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Wrenches
    • Safety glasses
    • Torque wrench
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY

Transmission Fluid Service

Shop Cost: $185-$210 (Labor: $95-$120, Part: $90)

DIY Cost: $90 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $120

The transmission fluid helps keep the vehicle’s transmission’s internal parts cool and lubricated. It may run out or get contaminated over time, which can cause transmission failure. If your vehicle stalls when driving through a steep incline or is having a hard time running, it may be time to perform a transmission fluid service.

The transmission fluid service process may vary based on the vehicle. To ensure ideal results, it must be performed according to the automaker’s recommendations. Save up to $120 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Clean rags
    • Fluid catch pan
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Longneck funnel
    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Safety glasses
    • Tarps, cardboard, or newspaper
    • Torque wrench
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 1 to 2 hours

  • Skill: Average

Learn to DIY
Transmission Fluid Service
Coolant Exchange Service

Coolant Exchange Service

Shop Cost: S95-$120 (Labor: $95-$120, Part: $15-$35)

DIY Cost: $15-$35 (Parts only)

DIY Savings: $80-$85

The coolant, which prevents corrosion and helps maintain the optimum temperature of the engine, tends to break down over time. It must be changed regularly through a coolant exchange service. The service involves completely removing the old, dirty coolant from the system and replacing it with new coolant.

Most automakers recommend performing the coolant exchange service regularly, approximately every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Save up to $85 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Air compressor
    • Cooling system vacuum fill tool
    • Fluid catch pan
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Pliers
    • Screwdrivers
    • Tarps, cardboard, or newspaper
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

  • Skill: Easy

Learn to DIY

Radiator Hose Replacement

Shop Cost: $150-$170 (Labor:$80-$100, Part: $75)

DIY Cost: $75

DIY Savings: $95

The radiator hose circulates the coolant in and out of the radiator, helping to keep the engine cool. It has various types, including the universal radiator hose and the molded radiator hose. Coolant leaks, low coolant levels, overheating, and rusty internal engine components may indicate a faulty radiator hose.

How often the radiator hose needs replacement varies depending on the vehicle. Save up to $95 when you DIY.

  • Tools:

    • Air compressor
    • Cooling system vacuum fill tool
    • Fluid catch pan
    • Jack and jack stands
    • Pliers
    • Screwdrivers
    • Safety glasses
    • Tarps, cardboard, or newspaper
    • Note: The tools needed will vary by vehicle.
  • Time: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

  • Skill: Average

Learn to DIY
Radiator Hose Replacement

Spend less, save time, and stay safe with these DIY car repairs. To maximize the budget benefits of the task, use the CarParts.com in-site fillers to find a high-quality replacement part that’s compatible with your vehicle's year, make, and model.

Before you start, make sure you have the right tools and protective equipment on hand. Ensure your workspace is equipped with excellent lighting, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher in case of emergencies. If you don't have a garage and are conducting repairs outside, remember to wear your face mask.

Finally, don't put off essential repairs, especially if the issue is interfering with your vehicle's performance. Fix it as soon as possible to ensure a safer and more comfortable driving experience.

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