Cars are complicated, but there’s still a fair bit of maintenance you can do yourself. So, here’s Audra Fordin with tips on DIY car care that’ll leave you feeling like a pro, on MotorWeek’s “Your Drive.”

AUDRA FORDIN: With a little practice and instruction, you can do most minor item services on your car yourself. Although you don’t have to: Any auto shop can do it for you, but they charge you a lot more money than if you would have bought it online yourself. With us today is our online parts expert, Tom Taylor. Welcome back, Tom.

TOM TAYLOR: Thanks for having me.

AUDRA FORDIN: Of course. We’re so glad to have you here and talk to us about some do-it-yourself items.

TOM TAYLOR: Yeah, one is the cabin air filter. It’s, uh, if you can change the bag in your vacuum cleaner, you can change the cabin air filter. And there’s several choices: filter out just the basic dust and dirt, and then there’s if you want to filter out odors, there will be a carbon material or electrostatic material that will get out the odors and– and gasses. And then you can get one that does all that plus it has super-fine filtering for getting mold spores and bacteria. And, you can see this– this, uh, one was pulled out of this Honda here and it– it started… it started out white, it’s starting to get the… the black film that shows it doesn’t need to be replaced yet, but it’s getting there.

AUDRA FORDIN: Sure. And inside all of those fins, you can see where it’s trapping all of that dirt in there. Changing your cabin air filter is such a great thing to do for the environment inside your cabin. It feels better, it smells better, and it’s easier to breathe, especially if you have allergies. Number one reason for sneezing in your car is from the cabin air filter. You know, if you can read about in your owner’s manual, most likely you can do it yourself. And, cabin air filter is one of those items – it’s hiding in the cabin, behind the cabin air filter. Once you– behind the glove box– once you pull down the glove box, there’s a little clip in there to remove the door to access the filter. And the most important thing I think you need to know is that on the filter, it actually says which direction the airflow is, so that it can trap all of that dirt and debris.

TOM TAYLOR: Right, yep. Another surprisingly easy-to-do repair is to fix your windshield washer pump. You may be like, concerned “oh, I have a rear windshield washer. I have an SUV with a windshield wiper and washer in the back and a windshield washer in the front… none of its working, oh my gosh, it must be a complex problem.” But it could just be the windshield washer pump, that runs both the front and back. The pump just has dual nipples that, with hoses running front and back, you snap this one part into your reservoir and suddenly everything works again. The reservoirs are often located down under the– behind the front bumper cover, where you go underneath and it’s easily accessible.

AUDRA FORDIN: Sure. The hardest part about it, which isn’t so difficult, is just prying it off, changing the connector, reclamping or re-putting on the hoses, and back together.

TOM TAYLOR: Yup–yeah. It’s a simple job, and…an amazing result. It’s like “hey the system went from not working to working and I did it myself.”

AUDRA FORDIN: And the best way I find to diagnose that is it’s audible, by listening. When you spray your windshield washer fluid, if you don’t hear that pump going, it’s typically the pump that’s going bad.


AUDRA FORDIN: And if you have any questions or comments, reach out to us, right here at MotorWeek.