One thing I would forever envy about car owners in developed countries is their almost perfect maintenance culture that allows a car with over 200,000 miles on the mileage to still drive and look better than a 6-month-old Nigerian car. This is why the Tokunbo Car culture of Nigeria thrives. If these people are not maintaining their car the right way, then there would be nothing like Tokunbo cars being what 80 per cent of Nigerians want.
You should be able to do basic repairs on your car
There are some basic and simple car repairs that your Nigerian mechanic doesn't want you to know about. These basic car repairs and knowledge is what car owners in fully developed countries like the USA, Germany, the U.K, Canada, etc. use in keeping their car in the best condition for as long as they own it.
I would be showing you simple technical repairs you can carry out on your car and how much you have lost trying to make your mechanic do these things for you. These are 1-minute repairs/processes that won't stress you in any way because they are simple!
5 Simple Repairs That your Mechanic Doesn't Want you to know!
1. Headlight Bulb Replacement
One day, my boss at a former workplace was complaining that at night his headlights weren't as bright as they used to be and the mechanic he called said they would service the headlights and replace the bulbs at about ₦5,000. He was not complaining about the money but was complaining that the mechanic said it would take 2 hours and he doesn't think he can make time out for that during the week.
Once the headlight is bad, the first thing to check is the bulb
I was shocked when my boss told me this. headlight bulb replacement would literally take 1 minute for pro and 3 minutes for an amateur to replace. Headlight bulbs are like light bulbs in our homes, so I offered to help.
During a break at work, I drove my boss to one of the car parts stores around and I observed the following process :
Switch on the headlights and then do a visual inspection to check which side is bad;
Open the bonnet and reach for the side of the bad headlamp from behind;
Disconnect the wire cable that is fixed to the headlight from behind;
Most cars have a rubber seal behind the headlight, take it off;
Gently unhinge the pin that is holding the bulb in place within the headlight case;
Pull out the bulb and replace it with a new one;
Fit the pin used to hold the bulb in place;
Then you fit the rubber seal back onto the headlight;
Plug back the cable and you are good to go
A pictorial view of replacing headlight
2. Tyre Replacement
Getting the right tyre size for your car is one thing and tyre replacement is another. Replacing a tyre is an activity most car owners see as 'big work', but the reason why you should be able to do it yourself is that your tyre can run flat at any time of the day and anywhere on the surface of the earth where help would be hard to come by.
Spare tyre about to be fixed onto a car
A tyre change has just 7 simple steps and yes, I have changed a tyre in just 3 minutes. All you have to do is focus properly and you are good.
So what are the tyre changing steps?
The 3 different types of car jacks
- Bring out your Jack and Wheel Spanner
- Unscrew the nuts on the flat tyre but not completely
- Place a wedge in front and at the rear of the alternate tyre i.e the tyre just diagonal to the tyre that is flat
- Jack the car to a height where the tyre is off the ground and your two palms can fit under the space
When you place a car on a jack, make sure it is at the correct spot
- Unscrew the nuts totally and take out the flat tyre
- Fit in the new tyre/extra tyre
- Screw up the nuts but not completely i.e don't tighten it
- Release the jack completely
- Tighten the nuts on the new tyre till it locks
- Remove the wedge and you are good to go
Using the wheel-spanner requires a lot of strength
A Nigerian tyre technician would charge you about ₦2,000 for this process and 'roadside vulcanizers' in Nigeria make a lot of mistakes while making a tyre change because they are always rushing just to make money.
3. Windshield Wiper Replacement
Your windshield wiper is never important until it starts to rain and a lot of car owners are always confused about how to replace the wiper by themselves so they wait for the perfect time to replace it at the mechanic workshop.
A car windshield wiper blade needs to be replaced every 6 month
However, you would have noticed how quickly the windshield wiper hawkers in a Lagos Traffic replace car wipers for car owners. It takes only 30 seconds.
Replacing your car windshield wiper is just a pull and click process.
You know you need a new wiper blade when you start hearing sounds
All you have to do is to open up the clip at the point where the wiper joins the wiper blade then slide out the old wiper to replace it with new ones and click the clip back to lock it.
4. Replacing Car Battery
If you can put two new batteries in your TV remote and four new batteries in your child's/nephew's toy, then you can replace the battery on a car. I repeat, you might not be able to know how to charge a car battery but you can surely replace one.
The first mentality I want you to kill in your head is that car batteries can shock you. Car batteries cannot electrocute you because it is just 12Volts and a direct current flow.
Remember! car batteries cannot shock you
Every car has a positive and negative terminal written clearly on the cables that connect. Check the 4 simple steps below to get it right with battery replacement.
Identify the positive and negative terminal of the car (the positive always has a red attached to it);
Identify the positive and negative terminal of the battery you want to fit;
Fit in the battery to the battery space according to matching terminals i.e positive to positive and negative to negative;
Make sure the battery is well bolted on the terminals and well sitted in the car.
Make sure the terminals are matching
That is all that is to changing/replacing a car battery.
5. Radio Unlocking
There is this common radio code problem that is common to Honda and Acura Cars. Once it happens to your car please do not panic, it is just a code it needs.
Error Code on Honda? don't panic
All you have to do is reach for your glove compartment to read the code which will be attached somewhere in the glove compartment area. Sometimes, it is found in the owners manual of the car.
Once you find this code, you will just input it on your radio using the radio dial.
Where to find the Honda Code
Wiring Technicians aka 're-wire' would charge about ₦10,000 to get this simple fix done for you. You can only pay a fee when the radio code of your car is missing. Anything else is a rip-off and you should not be part of it.
Important Note and Conclusion
However, because you have basic knowledge about car repairs doesn't mean you won't be needing your mechanic anymore. It is just a way to reduce the money you spend on maintaining your car.
Now that you have learnt 5 Simple Car Repairs Your Nigerian Mechanic doesn't want you to know, you should check out our website Naijauto.com for more tips and advice on anything car related in Nigeria.
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