Friday February 23 2018

Repairs you can do yourself

For every mechanical issue it is not a must

For every mechanical issue it is not a must that you must go to the garage. There are a number of repairs that you can “do yourself”. Photo Alex Esagala 

By Roland Nasasira

Many car drivers or owners have a monthly or weekly budget for repairs that might include a series of things as small as oil change.
But have you ever thought of the possibility of repairing some of the mechanical issues that you might be spending on.
According to Musa Kiryowa, a mechanic in Ndeeba, cars need regular maintenance and repairs to improve their efficiency and life.
However, he says, some of these repairs are so easy to do which gives motorists an opportunity to “do it yourself”.
“Of course it might be hard in the start but with time you will perfect it and you will thank yourself when you stop visiting the mechanic,” he says.
The repairs, he says, can be perfected with online guidelines or supervision from a qualified mechanic.
The repairs, which include some of the following, are easy to access and do not require much unbolting to be conducted.

Brake pads
Many people, according to Ivan Kyeyune, a mechanic on Rubaga Road, will be awed at the mention of the possibility of replacing their brake pads.
“I told a certain driver that she could replace her brake pads and she was like; no way, I can’t do that especially if it’s about brakes,” he says, explaining that this is a simple procedure that mechanics will incredibly charge to do.
To replace brake pads you need a wheel lug wrench, pliers, and a set jack to slightly lift the tyre off the ground.
Brake pads cost between Shs50,000 and Shs150,000 depending on the car and material of the pads.
Pads last between 30,000 and 50,000 kilometres and when the pad thickness falls below two millimetres and three millimetres, it means they are due for replacement.

Changing the battery
Many people drive to the garage to be charged money to replace something as simple as a battery.
This is by far the easiest “do it yourself” repair any motorist, irrespective of the knowledge of the driver.
A battery lasts between four to six years, so you should be able to figure out when it is due for replacement.
To replace a battery, according to Kiryowa, you will need a set of wrenches that will help you in gripping and unscrewing different parts.
However, he says, you must always be careful when removing the cable from different terminals.
To be safe start with the negative (black) cable before moving to the positive. Even when replacing follow the same procedure,” he says.

Oil change
You can be charged between Shs30,000 and Shs80,000 to conduct an oil change, something that you can do yourself.
Changing oil, according to Kyeyune, is a simple procedure where you will only need an oil filter, wrench and a drain pan.
These, he says, can be purchased easily and can last as long as 20 years depending on how they are handled.

Spark plugs
This is another of the easiest repairs, any driver can do, according to Kiryowa. Spark plugs can last as long 100,000 kilometres but it is advisable to always check them every time you clock 40,000 kilometres.
As many other replacements, you will need a spark plug wrench to conduct a process that will cost you as much as Shs30,000 at a service point or garage.

Front and rear lights
What happens if you woke up to your car with missing headlamps yet for some reason you have a spare lamp in your garage.
Perhaps you have seen motorists driving around to the garage after losing their headlamps to thieves.
Replacing a headlamp, according to Kiryowa is an easy task if you care to know where to find the screws.
The location of the screws depends on the type of the car while some cars have their lights fixed into depressed ridges cut out inside the car’s body.
This will save you about Shs30,000 and a journey to the garage.

Driving to the garage to replace wipers is a massive waste of not only money but time.
Replacing wipers, Kyeyune says, takes minutes and most wipers will come with instructions from manufactures.

Air filter
Because it is inside, most motorists might think that replacing an air filter is a hard thing. However, it is a quick fix that will take you less than 20 minutes. According to Kiryowa, you will simply have to turn a few screws to remove the filter housing before conducting the replacement.
“It is a very simple procedure that can save you spending on a mechanic if you choose to “do it yourself,” he says.

Tyre change
This is another of the easiest “do it yourself” procedure that many drivers spend money on.
Replacing a tyre, according to Kiryowa, only requires a jack and a spanner, which are a must carry tools for any driver.
“You find people stranded on the road because they cannot change something as basic as a tyre,” Kiryowa says.

Do it yourself: The Land Rover Uganda Club way
Last Saturday the Land Rover Uganda Club conducted a car clinic in Kyanja - the Club Spanner Day - that seeks to assist members understand their cars. The club which brings together more than 150 members is composed of Land Rover owners and enthusiasts and conducts different activities many of which seek to find solutions to complex problems among some cars such as Land Rovers
The clinic was conducted with support from Castrol, a leading motor oil dealerships.

According to Ronnie Kyazze, the chairman of Land Rover Uganda, the clinic is a source of valuable information where members share experiences in order to find solutions to common problems.
“It (Club Spanner Day) links up Land Rover enthusiasts, mechanics, dealers and equipment suppliers to share best solutions for some mechanical issues,” he says.
The open event seeks to create a convergence centre, according to Kyazze, where people can exchange on a variety of issues.
At the event Land Rover owners carried a number of accessories such as toolboxes and safety equipment.

“On such days, we always encourage Land Rover owners to carry along different safety equipment, tools and any other equipment and share with others how they are used,” according to Kyazze.
The club also launched a Road Safety Initiative that seeks to promote safe driving in order to reduce road accidents.
“We want to support safety. Of course we would not want to see anyone die on the road,” Kyazze says.