My trusty Honda Civic has 211,000 miles on it, and I decided it was time she got a tune up. My dad loves to work on cars, and I was asking him questions about it when he offered to help me with the project. Sweet! Last weekend, I went to my parents’ house (they live just over an hour from us) and we spent the whole day working on my car. I was able to do a lot of the work with my father offering guidance, although he did some of the more complicated stuff with me just watching (and hopefully absorbing details). I spent $83 at the car parts store and $12 at a junkyard for back door struts from a car just like mine (incidentally, that car had 269K miles on it when it went to the junkyard, so I still have a lot of driving to do on mine!). For the $95 I spent, plus several hours work, I got:
- new distributor cap
- new distributor rotor
- new spark plugs
- new spark plug wires
- serviced the battery and terminals
- filled all fluids
- back door that stays up without a broom handle wedged into it
- 35 miles/gallon! (I had been getting about 26)
The last time I went in for an oil change – I know, I should be doing it myself, but I had a coupon which made it really cheap, about $14 – they printed a list of all the things they recommended I do on my car. The total estimate came to about 2 grand, which is funny, cause I only paid $2300 for the car 4 years ago. Anyway, they mentioned the distributor cap and rotor, and they wanted $60 for just those two things. They wanted $25 to service the battery, which took us about 15 minutes to do.
Spark plug wires for my car are pricey – about $50. So I got all the other parts, including the perfect back door struts, for $45. When I compared everything with what was on the list from the repair shop, I think I saved about $200 on the stuff we did, not counting whatever the door struts would have cost to buy new. We still have other work to do later on, but it’s a bit more complicated and doesn’t have to be done right away. The stuff we did was pretty simple, didn’t involve taking lots of parts out of the engine, and the new parts were very inexpensive. It’s amazing what a difference it made in my gas mileage, and I have renewed confidence in my car (and myself – if I can do this stuff, anybody can!).