Here are ways to fix some common problems yourself. Not every infliction on your car’s exterior needs to land you at the mechanic’s, though some should early on so that you don’t need a more major repair (and incur a bigger expense) later.
Touch up nicks sooner rather than later
- Touch-up paint won’t adhere well to rust.
- So be sure to keep some matching touch-up paint on hand so you can touch up any minor nicks, often found around door edges, before rust has a chance to form.
Tape saves light covers
- A cracked taillight or turn-signal cover, if left alone, may allow your light compartment to fill with water and cause some real damage.
- A good short-term fix is to tape over the crack. Use the red or orange tape that’s made for this purpose. You can purchase it at many automotive parts stores.
Fix small windshield chips
- Got a rock chip, crack, or ding in your windshield? Bring your car to a windshield repair shop. For far less cost than replacing the windshield, they can fix chips and cracks, even quite long ones.
- The repairs not only keep the chips and cracks from spreading and restore structural integrity, they also improve clarity.
Fix the washer fluid tank
- Cracked washer de-icer fluid tanks are fairly common once a car is of a certain age.
- A good remedy — until you can buy a new tank or find one at the junkyard — is to insert a plastic freezer bag into the tank and fill it with the washer fluid.
Resecure wheel-well splashguards
- Inspect wheel-well splashguards regularly. These guards, however flimsy on many of today’s cars, help keep water and winter’s salty slush from splashing up into the engine compartment, where it can damage sensitive electrical components.
- Unfortunately, these guards tear off easily — sometimes without the driver knowing it. Check for damage to these guards when you wash your car.
- Re-secure with the appropriate fasteners or replace as needed.
- As added protection from splashed-up muck, slush, and debris, install mud flaps on your vehicle.