DIY car maintenance isn’t for everyone. It’s often dirty work, especially if you’re working under the hood or under the car.

Still, let’s say you’re interested in getting started with DIY car maintenance. You went out and got yourself the essential vehicle maintenance tools.

You set up a space that’s at least semi-sheltered from the weather to do the work. While it’s not as good as a garage, you can pick up a temporary carport for a few hundred bucks.

All that’s left is information. While you can spend years learning about cars, here are the important car engine parts you should know about for basic maintenance.

Spark Plugs and Wires

Spark Plugs and Wires

Your spark plugs and spark plugs wires play a critical role in your vehicle’s performance. The wires move an electrical charge from your ignition coil or possibly distributor on older models to your spark plugs. The plugs themselves deliver that spark to the fuel in your engine.

Over time, the plugs may corrode or face a deposit buildup that interferes with performance. Simple wear and tear can also trigger spark plug wire failure. Either can result in misfires, decreasing fuel economy, and spotty performance.

You can find new plugs and wires at most auto parts stores or through a car parts online vendor.

Battery

Battery

Whether you’re fixing a truck or looking for sport car parts, you should never ignore your vehicle battery. The battery provides the initial power boost that your vehicle needs for initial ignition. While you can replace some things in your engine with junkyard car parts, you should plan on getting a new battery every three years or so.

Air Filter

Air Filter

Modern cars come equipped with an air filter that helps keep contaminants like dust and pollen out of your engine. This provides your engine with clean air that helps keep performance solid. It’s also on the list of cheap car parts.

Switch it out about once a year.

Oil Dipstick

Oil Dipstick

Pop the hood on your car and you’ll usually see a small, circular, bright yellow handle sticking out somewhere. That’s your oil dipstick. You can pull that out to check the level and condition of your engine oil.

Special Considerations

High-performance vehicles, such as sports cars, typically need engine parts made by the original manufacturer or made specifically for that vehicle. You can go through a dealership or look for make and model-specific replacement car parts online through a site like redlineautoparts.com.

Car Engine Parts and You

Car engines are incredibly complex. There are hundreds of individual car engine parts. The vast majority of them are best left alone by the new DIY mechanic.

As you grow in confidence and skill, you’ll expand out into other parts of the engine like gaskets, seals, ignition coils, and valves. Until then, though, take your car to a certified auto repair shop for major problems or complex maintenance tasks.

Looking for more tips on auto maintenance or repair? Check out some of the posts over in our automotive category.

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