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DIY auto repairsCar troubles have a tendency to crop up during the Eid holidays, when mechanics are hard to find, and if you do manage to find one, the chances are that he will charge exorbitant rates to fix even the most minor of problems.

Here is how you can save time and effort by fixing three of the most frequently occurring car problems by yourself.Problem 1: Your car is not accelerating properly and consumes more fuel.

Diagnosis: Clogged air filters.

Solution: Open the air filter unit (usually located at the front of the engine) by undoing the clips. Take the filter out and clean both sides using a vacuum cleaner. Experts recommend cleaning filters after a car has been driven for 10,000 kilometres, and replacing it after 20,000-30,000 kilometres.

Problem 2: Your car is not accelerating properly and the engine misfires.

Diagnosis: Spark plugs are malfunctioning.

Solution: Disconnect the leads that connect the plugs and unscrew the plugs with a spark plug socket. Pull out the plugs; clean by dipping them in a cup of kerosene for a few minutes, then clean the electrodes with a super soft wire brush. Replace plugs in their designated holes, tighten them gently, and then press the leads onto them until they fit. Copper plugs should be replaced after the car has been driven for 20,000 to 30,000 kilometres; platinum and iridium plugs can last for up to 100,000 kilometres.

Problem 3: Your car’s temperature gauge remains above the ‘normal’ line or you see steam rising from the engine.

 Diagnosis: The engine is overheating.

Solution: Stop the car immediately as overheating damages your engine. Once it    has cooled down, uncap the radiator using a wet towel while shielding your face.     Restart the car, and slowly replenish with water/coolant and then cap the                radiator. Check radiator liquid levels twice a week; ensure that the expansion         tank level remains above the halfway mark at all times.

– Romano Karim Yusuf   

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 28, 2014.