Colin Black runs a night course here at Unitec that covers all of the bases in car maintenance 101. Colin and his students were kind enough to share three basic tutorials for maintaining your vehicle DIY style. It is very important to follow these steps in order, as some of the lessons include electric currents.


If your battery goes “flat” you can restart the vehicle by using a “jump” or “slave” battery (one that has a good charge in it) to give you a boost.


1. Ensure that all accessories etc. are turned off in the “dead” vehicle.
2. The jumper leads will be labelled (either + or -). Look for the positive jump lead and connect it to the positive terminal on the “slave” battery (terminals will also be labelled with a + and -).
3. Connect the other end of the positive lead to the dead batteries positive terminal.
4. Connect the negative lead to the “slave” battery’s negative terminal.
5. Attach the other end of the negative lead to a good grounding point on the “dead” vehicle’s engine
6. If your “slave” is inside another vehicle, start that engine first. Then start the engine of the “dead vehicle”. VOILA!
7. When removing the jumper leads, detach them in the opposite order of attaching them.




1. Undo the battery terminals (2)
2. Undo and remove the hold down clamp (3)
3. Lift out the battery
4. Clean the terminals, tray and hold down clamp
5. Place the new battery in
6. Refit the clamps
7. Smear a little petroleum jelly (Vaseline) over the terminals to keep them clean



Tools you will need to change your oil:
-Large deep tray to catch the old oil (10 litre tray)
-A spanner to suit the drain plug
-A jack or ramp to raise the vehicle
-Safety stands (or car ramps) to support the vehicle
-A large sheet of plastic to catch oil spills
-Oil filter removal tool (from Mitre 10)
-New Filter
-New Oil

1. After warming up the engine, raise the vehicle and set it on the safety stands
2. Place the sheet of plastic under the engine area
3. Place the drain tray under the engine oil pan beneath the drain plug. Undo the drain plug and allow the oil to drain out. (Watch out if it’s a windy day!)
4. When the oil has stopped dripping (about 5 minutes) refit the drain plug. Fitting a new drain plug washer could prevent oil drips from this area later. Ensure the plug is tight.

5. Remove the oil filter. You may need to use a filter removal tool. Leave the drain tray under the filter when removing it.

6. Make sure the rubber sealing ring comes away from the mounting on the engine with the filter. If this is not done, and the rings stay on the engine, it will cause a major oil leak.
7. Wipe the area dry

8. Lubricate the sealing ring of the new filter with clean oil and spin it on
9. Remove the oil filler cap and pour in fresh oil. Slowly, use a funnel

10. Check the oil level. Only dill to the full mark. Start the engine and let it run for about 30 seconds, or until the oil pressure light goes out. Check for oil leaks. Recheck the oil level and top up as required. It is normal to need a little more oil at this point as the oil filter has now filled with oil.
11. Remove the oil drain tray and the plastic sheet and lower the vehicle from the stands.