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The right car repair tips can make a seemingly complex job that much easier. Techniques that can speed up a process without compromising its quality are a valuable ally when working on your vehicle. They’re also a great way to benefit from someone else’s experience without having to explore every potentially dead-end path along the way.

Check out these five car repair tips and see which ones you can add to your repertoire.

1. Mark It Up

Making adjustments to your engine timing? Removing your steering wheel? A simple marking pen will help you realign everything once you’re ready to put the wheel back on, screw the distributor into the right spot or simply line up a pulley. Marking or painting parts that should be changed on the undercarriage is also one of the useful car repair tips, as dirtier parts of your car often present a challenge when trying to identify individual components.

2. Take Pictures

If you’re taking something apart, snapping a quick picture of each step along the way is the single best method for ensuring that you can reassemble it properly. The miracle of digital photography means that you can do this all with your phone and then have those photos in your pocket for reference throughout the entire job. You can also try using a whiteboard to sketch wiring layouts and the routing for ducts if you feel artistically inclined.

3. Bag It

Fasteners, screws, nuts and bolts all have a way of disappearing when you need them most, especially if you’re working on a bigger project. Rather than ending up with countless small piles of bolts scattered across your work bench, one of the best car repair tips is to dump them into small baggies as you go, labeling each bag for the part of the car or component that the items came off of. That way you won’t have any issue locating the right bolts when it’s time to put things back together again.

4. Magnets Are Your Friends

Dropping a tiny screw down into the engine bay can be a nightmare, especially if you can’t reach your hand into the equally small space to retrieve it. Make sure to have one or two magnetic retrieval tools on hand when working in tight areas, as their telescopic extensions and magnet grip can be lifesavers if something slips out of your fingers.

5. Keep Clean

Oily, dirty hands are often a hazard of any car repair. If you can’t wear protective gloves for whatever reason, here’s an old mechanic’s tip: Sink your nails into a bar of soap just before you start the job. The soap will stick up underneath your fingernails and prevent grime from lodging up there in hard-to-clean places. Simply wash out the soap when you’re done working.

Make your life easier and try out a few of these tips.

For more information on car repair tips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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