As a long time automotive writer and enthusiast I am often amazed at the prices mechanics charge for simple repair work that most anybody could do themselves. For instance, I was recently at the Ford shop with a friend who was getting some routine maintenance done, and the Ford mechanic wanted over $400 to change the fuel filter, flush the transmission, and replace the power steering fluid. These are three fairly simple jobs that can be done for much less than half that cost with just a few hours time. When you do them yourself, you can control the relative eco-friendliness of the products you use. You also (affordably) keep your vehicle on the road, lowering demand for the manufacturing of new ones and maintaining your vehicle's maximum fuel efficiency.
Now I realize that not everybody is an armchair mechanic, so I have included the skill level necessary for each of these projects. Skill levels 1-3 need only your very basic tools and time to finish, levels 4-6 will need moderate tools and time, while 7-10 are more for the advanced tinkerer. We'll be linking to the technical advice of Matthew Wright from About.com: Auto Repair and the Discovery networks very own Turbo, to give you the complete steps on how to get each of these projects accomplished. Let's get started: