Thought I would sitdown and come up with a list for new folks to gauge how easy or hard it would be to do maintenance or modifications on their cars without taking it to a shop or dealer. Feel free to add or update, as required.
Groundrules and Assumptions
- You have some basic mechanical skills (like turning a wrench, safely getting your car in the air, understand things like torque values, etc.)
- You have somewhere to safely work on your car, without being interrupted (garage, carport, some flat surface).
- You own (or have access to) some basic tools and support equipment to do the work, like socket sets, wrenches, jackstands, drip pans, etc.
- The levels of complexity are based on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being the easiest, 5 being the most difficult.
- You have access to a service manual, forum, or a set of instructions to do the work.
- The vehicle references are for '02-'10 WRX or '04-'10 STI.
- You have the ability to properly (and legally) recycle or dispose of any used fluids or maintenance consumables.
- You completely understand the safety requirements for jacking and servicing your vehicle.
- Engine Oil Change, rated 1. Basic tools required. Can be accomplished with jack stands.
- Transmission Oil Change, rated 1. Same as engine oil.
- Rear Differential Oil Change, rated 1. Same as engine oil.
- Air Filter Change, rated 1. Plug-n-play type of service. No tools required.
- Cabin Air Filter Change, rated 2. Screwdriver required. Not difficult, but must remove glovebox to gain access.
- Brake Fluid Change,rated 2. Basic tools required. Need to jack car up and remove wheels. Must bleed brakes properly, as per spec.
- Brake Pad Change, rated 2 on '04-'10 STI and '06/'07 WRX, rated 3 on '02-'05, '08-'10 WRX. Do not need to remove calipers for the STI or 06/07 WRX. Basic tools required.
- Brake Rotor Change, rated 3. Basic tools required. May require an M8 bolt to remove stuck rotors.
- Rotate tires, rated 1. Basic tools required. Need torque wrench for proper lugnut torque.
- Engine Coolant Change, rated 3. Basic tools required. Must pay particular attention to procedures to ensure system is bled of all air.
- Sparkplug Change, rated 3. Basic tools required. Fairly straight-forward procedure, but difficulty increases due to access.
- Timing Belt Change, rated 4. Basic and special tools required. Should not be attempted by novices, as attention to detail is key to avoid engine damage.
- V Belt Change, rated 3. Basic tools required. Access increases complexity.
- Clutch Replacement, rated 3. Basic tools required. Limited access using jackstands increases complexity.
- Fuel Filter Replacement, rated 2 on pre-05 cars, rated 3 on +05 cars. Basic tools required. Fuel filter is moved to the fuel pump on 05 and up vehicles.
We'll do the Mod Section next...