Sometimes it can seem as though there are two kinds of people in this world: those who were somehow, mysteriously, born with the innate knowledge of how to fix cars — and the rest of us.
Just because you weren’t born with a silver torque wrench in your mouth doesn’t mean that you can’t learn this valuable skill set, however. If you learn how to fix cars, you will be able to save a ton of money. You will also get that priceless feeling of satisfaction that comes from replacing your own battery or changing your own oil.
Ready to check under the hood? Whether you want to fix up that old clunker or just learn how to perform simple maintenance tasks on your luxury auto, we’ve got four great resources. Let’s get started!
First Things First: Get the Service Repair Manual
The service repair manual isn’t the same thing as the owner’s manual that’s stuffed in your glove box or floating around in your trunk somewhere. That manual simply covers the basics of operating your car.
The service manual, on the other hand, is a bit more technical. It describes how to perform the most common maintenance, service, and repair jobs. Make sure to get the proper manual for your car’s make, model, and year.
1. For Those Who Are Visual Learners
Are you the kind of person who can watch someone follow the steps of a task once or twice, then do it perfectly yourself? If you’re a visual learner, your next stop should be YouTube.
Yes, this clearinghouse for corgi videos and compilations of vintage commercials is also an excellent resource for car repair. Just type your car’s model and the problem you’re trying to fix into the search bar – and voila.
Just realize that since anyone can upload videos onto the site, there’s no guarantee that the results will be trustworthy. It may take a little clicking around before you find a channel that’s both approachable and accurate. But make no mistake: YouTube is one of the best ways to learn how to fix cars.
2. Forums and Blogs
There are online forums dedicated to everything from motherhood to mermaid culture, so it’s not hard to find one focused on a particular model of car and how to fix it. The forum members are avid car geeks who offer real-life tips and tricks.
Another good resource is through blogs. You won’t get the same variety of opinions that a forum provides, but you will be able to find practical car repair help.
3. Go Back to School to Learn How to Fix Cars
Need to start with the basics — like difference-between-a-Phillips-head-and-a-flat-head basics? Look into taking a DIY car repair class. Local community colleges, continuing ed programs, and maker’s spaces offer these.
Discover your mechanical chops here, then develop them further as you work on specific projects.
4. Ask at the Auto Parts Store
It’s probably not wise to walk into your local Napa or Auto Zone and demand a thorough tutorial on rebuilding your Jeep’s engine.
However, the guys and gals who sell wiper blades and Rain-X for a living generally know a thing or two about repairs. Remember that when you get stumped, need to borrow an esoteric tool, or want a free diagnostic test.
When you learn how to fix cars yourself, you’ll save money and gain satisfaction. And with all of the resources available, it’s actually an easier proposition than you might imagine!
Not sure if it’s worth repairing that rusty old beater? Find out whether it’s time to give up on your junker or trade it in towards a new ride.