Knowing how to repair something that’s not directly in your line of work is not always easy to do, but it’s always beneficial. Moreover, when it comes to auto mechanics, since pretty much everyone drives a car nowadays and since they make up the second largest household expense, learning how to repair your car simply can’t go to waste.
That said, choosing the correct method to repair such complex machines is not always that simple. Indeed, with all the information you can find online, from watching tutorials and studying car service manuals to how-to guides and forums, finding the right starting point can be quite challenging.
However, each option will provide different levels of understanding; some will better fit those with prior knowledge and experience, while others are better suited for newbies that know, more or less, nothing.
Luckily, there is a method for everyone — let’s look at what they are!
Workshop and Service Manuals
It’s not a coincidence that we’re starting with manuals. Indeed, a good service and repair manual could be the best all-rounder on this list, equally valuable to beginners and professionals. They are model-specific and filled with the best information and directions you can find since your car’s manufacturer is putting them together.
For example, watching a video of someone replacing a water pump won’t mean much to you if it’s not getting replaced on your exact vehicle. Even though the process is similar for most cars, the look of the water pump will differ drastically from model to model. Furthermore, locations are not the same; the procedure to remove the timing belt may also be different, or it may not even have a belt, being chain-driven instead.
That’s why car service & repair manuals will significantly simplify your learning experience. They include pictures and illustrations, detailed explanations, step-by-step procedures, wiring diagrams, and troubleshooting charts for your specific car and engine. No matter what your background is, with the right tools and the correct manual, there is hardly a thing that you can’t fix.
If you aren’t sure where to find a repair manual for your vehicle, have a look at eManualOnline — their repair manuals cost less than a single oil change and will prove their worth for years to come.
For a beginner, an article that explains each step in detail using pictures is a solid way to learn. If they are of high quality, they usually tell you what you need to look out for, where you need to be extra careful, and explain the basic operating principles.
However, someone with little experience behind his belt may struggle to learn if the article doesn’t use his exact vehicle as an example. It will quickly get confusing and useless with many variations in braking, cooling, suspension, and steering systems.
So, despite all the information online and numerous articles, the complexity of cars and all their components makes it impossible to find what you need every time. Since you are trying to learn, it’s essential to have something you can depend on, leaving nothing to the imagination. Because of these reasons, a correct service and repair manual remains a superior option.
Manuals will also explain everything using pictures and step-by-step instructions, telling you what tools you need and how each component works — the same can’t always be said from blogs.
Car Repair Tutorial Videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture is worth even more. A video has many advantages over written text since you can notice more details of the process, which is crucial to beginners. In a video, you’ll be able to see precisely how the mechanic uses and holds different tools and maneuvers them in tight spaces. Another significant advantage is that it’s a lot less time-consuming, and virtually no additional research is needed to complement them — if the videos are any good, that is.
Indeed, keep in mind that anyone can shoot a video nowadays, and nothing proves that 1- the author knows anything about cars or 2- whatever they did in the video actually fixed the problem. As a result, it might be tricky for beginners to sort the wheat from the chaff and tell which channel is trustworthy.
Besides, finding what you are looking for remains challenging, especially if you need information about a very specific issue or a relatively rare car model. Still, if you prefer to have visual support, we would highly recommend following along with a service manual for cars — you just can’t go wrong with this method
Car Repair Forums
The biggest advantage with forums is that there are as many as there are cars. From brand-oriented forums to model-specific ones, it’s unlikely you won’t find one suiting you.
Another pro is that they usually have thousands of open topics and tons of users, making them especially good for troubleshooting issues and getting feedback from people who have had the same problems. And if you can’t find a topic covering your exact situation, you can always open a new thread and rely on the community since they are generally very friendly and more than ready to help.
However, one aspect online forums lack that is vital for beginners are detailed instructions on how to repair something. The average forum member usually knows their way around cars, so their instructions might not be detailed enough to fit your experience level.
Nonetheless, for someone who wants to save money on repairs, using forums in combination with a service and repair manual is ideal. List your car’s symptoms, wait for members to figure out the problem, and then replace the faulty component with the help of your repair manual.
Thanks to the internet, learning mediums are more widespread than ever before. Of course, they each have pros and cons and suit certain people better than others, but it’s still much better than it might have been in the 60s, for instance.
If you are a young enthusiast who wants to work on your car as a hobby, videos and forums will be an integral part of your toolset. However, car service & repair manuals will benefit everyone since they are simple to understand, and you can use them along with other methods. That said, considering that you can repair basically everything with repair manuals, other methods may turn out superficial.