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I'm wondering if there's a good crash course website or book for auto repair for beginner who's just getting into auto repair?

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well, at risk of sounding facetious, this site can be very useful. As you come up against a problem, or an area you need information on, ask the question. –  Rory Alsop Jan 21 '13 at 12:39

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The best resource I've found, for someone mechanically inclined, is the specific Factory Service Manual for whatever car you are working on. They typically describe how to disassemble the entire car, step by step, with pictures.

If you're into a more basic "Why are cars designed this way?" type of discussion. Google, or the site: howstuffworks.com is also decent.

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While I too would recommend FSM for any serious DIYer, I do not think it qualifies for “crash course” in auto repair. Procedures described there intended for professional mechanics with knowledge of proper techniques and tool use. OP would be better served with a general book for beginners (even the kind for dummies or idiots), that would explain those tools and techniques. –  theUg Jan 26 '13 at 21:16

Youtube. Seriously. There's a video covering just about any procedure you can do to your car. E.g. here's a video explaining how a (Toyota) twincam engine works. About a year ago when I wanted to replace the turbo on my Astra Coupe, I found a video show every single step in the process.

If you want to get into auto repair as a complete novice, then start with the easy stuff like changing the oil, sparkplugs and coolant. Maybe swap out the coilpack, battery and air filter. Then you can move on to brakes and wheel bearings. First at the rear, then at the front. After that, you should have enough confidence to tackle the more serious things like installing fresh gaskets (stay away from the headgasket).

At this point you can probably start branching out into electronics, e.g. installing a new head unit, amp and speakers. Or figure out why the electric windows are/aren't working.

There's a video for all of this on youtube. Just search for "replacing X thing on Y model".

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May and Simpson Automotive mechanic

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Would you like to elaborate on that answer? Perhaps add something to say why you think it's a good resource? or indeed what sort of resource it is? –  Nick C Feb 18 at 15:03

A combination of Auto Repair for Dummies, and the Haynes guide to my vehicle taught me a lot. The For Dummies book is written for complete beginners, but suffers from being very generic. The Haynes guide can fill in the void with information specific to your vehicle, without being overly complicated.

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I agree. A Haynes manual for your particular is a good idea. The instructions and techniques will be more relevant to you. You can achieve some pretty extensive work following step by step guides. –  Peter Feb 19 at 9:34

As Nick said, if you can get the Factory Service Manual for your vehicle, that's probably the best. It can be expensive (like $200+) though unless you can find PDFs online. A much less complete, but still very helpful, book to get is the Haynes manual for your vehicle; you can pick it up at any decent auto parts store for something like $15-20. Also, YouTube is a great resource. If your vehicle is pretty common, search for the procedure you want to do and you may find a video of somebody doing it and explaining how. For less common vehicles, you still might be able to get some good ideas watching similar videos.

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