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After a bit of intensive study I've learned the ins and outs of how a car works, the majority of it. Not well enough to stop needing a mechanic, but well enough to understand what every component does, the basics of how it works, and how it relates to the other components. Which is a great start!

But I'd like to be able to really start fixing thing myself, and despite all this new knowledge, when I lift the hood of the car, it still looks like a massive horrifying tangle among which I can only visually identify a portion of the components.

It seems like from one car to another the arrangement and shape of the components varies so much that when you're a beginner it's very easy to get lost, even if it's obvious what's what later on.

Is there anywhere online where I can find labeled charts telling me which component is which?

  • If you give your make/model/year it's much easier to point you at resources. Many sites focus on a particular manufacturer or even a model of a manufacturer. Example: there are many Honda Civic sites, Mazda RX7 sites, etc...but none that I know of that really cover all cars really well. – DucatiKiller Apr 12 '16 at 16:08
  • Once upon a time I drove a '97 Subaru Legacy and I loved it. Don't have a car at the moment but odds are I'lll buy that same car again....don't care if I have to replace every god damn component, so worth it. – temporary_user_name Apr 12 '16 at 16:31
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    lol. My son's friend had one and drove it so brutally. The thing just took punishment for years and years. I was honestly surprised the thing didn't fall into a thousand pieces the way he punished it. Good car. – DucatiKiller Apr 12 '16 at 16:35
7

Recommend going to your nearest auto parts store and picking up a Chilton manual for your make/model. There are a few other publishers you may like better. From what I can tell they're all about the same.

These manuals aren't perfect, and don't always have as much detail as you'd want, but they do have a lot of diagrams and are a good starting point.

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3

A Troy says, you want a workshop manual - as well as the Chilton ones he mentions, there are also Haynes (the dominant publisher in the UK) and other publishers - plus the 'official' ones for your particular car - the latter can often be found on well-known online auction sites, particularly for older cars.

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3

One way I've found which will give you a very in depth insight into a particular make or model is to attend a car show. Either a vehicle specific meeting or club or a show where many owners clubs are invited.

Enthusiastic owners displaying their cars are always very keen to talk about them, the common pitfalls, the specific items to check, the nuances of the layout of the components plus you can get far more specific detail by quizzing an enthusiastic owner that you'll find in a book.

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