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Discussion Starter #1
Total noob here, mechanically speaking. I want to learn to work on my car myself, but I've never even picked up a wrench before!
How did you guys get started doing your own work on your cars? And is it just a side hobby for you, or a whole career? :)
 

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Watch YouTube videos to learn what you want to do. Get a set of basic mechanic tools to get you started.

There are some members here who are professional mechanics but most people like myself just do to save money or for the satisfaction of DIY or some just don't trust others touching their cars. There are good write-ups on the site, You can go through them just to get ideas on how things are done.
 

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How did you guys get started doing your own work on your cars?
Mom got ripped off by a Chevy dealership service department. I got into a fight with the service guy, knocked him down and beat him good. Mom screamed. I got arrested. I was 15. Juvy judge had me paint fire hydrants all summer. Retired mechanic dude in courtroom gave me a giant repair manual.
 

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Runnin' in the 90s
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I started working on my own cars out of necessity. First was changing the battery in my mom's 2001 Ford Explorer by myself. Headlight bulbs in the family minivan, etc. Then I got my first car, and my dad and I worked on it together (my dad has been a mechanic for many years). He taught me how to change spark plugs, change the oil and air filter, jack up the car and take the wheels off, and other basic maintenance items. So I can do that kind of stuff on my own, when the weather permits and I have a place to actually do it.

Due to health issues, I usually take my car to a shop for more advanced repairs, like having larger parts installed (like a muffler or suspension parts). Or for things like a timing belt replacement. I've been going to the same shop for a few years now and I trust them with my cars. I feel you should have a trusted mechanic to fall back on even if you are a pretty advanced DIY person. Because sometimes a repair is just above your skill level or the tools needed for a job are too expensive/wouldn't be worth the cost for a regular person to own. I don't have a driveway or garage to work in, so that stuff isn't feasible for me.

I have a toolbox with basic tools like a socket set (plus another set of "deep wall" sockets), screwdrivers, panel removal tools, pliers of various size, a telescoping magnet, sandpaper, an oxygen sensor wrench, spare headlight bulbs, a multimeter, tire pressure tool, spare fuses, wire strippers and connectors, cleaning supplies, and shop towels. I also keep a full size spare tire mounted on a steel wheel in the trunk.
 

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I took one of my previous cars to the dealership for an oil change + tire rotation package way back when. I got back to pick up the car and I noticed the tires were not rotated. I told the service rep, he said the tires should have been rotated, there is no way they did not, but I will have them rotated again for you if that makes you feel better. He comes back and tells me "you were right, tires were never rotated". like I can't tell my front tires from rear. That experience was when I lost confidence in service departments. After that it was if you want to make sure it's done right, do it yourself. Start small like air filter, then oil change, and work your way up.
 

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Runnin' in the 90s
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I took one of my previous cars to the dealership for an oil change + tire rotation package way back when. I got back to pick up the car and I noticed the tires were not rotated. I told the service rep, he said the tires should have been rotated, there is no way they did not, but I will have them rotated again for you if that makes you feel better. He comes back and tells me "you were right, tires were never rotated". like I can't tell my front tires from rear. That experience was when I lost confidence in service departments.
That's why I like my preferred shop (an independent shop, not a dealership). I had my Prelude in for a caliper replacement; they gave the car back to me and I noticed they had installed the front wheels incorrectly (it has directional wheels and the fronts were facing the wrong way, just a matter of swapping them to the correct sides). I pointed it out, they immediately brought a floor jack out to the spot where my car was parked, and changed the wheels for me immediately. No charge, no fuss. They owned up to their mistake. They also don't charge me for diagnosing sounds or leaks. They know I have an OBD-II scanner and that I can usually pinpoint or at least give them a good idea of what a problem is before bringing it in.

I still check my cars over after a service, don't get me wrong, but like I said it's a good idea to have a trusted shop/mechanic for stuff you can't DIY.
 

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Dad made me change the water pump in his old Dodge pickup when I was about 10. Showed me how to use a ratchet and wrench, pointed at the water pump, and said "take that off". I put on the new one too. I thought that was cool so I used to take apart my bicycle (every piece) all the time and lube it up and kept it in tip top shape. To this day my bicycles always roll downhill faster than my friends pedal.

I figured that if I could remove a part I could always put it right back on so I was never scared to try. There are times when it's not that simple.

Parents divorced at 16, four of us kids (I'm the oldest), and if I didn't figure out how to fix the car then we had to walk. Mom just sort of expected it.

Taking off parts and putting them back on isn't all that hard. 90% of getting it done is half mental. With the availability of youtube these days anyone can fix their own car. The hard part is learning how a car works so you know what part to change . . . and that's not hard at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Taking off parts and putting them back on isn't all that hard. 90% of getting it done is half mental. With the availability of youtube these days anyone can fix their own car. The hard part is learning how a car works so you know what part to change . . . and that's not hard at all.
I was thinking about trying that, I'm a hands on learner! My mom seems to think that women aren't meant to touch our cars though, and if I even pop the hood she comes out and tells me how doing that is somehow going to wreck the car, haha :rolleyes: guess I'll have to try it when I move out...
Any good youtube channels you would recommend?

Retired mechanic dude in courtroom gave me a giant repair manual.
Oh my gosh, wow! Was the manual helpful? Someone recommended that I buy one before, but it's like $25 and I like to be cheap lol.
 

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I was thinking about trying that, I'm a hands on learner! My mom seems to think that women aren't meant to touch our cars though, and if I even pop the hood she comes out and tells me how doing that is somehow going to wreck the car, haha :rolleyes: guess I'll have to try it when I move out...
Any good youtube channels you would recommend?
ChrisFix is pretty good. His videos are quick and concise and he doesn't ramble on like some folks. My daughters can both work on their cars. I just made them help me when they were kids. They loved it. They don't really do it much but what it does help them have is confidence in dealing with a mechanic. They don't get the BeeEss treatment. Well . . . they do for a second until they let it be known they know what's wrong.
 

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Runnin' in the 90s
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Oh my gosh, wow! Was the manual helpful? Someone recommended that I buy one before, but it's like $25 and I like to be cheap lol.
If you're not willing to spend $25 on a repair manual, arguably one of the most important tools you could have, you're going to have a hard time repairing and maintaining your car lmao. A 5 quart jug of oil is more than that.
 

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Fix it Angel is another yt channel I occasionally watch. His content is not all rainbows and unicorns, it is actually realistic. He does not have a lift, he does everything in his driveway and he gets into situations we all can (should) expect to get into: seized bolts, no helper, getting cuts and bruises on his hands, nosey neighbors, family responsibilities, etc. and he does not gloss over that stuff with video editing magic.
 

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If you're not willing to spend $25 on a repair manual, arguably one of the most important tools you could have, you're going to have a hard time repairing and maintaining your car lmao. A 5 quart jug of oil is more than that.
LOL of course someday I will. I'm 20 years old and in college, and on educational leave from work right now, so no income is coming in, and I had a fraud alert that locked up my main bank account for the time being just last week. When I have a legit career and more disposable income, definitely, no question! I'm pretty sure that purchase can wait though. It's inconvenient right now. :(
 

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Runnin' in the 90s
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Speedkar99 has a lot of educational videos that you should definitely watch.

 

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Buy a Haynes manual for the car you drive and want to work on..my first one was 12 bucks back in the day, I think. They may be more now..
They're decent, well written and very clearly laid out as far as photos go. You can get them in most "chain" auto parts stores.
 

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My dad did pretty basic work on our cars when I was growing up. I remember a '72 Super Beetle that he'd change the oil on (all of 5 pints) and I'd help out; as much as an 8-10 year old can do anyhow. I'd wash it and check the air pressure in the spare tire, because that air pressure provided the push behind the windshield washer fluid (no electrical pump).

Later on, I'd do the maintenance on the mowers we had, and later still I did electromechanical work on the Minuteman ICBM when I was in the air force. That was where I learned that you don't do it if it's not in the manual, because if you do a procedure that isn't in the manual, unknown and possibly bad outcomes are the result. It is also why I actually use torque wrenches (well, that and it's just my thing).
 

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Total noob here, mechanically speaking. I want to learn to work on my car myself, but I've never even picked up a wrench before!
How did you guys get started doing your own work on your cars? And is it just a side hobby for you, or a whole career? :)
Hey man. Lookup donut media’s new show called project car. It’s seriously about this. You’re going to need a jack and jack stands 1/4” deep and shallow sockets 3/8” deep and shallow sockets. And 1/4” and 3/8” ratchets. Get some combination wrenches pliers and screw drivers. Get an oil drain and a really good flash light or flash lights. Impact tools are nice to have but not a necessity. You can go to harbor freight and get everything you need for around $400 that’s about how much it was when I started at a lube tech 5-6 years ago.

Buy a Haynes manual for the car you drive and want to work on..my first one was 12 bucks back in the day, I think. They may be more now..
They're decent, well written and very clearly laid out as far as photos go. You can get them in most "chain" auto parts stores.
Absolutely. Haynes manual is essential.
 

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Total noob here, mechanically speaking. I want to learn to work on my car myself, but I've never even picked up a wrench before!
There are a plethora of online tutorial videos as well as some very informative repair manuals. However, if you really want to effectively learn how to work on your car, it's best to have someone give you a hands-on approach. Find a good mechanic (family member or friend) who can give you step-by-step instructions on some basic stuff. Once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much steadily advance on your own per the aforementioned resources. You'll also be better able to distinguish between a "big" job and one that you can handle yourself. Trust me - there's absolutely nothing worse then getting halfway through a job before realizing that it's either far too complex for you, or you don't have the proper tools, or you stumble onto something totally unexpected.
 

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There are a plethora of online tutorial videos as well as some very informative repair manuals. However, if you really want to effectively learn how to work on your car, it's best to have someone give you a hands-on approach. Find a good mechanic (family member or friend) who can give you step-by-step instructions on some basic stuff. Once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much steadily advance on your own per the aforementioned resources. You'll also be better able to distinguish between a "big" job and one that you can handle yourself. Trust me - there's absolutely nothing worse then getting halfway through a job before realizing that it's either far too complex for you, or you don't have the proper tools, or you stumble onto something totally unexpected.

a lot of information has already been provided, as stated theres videos on the web, teck manuals on the web , but i still like having a manual i can reference while working on the vehicle also in our present day & age a camera phone is good to have, if your not sure how everything goes together , take pictures while taking it apart and always use a torque wrench when you are not sure of your own strength, breaking a bolt off is no fun, another thing about a manual it will general give a tightening sequence , which can in many cases be necessary ! good wrenching
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Buy a Haynes manual for the car you drive and want to work on..my first one was 12 bucks back in the day, I think. They may be more now..
Someone else had suggested that! They said Haynes and/or Chilton. Do you know if there's much of a difference between the two?
And now they are about $20. I found an official Honda one that's used in dealerships, but that's $60. The Haynes $20 should suffice I would think.
 
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