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Old 05-13-2016, 04:11 AM
WageSlaveEscapist WageSlaveEscapist is offline
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As a diesel student, the best advice I can give you is to either take some classes, or buy the book that the classes teach. Study the book and do all the questions, and apply your knowledge on a beater car or at Pick N Pull. You might be able to find a syllabus somewhere that will show you the kind of stuff you would go over in class.

Great idea though. You can save yourself a lot of money and get yourself un-stranded. I had to bypass a starter solenoid with a carabiner the other day, and thanks to my electrical class I immediately knew there was a short or failure between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid when it failed to crank.

Get harbor freight lifetime guaranteed professional grade tools, or craftsman, home depot made in usa stuff, or napa, don't go for anything no name - metallurgy counts, and tools do break. Don't buy a low quality ratchet, it's annoying. Get a torque wrench and learn how to use it, practice not on your car. Some don't click at different values, they just "give" a little. If you don't know that, you could damage something very expensive. Buy the manual for your vehicles and torque every bolt according to the specs. Without a torque wrench, you either over or undertighten, leading to failures or bolts rattling loose.

Never force a threaded fastener. If it offers resistance, remove and inspect with jewellers loop. Is it cutting into the threads, or in need of a steel brushing? Rotate the bolt to the left until it snaps in place and looks straight up and down before you rotate to fasten. This way, you are sure it is correctly seated in the threads.

Don't ever use vice grips on a bolt head, or the wrong size wrench - to damage fasteners is a mechanics crime. Wear saftey glasses, tools break, eyes get scraped, crap falls in your eyes when under the vehicle. Wear gloves - oil, fuel, and fluids are carcinogenic. A 6 point holds better than a 12 point wrench/socket, and a socket holds better than the open end of a wrench. Get a harbor freight digital caliper to measure your fasteners so you know you are using the right fastener or tool for the job. Keep a multimeter in the car. Keep your tools dry and oiled - never moist and dirty. Polished tools clean up easier than textured, and ranger bands or spray grip help you hold on to them. Don't drop your tools, micro fractures develop and they can break over a lifetime. Wear coveralls so you don't get all dirty, and use blankets if you're leaning on body panels, and seat covers are handy too.

If something is very difficult to do, step back, reevalute, most likely you're either doing it wrong or you have the wrong tools for the job. If you're frustrated, do not continue, take a breather and think about it. See "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance".

Join a mechanics forum and soak up the knowledge.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:04 PM
RemingtonandCummins RemingtonandCummins is offline
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Book wise:
I'm going to agree with everyone's statements about getting Haynes & Chilton manuals, having both is definitely a great start.
Also, I'd go on Amazon or eBay and buy a book called Auto Fundamentals published by GW Publishers. It's full of excellent information for beginners.

For tools, I'd recommend going to auctions in rural areas, many farmers retire and auction off lots of tools, you can get everything from Harbor freight to Snap-On, for usually a very reasonable price.

I'd also get a few specialty tools:
Harbor Freight sells a vise grip style oil filter pliers, they're very cheap and work extremely well.
Harbor freight also sells wobble extensions for ratchets, so long as you don't use a big 3/8" ratchet on the 1/4" extensions, they will all last for basic repairs.

For socket sets, I'd suggest Craftsman or Sunex brand, both are good quality and very durable.

NEVER get cheap "impact" adapters. They always fail when you need them, spend the extra money for good ones.

If you start to do your own tire rotations, get a healthy sized breaker bar (24"+) and a socket to match your lug nuts, if ones stuck and you don't have an impact wrench around, they can save you plenty of hassle.

I've been a diesel mechanic for the past 3 years and have much to learn, but hopefully this helps get you on track.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:03 AM
TwistedWrench TwistedWrench is offline
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The absolute best education you can get is on the job. If you can squeeze it in, get a part time job at a shop after work/weekend. All it takes is 6 months to a year and you will know a ton more than you used to. What you learn is dependent on how fast you learn and how thirsty you are for knowledge. Look at it like a ****ty college class that pays you to show up.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:37 PM
Exarmyguy Exarmyguy is online now
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Learn how to use a multimeter because modern cars have just about everything linked through electronically.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:16 PM
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Fastest cheapest bet is to become an expert at fixing Check Engine lights. Don't need much equipment, plenty of business because CEL happens to everyone eventually. Car repair shops will charge $200 to replace a (marked-up) $50 coil pack, a 30 minute job.
Maybe you could take a course in car computers at the CC but most of your answers are on youtube. Replace coilpack, O2 sensor, fuel canister, gas tank cap, egr, MAF, check connections... once you do 10 of them you'll be on your way.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:48 PM
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Fastest cheapest bet is to become an expert at fixing Check Engine lights. Don't need much equipment, plenty of business because CEL happens to everyone eventually. Car repair shops will charge $200 to replace a (marked-up) $50 coil pack, a 30 minute job.
Maybe you could take a course in car computers at the CC but most of your answers are on youtube. Replace coilpack, O2 sensor, fuel canister, gas tank cap, egr, MAF, check connections... once you do 10 of them you'll be on your way.
200 isn't bad for a shop price for a shop.
Diagnostic time.....parts....Labor.
Parts mark up is not unreasonable
You can't expect them to sell the part without a markup do you?
YouTube is full of hack mechanics....or should i say wannabe mechanics
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:09 PM
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Your local library probably has a book that isn't so much a auto repair book, but a book that explains in general terms the systems that make up an auto. Hard to troubleshoot a system if you don't understand how it's supposed to operate. The book will explain the theory of operation of engines, transmissions, brakes, etc.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:28 PM
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Like everyone has mentioned buy a Chilton or Haynes manual for your vechiles. But if you don't want to spend money then YouTube or Google there's videos and articles that'll teach you pretty much how to do everything for free. I'd highly recommend watching a few videos on how a car works to learn the basics. Also when it comes to tools you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
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Fastest cheapest bet is to become an expert at fixing Check Engine lights. Don't need much equipment, plenty of business because CEL happens to everyone eventually. Car repair shops will charge $200 to replace a (marked-up) $50 coil pack, a 30 minute job. .
200 isn't bad for a shop price for a shop.
Exactly! That's what I'm talking about!
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:59 AM
InOmaha InOmaha is online now
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I wonder if cars have advanced much in the 5 years since the OP asked the question.

Look for an older car with a Factory Service Manual (FSM) posted somewhere online in .pdf format.

I work on my own cars, but wouldn't bother with other people's cars. Who needs the hassles of dealing with people for small dollar fixes. If their POS keeps throwing codes after you replace something, you'll waste your life fixing someone else's car for a terrible Yelp review.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:25 AM
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I wonder if cars have advanced much in the 5 years since the OP asked the question.
.
Ha ha. He is probably a millionaire by now
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:13 PM
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Ha ha. He is probably a millionaire by now


My guess is he employs the “parts cannon” method of auto repair.
If you replace enough parts eventually you’ll get to the right one
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:23 PM
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The OP was asking about how he could learn enough to take care of his own vehicle maintenance and repairs
Good stuff to know.
Don’t be so stuck on thinking Google and YouTube will help you all the time
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:44 PM
JL1 JL1 is offline
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My guess is he employs the “parts cannon” method of auto repair.
If you replace enough parts eventually you’ll get to the right one
Both barrels. Unfortunately customers aren't partial to that although warranty is a little more forgiving. I give them the "you built the pos what part do you want me to try next" line.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:14 AM
lasers lasers is offline
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My guess is he employs the “parts cannon” method of auto repair.
If you replace enough parts eventually you’ll get to the right one
I have had my vehicles brought to reputable repair shops and had them throw parts at it(at my cost) until they fixed the problem so it isn't just shade tree mechanics that do that.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:32 PM
fordtrucksforever fordtrucksforever is offline
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I guess since this thread is five yeas old, my opinion is worthless. If someone is just now deciding to learn about automobiles, it isnt worth it. I have worked on them since before I could drive. Not quite six volt days, but that was my first vehicle. Unfortunately now a days you need to have computer experience. Or at least a scanner to diagnose wrong might be wrong. That doesnt mean a particular sensor is the problem. It could be anything that can cause an out of range reading to the part diagnosed. So good luck. You are about 20 years late deciding to be educated on auto repair.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:28 AM
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Iamfarticus Iamfarticus is offline
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Oil changes are hard to make $$ on, they are a loss-leader in the industry and used as a hook to get people in for other more expen$ive services.

Look at the lube places, they have their generic filters, oil in big drums. On GM cars, some take a special oil that is steep by the quart. My oil changes at an indy shop run about $65 with the special oil, plus they check all fluids, top them off and check/set the tire pressures. AND they have lifts that make things faster and easier.

Brakes are straightforward with the right training, if you run into an ABS problem you need diagnostic equipment.

My advice, best bang for the buck, get into auto detailing. Hand wash, wax, interior cleaning. You can sell accessories like mats, air fresheners, etc.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasers View Post
I have had my vehicles brought to reputable repair shops and had them throw parts at it(at my cost) until they fixed the problem so it isn't just shade tree mechanics that do that.
I am fortunate to have a neighbor that owns his own shop. 40 years in the business and he has a legion of loyal customers. Unless he runs into a tough problem, it gets fixed once and done.

I was a professional mechanic for 10 years and grew to hate it. I have considerable training and even a college degree behind me. It is tough to find the right shop where you will be treated well.
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