There are a lot of mechanically inclined people who think that anyone can simply pick Al a wrench and just begin tinkering on their car. This might be true if you are working on an older car model. Modern cars are too complex for such an approach. You need to know and do more in order to repair your late model vehicle.
Before you even begin to think of diagnosing your car, you should consult the appropriate manual for that specific application. This is a step you should not skip as it can save you money and prevent you from wasting your time fumbling around.
Why is this critical?
Modern cars are very sophisticated and have lots of wiring and dozens of complex on-board computers. Furthermore, the makes and models are so different that an approach that works on vehicle might not work in any other vehicle.
Because of this, it’s very critical to consult your car workshop manual or a repair database before you start doing anything to your car. If you don’t, you risk wasting your time and money by replacing unnecessary things. You could even exacerbate the problem. Do your homework before you attempt to fix your car, on your own.
Information is key to solving complex problems If you don’t have relevant information such as the one derived from a service manual or a database you will end up chasing your own tail.
There is also a high possibility that your actions might be damaging your vehicle further or you might end up hurting yourself.
Prevent Personal Injury
Working on cars could be dangerous even for mechanics who know what they are doing. The risk of personal injury might be greater if you haven’t read as much repair information or gone through safety recommendations.
Resources for DIYers
A few of years ago, car repair data could only be found in textbook-sized manuals or on data discs. These days, the are databases you can subscribe to and get the information you need in a matter of minutes.
Some of the most common resources include:
A lot of seasoned, experienced repair shops use this database. However, a lot if DIYers find most of the information they need from this database. You can get a single car subscription that will give you access to all the repair information you need. This will include wiring diagrams, step-by-step guides on how to maintain or repair your vehicle as well as latest technical service bulletins. There are a number of sites that offer the same information in the same way as AllData. The price start from as little as $19.95 a month.
Chilton / Haynes
Chilton and Haynes has been publishing print car manuals for decades. These brands now offer online repair manuals that are detailed and easy to access. When you sign up for the subscription you may also get access to a chat service where you can ask specific questions and get advice from a certified technician. However, Chilton and Haynes information is not directly reprinted from manufacturer manuals.
If you still prepared hard copies of car manuals you can buy Chilton and Haynes printed manuals. You can also get such manuals from Amazon.
Factory Service Manuals
Tried your car manufacturer? Modern cars often have PDF factory service manuals that the dealership mechanics use, the days of paper manuals are long gone. The big advantage of this is to the owner also, as many manufacturers will provide your car factory service manual for free upon request. There are also online resources such as All Car Manuals where you can access factory service manuals.
Free Online Media Resources
What about Google? You can find a lot of information by Googling it. The unfortunate thing about Google results is that most of what you get on search result pages might not be as accurate.
YouTube has thousands of videos in how to repair your car. However, slot of YouTube sent well made. They are often created by armatures. In addition to that, the videos you find might not be suitable for your own particular car.
Information is power. The more you know, the better you’ll be prepared when you do find yourself needing to take your car to a professional mechanic.
Besides being helpful for DIYers car manuals can be extremely educational, so you should get your hands on car manuals whenever you can.