One of the biggest expenses that most people will eventually have is for car repairs. Auto mechanics charge a lot for their services. If you go to a mechanic for every little problem, the cost can quickly add up. However, if you have the desire to learn and the aptitude to work with your hands, there is no reason why you cannot learn some basic techniques in car repair to reduce some the cost. Here are some general guidelines to a basic approach on how to fix cars.
The first thing you need is a comprehensive car manual of the model and make of the car that you want to work on. You can usually find repair manuals published by Chilton. When you have the manual in hand, you have a road map to the inner workings of your car.
Often times, seeing how something is done is easier than reading about how it is done. You can supplement the written repair instructions by finding videos online that walk you through repairs of common car problems. Search for these on your tablet or phone, and take that with you along with the printed manual to the car so that you will have a couple of reliable reference sources on hand.
You will need to have some common tools at the ready. These include a socket and ratchet set, an adjustable wrench, a torque wrench, a set of screwdrivers (flat heads and phillips), pliers, and a car jack. Your tools should be sturdy with a good grip. A good quality set of tools will last you many years.
You also need to know where to buy your car parts. The auto dealership will usually have them, but they charge you a premium price. You can shop online to get a better deal. Find a reputable online merchant. You will usually see a form that asks for the model, the year, and the make of your car. Then you further refine your search by entering the part name or the part number. Car parts are unique to the make, model, and year, so be sure that you purchase the correct one.
You cannot start repairing until you find out exactly what the problem is. Here are examples of some common car problems.
The car leaks green colored fluid after it is parked. That may indicate a crack in of the hoses. Check under the hood, being careful not to touch anything because the interior is hot. If you see liquid leaking from a hose, you will have to replace it. If the leak is coming from the radiator, you should take the car to the shop.
If there is a squeal when you start the car, your drive belts may need to be replaced. If there is a squeal when you brake, your brake pads may need to be replaced. However, if the noise sounds more like a grind, then the rotor will need to be replaced, and that is better done by a mechanic.
These basic tips only scratch the surface on how to fix cars. You have to be realistic with what you can and cannot do based on your skills. Be honest with yourself and know when to call a qualified auto mechanic for your car problems.