Saturday, May 19, 2007

Haynes Repair Manual

Over the past few years, I have become more interested in doing minor auto maintenance jobs myself, rather than paying my mechanic exorbitant amounts for parts and labor. Oil changes, air filter changes, tuneups, etc... are all pretty easy to do and can save you a few dollars both now when you don't pay a mechanic and down the road, when your car has fewer unnecessary breakdowns due to neglect.

Hoping to learn a little bit more about my car, I recently purchased the Haynes Repair Manual covering my specific model. The book arrived a few days ago and as I've gone through it, I've been very impressed with the level of detail and the quality of the writing.

As someone who works in finance, I don't get much time to fool around with my car, nor do I find it necessary to do so. I could very easily use up all of my free time tuning, fixing, and upgrading my car, but I would rather spend that time with my family. However, I think that not knowing anything about a car puts the average car owner at a serious disadvantage. A mechanic could easily bilk you out of hundreds, even thousands of dollars of unnecessary or shoddy repair work, and if you don't know an alternator from a radiator, you would never know the difference.

The Haynes manual is a great addition to your library if you have a car and any interest in learning more about how it works. The books are based on a complete disassembly (or "teardown," as Haynes calls it) and reassembly (rebuild) of your specific model of car. It gives you a few hundred pages of photographs, repair tips, testing advice, and suggested procedures to do everything from changing wiper blades to overhauling an engine.

I've read some of the more basic "Vehicle Repair for Dummies" type books, but the Haynes manual is vastly superior since it actually shows work being done on your specific car, and it walks you through some more complicated procedures, rather than telling you in general terms what you might need to do, but that it varies by manufacturer and model.

I don't plan on doing much more to my car than the steps it suggests in chapter 1 - "Tune-up and routine maintenance." This chapter lays out a tune-up and maintenance schedule, and includes a bunch of things I think I will be able to do by myself without much prior experience. They include things like fluid checks, battery tests, spark plug replacement, fuel filter replacement, an ignition timing check etc...

Anyway, I wanted to pass this along as yet another good way to "Watch Your Wallet."

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