Learning DIY auto repairs using a service manual can be a fun and cheap option to maintain your car. You may even dream of opening a small shop where you can begin to make a couple of bucks on the side.
Still, when you begin to think about the process of learning auto repair, the question of where and how will quickly arise. Of course, you might have thought about buying a used car and try to learn DIY auto repair, carefully following the procedures found in a car service manual. And while that might sound simple, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. Here is why.
It Can Be Expensive
Let’s admit it; one of the major reasons you might be considering learning DIY auto repair is to save money. Tuition fees can be expensive and not everyone has the necessary budget. However, while learning auto mechanics on your own might seem cheaper at first glance, a deeper analysis shows it is not.
Of course, you will not be paying a teacher to show you the ropes of auto repairs, but you will still be paying relatively the same amount to buy a used car.
The average tuition for automotive technology certificate programs is between $6,000 to $20,000. This is relatively cheaper than some of the lowest-priced used cars available.
Obviously, if you were planning to buy a scrapped car from your local junkyard or someone is kind enough to give you a car for free, this may not apply to you. But since cars from the junkyard usually sit there, doing nothing else than rusting for days on end, they are frequently a lot more complicated to work on—not to mention that you’ll also need a tow truck to bring it back home since it doesn’t have a license.
It Can Be Time Consuming
Aside from the possibility of spending more money, it may also take much longer than expected.
Since you are inexperienced (assuming you have no prior knowledge of auto repairs), there is a high tendency that you might waste a lot of time getting into things that are beyond your basic understanding—like attempting to work on an exhaust manifold without a blow torch.
Besides, there is a possibility that you won’t have all the necessary tools and devices required already at home, while a vocational school would provide everything you need. The lack of a proper learning structure will also make your learning process much slower.
You Might Be Exposed To Safety Risks
Another thing to consider before embarking on this journey is the many risks attached to it.
There is no denying it, as you learn, you’ll make mistakes, especially if you don’t have anyone teaching you. You could injure yourself with tools you don’t quite know how to use appropriately yet. We also can’t rule out slipping over engine oil, hurting your fingers (that will happen a lot, amateur or not), or worse.
On the other hand, studying in a vocational school will provide you with teachers who will be there to explain the required safety measures and how to properly use certain equipment. Not only is it safer, but it will also cost less in medical bills in the long run.
Advice if You Still Decide to Take that Route
Although buying a used car to learn DIY auto repairs might not be your best bet, there are a couple of tricks that can make your life much easier.
Get a Scrap Car That Still Runs
Instead of buying a used car that can be relatively costly, an ideal option is to get a scrap car that can still be registered. These vehicles are usually much cheaper, costing only a few hundred dollars depending on the model and you’ll also save on a tow truck. An old clunker or your grandfather’s car can be a great alternative as well.
Hang Out with Other Car Enthusiasts
Some people love cars and find auto repairs exciting. Some of these people are willing to teach people the art of auto repair for free or simply for a token. Look around, and you might be lucky to find one who will be ready to put you through.
Get a Car Service and Repair Manual
There is no way you would want to learn DIY auto repairs without a good car service and repair manual to guide you.
Indeed, a repair manual includes every system description, troubleshooting procedures, and specifications you might need to maintain and repair a particular vehicle brand or model.
Even professional mechanics use those. If you need any information, it’s in there!
Not sure where to get one for your “new” used car? Take a look at eManualOnline; their manuals are pretty good and super cheap—way cheaper than school textbooks!
Consider Joining an Auto Club
If you can’t find auto mechanic enthusiasts within your neighborhood, try joining an auto club.
Usually, clubs will frequently have experienced members who periodically meet up and wrench together. Hence, you’ll not only learn useful things here but you’ll also make new friends with similar interests—win/win right there!
Watch Youtube Videos and Get a Service Manual Software
Several Youtube tutorials are available, demonstrating practical means of performing pretty much any auto repair on any car model you can think of.
Service manual softwares are also widely available online and contain a wealth of useful information for beginner auto mechanics. You’ll be able to pinpoint specific parts to be replaced and follow along with the instructions—it doesn’t get any easier than this!
Of course, there is a lot to learn when it comes to auto mechanics. Modern cars are increasingly more complicated and engines are made up of hundreds of moving parts, each serving a specific purpose and subject to failures.
Moreover, becoming an automotive technician is a pretty decent career; it is then only natural to invest time and money to learn everything there is to know about it. However, there are better ways to learn and save a couple of hard-earned bucks than buying a used car.
Still, learning how to repair your own car is undeniably cheaper than paying professional mechanics all the time. Nonetheless, it is best to learn the right way so you won’t waste your precious time and money in the first.
As they said, always use the right tool for the right job!