I can’t thank my dad enough for the time he spent teaching my siblings and me, from the time we were old enough to drive, how to fix our own vehicles. We worked on everything from changing the oil to tear-the-engine-out projects. At the time, the lessons weren’t always appreciated. I wanted to be out driving around with my friends, not under the hood of my car. However, as an adult with student loans, car payments, and a mortgage to pay…I definitely see the value! Over the years my husband and I have saved thousands of dollars by doing our own car repair [full disclosure: still need help from dad from time to time].
The home mechanic’s best friend is the shop repair manual. This is not the cute little owner’s manual that comes with your car and tells you how to program your radio. The repair manual gives you the step-by-step directions to fix just about anything that can go wrong with your car. You can save even more money by accessing your repair manual online, though the library’s Auto Repair Reference Center database. For those who like the feel of a book in their hand, the library also has many repair manuals for checkout. You can do a quick search in the library catalog by typing in the year, make, and model of your car. You can also call Information & Reference for help searching.
Not all repair manuals are created equal. While they usually have the same basic directions, some offer handy tips or a different diagram that might be more useful for you, so I usually consult a couple of manuals for bigger projects. One of my alternates is AllData, a professional-grade resource for car and truck maintenance and repair for vehicles from 1982 to the present. AllData also provides repair times, which is what mechanics use to give you a quote. So, even if you do not want to do your own repair, you can use AllData to find out if your mechanic has given you a fair quote.
Don’t forget, the library also has repair manuals for small engine repairs on lawn mowers, garden tillers, chainsaws, and so much more!