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Auto Repair: How To Repair the Modern Car

Updated on March 14, 2012
In a 2005+. a VW with a DSG tranny has a computer that regulates when gears shift. If something is not right, the dash will flash and you will stop immediately.
In a 2005+. a VW with a DSG tranny has a computer that regulates when gears shift. If something is not right, the dash will flash and you will stop immediately.
Back in the old day, pre-1974, nearly all cars had a distributor like this, easy to work on and adjust fro starting issues.
Back in the old day, pre-1974, nearly all cars had a distributor like this, easy to work on and adjust fro starting issues.
A good book providing insights when diagnosing car problems for universal issues. It helps you talk to a mechanic about many issues.
A good book providing insights when diagnosing car problems for universal issues. It helps you talk to a mechanic about many issues.

Auto Code Scanners and Auto Repair Manuals

The subtitle pretty much tells you the to MOST important items to obtain BEFORE you embark on auto car repair. Of course, a healthy dose of auto know-how from your DIY experiences and tools would greatly help also.

For the most part, the use of computers to regulate all of the car's functions started happening in a few the late 70's and by the mid-80's, nearly all cars used them. Long gone are the days when you had ample room in the engine area to work on things.Long gone are many mechanical things a DIY mechanic could do (like, remove, take apart and clean a carburetor) to cut costs of repair.

With the average car owner keeping cars until 10 years old, more owners are willing to try to make repairs and most new car owners keep them more than six years. But before you try to begin fixing, buy an Auto repair Manual for your model of car. Ebay remains a great place to find long out of print manuals. Unless the car is pre-1980, buy a universal car code scanner that fits your model. A car's computer not only controls all of its key functions and regulates them, it also stores error messages in code, which vary with car and car computers. These can be retrieved and analyzed if you have the associated manual. Many times a car has built features that simply shut down the car while driving, when this occurs-you think the worse, OMG! However, the car may be shutting down when it senses that the wrong key started the car (Alero has this) or in a VW Jetta, the car stops and the dash lights flash (a malfunction with the transmission) or it won't start because of the car's security system. Also, for some cars, if the battery is disconnected, when reconnected, the engine light will come on. The remedy is simply to drive it until it readjusts and turns off.

Without a diagnostic device to get the codes, you are wasting time. Once you get the codes, you need the manual to decipher it. Once this occurs, you only have a general idea of what the issue is and where to focus on and you simply may not be able to go further than that. It could be the part or something related to it but not the part itself.

Cars from 1985-2000, also used different types of car computers and different tools with different connectors to read the codes. An auto analyzer that reads codes for new cars may not work with a 1993 Mercury Capi because car companies also use a lot of proprietary systems just for Fords, Chevys, etc.

Without buying a repair manual or official service repair manual (used by mechanics), the codes are meaningless and DIY repair is difficult. Repair manuals by Haynes or Clinton are fairly good for basic things. German cars are different in many ways than American and Japanese. German cars use different tools, such as star end screwdrivers, not flat-head. They use a lot of hex bolts that require a hex wrench. Many of the standard American\Japanese tools will not work. Bentley Publications are the best best for obtaining a German car service manual.

The good news is that somethings do not change. The DIYer can do basic maintenance-change the air filter, oil, brake fluid, other fluids, spark plugs, plug wires, belts with not much skill. Once can do the brakes, fuel pumps with the help of a service manual. Also, the DIY can many times help the mechanic repair by detailing the problem, frequency, sounds, smoke color.



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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      If you can do brakes, that can save a lot of money!

    • Cox Gray profile image

      Cox Gray 

      6 years ago

      Really it is a beautiful tips for maintenance and service of cars.If we follow the process of servicing and maintenance of basic like the air filter, oil, brake fluid, other fluids, spark plugs, plug wires, belts with not much skill. Once can do the brakes, fuel pumps with the help of a service manual. It will helpful to make our car fitness.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the tip! I will check it out.

    • profile image

      Buckeyes2012 

      6 years ago

      I tried to do my own repairs, but it turned out to be too much work so I turned to http://www.repair-smart.com, a good alternative to DIY repairs.

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