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Have You Had it With Your Mechanic? Tools & Tips to be Your Own Mechanic!
Can I help you Darlin'?
Have you had it with the way you are treated when you need your car repaired? Have you noticed that your repairs appear to be far less costly when a man takes the car in compared to when a woman takes the car in? How about when a woman goes to the parts store to pick up something and the store assistant approaches you with, "Well, hello, Darlin. What can I get for you?" while he stares at anything except your eyes?
What about the guys? When you take you're car in for service, do you feel like you've walked onto the stage of the game show Jeopardy? All the questions pertain to how much you know about auto mechanics? If you don't know what the mechanic is talking about do you just play along as if you do to avoid being embarrassed?
It's time to take your place at the front of the engine, under the hood and demand the respect you deserve as a mechanic. It's not going to be an easy tune-up, it may turn into a complete overhaul, but you can do it! We can repair our own vehicles. There will be some cut fingers, squished knuckles and you will be up to your elbows in grease sometimes, but you can do this!
What You Will Find Here
I will explain automotive repair in laymen's terms. I will detail every step, explain each tool and point out tid bits of interest that you won't normally find in a repair manual. I will provide estimates of what the cost of a repair may be in general or at least provide a dollar amount you should have in mind when you walk into the auto shop looking for parts.
If you have a question about a procedure I post, or a question about the vehicle your dealing with feel free to put it in your comment.
I don't know everything about auto repair, I don't believe anyone really knows everything about auto repair, but I do know enough to repair my cars and keep them running smooth. I also repair several cars belonging to friends and family. I keep repair manuals handy for looking up torque specifications, gap and various other specifications. I like and Chilton manuals personally. I have a variety because I like to cross reference the information. You would be surprised how often one book says one thing and another book says something slightly or sometimes completely different. Cross referencing can help eliminate that problem. If three manuals say xxx and one manual says xxl, I'm going to go with the xxx because the majority rules! Haynes
Of course there are some repairs you just simply can't do because they require specialized machine's that would be pointless to purchase. The three I know of are wheel alignment, air conditioning service or repair (charging your a/c system can be done by the diy), and painting. That's where a machine shop or tire center come in handy.
To get started there are some basic tools you will need to have on hand when you make the decision to dig into your car and "get 'er done".
Auto Mechanic ToolsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- English Wrench Set, (at least) 8mm - 14mm
- Metric Wrench Set, (at least) 5/16, 1/2 & 9/16
- English Socket Set, Same sizes as english wrenchs
- Metric Socket Set, Same sizes as metric wrenchs
- Vice Grips, If you have this, then you got it goin on!
- Spark Plug Socket, 5/8 is probably the most common
- Ratchet, Perferably one that is the same size as your sockets!
- Standard Head Screw Driver, The one that is flat.
- Phillips Head Screw Driver, The one that looks like a star or a plus sign.
- Breaker Bar, Your gonna need it for those tough nuts
Alright, now you have the basic tools to start out with. There are tons and tons of tools you can buy to make working on cars easier. There are also tools you will need to complete a job correctly, like a torque wrench (its like a breaker bar but with a gauge to make all the nuts or bolts the same tightness all the way around). With what you have in your toolbox, for now, you can do a simple tune up.
For the female mechanic, first things first: remove your nails. Yep, the acrylics, silkies and down right real ones. You could work on your car with them but the ingredients in oil and grease will break them down and they'll start popping off like Peez candy and we don't want one popping off into the carburetor, so lets get them off before they pop off! Be sure to pull your hair back either in a ponytail, simple braid or hair clips. You seriously don't want the fan or fan belt to grab ahold of your hair! So, trim them nails, pull back your hair and meet me at the next auto repair hub of your choice.