The most popular people at any party are doctors and mechanics – everyone has health concerns and car problems, after all. Even if you’re just a do-it-yourselfer, there always seems to be someone who’s looking for advice. If you’ve got the mechanical aptitude and the tools, there are a lot of things that you can fix on your own vehicle, and many of them are not so complicated that you’d need a manual to do so. On the other hand, should you consider buying a repair manual for your vehicle?
Indeed, there are a few reasons that you should invest in a repair manual, particularly if you’re a DIYer working on one or two personal vehicles. True, a manual might cost more than a cup of coffee and a YouTube binge, but it’s money well spent that can really help you out in the long run. Here are just a few reasons:
This particularly applies to modern vehicles, within the last 10 years or so, because a lot has changed in automotive technology in the last decade. The repair manual has information regarding engine oil and transmission fluid specifications, specifically which types and when and how they should be changed. While many autoparts stores might have this information, it’s a good idea that you know yourself, in case they give you the wrong product – Toyota T-IV and Dexron III are not compatible, for example, and a mistake like that can ruin a $2,500 transmission. Also, the repair manual tells you how much you’ll need, so you’ll save time and money by buying the right amount the first time.
One of the major changes in automotive technology has led to longer maintenance intervals. Some automakers recommend coolant service at 100,000 miles, spark plugs at 120,000 miles, and don’t recommend automatic transmission fluid service at all, for the life of the vehicle. Just a decade ago, people may have been changing all three at 30,000 miles. Now, you won’t do any harm by changing these things earlier, but by following the repair manual for your vehicle, you can save money on unnecessary maintenance for other things, like that unexpected tire repair you’re going to have next week.
Some mechanical repairs might seem easy, but the way that modern vehicles are designed, even things like brake pads are no longer “simple.” On many vehicles, the brake system is finely tuned and controlled by computer, integrating such functions as electronic stability control, autonomous braking, anti-lock brakes, and hill-hold, for example. The typical procedure is to simply compress the caliper pistons and swap out the worn brake pads for new ones and then pump the brakes until firm. On some vehicles, if you don’t “tell the computer” that you did it, it will detect “a problem,” illuminate a warning light, and the brakes and auxiliary functions may not function properly. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by carefully following the steps in the repair manual, even for a “simple” brake repair.
Knowledge is power, and a repair manual can give you that knowledge. You’ll have power over your time, money, and vehicle. Knowing what the automaker recommends for your specific vehicle, you can help it last longer, perform better, and burn less fuel. By sticking to manufacturer recommendations, you’ll save time and money on unnecessary maintenance. When it comes to troubleshooting and repairs, repair manuals can guide you step by step to determining the fault and making a successful repair, saving you money in professional services. Take control of your automotive life – Buy a repair manual!