All mechanics have a few things in common, like dirty hands. A mechanic’s tool set is critical, but which is the most important tool? Is it a good set of combination wrenches or a certain power tool? Truth be told, the most important tool in your toolbox is a car repair manual – the second most important tool is your brain. Information is a mechanic’s most important tool. Before you put on your work gloves, get your hands on the right information. With the right information, a mechanic does three important things: diagnose, maintain, and repair cars and trucks.
When your vehicle is having problems, it can be hard to identify the exact cause. Take, for example, the infamous P0420 Catalytic Converter Efficiency Below Threshold code. Inexperienced mechanics might jump right to the most expensive shotgun repair: replace the catalytic converter, air-fuel ratio sensors, and oxygen sensors. They might fix it by accident, wasting time and resources. True, it could be the catalytic converter, but following the diagnostic procedure in the repair manual might lead to a simpler repair, such as a leaking gasket.
Maintain your Vehicle
Aside from maintenance parts and supplies, every vehicle has a specific maintenance schedule. Considering the engine oil change, one of the first DIY mechanic jobs, the manual contains vital information that could affect the long-term reliability of your engine. What kind of oil should you use? What viscosity is appropriate for your engine, the season, and how it’s driven? That’s right: it’s in the manual.
Repair Your Ride
A few car repairs seem straightforward – take out bad parts and put in good parts – but that’s a major oversimplification. Take, for example, replacing brake pads and brake rotors. Some brake pads need to be installed in a specific orientation to perform quietly and efficiently. Brake lube may be applied to specific portions of the brake caliper, carrier, or pads to keep things moving quietly. Springs, clips, and retainers need to be applied in specific positions to prevent excessive noise and abnormal wear. Of course, all that information is in the manual.
Some DIY mechanics just dive headlong into car repair, and we applaud their willingness to dive right into the deep end. Unfortunately, lack of information or inaccurate information can cause serious problems. At best, one might end up stranded. At worst, poor repairs could be a serious safety concern.
Online, there is a glut of auto repair information to be found. Forums, websites, and videos can be helpful, but not everything may be accurate. The most reliable car repair information can be found in a car repair manual, of which there are several reputable sources. Sometimes, you can find repair manuals in online stores, and some automakers and other companies offer online repair manual subscriptions. NAPA Canada offers Haynes Repair Manuals for all kinds of vehicles, such as this one for 1989-to-2002 Isuzu Rodeo. Getting yourself a car repair manual is a great step toward keeping your vehicle running its best.