Whether you are looking to save money or are just interested in starting a new hobby, auto mechanics can be a great field to look into. Where the internet gives you the ability to network with helpful companies for every aspect of auto work, from contract machining to specialty paint, knowing a few of the basics might be all you need to dive in.
Gather the Essentials
For a beginner, the basic list of auto mechanic tools and necessities might include items you already have stashed in your garage. If not, use this guide to pick up the items you lack:
- Wrench set (including a socket set)
- Drip Pan
- Channel Locks
Find a Manual
A factory service manual may be one of the most important items you have as you work on a car. Not only will it feature the specifications for the particular make and model of your car, there may be tutorials and other resources that will help walk you through each step of the repair process. If you don’t have the original manual still in the glove box, don’t worry. You may be able to purchase one through the manufacturer or find a copy of it online.
Keep an Eye on Fluids
When it comes to diagnosing common problems, one of the best things you can do is simply take note of the type and color of whatever seems to be coming out of the car. If you are seeing fluids leaking out, look carefully to see what color they are, and you will likely know where they are coming from. Each fluid is given a distinct color to help you diagnose a problem quickly:
- Green or Pink: Coolant
- Yellow: Power Steering Fluid
- Red: Transmission Fluid
Know When To Get Extra Help
If you’re changing the oil or switching out a light bulb, you should be able to figure out the process without the fear of causing major damage. However, if your spark plugs are in need of replacement, you may need some extra experience or some guidance from a pro to make sure that you navigate the systems properly. As you gain skills and familiarity with the inner workings of the car, you’ll be able to tackle more of the complicated issues that arise.
With the help of many online forums and even trade schools, learning the basics of auto mechanics can be simple and accessible for most people. By gathering the right tools and resources, almost anyone can become a true grease monkey.