Good online resources (videos, games, e-books) to learn car repairs?

Most of my male relatives know a lot about cars, I on the other hand (I’m 22) know almost nothing despite driving one for 4 years. I know the elementary things like what the basic parts are, clutch, transmission, battery,etc. , but I would have no idea how to do any sorts of repairs in case of a emergency, since I guess that there are at least some things you can do yourself even without having to take your car to a mechanic. My high school education is related to transport and vehicles, but we studied only basic car stuff, but not really how to repair them,etc, so I haven’t learned much there, but if I join the army, which is one of my goals, I may be put in a unit that does vehicle mechanics of some sorts, so I’d like to be at least somewhat prepared.

At the moment I am playing a video game called car mechanic simulator and while it is just a game, it does give you a nice 3d view of the entire engine, loads of different engine designs actually, it shows you how tires are balanced and separated, how oil is changed,etc, but it doesn’t really show how the engine works, how the brakes work and things like that, so is there an all around online video course about this?

I could search for specific youtube videos on how for example a clutch works, then how this or that works, but those videos are usually uploaded by very different channels and each explains in a different way, I would like to find an all round course that teaches as much as possible.

Most of the time car repair is just a matter of taking out the bad part and putting in the new part. Some parts are easier to swap out than others. For example, a battery can be switched out in a few minutes, but a clutch might take 2 days. Most regular people who do car repairs are doing the simpler kinds of repairs but will go to a mechanic for the more complex things. Experience helps when you’re trying to figure out which part is broken and how much work it will take to fix. Youtube videos can be great for seeing what the repair is like, but figuring out what’s broken is harder to learn. If you want to learn how to be a mechanic, a great way is to see what classes your community college offers. Often they will have auto repair classes that will teach you everything. But if you are going into the military, I’m not sure you need to do that. Talk to a recruiter. I think they will teach you what you need to know.

I will say that car repair today is much harder than it used to be. Back a long time ago, cars were simpler and there was a lot more space in the engine to work on stuff. But now everything is all packed in as auto manufacturers are trying to squeeze out every bit of performance and gas mileage. Plus, there is a lot more computerized stuff, which makes diagnosing problems harder. Another issue today is that fewer people know how to fix stuff in general. In the past, people used to fix lots of stuff themselves–cars, radios, appliances, etc–and were better able to figure things out. If you didn’t know how to do something, your experience fixing other things helped out or your friends would help out. But now we just throw stuff out and buy new, so fewer people understand the basics of repairs in general. You may have to dive in and figure things out. Eventually you get a better feel for generic repair skills and can figure things out as you come across them.

The check engine light popped up on my previous car so I borrowed an OBD device and made a note of the codes before clearing them. Of course, that didn’t fix anything and the light was back after a few days. Read, record and clear again for a few cycles. At that point, I had a large enough sample of the codes (about 4) to begin searching the internet. Sure enough, a certain component (purge valve solenoid?) was mentioned is a majority of the hits. I bought the part on Amazon.

Then, I looked for videos on how to replace it. There was more than one for my car make & model. I had the whole job done in about 10 minutes.

Rocksmith can be a useful tool to practice guitar but you still have to practice guitar.

Mechanics is exactly the same, you need to practice to get good at it.

I would suggest you pick up some broken lawn mowers or weed wackers and work on getting them running again or rebuilding the engines. You will need hands on experience to build the intuitions that are required and then you can do specific searches for how to say, replace a differential once you have the base skills developed.

FOUR DAYS to replace a clutch??? Four hours more like.

It’s true though, the first tool a car mechanic reaches for these days is his laptop and scanner. I should say, though, that it takes skill and experience to interpret the results as the scanner often reports a related problem, but not the actual faulty part. The days of the ‘shade tree mechanic’ are history now.

If you want to learn more, doesn’t your local community college (or whatever) run a course? Have you offered to work unpaid at a local car mechanics? Have you acquired an old banger and tinkered? This is the sort of thing people would do to demonstrate an interest. You cannot learn car mechanics from the internet.

There’s theoretical knowledge and then there’s practice, what’s it worth to physically change oil or change a part of the cooling system if you have no theoretical knowledge of what those things do? Practice makes more sense once you learn at least the basics of what each part is and how each part works, how it relates to other parts,etc.

As for the community colleges part, they do give you theoretical knowledge, but you can learn hundreds of things on your own with just your computer, some people like me learn much better that way, than through classes and lectures, as an example my best friend and I went to the same middle and high school, we had the same English classes there, yet I was learning English on my own and didn’t pay much attention in class and I’m currently on a C1 level (C2 being totally fluent), while my friend who was a hardworking student can’t speak it for 5 seconds without making mistakes, I am not sure if he is even A2 level (one step above the worst one). Obviously foreign languages and mechanical parts are not the same, but the theoretical part of learning them is not that different, in case of mechanical parts computers even allow you to see interactive 3d models, animations and things like that.

Four hours may be the time for an experienced mechanic, but a novice is going to take significantly longer. The first time they tackle a complex repair like that will involve a lot of time spent trying to figure things out, referring to references, going to the store to get parts they forgot, don’t have, or broke, and so on.

That is something that people should be aware of when working on cars: initially repairs will take a lot longer and be a lot harder than you expect. The first few times you’re still in learning mode and lots of things will be unfamiliar. But eventually you’ll figure stuff out and repairs that used to take all day you can whip out in an hour.

Maybe things are different in your country. Over here a community college course is as much practical as theory, working on real cars and getting dirty, and spending time in a classroom learning how the different parts work and interact.