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Auto Repair For Dummies Paperback – November 17, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 221 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


‘…covers a wide range of topics…provides a lot of educational content that explains the main principles of how cars work.' (Simple Motors.co.uk, December 2010).

From the Back Cover

Get the confidence and know-how you need to fix and maintain your vehicle like a pro!

Want to handle basic auto repairs yourself? This easy-to-follow guide gives you the nuts and bolts of diagnosing trouble and performing simple maintenance and repairs on your vehicle. You'll explore each system part by part and keep everything running in tiptop shape. Plus, you'll see how to go green on the road — from recycling oil and parts to choosing alternatively fueled vehicles.

  • Get to know your vehicle — understand automotive systems; check under the hood; change a tire; follow basic safety rules; change spark plugs, fuses, and the battery; and replace the air filter and PCV valve

  • Keep cool and in control — add and change coolant, find and repair leaks, change the oil, and check brakes

  • Ensure a smooth ride — choose, check, and care for tires; and understand balancing and alignment

  • Handle emergencies — identify strange sounds and smells, jump-start your car, handle overheating, and more

  • Work with a mechanic — find a reliable service facility, describe problems accurately, and get the best deal

  • Extend your vehicle's value — clean it inside and out, touch up paint, and fix dings and dents

  • Stay safe on the road — install child seats properly; learn about rollover protection, traction and stability control, and navigation systems; and more

Open the book and find:

  • The inner secrets of your vehicle — what makes it start, run, and stop

  • A step-by-step under-the-hood checklist

  • Advice on buying and using the proper tools

  • Driving techniques to extend the life of your car

  • Eco-friendly tips for saving fuel

  • Helpful illustrations that demonstrate repairs

  • Reproducible Specifications and Maintenance Records

  • The pros and cons of alternative fuels and vehicles


Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (November 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076459902X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764599026
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most important I have read in a long time. I really had a positive experience with it.

My wife started staying home to raise our growing family and I have had to find ways to save money and make it on one salary. The breaks were going on my car and I did NOT want to put the bill on my credit card.

A guy at Church told me that disk brakes were easy. I should do them myself. I bought this book, looked on-line for vehicle specific directions (Auto Zone has a GREAT website), bought a ratchet set and got to work.

My friend was right. I replaced brakes and rotors and bought tools and books at it cost me less than it would have cost at a facility to get the brakes and rotors done for me. Plus, I was equipped to do it again and again.

This brings me to my first criticism of this book. She doesn't recommend you do your own brakes; even disks. That is NONSENSE. I am deducting one star for this.

Anyway, what reading the book did give me was a pretty good knowledge of how a car worked.

Her directions on how to change oil are excellent. In my own learning curve, I did brakes before I changed oil. You should DEFINITELY change the oil and do the air filter first to build your confidence and see if you enjoy working on the car to begin with.

After doing my own brakes with success, doing my own oil, changing my air filter, and changing the PCV (EASY) I was HOOKED. My car was handling better than it had when I first bought it and I felt like the man!

Then, the check engine light came on on my mom's 2001 Suburu Forrester. The car was idling very roughly and even blowing some white smoke.

The car's warranty had JUST expired.
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Format: Paperback
While in CA I had a bad experience getting an oil change. The jiffy lube guy forgot to put the oil filler cap back on. I noticed the engine sound difference right away but since I didn't consider myself an expert in any way I didn't do anything. Well, for 2 weeks I drove my car. After driving for 10 minutes everytime the car would fill up with a oil burning smell and after I parked the car there would be the oil puddle on the road.
Finally I forced myself to open the hood and found the problem immediately. The oil cap was still wedged between the hoses where the JL guy left it. Luckily it hadn't fallen off, otherwise I would've never found the problem with my lack of car skills.
I went back to JL and told them what happenned. There appeared to be a discussion in the inside office. I peeked inside and saw the supervisor was laughing his head off. The guy who worked on my car came out and apologized. The manager appeared apologetic and offered to clean up the splattered oil mess under my hood if I would leave the car for a couple of days. Yeah right, like I would...after what happenned.
After this experience I looked if I could change the oil myself. I'd bought this dummies book a couple years eralier and it was gathering dust on my shelf. I'd never seriously read the book and like most people I thought dummies were just a quick brush thru of car concepts...not for the real hands-on person. So I went and bought the Haynes repair manual for my corolla (about $20).
I did an oil change and realised 2 things: One, it was incredibly simple. Two, it takes about 30 minutes for the oil to drain out (actually even after 30 minutes there is a slow drip coming out). That made me think of the 10-minute oil change you see advertized in some shops.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book.
Let me start off by saying this. I know how to fill up my gas tank. I know how to pop my hood. Literally, that is the extent to my car knowledge. I don't even know how to change a tire. My father was an auto-mechanic and never taught his children anything, he did all the work for us. I always took my car to the local quick change to get my oil change. I have relied on everyone else to take care of my vehicle for me, and I have to trust their judgment and what they ask to fix my vehicles.
I am an accountant. I have great business skills, am technologically advanced beyond my years and can type 117 words a minute. I (not bragging) am quite intelligent and had a great gpa throughout highschool and college. I just don't know a blasted thing about vehicles in any form.

I was having problems with the battery in my truck a few weeks ago. It was just not getting enough juice to start. I would do everything I knew to do and had people come examine it to no avail. Some days it would start and other days it wouldn't. I was on my lunch break when my truck died, again. I couldn't get back to work. I called my supervisor (actually a very caring, understanding woman) and she sent one of my co-workers (very capable with auto-mechanics) to come take a look. He opened my hood looked at the battery and said "your clamp is loose, that's why your not getting any power." I looked at him dumbfounded. He then took a screwdiver, unscrewed something, and pushed a little on this clamp.

The truck started.
I finally decided that was the last straw. Something so simple had made me late and affected my job performance. If I knew even the basics about vehicles I could have gotten my truck started. But I didn't.
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