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DIY Car Repairs Just Made Easier for These Car and Truck Owners

Haynes recently added an expanded offering of their all-new “Haynes DIY” manual line to include these additional models many car and truck owners will want for either repairs or repair questions.

In an earlier article focused on Haynes manuals offering a new type of digital repair manual for Ford car and truck owners, here is a follow-up to the article with the latest news that even more manuals for other makes and models are now available.

Can a Repair Manual Really Help Me Fix My Car?

There are limitations to what a DIY repair manual can help you accomplish when it comes to repairs and maintenance tasks. In fact, the following examples are situations where it is best to seek the expertise of a professional mechanic:

  • Complex Repairs: Major engine repairs, transmission overhauls, and advanced electrical work often require specialized knowledge, tools, and diagnostic equipment that may be beyond the scope of a DIY repair manual and the average enthusiast.
  • Safety Concerns: Repairs involving safety-critical systems, such as brakes, steering, and airbags, should be handled by trained professionals to ensure they are performed correctly and safely.
  • Warranty Concerns: This one is important. If your vehicle is still under warranty, attempting DIY repairs could void the warranty if not performed to manufacturer specifications. Plus, the money spent doing it yourself when a warranty guarantees a free fix rarely makes good economic sense. Why not use the money saved through the warranty toward better tools and supplies for your next maintenance task?!
  • Lack of Experience or Tools: If you are not comfortable working on cars or do not have access to the necessary tools and equipment, it is a better decision to leave the repair to a professional who can ensure a repair is done correctly.

What Tools Do I Need for DIY Car Repair?

 If you are just starting out with DIY car repairs, there are several basic tools that can be very helpful. Here is a list of some essential tools for beginners:

Socket Set: A good socket set is invaluable for a wide range of tasks. Look for a set that includes both metric and standard sizes in both normal and deep socket styles.

Wrench Set: Like the socket set, a wrench set with both metric and standard sizes will be very useful. The newer ratcheting style wrenches are especially useful when a socket and ratchet, or a regular wrench just can’t do the job in tight spaces.

Screwdriver Set: A set with assorted sizes of both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers is a must.

Pliers: A few distinct types of pliers can be helpful, including needle-nose pliers, channel locks, and a standard pair. You will also want to have electrical pliers that will strip wire of its covering as well as have a crimping feature for connecting two wires to each other without soldering.

Hammer: A basic hammer can be useful for a variety of tasks. However, the one I use over 99% of the time is a two-headed mallet that has a rubber soft face on one end and a hard plastic face on the other end to avoid breaking components that cannot take the impact from a typical steel hammer.

Jack and Jack Stands: Because they are essential for safely lifting and supporting your vehicle while working on it, check the tool reviews especially to ensure you do not make the mistake of going too cheap on these life-saving tools.

Work Light: Good lighting is crucial when working on cars. I recommend a painter’s wall lamp for illuminating the engine bay and small low profile folding arm style flashlights to get in close to tight areas under and around the engine.

Multimeter: This is a handy tool for diagnosing electrical issues; however, be sure it is one that offers a continuity checker feature to help trace broken wires and locate problem components.

Code Reader: If your car is a 1996 model or newer, a code reader can be very helpful for diagnosing problems.

Gloves and Safety Glasses: Safety should always be your first priority. Always wear mechanics’ gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself. In addition, keep a fresh unopened bottle of eye wash saline nearby for those moments when chemicals such as radiator fluid, battery acid, and brake cleaner in a spray can will inadvertently splash onto your face.

Choosing the Right Tools: Remember, while in some cases it is important to buy quality tools, you can get by performing the majority of DIY car repairs with tools from sources like Harbor Freight as significantly less expensive alternatives. Especially since many repairs will require a specialized tool you will only use once in your car’s life, so why spend hundreds when a less expensive alternative can do the job at least once before breaking or wearing down.

Which Car Repair Manual Should I Use?

DIY car repair manuals typically used by both automotive enthusiasts and professionals are ones like Haynes Manuals, Chilton Manuals, Bentley Publishers (typically focused on car brands such as BMW, Volkswagen, and Audi), and my favorite―the Factory Service Manuals (FSMs), which are provided by the vehicle manufacturers themselves, and are considered to be the most accurate and comprehensive but not always beginner friendly. However, FSMs are not always easily available and when they are they can be very expensive.

The best DIY car repair manual depends on your specific vehicle make and model, as well as your level of expertise and the type of repairs you plan to undertake.

My experience is that it is helpful to consult multiple sources―especially YouTube videos― to support the information provided for a particular maintenance or repair. Comments following these videos are helpful as well because often the comments offer some nuggets of gold for an improvement to the repair or pointing out a flaw or exception to the video advice.

A New Manual Format is Now Available for More Car Models

Once again, I have recently received an email alert that Haynes now offers a new and improved online DIY Manual that will “…help you take full control of your car’s repair and maintenance tasks,” according to their advertisement.

What made this alert even more exciting the second time around is that Haynes has expanded their list of new online manuals focused on helping DIY car owners to include not just a range of 24 Ford car and truck models with years ranging from as early as 2010 to as recent as 2023 for some models, but also:

  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Jeep
  • Ram trucks
  • Subaru

According to Haynes, “We’ve added all-new manuals to our Haynes DIY catalogue! The expansion adds coverage for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Subaru…Haynes DIY Manuals help you take full control of your car’s repair and maintenance tasks with 10 times more coverage than a printed book and thousands of tasks covered. “

Going on a road trip? Tackle essential prep ahead of time and avoid a breakdown. Off the road? Search through faults to fix quickly and get back to work. Accessed via your phone, tablet or computer, a Haynes DIY Manual is your one-stop solution to auto repair.” 

Haynes DIY is a significant improvement over their traditional printed manuals with updated and more visually useful color photos and images as well as expanded discussions that includes:

  • 1000+ tutorials, including practical Haynes tips
  • Instructional videos
  • Detailed instructions
  • Symptom-based diagnostic search
  • OBD/OBD-II fault codes and warning lights
  • Up-to-date service schedule advice
  • Removal and refit for every major component
  • Accurate lubricant and fluid guidance
  • Cooling system maintenance and support
  • Steering and wheel alignment
  • Accurate torque settings

Where Can I Get the Haynes DIY Manual for My Car?

While the new “Haynes DIY” is not available as of yet for every make and model, a quick search from this link to the Haynes offer will help you discover if your particular model is covered.

And even if you have no desire to do any DIY car repairs, the manuals are invaluable as a good and easy to understand resource for fact checking a repair that a mechanic or service center tech says that your car needs.

For additional DIY related articles, here are three useful ones for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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