Author Topic: Automotive books...  (Read 823 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Automotive books...
« on: May 10, 2010, 07:23:10 AM »
Hey guys,

I want to learn more about cars.  I'm not a car nut or anything, I just want to learn about basic automotive systems.  Can anyone recommend a good, comprehensive -- yet accessible -- automotive book?

Thanks!
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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Offline MrNate

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 11:17:59 AM »
You mean so you can work on your car, or just for theoretical knowledge?
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 11:44:18 AM »
You mean so you can work on your car, or just for theoretical knowledge?

I little of both, probably.  But more theoretical than anything.
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Offline MrNate

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 01:51:10 PM »
A factory service manual (FSM) should be available from the dealer and is invaluable for understanding how all the bits on your car actually come apart and go back together, but I don't know of anything that would be good for explaining a general overview of, say, how an automatic transmission works or the theory behind a catalytic converter.

I can't remember what I did in the days before the Web, but I think HowStuffWorks.com is actually really great for stuff like that because of the animated and exploded drawings they have. Makes mechanical systems easier to understand if you can actually see them in operation.
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Offline capozzoli

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010, 03:45:39 PM »
I always just got a Chilton's Manuel to go with whatever car I happen to have.

Other than that, yeah the internet is the way to go.
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Offline coloradojay

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 05:57:59 PM »
I may be able to help out a bit in this area. I'm a ASE certified mechanic (engine and manual transmission), and I have been working on cars for 25 or so years. Currently though, I teach high school English, so do what you will with this info.
First of all, nothing can replace getting in there and learning by doing - the same as in brewing.
I would recommend, if you aren't already doing it, to start doing your oil changes, tune ups, and maintenance. Any good guide, such as a Chilton's, as has been recommended, can guide you in this.
 If you have the room and a couple hundred bucks get an old VW bug. This is the most simple and easiest to work on car ever built - plus when you fix it up it will be cool. It doesn't matter if it runs or not as long as it is mostly complete.
Brew a good German style beer, and take it apart, and wonder at all of the little parts in which you have no idea about.
Then, buy The Complete Idiot's Guide for Volkswagens. Put you car back together, and marvel at you new found abilities.
Even if you don't buy the car, buy the book. It is both entertaining and incredibly informative.
As with anything else, everything you read is just theory until you do something with you knowledge, but if I had to recommend just one book, it would be this one.
Feel free to post or PM me questions as you get going; I love talking cars and beer. Good luck!

PS: If you are not married or want to get divorced, tear into a car you currently rely on for transportation.

Offline MrNate

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2010, 06:03:52 PM »
I learned to wrench on bugs. I second this recommendation.

Need to drop the motor? Four bolts and a floor jack. There's virtually no part that can't be changed in 30 minutes, beer drinking time included. The wiring is the worst, though.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Automotive books...
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2010, 11:13:40 AM »
Thanks a lot, guys!  The VW idea is really cool.  My wife would love it if I learned to fix up old Bugs as her dad had one when she was growing up.  I'm not sure I could swing buying one right now, but the book is doable.
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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