This is a selection of the most useful resources to learn auto mechanics we could find on the web. We obviously can’t be aware of everything worth using out there. Make sure to leave a comment below if we missed anything or if you know something that should be added to this list!
Best Websites to Learn Auto Mechanics Online
This website comes first because I think it’s a good starting point. It explains the main systems and components an auto mechanic has to work on on a daily basis. It somewhat scratches the surface but if you absolutely don’t know a thing about cars and you are only starting to appreciate the inner workings of mankind’s greatest creation (that may or may not be true but I’m the one writing here!), I suggest you read this to familiarize yourself with the basics of auto mechanics. The only con to this website is the fact that it’s been created by RepairPal (obviously), a network of certified repair shops, which is not a bad thing in itself but they tend to insert forms to get an estimate for your car everywhere. Not a real problem, though, just leave it alone and enjoy the free information provided. Just so you know, it can be a bit annoying.
Free – http://www.autoshop101.com/
I know! I know! The design of this website is somewhat bland and… retro… but don’t be fooled by the look of this one. It’s LOADED with information! It has been created by Professor Kevin Sullivan, a retired automotive technology professor, who developed the Toyota Technical Education Network (T-TEN) program at Skyline College. Find all you need to know about automotive electric systems, from electrical theory to more advanced troubleshooting.
The website is divided into multiple sections to ease the navigation process but to speed thing up a bit here’s some of the most useful stuff:
- A section explaining the basics of electric systems
From the fundamentals of electricity to control devices, relays, battery and alternators, find everything you need to know about the theory behind automotive electric systems. With hybrid and EV vehicles becoming more and more of a real thing now, I really suggest you don’t overlook the theory behind it. Employers will always need more mechanics specialized in electric troubleshooting.
- A section containing plenty of test for the ASE certification
This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Being certified is one of the first steps to working toward to once out of mechanic school and these tests can really help you to achieve that goal.
- A section packed with support material
Workbooks, lab sheets, more tests and technical articles. If you go through all this, I can assure you you’ll be more than ready for any electrical problem.
If all this is still not enough for you, there’s also a section to buy ASE certification study guides published by the Motor Age magazine.
Mechanics.stackexchange is probably the best question and answer site for mechanics and DIYers. Thanks to its active community of professional mechanics and amateur enthusiasts, it’s a perfect place to tap into the knowledge of the people. Get your questions answered and share what you learn with other like-minded people.
A lot of questions have already been answered so there’s a lot of answers to questions you could have one day. I find it pretty useful for everything a little more specific than what’s already covered by school manuals. You’ll find out that some people really know their stuff out there! If you need the rod bearings clearance specs for your Golf MK2, there’s probably half a dozen guys already on their 4th G60 swap this year just waiting to help you.
This website is created by Jason Fenske from Engineered Explained on YouTube and is perfect for anyone who wants to know how cars work from an engineer’s perspective. It digs deep on why things work the way they work instead of focusing on how to fix them. It’s always easier to fix something when you understand its inner workings.
Also worth mentioning, this guy has more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Enough said.
Best Books to Learn Auto Mechanics
Books are a great way to learn how cars work for beginners. Before getting your hands dirty, I strongly suggest you get your hands on a good one. And to help you with that, we created a post on the “10 best books to learn auto mechanics by yourself” so make sure you take a look at it!
Best Youtube Channels to Learn Auto Mechanic Online
The easiest way to learn auto mechanics in the comfort of your home is definitely by watching YouTube video tutorials. Everyone does it these days so, here’s a post featuring some of the best auto mechanic channels to help you jump on the bandwagon too!
Best Auto Mechanic Online Schools
This is also a subject we have already covered. Take a look at this post for a list of some of the best online auto mechanic online schools and certification programs.
Best Repair Manuals to Learn Auto Mechanics Online
A good repair manual is the auto mechanic’s best friend! For beginners, it’s an absolute must-have when you are about to perform any work for the first time. You’ll find all you need to know about what to look out for when replacing specific parts, a list of all the fluids needed for maintenance work and even a complete walkthroughs for every task you can think of. For more advanced mechanics, it’s also essential when you plan on performing more complicated tasks like engine overhauls or electrical troubleshooting. These books contain all the electrical diagrams, engine specs, tightening specifications and procedures you will ever need.
Hardcover OEM factory repair manual or even a Chilton’s or Hayne’s manual. These have been best-sellers for years now and are pretty easy to find on Amazon or Google. Hardbacks are perfect if you want to keep the books for a long time but you’ll soon realize that these tend to be a bit pricey. Typical OEM factory manuals can sell between 200$ and 500$ and are often divided into more than 1 books; one for transmission, one for engine, one for electrical systems, and so on. This really helps to quickly find the information you are looking for but the total price can add up real quick and you end up paying more than a thousand dollars for one vehicle.
Fortunately, we now live in the future, and there’s a much simpler solution. Almost every major repair manuals manufacturer has gone digital by now and works as some sort of subscription-based cloud service just like most software these days. This means that, for a monthly or yearly fee, you can now be granted access to the web version of the repair manual of your choice. Obviously, you only have access to the manual as long as you are subscribed to the service. Just how Netflix and other online service providers have replaced the need to rent or buy DVDs; you don’t own it anymore but you can watch it as much as you want, as long as you pay.
This is much cheaper and you don’t have to shop for a new repair manual every time you buy a new car. You just go back to your online repair shop provider, switch your car selection and Voila! You now have access to your new car’s shop manual! Watch out, though. Some providers only let you choose one car by subscription and won’t let you change car model as much as you want. Just so you know.
Here are some repair manuals digital service I am aware of. I know there’s a lot more out there but because I can’t test them all, (I can’t subscribe to all of them, I still need money for Netflix!) I don’t want to recommend services I don’t know and risk misleading you. I’ll rely on you to let me know if some others are worth checking out. Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add them here.
Chilton has been one of the leading brands of auto repair manuals for a long time now. The first manual I bought was a Chilton. In fact, it was for a ’91 Honda Civic and I still have it today. I don’t really know why I keep it. It’s not like I’m gonna buy another Civic tomorrow. It must be sentimental. Anyway.
This service is pretty straightforward. You pay the subscription fee, you select your car model, you get the manual. Be warned that these kinds of online repair manual providers rarely feature manuals for car models newer than 2013-2014. Anything older than that should be ok.
ChiltonDIY offers two subscription plans:
- 30 Day Subscription: $24.95
- 1 Year Subscription: $29.95
This is the service I personally prefer. I learned to work with it in school and it has been my go-to repair manual service since then. It’s approximately the same price of the Chilton’s, except that it doesn’t let you subscribe on a monthly basis. On the other hand, it’s cheaper if you plan on adding more than one car to your account. I also find it better designed than the others which often look like they were published in 1982.
Here’s an example of a 2001 Ford Escort repair manual by Alldatadiy.com. You be the judge!
Upon subscription, you also get weekly products news and tech tips as well as the possibility to read technical service bulletins (TSB) and recalls titles for free, which is a big plus if you ask me.
- 1 Year Subscription: First Vehicle – $26.95 Additional Vehicles – $16.95 each
- 5 Years Subscription: First Vehicle – $44.95 Additional Vehicle – $29.95 each
*All images belong to their rightful owners: chilton.com, alldata.com.
At the time you’re reading this post, augmented reality may already be a thing and, therefore rendering all this as pointless!
I hope not! It would take all the fun out of it.
…but I suggest you take a look at this:
Seriously, as awesome as augmented reality is, it will never be able to replace the judgment and the experience of a skilled technician. I still suggest you sharpen your auto mechanic skills as much as you can. You’ll never know too much!
As always I hope it helped!
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Cheers and have a nice day!