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Darkman

Using Youtube To Learn Things.... Fixed My Own Car

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I've had my eyes opened a bit recently, specifically about mechanics and car repairs. I'd never touched a car under the hood before, beyond checking the oil etc. But for financial reasons, recently I decided to watch Youtube instructional videos, order the parts on Ebay and attempt the job myself.

Tbh I thought I'd screw up and have to get a mechanic in. But to my surprise, it was incredibly easy.

Within about a month I've done three repair jobs on mine and my wife's car. First I replaced the coolant reservoir, which had fractured. Then with new found confidence I re-charged the AC on the same car. Mistakes can be hazardous, so I was nervous about it. But again... it was easy. The coolant reservoir cost $40 and the AC recharge kit $45 here in the US. I don't know what a mechanic would have charged me, but I reckon I saved a fair bit of cash doing them myself.

Today I fixed the fan in my own car. It was blowing only on full blast, a common problem. I distinctly remember a mechanic saying to me years ago (and another car) that this type of issue may not be worth repairing because it can be costly (setting me up for a large bill). Well, I watched a Youtube video, got the part from Ebay for $30... and what do you know.... it took me approx. 10 minutes to replace the blower resistor and fix the issue. The fan now works on all settings. I can't believe how easy it was.

The point of all this is, I've broken the illusion that garages love to perpetuate. All the "ooh, that'll be a difficult job" or "are you sure you want to spend that on this old car" is pure BS designed to set you up for a huge bill. They also rely on the fear people have of doing something dangerous. I did my research, followed instructions, and everything was fine.

Anyway, just patting myself on the back today :P

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Well done! Isnt the internets great?

I have learned quite a few skills from various youtubes and forums. Brewing, grafting fruit trees, splitting logs, all sorts of gardening, knocking out fireplaces etc.

I'm surprised they havent banned it! :ph34r:

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I've not done car mechanics based on Youtube but it must be so much easier. I used to work from Haynes manuals where it's mostly narrative and you're struggling to follow laconic instructions such as "remove engine mount".

There is tremendous staisfaction from driving round in a car that's working better because you've done repairs on it so well done Darkman.

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Good on you for the DIY - how did you eliminate the possibility that it might have been the blower switch at fault rather than the resistor?

Typically it will be a common problem. I need to do the same job on a 90s Micra.

Along with reconnecting/unblocking the rear washer, fixing the petrol cap door lock, passenger window mechanism...

The list is endless.

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Typically it will be a common problem. I need to do the same job on a 90s Micra.

I know how to test both (and the wiring) so there's little chance of me personally making a mistake. I just find it a little annoying, having been in the trade, seeing it criticised by people who proclaim diagnosis and repair as "easy" after happening to be lucky a few times purely by parts swapping, rather than them going through a genuine process of elimination through knowledge and training.

I don't wish to criticise the OP without knowing exactly how they fixed the problem, but the large majority of the time people on internet forums

proclaim to know what is wrong with a car when they actually know very little about testing and how difficult & time consuming this can be. Fixing something along the lines of performance issues, running problems, non start and alarm/immobiliser faults is a lot more complex.

edit to add:

I can't figure out how to embed youtube here

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Good on you for the DIY - how did you eliminate the possibility that it might have been the blower switch at fault rather than the resistor?

When the fan is stuck on full it's almost certainly the resistor. Had to do my Berlingo one a couple of years back. Google will tell you it's a very common fault, so much so that there is a guy who sells the parts on eBay.

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When the fan is stuck on full it's almost certainly the resistor. Had to do my Berlingo one a couple of years back. Google will tell you it's a very common fault, so much so that there is a guy who sells the parts on eBay.

I worked on numerous cars where it was the switch that only worked in one position. It's quite easy to do a continuity test to confirm if the switch and the resistor unit are functional or faulty. It's even better to do a dynamic test with the circuit live, and seeing if you have voltage at the switch/resistor output(s). I usually check whichever of the two is easiest to access first, I wouldn't like to blindly replace a component.

It's not a particularity difficult process in learning the most useful and common basic electrical tests such as voltage loss/drop and continuity. The difficult bit is diagnosing and dismantling vehicles you've never worked with before, and doing so within the allotted labour times. Especially for an independent workshop that hasn't got access to computerised diagnostic tools that are sometimes needed for the likes of canbus operated systems which are usually only fully checkable this way. Unfortunately a multimeter doesn't show computer communications between modules, you can only do basic wiring inspection without the scanner.

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I know how to test both (and the wiring) so there's little chance of me personally making a mistake. I just find it a little annoying, having been in the trade, seeing it criticised by people who proclaim diagnosis and repair as "easy" after happening to be lucky a few times purely by parts swapping, rather than them going through a genuine process of elimination through knowledge and training.

I don't wish to criticise the OP without knowing exactly how they fixed the problem, but the large majority of the time people on internet forums

proclaim to know what is wrong with a car when they actually know very little about testing and how difficult & time consuming this can be. Fixing something along the lines of performance issues, running problems, non start and alarm/immobiliser faults is a lot more complex.

edit to add:

I can't figure out how to embed youtube here

I agree with you to an extent, I think in this current day and age skills are very much under valued. However like a lot of industries the reputation of the car trade is justified given that for years before this sort of knowledge was so freely available it has prayed on the ignorance of people. I know I have had plenty of quotes for jobs to get cars through an MOT which were frankly ridiculous, many hundreds of pounds for small jobs, 90% of which I could easily do myself.

I do however have a lot of sympathy for the guy in the video, there are a lot of similarities between that and what I do in the software world, tracking down an issue can take a huge amount of time and customers really do not appreciate how difficult it can be. This comment from Youtube sums it up.

Man went into a repair shop for a diagnosis and repair one time.

Mechanic checked it out and finally put in one bolt, the told the customer, "That'll be $50."

Customer said, "$50? For what? I want a detailed receipt with that."

Mechanic said "OK," then wrote out the following receipt:

"Bolt $0.50

Knowing where to put it: $49.50"

If you want any help in future putting up a Youtube link then let me know, I'm an IT professional, I use a car mechanic model for charging, only charge £50 a hour (minimum of 1 hour chargeable and then in 15 minute increments). Don't be tempted to look up on google how to do it, you might get it wrong.

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another bit of mystique conjured by garages is that you need the car manufacturer's diagnostic hardware to fix even simple faults, but i recently discovered my Fiat's ECM software + interface for a standard laptop on ebay for <£10!

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If you want any help in future putting up a Youtube link then let me know, I'm an IT professional, I use a car mechanic model for charging, only charge £50 a hour (minimum of 1 hour chargeable and then in 15 minute increments). Don't be tempted to look up on google how to do it, you might get it wrong.

If you want any help in future putting up a Youtube link then let me know, I'm an IT professional, I use a car mechanic model for charging, only charge £50 a hour (minimum of 1 hour chargeable and then in 15 minute increments). Don't be tempted to look up on google how to do it, you might get it wrong.

:D

I've tried every method recommended by a thread in this very forum, it just seems that particular video doesn't want to work for me

another bit of mystique conjured by garages is that you need the car manufacturer's diagnostic hardware to fix even simple faults, but i recently discovered my Fiat's ECM software + interface for a standard laptop on ebay for <£10!

I have a version of that software for my Alfa, unfortunately it won't communicate with several of the other modules in the car, like the body control, ABS, wipers etc. That costs a lot more, multiply by all the different manufacturers you have to cover and it get expensive very quickly. Then there's all the updates.

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Problem is with most things, cars require an extensive set of specialist tools and equipment to do the job, both effectively and safely.

I always shudder when I see idiots out prodding under their cars supported purely on the spare tyre jack.

At the minimum get some jack stands or decent hardwood dunnage, or better, ramps.

Best option is if you can rent or borrow a garage with a hydraulic lift jack or ventilated pit.

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I've had a problem with water pooling in the footwell behind the drivers seat over the winter months. We flushed out the windscreen wiper drains, which were clogged up but it didn't solve the problem.

I had a quick look online and read that the sunroof drains may be the problem but couldn't see how to fix it.

When the car went into Nissan for a service I mentioned the problem which they took a brief look at. They told me it was at least 3hrs labour to take all the roof apart, about £260, and then the chances were the roof lining would need replacing, around £200. I asked them if they'd checked the sunroof drains and was assured all that would have been checked.

I decided not to let them touch it and try looking online again. I removed the seal strip from around the frame and was then able to get my hand just between the roof lining and the roof and I could feel that the drain tube had come off. I managed to prise it back on in a few minutes. I've not had a problem since despite some very heavy rain.

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I know how to test both (and the wiring) so there's little chance of me personally making a mistake. I just find it a little annoying, having been in the trade, seeing it criticised by people who proclaim diagnosis and repair as "easy" after happening to be lucky a few times purely by parts swapping, rather than them going through a genuine process of elimination through knowledge and training.

I don't wish to criticise the OP without knowing exactly how they fixed the problem, but the large majority of the time people on internet forums

proclaim to know what is wrong with a car when they actually know very little about testing and how difficult & time consuming this can be. Fixing something along the lines of performance issues, running problems, non start and alarm/immobiliser faults is a lot more complex.

edit to add:

I can't figure out how to embed youtube here

I'd love to answer this post with a picture.

But I won't have one till I do the job. Love the irony of you posting a youtube vid in response though.

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I know how to test both (and the wiring) so there's little chance of me personally making a mistake. I just find it a little annoying, having been in the trade, seeing it criticised by people who proclaim diagnosis and repair as "easy" after happening to be lucky a few times purely by parts swapping, rather than them going through a genuine process of elimination through knowledge and training.

I don't wish to criticise the OP without knowing exactly how they fixed the problem, but the large majority of the time people on internet forums

proclaim to know what is wrong with a car when they actually know very little about testing and how difficult & time consuming this can be. Fixing something along the lines of performance issues, running problems, non start and alarm/immobiliser faults is a lot more complex.

edit to add:

I can't figure out how to embed youtube here

I suspect part of the problem is you are effectively going in blind... a 30s description from someone who doesn't really speak your language. However, once that person has spent 6 hours reseearching on the internet, reading other peoples problems and seeing what symptoms they had matching up to what problems, their intimate knowledge of the bumps and groans and other things going on during their commute come into play and they can see a likely path of action. If it doesn't work, no biggie, do another 6 hours of research get some more cheap parts and spend another afternoon under the car - its not going to cost them any more is it?

Whereas your extensive experience and training might allow you to diagnose and fix in an hour or 2 compared to their 12 hours of internet, and 8 hours of buggering about trying to get the inside of the door off without wrecking it too badly and figuring out how to get the blood out of the upholstery...

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I've had my eyes opened a bit recently, specifically about mechanics and car repairs. I'd never touched a car under the hood before, beyond checking the oil etc. But for financial reasons, recently I decided to watch Youtube instructional videos, order the parts on Ebay and attempt the job myself.

Tbh I thought I'd screw up and have to get a mechanic in. But to my surprise, it was incredibly easy.

Within about a month I've done three repair jobs on mine and my wife's car. First I replaced the coolant reservoir, which had fractured. Then with new found confidence I re-charged the AC on the same car. Mistakes can be hazardous, so I was nervous about it. But again... it was easy. The coolant reservoir cost $40 and the AC recharge kit $45 here in the US. I don't know what a mechanic would have charged me, but I reckon I saved a fair bit of cash doing them myself.

Today I fixed the fan in my own car. It was blowing only on full blast, a common problem. I distinctly remember a mechanic saying to me years ago (and another car) that this type of issue may not be worth repairing because it can be costly (setting me up for a large bill). Well, I watched a Youtube video, got the part from Ebay for $30... and what do you know.... it took me approx. 10 minutes to replace the blower resistor and fix the issue. The fan now works on all settings. I can't believe how easy it was.

The point of all this is, I've broken the illusion that garages love to perpetuate. All the "ooh, that'll be a difficult job" or "are you sure you want to spend that on this old car" is pure BS designed to set you up for a huge bill. They also rely on the fear people have of doing something dangerous. I did my research, followed instructions, and everything was fine.

Anyway, just patting myself on the back today :P

Well done you.

However, they are pretty easy jobs. I worked as a mechanic for 16 years, 10 in the garage and 6 with the AA. Fixing cars is an incredibly difficult job. Try removing a cylinder head on a modern twin cam engine, stripping it for a skim and rebuilding in book time. It ain't easy. Or, changing the synchromesh in a manual gearbox, pressing the bearings off the shafts without breaking stuff. Diagnosing electrical faults with engine management systems is also very hard to do efficiently. It's not just a case of "plugging it in a computer".

The guys I know who are any good live and breathe the job and for me that was too much of a commitment specialising in one thing.

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Well done you.

However, they are pretty easy jobs. I worked as a mechanic for 16 years, 10 in the garage and 6 with the AA. Fixing cars is an incredibly difficult job. Try removing a cylinder head on a modern twin cam engine, stripping it for a skim and rebuilding in book time. It ain't easy. Or, changing the synchromesh in a manual gearbox, pressing the bearings off the shafts without breaking stuff. Diagnosing electrical faults with engine management systems is also very hard to do efficiently. It's not just a case of "plugging it in a computer".

The guys I know who are any good live and breathe the job and for me that was too much of a commitment specialising in one thing.

I think people do realise that there are more difficult jobs, ones they would never attempt themselves. What they do have an issue with is being "over charged" for the smaller jobs. I'm not in the least bit practical but I will have a go at anything which only requires a spanner and a bit of messing around, there is plenty on a car that falls under.

It's all about trust at the end of the day, which IMO the car trade has abused to some extent in the past. If you have a little bit of knowledge it's easy to come up with countless examples, like being told you need new windscreen wiper blades and wanting to charge you £50 for the privilege of the qualified mechanic fitting them, when the reality is it costs about £15 for the parts and no more than literally 1-2 minutes to fit both. Equally if you go in to the local Tyre place it's as if you have been driving round in a death trap and you need discs, pads, new cables and all sorts of other stuff when you just want the wheel changed and you know full well the car has been serviced recently.

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If you have a little bit of knowledge it's easy to come up with countless examples, like being told you need new windscreen wiper blades and wanting to charge you £50 for the privilege of the qualified mechanic fitting them, when the reality is it costs about £15 for the parts and no more than literally 1-2 minutes to fit both.

Till you **ck it up and let the arm ping back and crack the windscreen :rolleyes:

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I know how to test both (and the wiring) so there's little chance of me personally making a mistake. I just find it a little annoying, having been in the trade, seeing it criticised by people who proclaim diagnosis and repair as "easy" after happening to be lucky a few times purely by parts swapping, rather than them going through a genuine process of elimination through knowledge and training.

I don't wish to criticise the OP without knowing exactly how they fixed the problem, but the large majority of the time people on internet forums

proclaim to know what is wrong with a car when they actually know very little about testing and how difficult & time consuming this can be. Fixing something along the lines of performance issues, running problems, non start and alarm/immobiliser faults is a lot more complex.

edit to add:

I can't figure out how to embed youtube here

An old mechanic who worked for us back in Ireland used to say "Any twunt can fix them, it takes a good man to find out what's wrong."

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. Try removing a cylinder head on a modern twin cam engine, stripping it for a skim and rebuilding in book time.

The “in book time” is the only hard bit – most of this stuff is actually pretty simple if you have the space, can follow instructions and know when you are getting out of your depth. Even on something like a quad cam V6, which is what I have in pieces at the moment. I don’t doubt that a full time mechanic would do it in half the time, but he’d also charge a fortune for the work.

Contrary to what most people seem to think, modern cars are far easier to work on than old cars. A simple example. If you change a wheel bearing on an old car, you get a bearing with separate races in a little box. You strip the old hub down, press out the old races, press new ones in, grease the bearing, put it all back together then tighten up the big axle nut just enough to run the bearing properly – too tight and it fails, too loose and it fails. It needs to be like the smallest bear’s porridge – just right. Modern car: go to factors, ask for a bearing for a Vectra. Get a big box. Unbolt 4 x 16mm nuts. Old hub falls on your foot. Ow. Put new hub where old hub was. Tighten the 4 x 16 mm bolts. Replace wheel and drive off.

My mother was told her Vectra was destined for the scap heap – it needed far too much work. So it got £600 in parts and a weekend of my time. Complete rear suspension rebuild, shocks all round, new timing belt, a partial front suspension rebuild and a full service. The car is now spot on, and will probably outlast her.

Forums are vital – they are what has really changed fixing cars at home. My Alfa recently started discharging its battery – a quick search showed that it was the bulb failure sensing circuit which is routed through the rev counter. I found a post with full instructions on how to fix it, complete with the semiconductor parts references. 2 hours later, all was good. Taking the car to the dealer would have cost hundreds.

I would second the advice on being very careful with cars up in the air. You need at least two forms of support – axle stands and a proper trolley jack. Getting under a car that is on the tyre changing jack is insane.

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I think people do realise that there are more difficult jobs, ones they would never attempt themselves. What they do have an issue with is being "over charged" for the smaller jobs. I'm not in the least bit practical but I will have a go at anything which only requires a spanner and a bit of messing around, there is plenty on a car that falls under.

It's all about trust at the end of the day, which IMO the car trade has abused to some extent in the past. If you have a little bit of knowledge it's easy to come up with countless examples, like being told you need new windscreen wiper blades and wanting to charge you £50 for the privilege of the qualified mechanic fitting them, when the reality is it costs about £15 for the parts and no more than literally 1-2 minutes to fit both. Equally if you go in to the local Tyre place it's as if you have been driving round in a death trap and you need discs, pads, new cables and all sorts of other stuff when you just want the wheel changed and you know full well the car has been serviced recently.

That sums up my attitude. I change bulbs, wiper blades as a matter of course. I have done water pump, alternator, battery, fan belt, and windscreen washer pump which are all straight replacements.

I don't touch brakes, bearings, suspension, drive shafts, clutch, or the engine itself. Though I'm aware some of the brake stuff is fairly easy.

I was tempted though by a £750 tyre machine the other day including VAT and delivery. If only I'd had room for it that would have been perfect for getting a set of winter tyres and swopping to them when it got cold.

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That sums up my attitude. I change bulbs, wiper blades as a matter of course. I have done water pump, alternator, battery, fan belt, and windscreen washer pump which are all straight replacements.

I don't touch brakes, bearings, suspension, drive shafts, clutch, or the engine itself. Though I'm aware some of the brake stuff is fairly easy.

I was tempted though by a £750 tyre machine the other day including VAT and delivery. If only I'd had room for it that would have been perfect for getting a set of winter tyres and swopping to them when it got cold.

Cousin of my father's ran a garage in years gone by. He was a big man, well over six feet and heavy. He could take the tyre off the rim using only his boots. Mind you, in the pre tubeless days.

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I think people do realise that there are more difficult jobs, ones they would never attempt themselves. What they do have an issue with is being "over charged" for the smaller jobs. I'm not in the least bit practical but I will have a go at anything which only requires a spanner and a bit of messing around, there is plenty on a car that falls under.

It's all about trust at the end of the day, which IMO the car trade has abused to some extent in the past. If you have a little bit of knowledge it's easy to come up with countless examples, like being told you need new windscreen wiper blades and wanting to charge you £50 for the privilege of the qualified mechanic fitting them, when the reality is it costs about £15 for the parts and no more than literally 1-2 minutes to fit both. Equally if you go in to the local Tyre place it's as if you have been driving round in a death trap and you need discs, pads, new cables and all sorts of other stuff when you just want the wheel changed and you know full well the car has been serviced recently.

To a certain extent I agree. I hate to say it but I know the good mechanics will agree that 80% of so called mechanics out there are shit kickers.

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The “in book time” is the only hard bit

Yeah, and that's the difference between an amateur and a pro, making a living or not.

If you had spent time getting qualified and years working in a garage doing the job everyday I really don't think you'd make that comment, because you'd know it wasn't true.

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