Gift Guide

How to Repair Your Car


From Motorbooks, the leader in automotive publishing for over 4 decades, comes the most practical car care guide ever produced to help the average car owner maintain and repair his or her vehicle - How to Repair Your Car. In this easy-to-follow guide, author Paul Brand, a nationally known automotive expert, takes you through the steps of auto maintenance and repair—simple steps that could add years to a car’s life and save a driver thousands of dollars in repairs. This is also the only car maintenance and repair ...

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From Motorbooks, the leader in automotive publishing for over 4 decades, comes the most practical car care guide ever produced to help the average car owner maintain and repair his or her vehicle - How to Repair Your Car. In this easy-to-follow guide, author Paul Brand, a nationally known automotive expert, takes you through the steps of auto maintenance and repair—simple steps that could add years to a car’s life and save a driver thousands of dollars in repairs. This is also the only car maintenance and repair guide on the market to contain 50 do-it-yourself projects in full-color, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and understand.

Focusing on post-1985 cars (with occasional explanations about earlier models), Brand introduces readers to the rudiments of automotive systems—from electrical, fuel, and cooling to drivetrain, suspension, tires, brakes, and exhaust—and discusses problems that arise in each system. The book includes practical advice for readers with only a passing knowledge of cars, as well as the basics of caring for a car’s exterior and interior.

How to Repair Your Car is a must-have for any car owner who wants to extend the life of his or her car, learn how to perform car maintenance or repair instead of paying a mechanic, diagnose simple noises and knocks, as well as learn tips for knowing exactly what they're paying for when their car goes to the shop.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760322734
  • Publisher: Motorbooks
  • Publication date: 10/15/2006
  • Series: Motorbooks Workshop Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 315,554
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Brand is well known and respected for his vast knowledge of automobiles. He’s the host of Autotalk, a radio show devoted to automobiles, and an automotive columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

As an automotive troubleshooter, race-car driver, and leading instructor of law enforcement pursuit driving, Brand makes his shows and columns informative and entertaining with his wit, knowledge, and easy-to-understand advice on any and all auto problems. A typical show will find Brand expertly fielding questions about changing your own oil, finding the source of squeaks, squeals, and rattles or even deciphering the complex inner workings of an automatic transmission, an engine, or electronics.

One of Brand's goals is simply to help people understand more about automobiles so that they may get longer service life and be wiser customers. He is in great demand as a speaker at automotive conventions, trade shows, and anywhere there is a gathering of people connected with the automobile industry.

Brand resides in Lino Lakes, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Basics and Troubleshooting

How To Use This Book

The Icons

The Preflight Check

What You Need in a Home Shop

How To Find a Good Mechanic

How To Talk to Your Mechanic

Cost of Ownership

Car Ownership Costs


Basic Maintenance Schedule

Maintenance Schedule Chart

Project 1: Change Wiper Blades

Project 2: Fill Wiper Fluid

How To Jack Up Your Car

How To Wash Your Hands

Chapter 2: Fuel System


Carburetor Drawbacks

Fuel Injection

Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)

Engine Management System

Taking Care of the Fuel System

Fuel Filter Changes

Air Filter Changes

Choose the Proper Fuel

Detonation and Pre-Ignition

Oxygenated Fuel

Dealing with Fuel in Cold Weather

Fuel System Troubleshooting Chart

Fuel Projects

Project 3: Change Fuel Filter

Chapter 3: Engine

Diesel Engines


Modern Combustion Technology

How To Check Your Coolant

How To Check Your Oil

Oil Change Costs

Synthetic Oils

Air Cleaner Changes

Dealing with Leaks

Coolant Leaks

Engine Troubleshooting Chart

Engine Projects

Project 4: Check Oil

Project 5: Change Oil and Filter

Project 6: Change Air Filter

Project 7: Change PCV Valve

Project 8: Replace Serpentine Belt


Chapter 4: Electrical System

The Battery

Battery Maintenance

Battery Terminology

Reserve Capacity (RC)

Why Do Automotive Batteries Fail?

Battery Maintenance

Alternator and Charging System

Easy Test for Your Charging System

Starting System

Dealing with a No-Start Engine

Quick Starting System Test

Using Booster Cables

How Do You Know If the Part Is Bad?

Let There Be Spark

The Heart of the Electrical System

Electronic Control Modules

What To Do When Things Short, Fizzle, and Die

The Fuses, Relays, and Connections (FRC) Principle

Electrical System Troubleshooting Chart

Electrical System Projects

Project 9: Change Plug Wires and Plugs

Project 10: Replace Distributor Cap and Rotor

Project 11: Test Alternator

Project 12: Replace Alternator

Project 13: Replace Starter

Project 14: Clean Battery Posts

Project 15: Check Battery Electrolyte

Project 16: Replace Battery

Project 17: Test and Replace Fuses

Project 18: Replace Taillight Bulb

Project 19: Replace Taillight Lens

Project 20: Replace Headlight Bulb

Project 21: Replace Turn-Signal Bulb

Project 22: Replace Back-Up Light

Chapter 5: Cooling System

Cooling System Maintenance


Drive Belt, Radiator, and Heater Hose Care


Drive Belt, Radiator, and Heater Hose Care

Signs Your Engine Is Overheating

Note on Radiator/Cooling System Stop-Leak Products

Cooling System Troubleshooting Chart

Cooling System Projects

Project 23: Check/Fill Coolant

Project 24: Check Fluid Concentration

Project 25: Change Radiator Cap and Thermostat

Project 26: Replace Radiator Hose

Project 27: Replace Your Radiator

Project 28: Flush Cooling System

Project 29: Replace Water Pump

Project 30: Pressure Test System

Chapter 6: Drivetrain



Manual Transmissions

Automatic Transmissions

How Automatic Transmissions Change Gears

Modern Automatic Transmission Technology

The Differential

All-Wheel Drive

Drivetrain Maintenance

Drivetrain Troubleshooting Chart

Drivetrain Projects

Project 31: Check Differential Oil

Project 32: Change Differential Oil

Project 33: Check Manual Transmission Oil

Project 34:Change Manual Transmission Oil

Project 35: Check Automatic Transmission Fluid

Project 36: Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter (Front-Wheel Drive/Rear-Wheel Drive)

Chapter 7: Suspension and Steering


Shocks and Struts

Steering System

Power Steering

Suspension/Steering Maintenance and Repair

Shocks and Struts—When To Replace?

MacPherson Struts

Checking Alignment



Positive Camber

Negative Camber (and a NASCAR Tip)


So What Does Alignment Do?

The DIY Alignment

Active Suspension Systems—The Future Is Now

Suspension/Steering Troubleshooting Chart

Suspension and Steering Projects

Project 37: Check Power Steering Fluid

Project 38: Grease Steering Linkage

Chapter 8: Tires and Wheels

Tire Shopping 101

Assessing Tire Wear

Tire Pressure

Tires by the Numbers

More Letter and Numbers

Mud and Snow Tires

Taking Care of Your Tires

Visual Inspection

Tire Replacement

Tire and Wheel Troubleshooting Chart

Tires and Wheel Projects

Project 39: Check Tire Pressure

Project 40: Assess Tire Wear

Project 41: Change Tire

Project 42: Rotate Tires

Chapter 9: Brakes

Hydraulic Brakes

Why Hydraulics?

Key Components

Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)

Traction and Stability Control

Brake System Maintenance

Brake Fluid Maintenance?

Brake Fade

Brake System Troubleshooting Chart

Brake Projects

Project 43: Check Fluid Level

Project 44: Replace Drums and Shoes

Project 45: Replace Rotors and Pads

Project 46: Bleed System

Chapter 10: Exhaust

Exhaust 101

Catalytic Converter

Oxygen Sensors

Exhaust Maintenance

Diagnosis and Causes of Exhaust Failure

Replacement Advice

Oxygen Sensor Maintenance

Emissions Warranties

Heat Shield Failure

Exhaust System Troubleshooting Chart


Chapter 11: Caring for Your Car Interior and Exterior

Carwash 101

The Home Wash

Polish and Wax

Polishing Your Car

Removing Bug Goo

Fixing Paint Damage

Using Touch-Up Paint

Door Ding Repair

Fix It Yourself or Take It to a Shop?

Interior and Exterior Projects

Project 47: Clean Upholstery and Carpet

Project 48: Clean Glass

Project 49: Wash and Wax Car

Project 50: Touch-Up Chips and Scratches

Appendix A: Tool/Supply Kit for Trunk


Appendix B: Instructions



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