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General interest question for the DIY mechanics - at age 40 I'm just starting to learn how to work on my car. For those of you who've been at this a while longer, I'm curious to know:

What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?

Thanks!
 

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I bring nothing to the table
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183 Posts
1.) What motivated you?
2.) How did you get started?
3.) What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?
1.) I needed the blasted thing to run!!!
2.) With a handful of crappy tools and crappy shop manual - Chilton, IIRC.
3.) a. The oversight and instruction of those with much more experience that were willing to let / required me learn 'hands on'.
3.) b. Better tools and reference materials/shop manuals.

Sweet thread!
 

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I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
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4,159 Posts
1) My first car was an MGB. Needed constant attention. The car was a 79, and it was like 1985.
2) well, within a week of owning it the exhaust manifold cracked, necessitating replacement of it and rebuild of the (manual) choke, which was dripping fuel onto the mani causing said crack
3)working with my father and friends. Edit: Oh and I had the Bentley.
 

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1) I bought my first car in 1984-a 1974 Chevy Vega. 'Nuff said.
2) Made a pest of myself around several mechanics.
3) Neccessity is the mother of invention.
 

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General interest question for the DIY mechanics - at age 40 I'm just starting to learn how to work on my car. For those of you who've been at this a while longer, I'm curious to know:

What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?

Thanks!
Motivation? Poverty, being incredibly cheap, other mechanics messing things up so I had to go back and re-fix things anyway.

Started? One Saturday morning when I was 13, Dad came in with a nice clean white box and said "I've got a present for you", which turned out to be a water pump for his pickup. It just got more involved from there.

Helpful? Old duffer mechanics and experience. Nothing like screwing up a time or two to really get you some great experience. Having an old duffer mechanic to explain the tried, true, but forgotten ways of getting things done without the proper tools is priceless. On my Passat, this website has been a great help. The only money I've spent on labor since I found this site was for my frozen TREs.

Just finished with timing belt, water pump, tensioners, belts, and some other minor tidbits while the nose was off. Buffed up my headlights a bit while I had them out, so they will look better for the next couple months or so.

So, I'm cheap, and I don't trust most mechanics. Grew up on a farm as well, with old equipment, most of it older than me. You learn to fix things and diagnose problems.
 

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2004 GLS 1.8T
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12,133 Posts
I'd been mostly away from doing my own wrenching while I raised a family... just getting back to it a bit now, at 54.

Back in the day, there were several factors. First, my father was hopeless with tools, so I was the family fixit guy. Out on my own, I was lacking in funds but had a taste for dragging home mechanical orphans. Ever try to find someone to inexpensively work on a Renault Dauphine, MGC-GT, or Triumph TR250?

The motivations were curiosity, poverty, and the sense of accomplishment.

I got started by buying the largest wrench set Sears made, and the shop manual for the car in question. I was slow, methodical - did everything by the book and took Polaroids (digital wasn't invented yet) of every step of the disassembly. Replaced whatever needed it, and reversed the process. Then moved on to something bigger.

What helped me most was living in an industrial area, and being friends with my neighbors. I had an auto repair shop in my backyard; they'd let me use their lift and (very occasionally, with great suspicion) a tool. Across the street was a body shop...

Another big help was having lots of cars. Even though I was single, I'd keep 3 - 5 cars around, so if I got stuck with one all apart (or busted something irreparably), it was no big deal. These days, I'm single again and have two Passats - and I'm looking for a nice Corrado.
 

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Magical *****
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3,069 Posts
1. Watched my dad and grandpa work on cars, and I've always been mechanically incline. Also when I got my frst car the fast and furious seen was just getting started, so I was all about that too.

2. I remember helping my dad with odds and ends when I was a kid, everything from diy body to a boat motor transplant (it was in inboard) 400 c.i. so it was pretty envolved. I myslef did not really get into until I threw the clutch on my '89 CRX and I was addicted, my first manual was a chiltons, and it sucked!

3. I hate to say it but the more I screw something up, the more I learn for next time. PW has helped alot too, then I can see others mistakes too.
 

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General interest question for the DIY mechanics - at age 40 I'm just starting to learn how to work on my car. For those of you who've been at this a while longer, I'm curious to know:

What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?

Thanks!
My parents didn't have money to buy me a car, and I didn't have much money to buy cars either, so my first car was 500 bucks and I just would keep them running, its been 10 years since then and I have owned I would say close to 15 vehicles through that time, I buy them broken, fix them and sell them after 6months or a year.


Just got started with the help of my dad/grandpa and DIY manuals


Google if you have a question, more then likely somewhere on the net it has been covered.
 

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11,873 Posts
My parents didn't have money to buy me a car, and I didn't have much money to buy cars either, so my first car was 500 bucks and I just would keep them running, its been 10 years since then and I have owned I would say close to 15 vehicles through that time, I buy them broken, fix them and sell them after 6months or a year.


Just got started with the help of my dad/grandpa and DIY manuals


Google if you have a question, more then likely somewhere on the net it has been covered.

Some else mentioned good tools, I can not agree more, there is nothing like having the right tool for the job, or the right tool to get to that oddly placed nut or bolt, after 10 years of collecting, I have north of 6k in tools, most of which are craftsman, good brand as they are fairly cheap, good quality, and lifetime replacement

Some else mentioned good tools, I can not agree more, there is nothing like having the right tool for the job, or the right tool to get to that oddly placed nut or bolt, after 10 years of collecting, I have north of 6k in tools, most of which are craftsman, good brand as they are fairly cheap, good quality, and lifetime replacement
 

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Resident a-hole knowitall
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15,711 Posts
1. started cause i wanted to save money, like working with my hands, and didnt like having to rely on a mechanic or a dealer for work.

2. learned in the family buisness that does excavation, septic, and lot clearing lots of older equipment that breaks down alot, spent most of my time with my grandfather and uncle (buisness owners) and leaned from there. first real work on a normal sized truck was with my cousin when he rebuilt an 83 chevy custom deluxe. .

3. most helpful was a bently, a computer, and a camera, good tools and the right tools as well make a job go much easier and quicker. and dont be afraid to make mistakes it will happen but you will learn from them. hell my first suspension install went so bad it went out on a flat bed to an indy cause after 3 days with a pinch bolt we gave up.

dont get discouraged, if your in over head you can always call for help or ask here. your in NY theres some really good PW members there who are always willing to help, i'm only 2.5 hours from NYC and always willing to help. hell sp33dy and I went to MD 2 weekends ago to help a member with his timing belt on his wifes A4. this is a great community and we help each other out the best we can, so dont be afraid to ask for help.
 

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1st Gear
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17,568 Posts
in 99 I went to dealership to get new rotors/pads, they wanted $1000 for parts and labor. That pretty much kicked of my "mechanic" career.

10 years later I saved almost 10k between all the things I've done over the years to all my cars.

I used to enjoy it as I was learning, but now I don't really like working on my cars, just do it cause I can't pay someone/want it done right/and not deal with BS.

:)

Best Car Insurance | Auto Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
 

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What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?
Thanks!
1. A 1971 BMW 1600
2. As someone mentioned, a handful of cheap tools and a Chilton's manual.
3. Being able to afford a mechanic. :)
 

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|m|(^_^)|m|
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3,583 Posts
What motivated you?
Necessity - no money
How did you get started?
I was always mechanically inclined, as I always took disassembled and reassembled stuff when I was young.
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?
Organization, finding a good way to organize parts after taking them off to remember where they went
 

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5,330 Posts
I watched my uncle in his repair garage from time to time as it was only a few blocks from home. Mostly got to play with and operate the lifts for him.

Finally got started in 1999 when a good friend offered to show me how to change my oil. Up until that point I never considered the possibility of being able to diy.

Most helpful was def cb5!
 

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9,106 Posts
Motivation/necessity: Sense of job well done; scared of VW mechanic bills; Curiosity; Pride; Distrust of others' motivations and thoroughness :D

Got Started: ClubB5 (PassatWorld) DIY writeups! :thumbup:

Helpful: Digital photos, Helpful members, Haynes manual (I still have yet to find the Bentley anything more than a PITA for most jobs ;) )
 

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Lisa Simpson
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15,043 Posts
1. My dad since I was little, and not by choice. He owned a british car, and had to get to work in the morning. So sometimes there was not time to wonder what was actually wrong. I occasionally find myself in the same situation. That's why I start large projects on friday night.
2. At age 4, scrubbing valves with gasoline. I still remember - the brown ones are running rich, the pink ones are running lean, and the white ones are just perfect. My current career of auto maintenance started when I got the wagon and had 'my own' car to work on. All hell broke loose.
3. Decent tools and a good shop manual. I watched my dad make parts when I was a kid, so I know that anything can be fixed (to a large degree), and I also know that if you don't get it right the first time, you might have to re-do it. Remembering to not start drinking until the job is done is also a critical tool.

Best part of all of this is that I can afford to own 4+ VWs - the money I save on the wagon and Golf often pays for my Rabbit and Scirocco playtime. It's a powerful motivator! This year I "saved" over $2K in maintenance on the wagon alone. It also makes the occasional shop job far less painful - I'll have no problem justifying sending the clutch out as I haven't spent that money on anything else.
 

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WF16 Champion and Argumentative Wanker
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9,018 Posts
What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?
My Passat
I got a job in a local garage beginning with oil changes, then tires, then brakes, etc and worked my way up to engine work.
Having friends on PW and a dad with LOTS of tools and years of experience. :thumbup:
 

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I've had a love for cars since I was a kid once I stated driving them I started changing them.

I dove right in really, my ICE work started with my first car a 1990 Carolla and everything else came with my 2002 GTI.

Forums and internet searches have helped me more than anything other than screwing up and having to figure it out myself.
 

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What time is Matlock on?
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17,312 Posts
What motivated you?
How did you get started?
What did you find most helpful as you were learning and tackling more complex projects?
1. Dad seemed to know EVERYTHING about cars...whereas I couldn't fix anything.

2. Dad started bringing me along as he fixed things, and then the percentage I watched became less, as my percentage of actually DOING became more.

3. Learning to take my TIME, and not rush the thought process.
 

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Loose female member
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1. The Royal Navy decide that I would make a good engineer.
2. They spent 20 years trying to turn me into one.
3. Transferred these skills to working on cars :)
 
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