doing it by book

I AM wondering if there is by any chance an engine troubleshooting manual which, if you encounter a particular problem with your car, will provide a step-by-step checking/testing procedure that will lead you to the solution. - M Kotane

I AM wondering if there is by any chance an engine troubleshooting manual which, if you encounter a particular problem with your car, will provide a step-by-step checking/testing procedure that will lead you to the solution. - M Kotane

SUCH a manual would be an answer to many prayers, but it will be a mammoth undertaking in view of the complexity and diversity of modern engine designs.

It will have to be a book that is comprehensive and substantial, yet simple and accessible. The following two books seem to fit the bill:

Automotive Technology: Principles, Diagnosis and Service by James D Halderman.

It has 1488 pages and can be found on Amazon for about $72 (R553) plus shipping. A student's edition, at a reduced price, might be available.

Automotive Technology: A Systems Approach, 5th Edition, by Jack Erjavec.

It has 1472 pages and is available in paperback, which brings the price on Amazon down to about $32 (R246) plus shipping.

If you are willing to restrict yourself initially to the electrical system of your vehicle (by far the commonest source of breakdowns), I can recommend the following book, which I personally have found very useful:

How to Diagnose and Repair Automotive Electrical Systems by Tracy Martin (Motorbooks, November 2005).

It has 160 pages and is available in paperback from Amazon for about $16 (R123) plus shipping.

If these prices put you off (remember, you might still have to pay VAT and customs duties when the books arrive here), you could try to find a suitable book in the local library, although it will probably be in the reference section where you cannot take it out.

Another option to consider is the Internet, where you can often find valuable advice at the owners' forum of your particular car.

But, nothing beats your own book to which you can return whenever you need it.

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