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You may often hear the ‘older generation’ lamenting the fact that us younger people are not as self-reliant or resourceful at fixing things as they were. There is undoubtedly some truth in this, and there is probably no better example than many drivers’ complete inability to maintain or fix their cars for themselves.
Of course, one of the reasons for this is that modern cars are so much more reliable than the oil-leaking rustbuckets that occupied our ancestors’ driveways. It is an inevitable fact of life that if a thing doesn’t go wrong, you will never be likely to learn how to fix it!
The only problem with this approach is that cars still do go wrong – at least, they can do, especially if you do not keep an eye on them between services.
Haynes has long been the leading publisher of DIY car maintenance guides and they recently sent me a copy of Your Car, a ‘glovebox guide’ that is aimed at explaining “everything you ned to know about owning and maintaining your car”. In other words, this is not a mechanics’ guide, this is a guide to help ordinary drivers learn how to avoid common problems and understand what to do when a problem does start to develop.
Your Car should probably be compulsory reading for anyone who has just passed their driving test and bought their first car. It is easy to understand and does not require you to have a mechanical background or a garage full of tools! Instead, it talks you through how to take good care of your car, with plenty of illustrations along the way.
Examples of the subjects covered are how to recognise the symptoms of a dying battery, how to check tyre tread depth, and how to check and top up your car’s oil and other essential fluids. There is loads more, including a guide to using jump leads to start a car with a flat battery, and it is all illustrated. One of my favourite sections was “What’s That Noise?” Almost all drivers have heard their car start to make a strange noise and not known what it means or whether it matters. With this guide, you do have at least a fighting chance of working out whether immediate repair is necessary or not.
Your Car covers a wide range of topics and should be enough for most eventualities, including understanding your car’s servicing requirements. I think it’s a great little book and good value for £9.99.
Final Thoughts: Haynes Your Car is a useful and beginner-friendly book that should be compulsory reading for all new drivers. Recommended.