Car Maintenance night class type thing

Caporegime
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depends what you wanted to maintain

Some very modern cars like the E60 BMW 5 Series are almost impossible to service yourself, because there are so many things that can only be done with the proper dealer ECU programming tools.

If however, you wanted to say .. keep an old mk2 escort rally car going by yourself they could be very useful.
 
Soldato
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They do exist — try and find your nearest General Further Education (GFE) College and see if they do Institute of Motor Industries (IMI) courses. You can go from an Level 1 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair all the way up to an IMI Level 4 in Motor Vehicle Management, although I think the more advanced courses will be full-time.

However, as MrLOL says, it does depend what type of cars you're working on.
 
Associate
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Personally i'd just buy a haynes manual, sign up to a decent owners club forum for the car you wish to work on and then get cracking. As long as you have a reasonably mechanical mind and a good tool set then you'll be fine.
 
Soldato
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Personally i'd just buy a haynes manual, sign up to a decent owners club forum for the car you wish to work on and then get cracking. As long as you have a reasonably mechanical mind and a good tool set then you'll be fine.

This TBH.

I think the classes for the absolutely clueless where they tell you where to put the oil, how to check all the fluid levels, tyre tread etc. are a good idea but for anyone that already has that base level of knowledge (and if you are male that should be coded into your additional chromosome ;) ) the knowledge they provide is less useful.
 
Associate
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This TBH.

I think the classes for the absolutely clueless where they tell you where to put the oil, how to check all the fluid levels, tyre tread etc. are a good idea but for anyone that already has that base level of knowledge (and if you are male that should be coded into your additional chromosome ;) ) the knowledge they provide is less useful.
While I haven't been to the classes - I can safely say your suggestion's not apt.

some of us have 2 left hands and have never looked under the bonnet - well I have and I know the what mechanical parts to what - what the ECU is - how to plug into it, look at the data and all that sort of stuff and I'm heavily involved with car clubs but.... ask me to change my disk pads (one of the basic things I think that the classes would teach) and I wouldn't have a go just by looking at the step-by-step pictures on forums.

It's just one example - I've fitted filters, steering wheels, ECU systems, alloys wheels & other stuff on to the car but I wouldn't service my brakes or other more serious safety measures on the car.

Going to the classes is not just about getting to learn what to do but to be able to do it there and get immediate feedback or suggestions on what to do better and what small errors can result in a bad crash.


Forums add to this knowledge but don't replace it.
 
Associate
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Basic car maintenance should be on the driving test i think. the amount of people who can't fill the washer bottle or check the oil is crazy. if you can't change your wheel you don't pass the test and if you can't read a fuel gauge you don't deserve a license.
i see lots of people who have called the AA/RAC etc. becasue they;ve got a flat tyre/are out of fule.
 
Caporegime
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depends what you wanted to maintain

Some very modern cars like the E60 BMW 5 Series are almost impossible to service yourself, because there are so many things that can only be done with the proper dealer ECU programming tools.

I'm not so sure about that, i bet you could do 70% or more of the jobs at home if you had half an idea.
 
Soldato
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Forums add to this knowledge but don't replace it.

agreed. you can follow step by step guides, but you wont realise what mistakes youre making if you dont have a basic understanding of what youre taking apart, why youre taking it apart, and what the function of the various components are.

maybe its just me, but i cant see how a course would help. being lectured on how something works etc is only going to get a certain amount of info to stick rather than having a actual interest in whats going on
 
Associate
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agreed. you can follow step by step guides, but you wont realise what mistakes youre making if you dont have a basic understanding of what youre taking apart, why youre taking it apart, and what the function of the various components are.

maybe its just me, but i cant see how a course would help. being lectured on how something works etc is only going to get a certain amount of info to stick rather than having a actual interest in whats going on
agreed but my vision of such a course would be to point of out mistakes that you might be making or should never make while doing a particular job. e.g.: never over filling oil. Simple thing but many people might over fill and regret and not something a lot of step-by-step guides might have in them.

Also, by working with peers (other 'students') you'd learn more things/techniques/pick up more tips & tricks.
 
Soldato
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experience is an amazing thing too. i was changing suspension on a friends car last weekend, there are ball joint bolts that become corroded etc etc and to remove those you are best off with an impact tool to lessen the strain. he was disassembling the other side and basically snapped two bolts by trying to do it with a ratchet, so even once you know teh basics, there is still so much more to learn with experience after
 
Soldato
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depends what you wanted to maintain

Some very modern cars like the E60 BMW 5 Series are almost impossible to service yourself, because there are so many things that can only be done with the proper dealer ECU programming tools.

Can you not just get hold of one, like vagcom for instance?
 
Man of Honour
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I was thinking about maybe getting some old banger type car (That still works) and learning how to do stuff like that, so when it comes to servicing my newer car, or changing brake discs/pads/suspension/whatever... I could do that myself, rather than pay a garage to do it. I could probably borrow most tools I didn't get in say a Halfords pro set. Jamie over the road might lend me bits and bobs.
 
Soldato
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Most jobs on an older car are relatively easy if you have the right tools, as people have said grab a Haynes manual and have a go.

For example I fitted coilovers on my MX5 by myself and have changed the belts etc... The only real downside to doing your own work is scars e.g. I was trying to crack a nut on the rear suspension, I succeeded, but as the nut cracked I performed an uppercut to the edge of the wheel arch, much blood and swearing...
 
Soldato
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I was thinking about maybe getting some old banger type car (That still works) and learning how to do stuff like that, so when it comes to servicing my newer car, or changing brake discs/pads/suspension/whatever... I could do that myself, rather than pay a garage to do it. I could probably borrow most tools I didn't get in say a Halfords pro set. Jamie over the road might lend me bits and bobs.

This is how I learned to do basic things like oil changed and brake pads/discs.

My first car was a 1992 Toyota Corolla and my mate had a Rover 200 so we did most of the work ourselves.

However, it's a bit more complicated on these modern cars. For instance, on the E60, you not only have to change the pads but also the wear sensor. You then have to tell iDrive that a new pad/sensor has been installed. It makes what should be a fairly standard job into a right ballache.
 
Caporegime
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I'm not so sure about that, i bet you could do 70% or more of the jobs at home if you had half an idea.

on an E60 ?

No you can't. You can't even change the battery on an E60 5 series without the dealer.

Everything is connected to the ECU just about.

If you wanted to maintain ... say a brand new Suzuki Swift, i bet you'd probably be able to do 80 % of the stuff at home too. It totally depends on the car.
 
Caporegime
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I was thinking about maybe getting some old banger type car (That still works) and learning how to do stuff like that, so when it comes to servicing my newer car, or changing brake discs/pads/suspension/whatever... I could do that myself, rather than pay a garage to do it. I could probably borrow most tools I didn't get in say a Halfords pro set. Jamie over the road might lend me bits and bobs.

what are you wanting to learn for ?

As a hobby ? or to save money on the bills of your own car ?

If its the latter don't bother with this. You're going to be learning on a completely different era of car and will practically have to learn again from scratch when you start on your own car.

If you want to maintain your own. Start with the easy stuff like changing the oil and changing brake pads / discs.

The latter is a job that is easily done at home with a set of axle stands, and usually costs a fair bit in labour.
 
Soldato
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on an E60 ?

No you can't. You can't even change the battery on an E60 5 series without the dealer.
This isn't true - there are various other companies who supply equipment and/or software solutions which can read/write/configure these ECUs.

This also relates to something I have meant to mention for ages - manufacturers cannot "void" warranties for services or repairs carried out by non dealership centers whilst in warranty (not work carried out UNDER warranty) - as long as the people, parts and work carried out meet defined industry standards :)
 
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