For those who do want a car but would prefer to keep costs as minimal as possible, I suggest (not based on personal experience at all, incidentally) buying a used car without too much electronics and doing as much maintenance on it yourself as possible. This is subject area where I am at stage 0 knowledgewise. Actually, stage -1 is more accurate, because I probably know even less about cars than the average person.
Of course such ignorance has a huge price because it means going to the mechanic and saying yes to every suggestion he makes. Presumably it does not take long for a mechanic to catch on to the fact that he is talking to a sucker and so he’ll make out like a bandit.
Conversely, when I visit the bike store, I typically get what I want with a couple of bucks worth of spare parts instead of paying $15 to have my tire changed or $100 for a tune up.
I am well aware that the challenge is all in the mind, because after all, a car is but a bunch of spare parts held together with nuts and bolts. Of course the question is exactly where in the mind that challenge sits.
I have been searching for information on the net. I know for bicycles, you can get very far with Park Tool’s Big Blue Book and bicycletutor.com. I have yet to find the equivalent for our car. There are the Haynes and Chilton manuals, but they both get very poor reviews for our model. Beyond that, I know little. Supposedly one should get the workshop manuals directly from the manufacturer(?). Another nice thing would be a central site using the prescription: Job or problem, which tools needed for this job, step 1, step 2, … for a 5 minute video, preferably with a “car map” or at least an inventory so you can just click on the general area. It is possibly that these already exist, but as I said, I’m at stage -1, so even the mention of, say, a jack stand leads me to analysis-paralysis (which one, how big, how small, the red one or the blue one? :-P).
Update: I have bought the workshop manuals (used) and found a good website.
Daily Yakezie Short Carnival: Combat the Closing Techniques – The Puppy Dog Close @ Eliminate the Muda! & Instant Gratification and the MacBook Pro @ Single Guy Money.
These posts have been chosen as the best post of the month by the bloggers who submitted them, so check them out if you are looking to add more blogs to your reading list.
Originally posted 2010-03-07 09:31:01.