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 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.
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Originally posted 2010-03-07 09:31:01.