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Best Online Resources

To Help You Learn How to Fix Cars

Mia Bevacqua Chief Mechanic at CarParts.com

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With the need to practice social distancing and stay at home more, nearly everyone has some extra time on their hands these days. To most people, the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 may seem like a burden—but the mandatory downtime can provide hidden opportunities to those willing to keep an open mind.

For instance, you can use the spare time to improve your automotive repair knowledge. One of the best things about the auto industry is that it's continuously changing. There's always something new to learn.

There are many excellent educational resources available online—you just need to know where to look. Below, you'll find a list of the go-to websites, digital magazines, and YouTube channels that can help you learn more about automotive repair.

Regardless of whether you're a newbie or an industry veteran, you'll find many of these materials useful.

Recommended Educational Content to Upgrade Your Repair Skills

Even though the coronavirus pandemic may have you cooped up, there's no need to stop being productive. Turn off Netflix, put down the remote, and check out these online resources to enhance your automotive repair knowledge.

Note: The cost of (and information provided by) each resource listed below may have changed since this article was written.

Websites and Digital Magazines

A quick online search reveals countless websites claiming to be authorities on automotive repair. The problem is, even some of the most popular sites can sometimes contain inaccurate information.

But the websites and digital magazines listed below offer material that's both correct and useful. If you're looking to expand your automotive knowledge, skip the Google search, and go directly to these resources.

automotive diagnostic repair help

AA1car.com

The proprietor of AA1Car, Larry Carley, is a wealth of automotive knowledge. Larry has more than 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is a nationally known expert.

With so many websites out there peddling false information, AA1Car is a breath of fresh air. Larry's website offers a library of accurate information that's easy to digest. The site's goal is to provide helpful (and free) repair and diagnostic advice—and it works.

  • Cost: Free

  • Best for: All levels

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 9/10; AA1 car provides free information that everyone—from beginners to industry experts—can benefit from. What keeps the website from being a 10/10, are the annoying advertisements that pop up in the middle of articles.

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auto service professional

Auto Service Professional

Auto Service Professional offers a magazine (both print and digital) that automotive professionals can subscribe to, free of charge. Even DIYers who don't subscribe can visit the website to view a no-cost, digital version of the magazine.

Each month, the publication covers a range of topics, from diagnostics to repair tips. The articles are intended for automotive professionals and may be difficult for some beginners to comprehend. But newbies should still check the magazine out. After all, it's free!

  • Cost: Free access to the digital version of the magazine

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 8/10; Although the magazine provides a wealth of diagnostic and repair advice, it also has a lot of business management information. Obviously, that's useful for shop owners, but not for those trying to boost their repair skills.

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engine professional

Engine Professional

If you want to upgrade your knowledge of engines, check out Engine Professional magazine. A digital version of the publication is available for free online. Inside, you'll find articles covering all aspects of engine diagnosis, failure analysis, and repair.

Like many other industry publications, the magazine is aimed at professionals and may be difficult for beginners to understand.

  • Cost: Free access to the digital version of the magazine

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Engines

  • Overall rating: 8/10; If you're interested in diagnosing, repairing, or rebuilding engines, Engine Professional is an invaluable tool. But because the publication's scope is somewhat limited, it may not be of interest to all readers.

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Image source: Engine Professional
motor magazine

Motor Magazine

Automotive professionals can subscribe to a no-cost print edition of Motor Magazine. Everyone, including DIYers, can also view the magazine for free online.

Motor Magazine is one of the best industry publications available. Each month, there's a variety of columns and feature articles covering all aspects of automotive maintenance and repair. Even though the publication is for professionals, DIYers will also benefit from reading it.

  • Cost: Free access to the digital version of the magazine

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 8/10; Much like Auto Service Professional, each month, this magazine includes articles on business management. And that part of the publication isn't useful for those trying to hone their auto repair skills.

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Image source: Motor Magazine
society of automotive engineers

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

On its website, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) covers cutting-edge technology. It's a great resource if you want to stay on top of the latest industry trends. The only downside is that, for some people, the articles may be a bit overly technical and difficult to follow. After all, the content is written by engineers for engineers.

But both the website and magazine offer excellent information that's worth wrapping your head around.

  • Cost: Free access to the digital version of the magazine

  • Best for: Advanced

  • Topics: New and emerging automotive technologies

  • Overall rating: 8/10; As was mentioned, SAE's articles can be difficult to follow, especially if you're a beginner. Once you get to know the engineering jargon, though, you'll find the content to be most informative.

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Image source: Society of Automotive Engineers
transmission digest

Transmission Digest

Many people are intimidated by the complexity of transmissions, especially automatics. Transmission Digest magazine helps demystify these sophisticated assemblies while also providing tips on diagnosis and repair. The digital version of the magazine, which is available for free online, covers different transmission-related topics every month.

  • Cost: Free access to the digital version of the magazine

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Transmissions

  • Overall rating: 7/10; For those interested in working on transmissions, this magazine is an excellent resource. Of course, because its scope is limited, the publication might not be of interest to some readers. Also, there seems to be quite a bit of “filler” content and advertisements in each issue.

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Image source: Transmission Digest
in the garage

In the Garage with CarParts.com

In the Garage with CarParts.com offers a variety of articles designed to boost your automotive knowledge. Most of the content is geared toward entry and intermediate level DIYers. But even experts will find useful information in the collection of articles.

The blog covers a wide range of topics, including everything from diagnostic trouble code (DTC) definitions to how-to articles.

  • Cost: Free

  • Best for: All skill levels

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: Provide your rating in the comments section below!

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Online Training Materials

In addition to perusing the websites above, you may want to consider investing in some online training. While most of the resources mentioned below cost money to access, they're well worth the investment.

acdc

ACDC

Hybrid and Electric vehicles are the future of transportation. You can prepare yourself by learning about these advanced automobiles today.

ACDC offers on-demand hybrid training courses, as well as books and other resources. There are nine online courses available, covering a variety of topics, from routine maintenance to high-voltage battery replacement. Instructor Craig Van Batenburg makes today's complex electrified vehicles easy to understand.

  • Cost: $55 per course (discounts are available if you purchase multiple courses)

  • Best for: All levels

  • Topics: Hybrid and electric vehicles

  • Overall rating: 9/10; ACDC's online courses are excellent. To train beyond the nine initial classes, however, you'll need to enroll in an in-person, hands-on course.

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technicians service training

Technicians Service Training (TST)

TST offers exceptional online courses covering a variety of topics. Many of the company's training videos are available on-demand once you become a member. There are also select presentations available free of charge.

Founder Jerry “G” Truglia and the other TST automotive experts make the material easy to understand. The content is supposed to be for professionals, but DIYers will find it useful as well.

  • Cost: Varies (some videos are free)

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 8/10; Everything TST puts out is worthwhile. The only drawback is that, to access all of the company's videos, you need to become a paid TST member. Luckily, the $75 annual membership fee is relatively affordable.

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Image source: Technicians Service Training
motor age training ebooks

MotorAge Training E-Books

If you're serious about becoming a professional technician—or you're a dedicated DIYer—the MotorAge ASE A-series e-books are a must-have. There are nine study guides in the A-series, each of which covers an area of automotive repair. The areas are defined by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) organization.

Although the books are designed to help automotive technicians prepare for ASE certification, they're also useful for anyone who wants to learn about automotive repair.

  • Cost: $182.95 for all nine A-Series e-books

  • Best for: All levels

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 7/10; MotorAge doesn't allow you to download and keep its A-series books, which is a real bummer. Apart from that, the e-books are wonderful.

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Image source: MotorAge Training E-Books
automotive technology

Automotive Technology: Principles, Diagnosis, and Service 6th Edition

Written by James Halderman, this textbook is basically the bible of automotive technology. In print form, the book is nearly 2,000 pages long. There are 136 chapters, each of which is devoted to a certain sub-topic of automotive repair.

You can purchase a digital subscription to the book from several online sources. Sadly, you can't download a free copy of the e-book, and the subscription is only good for a year. So, if you're serious about automotive repair, you might want to consider ordering a hardcover or purchasing the e-textbook version.

  • Cost: $119 annually for unlimited access; $183.65 for the hardcover; $59.99 for the e-textbook

  • Best for: All levels

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 10/10; This is a great investment⁠—we highly recommend this for anyone looking to learn the ins and outs of automotive repair.

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Image source: JamesHalderman.com
scannerdanner premium

ScannerDanner Premium

Paul Danner (aka ScannerDanner)—an automotive instructor from Rosedale Technical College—is one of the industry's best diagnosticians. He also has an informative YouTube channel (more on that later) that you can view for free.

But if you want access to his actual classes, check out ScannerDanner Premium. The website offers a subscription to courses that focus on advanced electrical and drivability diagnostics.

  • Cost: $11 for a subscription

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Advanced electrical and drivability diagnostics

  • Overall rating: 9/10; Even the most seasoned automotive professionals can learn something from ScannerDanner.

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electude

Electude

Electude is a digital version of a traditional shop class. The program uses gaming principles and interactive simulations to teach students automotive technology. Textbook-based learning is kept to a minimum to keep the content engaging.

The program is designed for students pursuing a career in automotive repair. As such, it's a great choice for beginners.

  • Cost: Request a quote on the website

  • Best for: Beginner to intermediate

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 9/10; The concept of remote learning through simulations is exciting. The main drawback is that Electude doesn't let you see examples of course material (or prices) directly. You have to fill out a form on the website.

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Image source: Electude
avi-on-demand

AVI OnDemand

AVI OnDemand offers online training for professional technicians. Users can purchase either a monthly subscription or individual videos. Live webcasts are also available.

The company's catalog has hundreds of videos featuring industry experts. With a click of a button, you'll find content on what you want to learn, whether that's engines, transmissions, brakes—whatever.

  • Cost: The all-access pass is $99.99 a month (courses are also sold individually)

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 8/10; AVI OnDemand has a ton of good information, but the subscription cost of $99.99 might be more than what some learners are willing to pay.

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Image source: AVI OnDemand

YouTube Channels

There are countless automotive repair videos on YouTube. But the problem is, many of them offer inaccurate or incomplete information. If you're looking for high-quality videos offering trustworthy content, stop searching and check out the channels below.

adpt training

ADPT Training

When you want to know how an unfamiliar technology works, ADPT is one of the first channels to visit. The training videos are top-notch, despite the fact that most are narrated by a rather peculiar, robotic voice.

Each of ADPT's offerings breaks down complex subjects, such as sensors and data networks, making them easy to understand. The channel is designed to help both professional technicians and DIYers. Most of the content covers electrical and driveability diagnostics.

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Electrical and driveability diagnostics

  • Overall rating: 10/10; What's not to like about the ADPT channel (except for maybe the weird robotic voice)? The videos provide excellent information—for free.

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Image source: Automotive Diagnostics and Publishing
ericthecarguy

EricTheCarGuy

Eric might have a relaxed, conversational tone, but don't let that fool you—he knows his stuff. The former mechanic has become a YouTube celebrity by making complex automotive repair subjects easy for almost anyone to understand.

Although Eric's channel is mostly for beginner and intermediate level DIYers, advanced-level viewers will also find it useful.

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 10/10; Eric is entertaining, knowledgeable, and easy to understand. Plus, his channel has a large selection of videos on a variety of topics.

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Image source: EricTheCarGuy YouTube channel
scannerdanner

ScannerDanner

As was mentioned, ScannerDanner also has a YouTube channel. His videos, which focus mostly on advanced troubleshooting strategies, are definitely worth watching. The tips and tricks in each case study provide an in-depth look at the complex electronics and computer controls that govern today's vehicles.

If you're looking to take your diagnostic skills to the next level, you'll want to check out the ScannerDanner channel.

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Advanced electrical and driveability diagnostics

  • Overall rating: 10/10; ScannerDanner is a diagnostic guru who shares his wisdom for free.

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Image source: ScannerDanner YouTube channel
weber auto

Weber Auto

The Weber Auto channel offers some of the best videos on YouTube. Professor John Kelly is one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry—and he's extremely passionate about teaching the next generation of automotive professionals.

Weber State University has a renowned automotive program that turns out some of the country's top technicians. And through the Weber Auto channel, you'll get access to a portion of the program's content without having to take a class. The videos on hybrid and electric vehicles are particularly impressive.

  • Best for: All levels

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 10/10; The Weber Auto channel offers university-level videos for free.

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Image source: Weber Auto YouTube channel
wells ve

Wells VE

Wells Vehicle Electronics (VE), an automotive parts manufacturer, has an excellent YouTube channel. Some of the videos are in English, while others are in Spanish.

Nearly all of the content focuses on understanding, diagnosing, and repairing today's complex automotive systems. The English video playlists include TPMS training, hybrid training,and lab scope training.

  • Best for: Intermediate to advanced

  • Topics: Advanced electrical and drivability diagnostics

  • Overall rating: 9/10; 9/10; Even though Wells VE doesn't have as much content as some other channels, what’s available is very informative.

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Image source: Wells Vehicle Electronics YouTube channel
ratchets and wrenches

Ratchets and Wrenches

The Ratchets and Wrenches channel has an extensive catalog of how-to videos designed for DIYers. The host is fun, engaging, and makes automotive repair easy for almost anyone to understand.

Topics range from step-by-step repair videos to engine performance diagnostics. New videos are added all of the time, so you can continue to boost your automotive knowledge. Hit the subscribe button to become one of the channel's hundreds of thousands of fans.

  • Best for: Beginner to intermediate

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 9/10; There are a lot of videos (e.g., My Favorite SUV for Under $5,000) on the channel that have nothing to do with auto repair. While that content may be entertaining, it’s not useful for someone learning how to fix their car. But the channel is great.

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Image source: Ratchets and Wrenches YouTube channel
scotty kilmer

Scotty Kilmer

With over 3.6 million subscribers, Scotty Kilmer is probably the most famous auto repair YouTuber. In his videos, Scotty may seem silly (that’s part of the appeal)—but he knows what he’s talking about. His videos are condensed and to the point, packing a ton of information into just a few minutes.

The channel is great for beginners who want to learn about cars⁠—or for anyone looking for a laugh.

  • Best for: Beginner to intermediate

  • Topics: General automotive maintenance and repair

  • Overall rating: 9/10; Some of Scotty's videos aren't about fixing cars (there are a lot of 'opinion' and 'rant' videos). Still, the channel is fantastic overall.

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Image source: Scotty Kilmer YouTube channel

Thanks to the internet, learning about anything—including automotive repair—has never been easier than it is now. Take advantage of the easy-to-access resources on this list, and start boosting your automotive knowledge today.

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