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5 Ways YouTube Can Save You Money and Time On Car Repairs

A recent conversation between a shop owner and a Master Automobile Technician turned to diagnostic techniques, and where to get repair information. In addition to the usual repair databases such as ALLDATA and Identifix, the Master Tech mentioned he refers to YouTube on a regular basis. Of course, the shop owner (who was double the tech’s age) cringed at the very thought. After all, how could a bunch of hacks with cell phone cameras possibly be more helpful than ALLDATA? It’s true there is a lot of worthless junk on YouTube, such as cat compilations and videos of morons setting themselves on fire, but there’s a lot of valuable information, too. You just have to know what to look for and how to use it. Here are a few tips for using YouTube for your next auto repair project.

Know your stuff- learn the basics

If you don’t have a basic understanding of how automotive systems work, you won’t be able to tell the difference between useful information on YouTube and complete BS. For example, like a telemarketer calling at dinner time, a video that tells you to adjust the carburetor on your 2005 Ford Taurus to keep it running smooth should be ignored. The only way you’d realize this however, is by knowing a 2005 Ford Taurus – and virtually any car made after the late 1980s – doesn’t have a carburetor. Modern vehicles use fuel injection instead. So, if you think you can YouTube your way to proper repair without any prior automotive knowledge, close your lap top and take your car to an actual mechanic.

Use YouTube to save you time.

Sure, you could just start tearing into that water pump job, figuring things out as you go, but wouldn’t it be much easier if you watched someone else do it first? Seeing someone go through the steps allows you to know where each and every bolt is. Case in point: replacing the cabin filter on a 2014 Ford Fusion. Seems like a simple task, right? Hardly! There are panels that need to be popped out, hidden screws and a plethora of other hurdles to overcome before accessing the filter. Both Mitchell and Identifix professional repair databases failed to provide a proper removal procedure for this filter (in fact, Mitchell’s instructions were downright wrong), so it was YouTube to the rescue. Watching a video on filter replacement, let us know where all the screws and push pins were hidden beforehand, which was a real time saver. It also prevented us from breaking anything (which we are so often guilty of).

Use YouTube for component locations.

Not sure where something is? That happens to even the best mechanics, especially if they work on multiple makes and models. YouTube can often solve this quandary. A simple search can reveal a full color video depicting the component and its location, which is much better than some grainy black and white picture from a repair manual.

Professional YouTube videos offer the most reliable information.

Which would you trust more: a video from Bosch or one from Joe the neighborhood grease monkey? Professional videos from institutions, manufactures and the like, very rarely provide information that is inaccurate. We can’t say the same for those videos produced by YouTube user TooFastTooFurious1234.

Youtube can be used to supplement other auto repair information.

Just like an advanced problem from Mr. Butt’s calculus class, there is usually more than one way to approach an automotive repair. Looking at a couple different approaches to a tough job helps your strategize the best plan of attack. Doing your first timing belt on a Mitsubishi 3000 GT? Before diving in, read the repair procedures on ALLDATA and watch a YouTube video. You’ll be happy you did. YouTube gets a bad rap but it’s not just videos of pets and babies. If you’re able to filter through the garbage, you’ll find some valuable information. Regardless of whether you’re a Master Auto Technician or a DIYer, YouTube has something to help you out.