Mechanic Looking Under HoodMy interest in motorsports extends beyond simply wanting to ride. I enjoy the challenge of learning how things work and take pride in being able to maintain things without much assistance from professional mechanics. Fortunately, I grew up in a family where it was completely normal to tear your own junk apart when it broke, figure out what was wrong, repair it and reassemble. Thus, it was no wonder that I married a man who makes a living fixing cars. Now, when I need some help, I just holler for his assistance.

But what happens when you have an interest in ATV’s, boats or 4×4 rigs and are clueless as to how they work. You want to experience the sense of accomplishment that accompanies bringing life back to a broke down vehicle, but all you really know is where the gas nozzle goes. How do you start?

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to learn or ask questions. Technology has advanced the inner workings of motor powered vehicles to a point that more than a repair manual and a wrench is required to do much more than change the oil. However, with a little determination and mechanical prowess, you can tackle tasks of varying degrees of difficulty.

Start by purchasing a repair manual for the vehicle that you are planning to focus your work on. Having a model specific reference is a big help when you need a repair diagram or location of a specific part.

Next, grab a cold drink and sit down in front of the computer. The internet is a vast, magical resource for automotive repair enthusiasts. Begin your research by checking reviews and manufacturer’s specifications for the machine that you’ll be working on. Next, register for an online discussion forum that focuses on the type of vehicle you’re focused on. Online discussion boards exist for boats, quads, UTV’s, 4×4’s and any other topic known to mankind. Fortunately, most forums offer plenty of advice from fellow motorsports enthusiasts about their repair experiences and offer a free avenue for advice.

After you’ve armed yourself with the information required to make repairs, don’t hesitate to explore the vehicle. Take off a few nuts and bolts to find the location of a specific part, or simply evaluate the problem in person to decide if you feel comfortable tackling the task yourself. If not, now is the time to call your mechanically inclined friends. Not only does working on vehicles with friends build a sense of camaraderie, but working with someone confident in their mechanical abilities is the best learning tool.

Learning to repair your own vehicles is a long term process. Take the opportunity to ask questions at the parts counter, of your experienced friends, or via online discussion forums. Then put your new found knowledge to work bit by bit. Tackle projects that fit your skill level and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you amass a set of stellar skills!