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I guess it depends on where "local" is and so far we have no clue. In Calif most of the JCs have automotive technology courses. You could also offer to be an apprentice at a nearby well-respected shop and earn while you learn.

Automotive Technology
 

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Every now and then here in western NY something like this will come up in adult education. Courses taught by local knowledgeable people for a nominal fee at night at the local high school. Maybe in CA too?
 

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NYC metro area here. I've been thinking it would be a great idea for a local pca chapter to do classes. Eg, this is how to change your brake pads, etc. I'd love to do some basic stuff but I'd really like to get hands on experience. How did everyone else learn the basics?

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Every now and then here in western NY something like this will come up in adult education. Courses taught by local knowledgeable people for a nominal fee at night at the local high school. Maybe in CA too?
I live in MD and they also offer auto repair courses at some high schools at night for a nominal charge.
 

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NYC metro area here. I've been thinking it would be a great idea for a local pca chapter to do classes. Eg, this is how to change your brake pads, etc. I'd love to do some basic stuff but I'd really like to get hands on experience. How did everyone else learn the basics?

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I learned how to wrench on things (including cars) from the old man. You don't need professional training to do simple things like an oil change, brake pads, etc. You do need a mentor who can be there the first few times you try something new until you get a good feel for how and why things go wrong.

I had a friend who wanted to learn how to work on cars. He had a friend who ran an auto shop and learned very basic skills under his tutelage. Later, after my friend moved and was no longer close to this person, he called me to ask if I could help him take apart the engine in his WRX (turbo on its way out, I think). This was the first time he had tried this level of work (taking heads off and camshafts out) and there were some things I learned from my dad about where you store and how to organize parts so they do not get damaged or lost, amongst other things.

Start with really simple stuff like rotating tires and move up from there. Find someone to show you how to do each type of service and offer to help them work on their own cars. Make sure they know you're a beginner and want them to keep an eye on you, of course. You can also ask them to come help you work on your car in exchange for help later on theirs, free beer, etc.

Best of luck! DIY is really rewarding, but do take it slow if you don't have a lot of experience turning wrenches. It's not hard, but there is a learned skill that you need to master, i.e. "Don't strip the threads!" Most nuts and bolts "seize up" when they are properly tight, and over-torquing them can break the bolt. Worse, it could be a stud that is cast into the part you are working on. Ask your mentor to teach you how to tell when you are making something too tight (torque specs can be wrong!)
 

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three sources that I have used are
1) a British TV show called Wheeler Dealer, where the buy used cars, repair some aspects, and then sell on. Its an interesting show to watch. They typically spend about 1/3 to 1/2 of the show on some repairs. They work on all different cars so its more of a general mechanic learning, but they give you some guidance on how to do some things well and what things to avoid.
2) youtube has many excellent videos on often very specific repairs on cars.
3) websites like this one where people will often post step-by-step with pictures of how to do general maintenance to upgrades.

I also took a class at a local high school adult education program and while it was worthwhile, it was very, very basic.

Hope this helps.
 

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NYC metro area here. I've been thinking it would be a great idea for a local pca chapter to do classes. Eg, this is how to change your brake pads, etc. I'd love to do some basic stuff but I'd really like to get hands on experience. How did everyone else learn the basics?

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We have done exactly this within the Niagara Region PCA. Once a year a member provided his car/garage for demonstrations of various maintenance items. Coffee and doughnuts too.
 

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Man, I would LOVE this. I may reach out to the local chapter and see if we can get something on the calendar.
You may as well volunteer via your local chapter's web site, your employer's email list/communication system or other such communication system to trade a helping hand/six pack for grease monkey training. Many of the folks I've wrenched with really enjoyed someone to shoot the bull with while banging knuckles and plastic gauging cranks.

There is something cathartic about being elbow deep in an engine compartment while bs-ing about life in general.

Most times having someone to grab you the wrench you left on the bench speeds up the process and walking them through what you are doing helps you make sure you are doing it right as well. Some of my greatest memories happened in garages with people I originally thought were totally different than they turned out to be. My deepest friendships are still those I built turning wrenches in someone's two car garage drinking a cold one and trying to find those damn dropped nuts on the cement floor.


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You may as well volunteer via your local chapter's web site, your employer's email list/communication system or other such communication system to trade a helping hand/six pack for grease monkey training. Many of the folks I've wrenched with really enjoyed someone to shoot the bull with while banging knuckles and plastic gauging cranks.

There is something cathartic about being elbow deep in an engine compartment while bs-ing about life in general.

Most times having someone to grab you the wrench you left on the bench speeds up the process and walking them through what you are doing helps you make sure you are doing it right as well. Some of my greatest memories happened in garages with people I originally thought were totally different than they turned out to be. My deepest friendships are still those I built turning wrenches in someone's two car garage drinking a cold one and trying to find those damn dropped nuts on the cement floor.


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Already emailed some my local chapter. I'll just post in the local forum if that doesn't go anywhere. ?

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Not want to go to auto mechanist school of course. I wonder if any local classes that would teach people how to repair or modify cars.

Any suggestions?

The cheapest route would be from a nearby forum member.
There are quite a few of us on the forum who enjoy crawling under our cars, and getting our hands dirty.

Next best is to look up a video on YouTube, or in a How To forum post.
If you follow the directions, you usually won't be steered wrong.

After that, you family, friends, or a neighbor to guide you.

But yes, your local community college will most likely have an available course if you want to spend a bit of money.

If you were in the Denver area, and had something specific you wanted to learn, I would be happy to show you.
 
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