Is there a book for old people 64 and 73, who want to learn how to care for a 97 Jimmy & 98 Dakota?

We don’t even know how to change the oil, but after listening to the program on Saturdays we want to embark on the journey to learn about cars, at least so we will not have to grill the mechanic for an hour to understand what is said.
And we will someday have to retire the other old two. thank you!

There are many such books available. Check your local library. If you wish to purchase some starter books there are, for example, Auto Repair for Dummies

or The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Auto Repair

both available from These are general how-to books that are suitable for any car. There are also repair guides for your two particular vehicles, but I am assuming you are not interested in making repairs yourself, just wishing to have an understanding of what’s going on. These books (or similar titles) will get you started.

You can probably also buy a Haynes or Chilton’s repair manual that would give you specifics about your particular vehicle at Advance Auto Parts of Auto Zone for about $20.-$35. Ebay is also another good place to often find these manuals in used condition many times for under $10. If you are going to attempt any repairs yourself I’d suggest trying to find a Chilton’s manual even if they are a little bit more expensive, because they usually go into more detail and list more specifications about the vehicle. I also see factory service manuals, the ones the dealership uses when repairing your car on ebay often for under $50. Most of the ones I’ve listed won’t be helpful without at least having basic knowledge of the different parts and systems.

It’s nice to be able to do your own oil changes, but maybe you shouldn’t want to. (Stop, reread the original statement, give better answer,) It’s always better to understand what the mechanic is talking about but the talk changes a lot, so you will have questions anyway. Sometimes the answers they have would fix somebody else’s car immediately and yours not at all.

One day, Ray told Tom what to write and they called it Click and Clack on Cars, or maybe Car Talk or even both. I just threw my copy away last week, so I can’t tell you for sure. I did read it from cover to shining cover and it tells you what the things in a car are and what they do. I read it for the funny parts but I have the Car Talk calendar and I plan to throw it out in about two months. I like technology, so I read Science Fiction books by David Weber.

Many thanks. Auto repair for dummies is where we will start and if we can remember what we read we will advance to Chilton’s. Knowing something about cars is better than not knowing and doing is probably not a good idea for us, unless we get a model T Ford. At least now we know we have limits.

If I may, the first book you should start with is in the glove box. Know matter how much you know, think you know, or admittedly don’t know about cars, this book is a must read for car owners and drivers. Nothing wrong with reading the other books too.

Treat any maintenance transaction as you would any other business deal. Its best to develop a good relationship with a good mechanic and pay a little more for the routine maintenance, it can save you money in the long run.

For high dollar repairs, especially from a new mechanic that you don’t normally deal with, always get a second opinion. Beware of the mechanic who always finds a $1000 in needed repairs every time you go in, no matter how good the vehicle runs when you leave.

If you do embark on this journey, a good set of tools is a must. I purchased my first ratchet set from Sears, the Craftsman Mechanic series. At the time, my car and most domestic cars still used SAE standard bolts. So, I got a set with both SAE and Metric. It included ratchet sizes for 3/8" drive and 1/2" drive. 30 years later, and I wore out the 3/8" ratchet and I broke a 1/2" drive breaker bar. Sears replaced both for free under their lifetime warranty.

Now, all cars, not just imports, use Metric. So, if you decide to jump in, I’d find a good quality Metric set of tools. Believe me, nothing is more frustrating than a cheap tool breaking when the car is half apart.