Often the maintenance needed on an automotive system requires a lot of knowledge and very little physical effort. This is the kind of repair work that separates the good mechanics from the bad ones ... very quickly. Without the proper knowledge, mechanics may work for hours before they correct a simple problem. Sometimes they may never get an engine running correctly. A good mechanic that understands engines can repair one in a few minutes.

This series of studies is written with the intention of starting you on the correct road to becoming a good auto mechanic. In it we describe the different parts of the automotive system and how they operate together to make the system run the way it should.

You will find two distinct levels of presentation:  Basic and Advanced.


Basic Automotive Manuals

Principles of Internal Combustion Engines

This manual discusses the theory and operation of internal combustion engines and the various terms associated with them.

It is an excellent "first course" for future auto techs.

Construction of Internal Combustion Engines

This manual introduces the construction of internal combustion engines and their many moving and stationary parts, including the materials they are made of.  The information provided in this lesson will also help you to diagnose malfunctions and to correct the problems.

Gasoline Fuel Systems

As a licensed mechanic, you will be working with different types of fuel systems for the internal combustion engine. It is important to know how these components function to provide fuel to the engine and how to service those systems. You will need to be able to identify the properties of gasoline and the components of a fuel system. The information provided in this course will help you identify the different systems and understand how they operate.

Diesel Fuel Systems

In these lessons, you will learn the major components of the diesel fuel system and how they operate so you may better maintain or have the knowledge to repair a diesel engine.

Cooling and Lubrication Systems

The cooling and lubricating systems discussed in these lessons, along with their respective components and maintenance requirements, are representative of the types of systems you will be expected to maintain.

Basic Automotive Electricity

Knowing the basic principles of automotive electricity is essential for the mechanic to understand the operation of all automotive electrical systems and components. Unless you have a clear understanding of these fundamental principles, you will find it difficult to service the various electrical components and systems encountered in today's world. This is where it begins ...

Basic Automotive Electrical Circuits and Wiring

Automotive electrical systems are designed to perform a variety of functions. These systems contain five electrical circuits: charging, starting, ignition, lighting, and accessory. Electrical power and control signals must be delivered to electrical devices reliably and safely. By carefully studying this handbook, you will understand how these circuits work and the adjustments and repairs required to maintain the electrical systems in peak condition.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems

This manual covers the basic principles associated with hydraulics and pneumatics, followed by coverage of various system components. The purpose of this information is to give you an analytical understanding of the interrelationships of principles and the components of hydraulic and pneumatic operating systems.

Clutches, Transmissions, and Transaxles

When you have completed the work in this manual, you will understand the operating principles and identify the components and the maintenance for a clutch, a manual transmission, an automatic transmission, and a transaxle.

Drive Lines, Differentials, Drive Axles, and Power Train Accessories

In this manual you will learn the fundamentals of operation and upkeep of the drive lines, differentials, drive axles, and power takeoffs.


In this manual we will discuss the operational characteristics and components of the hydraulic and air brake systems that are common to today's vehicles.

Automotive Chassis and Body

This manual introduces the automotive chassis and its components. You will  learn about the springs, shock absorbers, and other components that allow the vehicle to pass over uneven terrain. You will also learn about the steering mechanism and how it controls the direction of vehicle travel. We further discuss how to complete some body repair and the techniques used to restore body panels. You will also learn about how these systems operate and how to make adjustments and some repairs.

Advanced Automotive Manuals

Engine Troubleshooting and Overhaul

This manual discusses the troubleshooting and overhaul of an engine. You first learn about horsepower, including a brief discussion on dynamometers and their role in engine overhaul.

Other topics include graphs and diagrams, engine troubleshooting, valve maintenance, servicing of cylinder heads, crankshafts, cylinders, and pistons and rings, and the operational testing of the engine after the overhaul has been completed with pre-startup, initial startup and run-in.


Fuel System Overhaul

In this manual, we are going to discuss fuel systems overhaul. The topics to be covered will include gasoline fuel injection systems, small engine carburetors, diesel fuel injection systems, air induction systems, cold starting devices for gasoline and diesel fuel injection systems, and emission systems.

Troubleshooting Automotive Electrical Systems

This manual discusses troubleshooting vehicle electrical systems. Automobiles, trucks, power generation equipment, and construction equipment are as much electrical and electronic as they are mechanical. Knowledge of specialized diagnostic equipment, such as the use of on-board diagnostics, is also essential for today's mechanic to troubleshoot equipment systems.

The first topic discussed is alternators, rectifiers, and voltage regulators, their nomenclature, and their function; then troubleshooting the charging system and its various tests. Other topics include  troubleshooting the alternator with emphasis on diodes and windings, the cranking system and its various tests, the ignition system and its components, lighting systems, and electrical accessories.

Note:  If you find you are having difficulty understanding the discussions of electrical theory, circuits, and components, you might try working with these basic, apprentice-level manuals:

Clutches and Automatic Transmissions

This manual provides information about the clutch and the automatic transmission, enabling you to   understand the operation of these units, to diagnose problems, and to prescribe corrective action.

Troubleshooting Transmissions, Transfer Cases, and Differentials

This manual covers the troubleshooting and overhaul of the systems and assemblies of the drive train, to include the transmission, transfer case, power takeoff, propeller shaft assembly, and differential. The information is intended as a general guide since there are a number of different models for all the assemblies presented, but it will provide you enough background information for troubleshooting and overhaul for each assembly.

Wheel and Track Alignment


Automotive Hydraulic Systems

This manual discusses the basic principles associated with hydraulics, followed by coverage of various system components. The purpose of this information is to give you an analytical understanding of the interrelationships of principles and components in an operating system. When you understand the operation of a system, it is much easier to analyze a malfunction and make the proper repairs.

Note: This is an advanced version of the topic. If you find you are lost in the discussions, you should consider taking the basic version first. Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems

Inspecting and Troubleshooting Automotive Brake Systems


Air Conditioning Systems



Most of these study units include multiple-choice exercises to test your understanding of the material. Answer keys are not available, however, at the request of schools using the course for graduation credit.

Copyright  David  L Heiserman
All rights reserved