What's your first stop for repair tutorials?
Do you like ifixit? Are there better sites? I see a lot of questions and not so many answers. Have you been able to fix something using ifixit, or a better site?0
Recently I swapped a HDD out of an iPod. I repair laptops regularly for friends and co-workers. I also work on my cars, just short of major rebuilding tasks like engines or transmissions (no room for these rebuilds). Ironically, home repair is difficult for me. Anyway, this is my process for repairing an appliance or electronic device.
1) Find the service manual if it exists. Search on the the model number plus the filetype as PDF, see if you get results. For Kenmore appliances they have an inexplicably varied model number hierarchy, but you can get close enough for finding manuals that apply. I found a service manual for a washing machine that was close enough to replace the gasket on the front-loader. It also had a parts lookup. Sears is a very good company for repair information on their products.
2) If no service manual exists -- let's say you can't even buy one from eBay -- then iFixit or any teardown site is usually where I'd look next. Obviously Apple isn't going to let me see a service manual for their iPods, so a teardown site is helpful. Lots of the advice is useful but adaptable: they will recommend plastic spudgers but I have cheap micro screwdrivers that get the job done without any visible damage, too. You develop a touch for this over time; lots of broken parts in the past but there's no substitute for experience.
3) I don't print out instructions but I guess you could. I just keep a laptop open while following along. Removing an iPod HDD is more nerve-wracking than difficult because of the fragility of the connectors. Still, it's fifteen minutes total time. Removing a laptop graphics card is much harder, more to remove and track on the parts list, but still very accessible. Working on cars, probably the toughest task by far just due to the sheer physicality of it: you're applying more force in tight spots and you never seem to have the right tool.
So, in summary, look for PDFs of service manuals first, service manuals in any form next, and visual teardown guides last. Text instructions generally suck and even Ikea instructions beat a narrative.
you tube , if your lucky, can have some great how to fix. Soon i will have to look at repairing the damage from black coffee that flew 3 feet onto my laptop keyboard.
For cars , the best source i have found are enthisiast discussion boards devoted to that one model of car. I had a 1995 astrovan and by the mileage and sounds i was hearing, there were 4 or 5 fuel pump failures that shoed in a quick search right at that mileage with the same warning sound at crank. , that we all disregarded. The best feature was the asy cheap fix, compared to the garage $500 plus fix,since the fuel pump was on top of the gas tank, and costly to drop and replace with a OEM one. a better home mechanic fix for this 10 year old vehicle was to put an aftermarket universal fuel pump in the fuel line before the injectors in a accessible location. I uswe the same type of group for my honda element, great to find a trailer hitch or wiring harness that will work, and will line out up with frame holes. S we know parts manufacturers state one size is universal when it is not. The astrovan discussion group explained the fix fir and the reason why the vehicle would lose total braking power at speeds under 15mph. All those stories of the brakes just failed, but passed inspection after the crash, and all those people killed,due to a error caused by brake dust in the low speed disc sensor, were all covered up by the manufacturer and widely blamed as people not knowing how to stop, and they got away with it. 1995 era GM vehicles. The car would stop was 100% true, it happened to me and i could squat 700lbs,so no weak legs at that time.Luckily the two sidewalks i was crossing but unable to stop at were clear .
The first place I look is inside the machine. If it's a dishwasher, clotheswasher, refrigerator, microwave, or other home appliance it will most likely have the repair info taped inside it.
Seriously; did you think the appliance repair guy kept 10,000 manuals in his truck? If it's a major home appliance, the manual usually hidden inside the machine. Pull off the most obvious access panels and look around.
For cars, just buy the factory service manual when you buy the car. Typically $200, although the fancier cars (like hybrids or maybachs) will run you more.
If the guys that installed your furnace weren't purposely being dicks, that manual will be tucked into outside of the return ductwork.
Anything else, I google it.
My husband uses repairclinic.com. It has help instructions and usually some of the best prices available on parts. That said, you need to write down the brand and model#/part# info BEFORE cruising the web! Also, I once viewed a house for sale where the previous owner had written in permanent marker the purchase date of all applicances ON THE APPLIANCE. I have adopted the practice. Now instead of going to the dreaded file cabinet, I just pull the appliance out and look on an inconspicuous surface (back of the fridge, washer etc) to see when we purchased it. We put dates on our air filters and fire alarm batteries too.
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