No one likes it when their things break. It might be something big, like your TV or your car, or something smaller, like a leaky faucet or a cracked floor tile. You can spend hundreds of dollars to have a professional help you out, or you can learn how to fix it yourself for the cost of some tools and a couple hours of work. Which would you rather do?
Before you go trying to fix all of your problems by yourself, make sure that you’re making safe decisions. If something really expensive or potentially dangerous (especially things that include flames or electricity) is broken, I strongly recommend calling a professional unless you have experience with this sort of thing.
With almost 2,000 Mac repair guides, 2,000 phone repair guides, and 1,000 PC repair guides, iFixit has you covered for just about any electronic repair you could want to undertake. There are camera, automotive, appliance, household, and computer guides, as well.
The guides are incredibly detailed and walk you through every conceivable step in the repair process; for example, the guide on how to replace the headphone and speaker jack assembly on a Samsung Galaxy SIII has no less than eleven steps to take off the back cover and remove the battery, SIM card, and microSD card. Nothing is left to chance in these guides, which is great for inexperienced tinkerers.
The pictures included in each guide are of high quality, making it very easy to see what needs to be done to make the repair, and some guides also include videos. Each guide includes a list of tools and parts that are needed, many of which you can purchase directly from the iFixit store, which offers useful things like the iOpener, a heated pack that will help you open your iPad, and this cool magnetic project mat. Between the supplies for sale and the thousands of repair guides, you’ll always have what you need to fix your laptop, phone, tablet, or game console.
Around the House: The Family Handyman
Though The Family Handyman is a subscription magazine, their website offers a wealth of repair tips for various parts of your home. There are sections for heating and cooling, electrical, floors, automotive, painting, pest control, plumbing, and a wide range of other things. It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for in the category pages, but running a search will help you get to the guide you need.
The page layout on The Family Handyman isn’t the best, but once you get used to it, you’ll be able to find useful information. For example, it doesn’t always look like the Article tab on the page has the information you need, but you’ll find it if you scroll down. Similarly, many of the images are actually sliders, and will allow you to see two or three different images that will give you a better idea of what you need to do.
Although the images aren’t quite as detailed as the ones you’ll find on iFixit, you should be able to use The Family Handyman to get through almost any repair without too much trouble, especially if you have some mechanical or construction experience. For example, in an article about installing a tile floor in your bathroom, you’re instructed to remove the toilet, but left to figure out how to do that on your own.
And if you can’t find what you need on The Family Handyman, you can always check out these 8 websites full of home DIY tips.
Your Car: DIY Auto School
Fixing your own car can be a bit scary, but DIY Auto School make the process a lot easier. From restoring a rusted-out car to fixing a dent, the guys from the school will give you tips to get you through the process, even if you’re a total newbie to car repair (though you might want to leave some of the more complicated repairs to a professional).
Because DIY Auto School is a YouTube channel, there’s not much organization to speak of, so your best bet is to go to their page and then search for what you’re looking for and see if they have a video on it. There are many videos on how to restore old cars and fix dents and collision damage. You’ll also find a number of videos on how to prep and paint your car and some more common tasks like replacing brake pads.
You never really know if you’re going to find what you’re looking for at DIY Auto School, but there’s a lot of great information on their channel. And because it’s on YouTube, if you can’t find a tutorial on the subject you want, you can continue searching through other channels to get the details of your repair.
Your Bike: Park Tool
If you’ve done any work on your bike in the past, you might’ve used tools made by Park — they’re one of the leading manufacturers of bike repair tools (you might recognize their signature blue color on the website). On the homepage of their repair section, there’s an image of a bike, and all you have to do is click on the part of the bike that you need to fix. If you’re having brake problems, click on the brake section; if you need help with your bottom bracket, just click on the bottom bracket shell. The miscellaneous topics section also contains some very useful articles.
Unless you’re experienced with bikes, some of the topics might be a little advanced. The basics, though, like adjusting the derailleur, servicing cantilever brakes, or changing inner tubes, are explained very well and with enough pictures to get you through the process like a pro.
In addition to the repair guides, there’s also Calvin’s Corner, a blog by one of the professional mechanics at Park. While some of the things are targeted specifically for bike shops, you will find some gems like “Basic use of tools” and “Repairing on-the-ride.”
Learning to fix things is a great way to be more self-sufficient and save some money. You never know what’s going to break next, but if you have the resources to fix some of the most common issues with your computer, electronics, home, car, and bike, you’ll be prepared to deal with most of the problems that come up. If you have a toolbox with the basic tools and these four websites bookmarked, you’ll be a handyman in no time!
Have you learned to fix things online? Do you have any recommendations for good repair manual sites? Share them below!
Image Credit: Lyntha Scott Eiler via Wikimedia Commons