Working on cars is easy; there are only a few simple steps you need to take in order to be your very own mechanic. In doing these things, the author takes no responsibility for the readers’ negligence working on their automobile therein.

1) Food: Before you start tinkering with timing belts, or tearing into your transmission, you first need to eat. The first thing every mechanic will tell you is, “you can’t work on a car on an empty stomach.” In addition to giving your brain the necessary brain-food to comprehend the extremely technical details of your auto, you also must give your brainless muscles the proper nutrients to give them adequate fuel to crank those ratchets and bang the hammers (hammers?).

2) Getting the proper tools: “ah yes, I’ve got this one covered. My son/father/wife gave me a complete tool set for Christmas… I should be all set, right?” Wrong. This is a common misconception when first getting into auto repair. No matter how many tools one ever acquires, there is no “complete tool set”. Ratchets, wrenches, vice-grips, screw-drivers, and all those other neat little knick-knacks that come in tool-chests are a good start to your collection – but the complete tool set is the unattainable object of every mechanic.

3) Documentation: If you drive a Volkswagen or an Audi, chances are pretty good that there’s a Bentley Manual out there for you somewhere. These “manuals” consist of everything you ever needed to know about your car (even all the things you never knew you wanted to know). If you aren’t so blessed as to drive one of the most kick-ass vehicles ever (with German engineering to boot), there are other manuals called Haynes manuals. These cover vehicles of all makes and models. They cover most low to mid-range valued cars. For more expensive autos (i.e. Ferrari, Porsche, etc) you will have to refer to the manufacturer, or of course – professional mechanics (if you screw one of those suckers up, you will be sad).

4) Company: It’s always important to remember that two heads are better than one. When it comes to dealing with things that are as finicky and unpredictable as automobiles, a second brain can always help. Whether it’s someone to pass the time while fastening bolts or tearing apart precision machined engines or if it’s just someone to scratch their head while you scratch yours in confusion, another person to keep you straight is always a good idea. Sharing tools can be a frustration, so try to avoid working on parallel tasks (i.e. those which might require the same tools). To maximize efficiency, divide and conquer.

5) Hammers are a no-no: When it comes to working on cars, despite every instinct in your body to hit or smash those things that frustrate you – don’t do it. Unlike computers and televisions, cars do not take well to massive focused trauma. When something does not move the way you want it to, in all likelihood it is not going to move unless it breaks. Breaking inconvenient components can keep you in the garage for longer than you might have originally planned. You do not use hammers on cars, it's just a bad idea. The only condoned and sanctioned use of hammers on cars by any mechanic would be on the body.

6) Alcohol (optional): Any fun with cars has got to require a few brewskies (I feel so red-nek using that word). With each progressive alcoholic beverage, your problems will seem to melt away, until you’ve got a perfect car that has no problems. Of course, a common side-effect of this phenomenon is sobriety. The following day, you’ll wake up to find that vandals have obviously broken into your garage and put gaskets on backwards, dismantled your engine, reassembled your engine and left spare parts, and any other variety of catastrophes. If alcohol is going to be in the picture, drink in moderation, unless you want thieving ninjas to dismantle your transmission in the middle of the night and steal your hub-caps.

In conclusion, working on cars is fun. There is nothing extremely technical about them, except for the ECU (engine control unit) -- stear clear of it... it's trouble. All you need is a good reference resource, and a patient, methodical mindset. You’ll feel as though you’ve thoroughly emasculated the automobile once you get finished changing the ________ (insert cool technical name here), and you have dirt and grease covering your hands and face. Chicks dig men that can work on cars, and men dig chicks that know the difference between ratchet and a wrench.