Setting up a Home Car Workshop by Julian Edgar – Review
By Colin Barnett
One of life’s certainties is that it never gets any cheaper to maintain a car. It’s by no means unusual to have to pay a labour rate of £100 an hour, but it’s still quite feasible to save significant amounts of hard-earned cash by maintaining your own car, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on your practical ability and confidence. Although cars are getting increasing complicated, there are still many books out there showing you how to fix your own car. This book, however, isn’t one of them.
Setting up a Home Car Workshop assumes you are ready, willing and able to carry out your own repairs, but concentrates on the largely ignored angle of making whatever resources you have, work as efficiently as possible. At first glance, it seems as though the book is laid out illogically, with chapters on designing and organising your home workshop located near the back. However, on reflection, looking first at the essential tools you might need makes sense, as without these you can’t do anything. So it starts off with a chapter looking in a necessarily superficial way at the vast range of hand tools that are available.
“Solutions on a budget”
It moves on through increasingly sophisticated equipment, ranging from small power tools right up to serious kit such as lathes, milling machines and welders, if your ambitions stretch that far. Two areas are addressed that are essential in even the most basic setup. Some sort of bench to work on removed components is vital, as is some means of gaining access to carry out the inevitable jobs underneath the car. The book’s author, with a lifetime of fixing cars, recognises that not everyone has even a basic garage to work in, describing the most simple of approaches to common tasks, but doesn’t hold back when it comes to feeding loftier ambitions either.
There’s nothing worse than knowing that you have a certain piece of equipment but not being able to find it. Fortunately one of the most useful chapters contains a wealth of handy tips for creating storage solutions on a budget. Of course, one of the defining features of modern vehicles is their often complex electronic systems, and the tools to carry out essential diagnostic tasks are described. A short chapter on innovative design should provide some motivation, then if you’ve read the book from front to back, it finishes off with the most critical chapter, on safety. Critical because, if you take shortcuts instead of care, you might just kill yourself and others. Scary but true.
Everyone who plans to fix their own car will find this book to be a valuable supplement to their workshop manual.
‘Setting up a Home Car Workshop’ by Julian Edgar in published by Veloce, £19.99