Having a good book on automotive repair can go a long way to help understand how a vehicle works.
Repair manuals are good but require the fundamentals of mechanical repair to be already understood.
Many articles online are also a good resource but can often skip subjects and leave gaps in explanations.
This is why a good book on automotive repair is something that is always good to read.
Often one book will explain a topic very well while another will do better on another topic.
Here we list some of our favorite options for Auto repair books in 2021 with links to Amazon.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure a book is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best Auto Mechanic Automotive Repair Books
- How Cars Work
- Automotive Wiring and Electrical Systems
- Automotive Diagnostic Systems
- Automotive Engines: Theory and Servicing
- Small Engines and Outdoor Power Equipment
- Automotive Bodywork and Rust Repair
How Cars Work
This is a great book for anyone who has no idea how a car engine or mechanical parts work.
Explanations include engine, steering system, power train, cooling system, brakes, electrical system, and much more.
It does not go in-depth into each section but gives a very good overview of what each part does, along with pictures to help with explanations.
While not extremely technical, this is a good book for someone with little-to-no idea how a vehicle’s mechanical parts all work together.
Automotive Wiring and Electrical Systems (Workbench Series)
Automotive wiring problems can be the most challenging of vehicle repairs.
While mechanical repairs can be difficult, they are often more easily understood than wiring.
Only experience will help an individual become good at troubleshooting a wiring problem, but a good book is a good place to start.
This book is a good read for a basic overview of a vehicle’s electrical and basic troubleshooting.
Automotive Diagnostic Systems: Understanding OBD-I & OBD-II (Workbench How-To)
OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) is an interface all cars and trucks use to read a vehicle’s computer for error codes along with erasing them.
When an engine light comes on, an OBD scan tool can read the code, which can be looked up, pointing to the problem.
All vehicles today, 1996 and newer, have OBDII built-in for troubleshooting.
Some have extra features depending on the manufacturer that adds more troubleshooting codes to the OBDII base standard.
For example, VCDS scan tools are widely used for Volkswagen’s since they have more codes and even modding options.
Most vehicle computer OBDII codes are used today to find a problem. While some are straightforward forward, others depending on the truck or car model, can be more ambiguous. This book helps to clear things up.
If you need to understand how to troubleshoot an engine problem using OBD and OBDII, this is a good book.
Automotive Engines: Theory and Servicing (8th Edition) (Automotive Systems Books)
This is a book used by many colleges to teach automotive repair.
It has a lot of good information on the theory and practical approach to engine repair.
Small Engines and Outdoor Power Equipment: A Care & Repair Guide for: Lawn Mowers, Snowblowers & Small Gas-Powered Imple
Small engine repair is not done by most mechanics but can be a good way to make money on the side and confidently repair your own equipment.
Repairing small engines is not hugely different from a car or truck, but some small differences make reading a good book on the subject that makes a repair that much easier.
Automotive bodywork is a specialty that many mechanics will never need to do.
Knowing the basics of how bodywork repair and terminology is something that will come up once in a while. Many people will assume that a mechanic knows bodywork and will ask for opinions or referrals.
For this reason, reading a book for generalized knowledge on body repair is something recommended, even if you never have to do it.