Good Shop Practice #2: Read the Manual.

It is so tempting to dive in.  All those pert, shiny bolts to be turned and coy covers to remove.  The interfaces of most consumer products today are so well designed that user’s manuals are superfluous, making the temptation to play with the machine even greater.  Experienced mechanics are the most prone to this temptation, particularly with maintenance operations that we have done many times.  But for new and experienced mechanics alike, the step of reading through the shop manual is a vital step of training or re-training, respectively.  In addition to providing specific tolerance, quantities, and procedures, a good shop manual give you insight into the designer’s intent.  Very little on your machine is superfluous, and understanding its why is the only way to understand its how.  Good shop manuals are real pleasure reading.

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