If some one wanted to become and engineer, what would you tell him. Start with the basics. And study.
Go get a copy of "Car Repair For Dummies" Or the "Idiots Guide to Car Repair". Start here. Once you have a basic grasp of the mechanical setup of a car. Buy a SAE automotive study book such as "Modern Automotive Technology" by James Duffy. This is a book to prepare to take the SAE automotive certification test. It will explain various sections of the car in general detail to prepare someone for the SAE test.
This will be a reference book. Then you increase your knowledge towards your specific car. Its not light reading, but your not taking the test. Certian sections I have re-read for more knowledge. Other sections I have just skimmed for general knowledge.
Lots of diagrams, pictures and exploded diagrams to explain various systems.
It is expensive. $75-100. But a great sorce book.
Look at it at Barnes and Nobles or and book store.
As posted above, get a $100 beater and take it apart. Them try to put it back together. Thats how the majority of the people on the forum learned. A knowledgable freind will also be an asset.
Jon the Mercedes Benz Club Of America. Each month we have "do it your self" sessions at various auto shops. Go, watch and ask.
1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car