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How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  462 ratings  ·  38 reviews
First published in 1969, this classic manual of automotive repair equips VW owners with the practical skills to keep their Volkswagen running smoothly. Inside you'll find:

Expert knowledge on any air-cooled Volkswagen built through 1978, including Bugs, Karmann Ghias, vans, and campers

Easy-to-understand, fun-to-read information for novice and veteran mechanics alike, with a
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 29th 2001 by Rick Steves (first published January 1st 1969)
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Richard Ellis
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My Dad had an old '64 Bug that hadn't run in 10 years. I had a new driver's license. I asked him if I could have the Bug if I could get it running. I'd never worked on cars before but re-built the engine, clutch, brakes, and electrical by reading this book.

Most repair manuals are not good reads. This one is great. Mostly philosophical and comical with some instruction thrown in. I think it teaches a great approach to any undertaking.
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first "Idiot Guide" ever. This is absolutely the best, easy to understand, book on not only maintaining, but also completely tearing down, and putting back together your older model vw. The "exploded views" are hand illustrated by the extremely talented Peter Aschwanden. Note the earlier editions shown on the right. I had one of the early spiral notebook editions! ...more
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shiraz
Great when I had 2 volkswagens, 30 odd years ago. Still the only repair and maintenance book of its type for any car that I have seen and certainly the only one that I could pick up and read a couple of pages for the sake of reading. I have given my copies away to other VW owners
Lawrence Moore
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book not only changes that way I related to my Volkswagens, it changed the way I relate to all machinery and the Universe. Essential reading. Buy a Volkswagen to justify buying the book if you have to.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I long ago lost count of how many different VW bugs I owned, and one bus along the way. Those were my impoverished student days and I worked on them myself, with some memorable team efforts with good friends. This book--and a big collection of hand tools--was pretty much enough to get me by.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OMG I love this MANUAL it saved my A&& more times than I can count ! John RIP!THANK YOU!
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Your one-stop-shop for keeping your VW running. I can't even count the number of times this book helped me out when I had my bus. I'd highly recommend this to all owners of old VWs. ...more
Michael Latiolais
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is not just a book on car repair. It's also a philosophic treatise on life. I recommend it for everyone, whether you have an air cooled VW or not. ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without question, this is the best-crafted how to manual I have ever used. The only things I rank in its league are the Heathkit Assembly manuals of yore. The writing is lighthearted to the point of occasional silliness but the information is as close to flawlessly acccurate as you'll find in any shop manual published. Illustrations are clear and make the procedures easy to follow. Muir renders the imposing repair jobs into things that are quite doable by people who have the desire (and need) bu ...more
Zeke Foonman
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I owned a 1968 VW Bug. This book of John Muir's taught me everything I needed to know to keep my "Slug-a-Bug" alive and running. If you own an aircooled VW, you have to have this book. It will save you time, money, cursing and bloody knuckles while you work on your beloved Volkswagen. ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book both saved and changed -- or rather, confirmed and reinforced my life.
Chic Barna
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Allowed me to keep my 1962 VW Bus alive through college and a few years beyond.
Robert Kinsloe
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Must have "Bible" for VW Bus owners like myself ...more
Peter Jr.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book at the tender age of nine, and was immediately fascinated by its humor and imagery. The year was 1985, and my dad had just bought a '68 Beetle; I was gonna help him get it fixed-up, and I was totally stoked. While Dad was an experienced wrench-turner, I didn't know the first thing (except the fact that VW motors are in the back). With this manual in hand, I learned how an internal-combustion engine works and the importance of keeping long hair tucked into a cap while worki ...more
Regan Ross
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the book I've read with the most character. An in-depth auto manual but a dive into the spirit of Muir himself. He writes as though to a friend. ...more
C Miller
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: volkswagen
If you can hold a pair of pliers and can fix your least that's how I felt when I read this many, many moons ago. I love by VW (bug and squareback) and hope to get a bus one day. ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great book that has useful and easy to understand auto reapir and rebuild information. With lines like (parapharsing): I let my volkswagen warm up for the time it takes me roll a cigarette and don't forget to tuck your hair under a stocking hat.

More than a few times I have had this book out while laying under my old bus (with my hair in a stocking cap) waving this book in an effort t chase out random germlins.

Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of the all-time best mechanic manuals. Muir leads you not only into the heart of your VW (and its history), but plants seeds about conscious living and driving and recycling. The illustrations are priceless and will keep you smiling for years. If all technical manuals could be like this, the world would be quite a different place. Big words, yes, but take a trip into the book.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was an invaluable resource to me when I had my 65 Volkswagen bug as my only vehicle. I was trying to keep it running as best I could, as best it would. I learned a lot and it was so fun to read as well. I miss that car. I had an early edition and it was full of greased pages and well used.
Mitch Grady
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It gets five stars for its overall vibe, but some of its advice must be taken in context: it was written when you could go downtown and buy a brand-new air-cooled Volkswagen and, more importantly, brand-new factory made VW parts. Also, I know John really really wants you to but please never put a 009 in your air-cooled Volkswagen.
Chris Waymire
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was the first and only auto manual that I ever read all the way through. I found that not only did it teach me how to fix my vw, but it taught me that a teaching and writing technical information didn't have to be dry as reading an encyclopedia. ...more
Jason Hastings
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book to read and look at - whether you own a VW or not. its so much more that an auto repair manual (although it excels at this) with some sage advice on living a life unencombered by our disposable society. DIY bible.
Timothy Stahl
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Story of Volkswagen is like no other. It combines incredible engineering, history and business success that could only have happened in the cauldron of the post WWI/WWII eras. This book is fun reading and started a Genre of it's own. ...more
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
super fun read. with picture!! definetly worth taking a drive down an unknown map in your favorite v-dub and have an adventure.
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Air Cooled VW owners
Great book. Love the section on "expensive noises". ...more
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Required reading for anyone who has ever owned, driven, seen, smelt or heard any type of automobile.
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A must have for any air cooled VW owner.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm starting from scratch and I have a 1973 Beetle that I plan restoring with my dad. This covers things so even a complete idiot can understand! ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't miss my beat-up old bug as much as I miss this book. ...more
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
im reading this again(again).
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John Muir (1918–1977) was an aerospace engineer who worked for Lockheed, who "dropped out," 1960s-style, to become a long-haired car mechanic with a garage in Taos, New Mexico, specializing in maintenance and repair of Volkswagens. He is a descendant of the naturalist John Muir.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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