Autos: A Fix-It- Yourself Approach

As a secretary, Karen Liable could type "four-barrel carburetor," but she certainly did not know what it did or even looked like. For precisely that reason, she was picked to leave her desk at the Ford Motor Co. last week, don coveralls, and approach a waiting Pinto, the 2,000-lb. subcompact that Ford will put on sale Sept. 11. Her mission: to perform many of the adjustments described in the owner's manual, The Happy Pinto —and How to Keep It That Way. If Karen failed, Ford officials said, the manual would be deemed a...

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