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Finding Automotive Repair and Service ManualsNotes From The Road

Finding Automotive Repair and Service Manuals
By Mike Bumbeck/

Reading Between the Gaskets and Bolts -
In our travels into automotive repairs and time spent with wrenches there is often mention of consulting the service or repair manual. When it comes to a removal and replacement of something fairly straightforward and simple like an air filter or an oil and filter change, the procedure is more or less universal. A service or repair manual is probably a good idea when it comes time to tackle a more esoteric task like finessing the SPICA fuel injection system on a 1973 Alfa Romeo Montreal into a steady idle.

While there is certainly a large part of the shade tree mechanic set who will generally throw directions to the wind no matter what the task, vehicle specific instructions can be a good thing when it comes to things like brakes and wheels. Finding the service manual can be half the battle. Locating a service or repair manual is much like finding a car. There are a few different kinds and more than one place to look for them. Read on for a few tips for locating the books for everything from a 1971 Ford Pinto to 2001 Toyota Camry.
Making the Books
Making the Books
There are more or less two kinds of books when it comes to automobile repair. The first and most expensive are the factory service manuals. These are the same books used at the dealership to help fix errant connecting rods or chase faulty electronics. Next in line is another kind of service manual. Companies like Haynes and Chiltons use factory service manuals along with cameras and writers to dismantle then reassemble automobiles to produce their own repair books. These are usually geared more toward the occasional mechanic.
The Dealer
The Dealer
The first and often most expensive option is to step up to the parts counter at the dealership. If the owner's manual in the glovebox has the same year on the cover as that calendar on the wall, then forking over a pile of cash may be the only option until some time passes. On the other side of the time machine is that the dealer is often the only option if the car has seen a few presidents. Stepping away from the parts counter with a genuine factory manual is usually a fairly painful financial experience. A used manual will have more greasy fingerprints but can cost a lot loss.

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