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Old 08-22-2011, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
969 posts, read 1,782,149 times
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What would be the best repair manual to buy for someone who is not very mechanically knowledgeable but wants to get to know his car better and maybe do some simple repairs? I'd like to know more about where things are in the engine and how to replace parts like the O2 sensor and also how to replace my brake pads & rotors.

I read somewhere online that the Haynes manuals aren't very good. Is that true?
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
27,194 posts, read 59,064,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyroads View Post
What would be the best repair manual...
Haynes.

Quote:
I read somewhere online that the Haynes manuals aren't very good. Is that true?
No.

There are more detailed and in depth books available.
Very few will need them for the level of work most of them actually do.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:38 AM
 
10,967 posts, read 41,770,947 times
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Depends upon the make/model of car you are working on.

Haynes or Chilton's or Bentley generally are OK for D-I-Y'ers doing the type of work you want to do. You'd be hard pressed to find fault with any of these for your level of work.

Mitchell or Motor's, or the factory issued manual are professional level targeted publications, much more expensive ... and filled with information about diagnostics/repairs that you'll likely never attempt unless you need to do much more complex and/or tooling/equipment dependent repairs.

Two other sources you might consider:

1) Your local public library. Many have significant collections of automotive service literature, including pro-level publications as well as Haynes level books. In our area, they've signed up with ALLDATA or Chilton's On-line, so you have access to these service information sources. For some cars, they are more than adequate for your needs. My county library membership gives me a passkey into the system so I can even access the on-line automotive info from home.

2) A number of parts suppliers give free on-line access to Chilton's On-Line, too.

Yet another resource is to seek out the suppliers of C-D rom reprints of the manuals for your car. Much less expensive than the printed versions ... I've gotten these from eBay sellers for a fraction of the cost of an original printed factory manual.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:39 AM
 
10,946 posts, read 20,503,463 times
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Depends entirely on the car model. For example, Haynes is good for some, and Chilton better on others. Bentleys are gospel for VW's.

edit: sunsprit beat me by 1 min...

I second the library, mine has Chiltons stuff all online accessed with your library card.

Also, don't discount the internet. For my car, there exists a huge repair database put together by people who did repairs and wrote up the procedure.

http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/vol...volvo-repairs/

Everything from tinting windows to pulling the engine/transmission to diagnosing and repairing the head gasket.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
25,241 posts, read 60,562,512 times
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I did not know that Chiltons was still around. They are great, or were. Using their step by step instructions with photographs of everything along the way, I was able to do pretty much anyhting on my cars including rebuilding the entire engine. I find Haynes almost useless. Their information is too general. They will cover on one page several items of work that would have five to ten pages each in the Chiltons manual. Haynes will dedicate multiple pages to something reall simple like removing the battery or changing a spark plug, but only a couple of sentences to replacing an O2 sensor, or rebuilding a brake caliper. Haynes seems to be written for utterly incompetent people to use for really basic issues (like changing a light bulb), and they just gloss over the more difficult tasks which they obviously assume you will just call a mechanic to do.

Where do you find Chiltons? Are they as good as they used to be?
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
8,960 posts, read 15,919,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Where do you find Chiltons? Are they as good as they used to be?
As to where you find them, I've seen them in various parts stores, but don't know which ones off hand.

But unfortunately, they aren't as good as they used to be. Even on the same models they've produced for years. Years ago I purchased one for a 1970's Ford truck that I had at the time and found great detailed information on the repairs I needed to make. But a couple of years ago my FIL needed me to do some work on his 1979 Ford; I picked up a new copy of the same Chilton manual that I'd had before and was disappointed to find that most of the information was very general and not model-specific. It seems like the tables with the engine specs and fluid capacities was less detailed, as well.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Augusta, Maine
181 posts, read 262,482 times
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A haynes is only good up to a point. I find myself needing information not provided in the haynes manual quite a bit of the time. Example, the haynes manual did not give an instruction on removing control arm bushings from the control arm, just how to remove the control arm itself.

If you find yourself needing info not provided in the haynes/chilton, you might want to invest in a Factory Service Manual.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Southwest Pa
1,440 posts, read 3,615,928 times
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For the beginner I'd suggest a Haynes, just a little bit easier to read for those who need to know the basics. Found almost everywhere too, those with a Half-Price Books in their area should check as they stock a good selection at $2.98 to $7.98 each.

Chilton manuals are just slightly more technical but still easy enough to use for the casual mechanic. Not as easy to find though, around here at least.

I've found though that both copy extensively from the factory service manuals so I'd honestly suggest going that route if you can find a cheap one on Ebay or something. Most older vehicles manuals (10 years and out) run under $20 if you look hard enough.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:52 PM
 
6,368 posts, read 13,516,628 times
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You can purchase a subscription for a single vehicle from Mitchell. TSB's, wiring diagrams, diagnostic & repair procedures and more. It's hard to beat if you intend to work on one vehicle only and the price ain't bad either.

All pricing is in U.S. dollars for a single-vehicle subscription: 1 Week $ 11.99, 1 Month (31-Days) $ 16.99 , 1 Year $ 29.99


Do it Yourself Automobile Repair Manuals - Mitchell 1 DIY

In my opinion, Mitchell is the best source of auto repair info.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
969 posts, read 1,782,149 times
Reputation: 987
Thanks for all of the info and suggestions, guys.

I'm not looking for anything too technical as I'm basically a beginner at this DIY car repair stuff, so the Haynes or Chilton's sound like they'd probably be best for me. I'll look into the Mitchell as well. Will check my county library system to see if they have any repair info for my car.
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