How Car Repair Manual Can Save You Money

How Car Repair Manual Can Save You Money

These days it is almost impossible to repair any car problem without the help of either a service manual, or a diagnostic computer, and sometimes both. Even professional mechanics have to refer to technical manuals from time to time, but is it still possible to do your own servicing and repairs, given the high state of development of new cars?

In most cases, the answer would be no, but with the publication of factory manuals on the internet, all of the technical information required to repair your own car is within easy reach, even if you have to pay a small fee for it. In fact, the rules that govern the Environmental Protection Agency, which is an agency of the American Federal Government, require that all car manufacturers in America make all emission system repair data available online to ANYONE that needs it, for a reasonable fee.

Modern Manuals Explained

If you have an older car, one that is say, ten years old, there might still be some value in a print version of its repair manual, and while these manuals answered the needs of the time, modern cars are developing at a pace that outstrips the ability of publishers to keep up with the latest technical information, Technical Service Bulletins, and Recall Notices. Which is where online manuals come into the picture?

Modern online manuals include ALL of the information required to repair almost anything on any vehicle, by almost anyone. While manuals are specific to each vehicle, they typically include the following:

  • Factory schematics of all electrical systems, which makes it possible to trace almost any circuit, and to repair almost any electrical problem.
  • Lists of fault codes, and their definitions, which means that almost anybody with a code reader can diagnose their own problems.
  • Step-by-step instructions to perform almost any mechanical repair.
  • Testing procedures to diagnose electrical, electronic, and mechanical issues.
  • Manuals are constantly updated to include the latest Technical Service Bulletins, work-around solutions for problems that are difficult to repair, and Recall Notices as and when they are issued by the manufacturer.
  • Torque values and settings for all nuts, bolts, and other fasteners.
  • Information on belts, such as the routing for timing-, and serpentine belts.
  • Full service and maintenance schedules
  • Lists of parts, and their numbers, which makes it easy to order the correct parts for your specific vehicle.

While old, print versions of manuals contained much the same information, they suffered from the fact that they almost never included part numbers, Technical Service Bulletins, or recall notices. Nor did they always include fault code data, or updates on modifications relating to the electrical system.

The Advantages of Online Manuals

If you are prepared to get the detail service manual to repair your own car, you can visit a site like, or any of several dozen similar sites, from where you can download all the information you need, instead of having to pay several times the price for a print version that is very likely to be outdated.

Moreover, many sites like the example above, offer a service where you can submit a question, and have it answered by a knowledgeable professional mechanic, many of whom hold certification as Master Technicians, which goes a long way toward getting your car back on the road with a minimum of downtime.

The Disadvantages of Online Manuals

The sad truth is however, that no manual, online or prints, is meant to be a teaching aid. All manuals assume at least a basic level of knowledge and skill on the part of the person using it, which in practice, means that even if you have access to the same technical information as the mechanics at your local dealership, you may not be able to interpret the data correctly.

Many electrical faults and defects are represented as graphs, tables, or charts in manuals, which means that unless you have at least some background knowledge of say, elector-magnetic wave forms and how they relate to the electrical system of your car, you might not be able to pinpoint the problem with say, an alternator or a sensor.

However, the news is not all bad; there are many basic DIY servicing and repair procedures that you can perform with the aid of an online manual, such as brake replacement, oil changes, spark plug replacement, and a host others that can save you a hundred times more than your subscription over the life of your car, which is always a GOOD THING!

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