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  • Have Automobile Forums Replaced Auto Repair Manuals?

    ARE CAR & TRUCK REPAIR MANUALS DEAD?
    Chilton's Online Repair Manual vs. Printed Repair ManualsSo I got some emails from Chilton's recently, they're not happy that one thread on this website had a single link to a Michigan library system that allowed people to see some of the Chilton's Online Repair Manuals. I never logged into that library system (which I guess was supposed to be only available to residents of the state of Michigan, but they may have had weak security) and I never saw what they had to offer.

    So I started to get all postured up and talked with some people about what legal action they could take, and for the most part they could file suit, but I would win and they're just hoping that I would cave in during the middle of all of this because an attorney would require money up front. HOWEVER, in thinking about it more it's clear they don't get the power of the web. I mean, has the overall purpose of the "car/truck repair manual" passed? Is there still purpose in getting one, or are they like the phone book ... yes they technically have the information you need, but who wants that thing lying around?

    Thoughts on this? I'm not so much speaking to the issue of the online manual (which I have no clue what it looks like or how it works) but instead the printed auto repair manuals.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Have Automobile Forums Replaced Auto Repair Manuals? started by Steve View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. PantheraUncia's Avatar
      PantheraUncia -
      I bought a Chilton's and Hayes manual for my silverado years ago and I personally don't like them. The company the dealership uses charges an annual membership fee and you get access to all the manuals for your selected vehicle and a discounted price on each sub sequent vehicle you want manuals for for that 12 month period and they go into all the details.(Its the same service the dealer uses).

      This printed manuals need to go the same way that the printed editions of encyclopedia's are going, meaning gone. I have a printer and will print only the instructions I need for my specific issue in greater detail than buy into one of these $25 manuals.
    1. the phantom's Avatar
      the phantom -
      Ive bought service repair manuals online for my atv's, motorcycle and snowmobiles and theyre very cheap. I think I paid $4.00 for my atv service manual and I think $7.00 for my motorcycle. Chiltons should look into selling the electronic versions for people at a discounted price if they dont already. Look at their savings in printing costs ect. Time to change with the times and that refers to most businesses in order to not only be competitive, but to stay in business.
    1. MrShorty's Avatar
      MrShorty -
      Is the point of the article that there is no need for anyone to publish repair information (whether published in print or electronic format), or is the point that print manuals are too "passe?" The tone of the article seemed to be questioning whether anyone (including manufacturers??) needed to publish repair information. Both commenters so far seem to like professionally published repair information, they just dislike old fashioned print manuals.

      My personal take -- I would never completely trust strangers on internet forums for everything I need to know about auto repair. I think there is still plenty of room for companies to publish repair information, and I suppose they should have the right to copyright their publication and charge for access to that publication. I expect there will be a market for such information targeting DIY's as long there are backyard mechanics who feel able and willing to do their own work. Of course, there will also be a market for getting such information to shop owners and professional technicians. Aren't there even laws that prevent manufacturers from "hiding" repair information forcing people to use the dealership repair shops?

      So, to sum up, I don't think internet forums will ever be able to replace repair manuals. Like the music and movie industries, the repair manual publishers will have to figure out how to put their copyrighted material out there so they can make money, while, at the same time, not turning potential customers off because of hardnosed copyright threats/enforcement.
    1. MCrewsZ71's Avatar
      MCrewsZ71 -
      I personally own a repair manual for any vehicle I own, however the internet makes them less needed. For example, you can create a free account with Autozone and get repair diagrams and instructions for free. They are powered by Z-NET and while they dont cover many of the finer details they do give a general guideline. I think Chilton and Haynes manuals should be based off of the tear down and rebuild of a vehicle that has been driven and has quite a few miles because the everyday DIY mechanic doesn't get a fresh, clean motor to deal with.
    1. ChevyFan's Avatar
      ChevyFan -
      Good insight into that. I've always found those manuals to be handy myself for the same reasons.
    1. Skippy's Avatar
      Skippy -
      Bit late jumping into this game... I find manuals to be necessary evils, primarily for specifications (torque, sequencing, fluids, etc), but am completely annoyed that they're throwing so much into one manual. For example, when a manual covers 8 years of vehicles, 4 engines and multiple configurations, it's wicked hard to figure out what in the world the manual is talking about and whether or not it's relevant. Personally, I get the manual as a starting point for many vehicles, but they end up collecting dust. I'd pay $3 for 10 day access to a full detailed service manual that was specific to MY vehicle ANY AND EVERY REPAIR... But we can't get that... so where do we go? Certainly not the $100/year subscription when you only need it for 2 days!

      We go to other users... You-tube, and forums. These days there's very little the social networking isn't able to provide to shade tree and even professional mechanics.

      Please Chilton. Change your business model... Books are nice, but I'd rather have my laptop/tablet in front of me with a blow-up diagram!
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