One of each.
I have Haynes in paperback, and Chilton's on CD. Between both of
them, I can -usually- figure out what is going on, but not always.
Chilton's is good for the photos.
As everyone will agree, if you can get the shop manual, that's the
best solution. If you're living on fumes, get one of each of the
It depends on the car. In my experience, haynes usually goes to more trouble to
get the year/model in question and photo it being worked on. There are
exceptions where haynes gets lazy and has obviously never had their hands on the
Chilton's biggest problem is when they have titles like "American cars
1900-2006" (only a slight exageration). They're so vague as to be nearly
completely worthless. I'll never forget reading a chilton's manual for a '70's
VW bug that suggested checking the water pump if the car was overheating.
Cut'n'pasted from a chevy manual no doubt.
If you're going to do any work on your car, the more the merrier. Get the
factory shop manual. Get clymers, haynes, chiltons. The factory manual will
cost more than the other three combined and be worth every cent. It'll pay for
itself by the second time you do any work on the car. However, it's still a
good idea to check it out before laying out the big bucks. I recall one example
of a shop manual that was absolute rubbish ('85 nissen sentra)
I can't do a direct comparison, as I have a Chilton "American Cars
1900-2006" for my '87 Blazer and a Haynes "'78-'84 VW Diesel Rabbit"
for my Bunny. The Haynes is far better, hands down. The Chilton just
has text instructions on how to remove the motor, no pictures. It also
doesn't cover much on the body and interior like the Haynes does. The
Haynes also has more, and more useful, pictures.
My favorite book is the Robert Bentley. I still have the Haynes because
the Bentley will say to use special tool #87569 whereas the Haynes will
say to use a wooden dowel cut to length. ;) I don't know if Bentley
writes books for cars other than VWs, but if they do (or you have a
VW!), you won't regret getting one for your car.
http://www.helminc.com/ - Publisher of factory manuals for some makes.
http://www.acerecon.com/ - Automatic trans parts and diagrams
http://www.goodson.com/ - Tools and other items for engine folks
Factory service manual is the best.
But the All data DIY online repair info sub is good pro info to.
24.95$ for a year and 10 minutes online and you are setup with it.
If you are a tsb hound it has them all and keeps you updated for a
Link to it below
It appears that Autozone bought out Alldata and now has at least some of
the data available for free on their site in the Repair Info section.
The sections I looked at matched well with what's in the factory service
manual I have for my truck. It's of course not the full contents of the
manual, but might be enough for a lot of work vs. buying the $100+
manual or the $24 subscription.
Is it better than the AllData that some libraries have? I tried that
and hated it. Mitchell was a lot better, especially the paper version
(computers are slow, paper is fast).
I tried Haynes and Chilton's for my Nissan. Lots of fuzzy pictures,
misprints, and omissions (one edition of Haynes had no torque specs for
the brake calipers), especially the latter, and for wiring diagrams and
interior hardware they often provided no information or only general
information. I bit the bullet and shelled out $140 for a factory
manual and haven't regretted it one bit. It's amazing how much clearer
the instructions are and how so much more detail is provided.
I have the Haynes, Chilton, and genuine factory manual for my Chevy
truck, and I must say I agree with you. However, for us DIY-ers, the
Haynes and Chilton books often offer an added value: where the "real"
manual says to "remove the widget using special tool #41243113", the
aftermarket books may say "ease the widget out using a smallish flat
screwdriver, as shown in photo 4a, but be careful - it's easy to slip
and scratch the mating surfaces".
I always study the factory manual, but I read the other books, too, to
make sure I understand what I'm doing, and to pick up any little hints
like that *before* I start working.
Don't ascribe to stupidity what can be adequately explained by ignorance.
The best books I've seen for beginners are from John Muir Publishing:
How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive (air-cooled Beetles)
Poor Richard's Rabbit Book (Golfs/Rabbits)
How to Keep Your Toyota Truck Alive
How to Keep Your Honda Alive
How to Keep Your Subaru Alive
It's too bad they didn't publish many more because these books are
great for both experienced DIYers and absolute beginners (they even
describe how to use a wrench, jack, and multimeter), and unlike most
books they don't assume that everything goes exactly to plan.
On Mon, 30 Jan 2006 18:12:37 +0100, Tom Ivar Helbekkmo
T.I.H., I do the same. I've also found that the Chilton and Haynes are
usually more than adequate for the type of work the average guy will
take on. This news group has a skewed demographic in that most of whom
I'll call "regulars" are far more skilled and experienced that the
typical poster or reader and find the C or H incomplete, especially in
the area of diagnostic procedures.
I like the Haynes manuals more than the Chilton's manuals. It goes through
reasonable steps of doing a job and shows you what problems you might
For diagnostic purposes, either is useless, really. Neither one of them
have enough detail on any particular vehicle, because they all have to
cover a wide variety of years. For things like wiring diagrams and vacuum
diagrams, they are both pretty doubtful.
I wish I could say the shop manual was a whole lot more useful, but I have
owned some cars where it wasn't. For cars where there are significant
changes within a model year, the official shop manual can sometimes be
just plain wrong. I spent a lot of time on a fuel injection system problem
with my Chrysler Laser, because the wiring info in the manual was not
correct. (On top of this, of course, the manual shows no waveforms and
only shows a few static voltages).
These days, my daily driver is a BMW for which there is no available shop
manual. The dealer says that all the paper manuals have been discontinued,
but the CD-ROM versions for the older vehicles aren't yet available. I keep
searching Ebay for the things but keep finding them one year before or after
mine. (I did manage to get the electrical manual for the thing, though,
which has been a huge help.)
I urge everyone to buy the Haynes manual, and also to spend the big money
on the manufacturer's manual too. But be careful about putting too much
faith in either.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Well, they both make a good way to start a fire.
As shop manuals, they suck.
Get a real one -> EBAY.... or helminc.com for GM's.
My 1970 Buick Haynes manual was about 200 pages and covered 1970-1990
Fullsize Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac.
My 2001 Trans Am Shop Manuals are about 1500 pages and cover 2001
Once you've used a real shop manual, you won't go back.
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