Posted at: November 26, 2010
With the recent financial crisis more people than ever are servicing and repairing their own cars. Plus there are many people who just want to know how to this themselves so they don't get ripped off and have a better chance of getting going again if they ever break down.
We stock repair manuals for most makes and models and have publications from all the popular after-market repair manual publishers. With such a choice it is important to understand the difference between the different types of publications.
Here is our review of the major publishers' products that are available in Australia.
Gregory's publish specifically for the Australian and New Zealand markets so you can be confident that your Australian model will be fully covered.
Gregory's repair manuals are generally the most simple to follow manuals. They cover all the topics that a home mechanic would want but can fall short when it comes to more advanced topics.
Although that statement may make you a little wary they are an excellent choice for people with limited mechanical knowledge.
They also offer excellent troubleshooting information to help you solve many common problems.
Haynes publish repair manuals for many markets, including Australia. They also publish for the US and UK markets and many of the manuals we carry are sourced from overseas.
The US manuals cover left hand drive vehicles, of course, but the UK manuals cover right hand drive.
Haynes are one of the best known publishers world-wide and with good reason. Their manuals cover both basic and advanced topics. They also include troubleshooting information.
Chilton's are a US publisher so their manuals are specifically for the US and Canadian markets. Subsequently they cover left hand drive vehicles. Most models are very similar world-wide so with the exception of the LHD/RHD difference the majority of the manual is just as suitable for other markets.
Often a Chilton's manual will cover a much larger variety of models than manuals from other publishers. Although this is sometimes a disadvantage in that there may be a lot of surplus information not relevant to your model and it can take a little longer to locate the relevant information, it may be an advantage in that if you change models or later buy a different model you may be able to use the same manual.
Another Australian publisher and their manuals usually have very similar content to Haynes.
These manuals are usually very comprehensive and will take you through most tasks right down to an engine rebuild.
Some criticise Ellery manuals for their lower quality images and printing but repair manuals are for working on your car not coffee table books so for most people this isn't an issue.
These manuals are published for the US and Canadian choice and are the publisher of choice for many European brands in the USA. You may hear them referred to as factory publications as for some makes they are supplied to dealers by the vehicle manufacturer distributors in the USA.
They are some of the largest manuals by number of pages available and subsequently are very comprehensive.
Although they are often more expensive than other publishers they are very well respected in the industry and for European makes like BMW, Audi and Volkswagen you cannot get a better manual.
We deal with the Australian publisher who prints repair manuals for most of the Australian automotive industry. This gives us access to factory manuals for Ford, Holden, Nissan, Mazda. These are the same manuals as used by the dealers.
Generally these manuals aren't available to the general public until a few years after a model is introduced.
Factory manuals are the most comprehensive manual for any model, although they are aimed at professional mechanics rather than home mechanics so can miss some of the features of the after-market manuals such as simple troubleshooting sections.
One warning with factory manuals: You sometimes need more than one manual to cover your model The reason for this is that the car manufacturers provide their dealers with a manual when a particular model is first introduced. Then as the model evolves, perhaps with a mid-life update or the availability of a new engine, they release supplementary manuals that cover just the changes or the new engine, and these supplements must be used with the first manual for full coverage. Some manufacturers even separate content into different manuals – such as bodyshop repair or wiring diagrams – as the manuals might be used by different departments within a dealership.
We usually show all the manuals that form part of the set in the "Related Products" section on our product details pages.
General Buying Tips
If looking at a manual from an overseas publisher check that your model and engine is covered. Often a model will be known by a different name in other countries and we try and list all known model names. We also try and list all of the different engines covered by each model but if you are unsure contact us first with your year, make, model, engine and transmission types and we will do our best to find a manual for you.
Major repairs to automatic transmissions are almost exclusively not covered by any aftermarket manual. The publishers claim that transmission repairs are beyond the experience and tools that most home mechanics have so these tasks are best left to specialists. Minor work like fluid level checking and topping up, and fluid and filter replacement are often covered. Factory manuals, where available, will usually cover transmission repairs and rebuilding.
Please feel free to contact us for any advice on purchasing a repair manual for your car, motorcycle or boat engine.
View Comments (1) | Add Comment | Permalink