Online repair manuals?

I’ve been doing most of my own vehicle maintenance for decades, mostly by just figuring things out and asking questions. I had a good start watching my dad who was a professional heavy equipment mechanic, so repairing things at home was normal. I still have tools he gave me when I was a teenager. I’ve pulled and replaced the heads on two pushrod engines and replaced a timing chain on my old Caravan following a factory manual, all of which went well (but don’t see myself attempting a timing belt).

Now I’m thinking about online repair manuals and recognize a few names, but otherwise just guessing on how to pick one. Would anyone care to help me identify a few good choices and maybe add recommendations? Thanks!

Mitchell, not free but not wildly expensive, either.

There is always YouTube… at least you can see how it comes apart without being driven crazy because of one hidden bolt! No substitute for a real manual, IMHO, but useful.

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Mitchell is probably the best. I’ve found ALLDATA (like Haynes/Chiltons) to have mistakes or the wrong information.

In one wrestling match I went through I discovered that the wiring schematic error in an ALLDATA diagram was due to ALLDATA apparently scanning the same incorrect wiring diagram from a Haynes manual. Of course, AD claimed their info was correct and that “somebody must have altered the wiring in the car”. Not.

Thank you @Mustangman. Mitchell’s price for a full year would be a bargain if I decide to launch into a project. I have benefited from youtube vids, but of course those vary widely in usefulness.

For twenty-five years, I had relied on a local independent mechanic who generously tolerated my questions about a particular vehicle issue, especially when he had more work than he needed in his tiny shop. When he said “it’s all nuts and bolts” that meant that I knew enough to dive in. If he didn’t say that, I’d leave the car and walk home. Over time, conversations veered far from car repair, and friendship developed. He passed 8 years ago.

Thanks for the quick reply @ok4450. I always appreciate your insight.

I’ve never checked myself, but I recall people saying that your local library might offer access to certain repair manuals, so you might want to ask them about that.


Great suggestion, thanks. After reading your post, I vaguely remembered something like that, but I just checked and our library doesn’t have it.

Good advice above. Check also with the vehicle manufacturer, they may have a diy’er online subscription available to their factory service data. You local public library may have online service databases for patrons, as well as hard copies of Mitchell manuals, no harm to ask.

You local public library may have online service databases for patrons

George, as previously posted, I JUST called the local library and the library staff person said there was nothing like that in their system.

Isn’t it great you can just phone the library and ask questions? One time I needed to translate a short phrase into French for a work project, I called the local library, and they found the staff French expert, got the correct translation in 5 minutes.

How long ago was that?

tu peux le faire en ligne
(you can do that online)

recherche google “traduire anglais vers français”
(just google “translate english to french”)

Before I had internet access. Marketing brochure so I had to get a proper common-usage translation. Computer assisted translations can results in weird language constructs, for example as found in some owner’s manuals for foreign made products these days. I purchased a pot, the instruction said: “To use cook, placing the pot on the oven.” … lol