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What Is a Car Service Manual and Why You Need One

Here’s How a Good Car Service Manual Could Save your Life

Servicing or maintaining any vehicle can be very expensive nowadays—the parts are already costly, but labor rates hit rocket high. But what if you have the knowledge and tools to repair your beloved car yourself? In that case, it might be much cheaper, sure, but you won’t be doing a proper job without a car service manual. 

At the end of the day, that’s what every single professional mechanic uses when doing repairs on any vehicle. Each model requires different steps, even for some simple things like changing a light bulb. But with a proper car service manual to help you out, you can fix pretty much anything.

With this handy book, you can find the recommended manufacturer specifications when rebuilding an engine, and even a step-by-step guide on how to do the job. Most importantly, a repair manual for cars contains reliable information and life-saving electrical diagrams, since it comes from the manufacturer itself. Hence, you won’t be searching the internet for piston ring clearance or piston skirt diameter, relying on undependable sources on random forums anymore.

And, that’s not all—a car service manual can even let you diagnose the issue using troubleshooting charts, just like professional mechanics do. Interested? Read on to find out how a service and repair manual can save you money and make you a better DIYer.

What is a Car Service Manual?

A car service manual is a handbook issued by the manufacturer or a specialized company that contains instructions and guidance for the maintenance or repair of a specific vehicle. Of course, minimal knowledge is essential here, but don’t worry. Everything you don’t understand and is alien terminology can be explained by your car dealer, your best buddy, or the internet!

Just be sure to pick the right service and repair manual for your specific model and you’ll be on the right track. Every car is unique, and that’s why you need to be thorough when finding the right service manual. You don’t want to waste your time and find yourself troubleshooting an electrical system for hours only to realize you have the diagram for the wrong car model.

Apart from cars, there are also repair manuals for a plethora of other things, from motorcycles, powersports, trucks, tractors, semi-trucks, to farm, marine, and construction equipment, but also electronics and appliances. If it can be serviced, there’s a repair manual for it—and you can probably find it here.

Benefits of Using a Repair Manual

No matter whether it’s a car or a DSLR camera, we all know how expensive repairs can be. The price of the repair depends on three things: the price of the replacement parts, the labor rate, and the number of working hours needed to perform the repair. You can minimally influence the price of a certain car part, as it depends on the manufacturers’ or the dealers’ margin, but that’s as far as you can go. 

Still, with a repair manual, you can certainly influence the price of the labor. Working hours can often end up more expensive than the actual price of the replacement part. 

And even if you have a big enough budget to take your car to a repair shop, there is another element why you should use a car repair manual. Namely, if you have spare time and you are also handy with tools, plus you like fixing things, a repair manual is fundamental for your next project.

Hard Copy vs. Software

Hard copies of car manuals are often bigger than an encyclopedia, and it’s sometimes hard to find the information you need when you need it. Paper books also take a lot of space and books that are not bestsellers or famous classics are usually not welcomed on the shelves next to your fireplace.

On the other side, we live in an era surrounded by phones, tablets, and computers, and we can get around faster and find what we specifically need. The ctrl+F/cmd+F shortcut is a solution that requires far less time than browsing through the pages of your hard copy car service manual. Besides, the virtual pages will stay clean of all the greasy hands and in mint condition long after the car’s existence.

And you can have all of that right there in your pocket, ready at all times. With a service manual software copy, you can even use it while on the road, since the hard copy is truthfully too big and probably won’t fit in your glovebox. 

Last Words

All of the above are good reasons to buy a car service manual from a financial point of view, but there is one more reason for that.

As we suppose that you are a car guy, there is an element of bonding with your car when you know what happens inside and how it works. As absurd as it sounds, there is a soul somewhere in those pistons, beating up and down the cylinders. And when the engine starts coughing, the automatic transmission starts to change gears when it shouldn’t, or the dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree, it’s good to know what is going on how you can fix it. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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