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When you work on your own car, having access to the right instructions and diagrams can be key to completing a repair. Chilton repair manuals have helped shadetree mechanics the world over, which made it even more upsetting when their print operations were shut down last year. But did you know you can access many of these resources with the help of your local public library?

Reddit user r_golan_trevize recently made use of the resources and posted about it on the r/cars board. They’d been through a common struggle, trying to hunt down wiring diagrams for their truck on old forums and dying websites. Piecing tidbits together with what was available in hardcopy repair manuals wasn’t getting them far. Then, they stumbled on the online Chilton Library, stocked full of quality resources with specific information sorted by make, model, and year.

The real joy of this is that it’s readily available to a broad swathe of Americans, and for free! A huge number of schools, universities, and public libraries all have subscriptions to the Chilton Library service. In most cases, all you need is your library card or ID number and you’ll be able to dive into a wealth of useful information. Whether you’re at Long Beach City College, or you like to read at Mineola Public Library, you’re in luck.

Of course, many local libraries have carried auto repair manuals for years. However, these days, it’s uncommon for them to have a broad range that covers all manufacturers and models. We wouldn’t expect to find a Haynes manual for a Honda CR-Z at our local library, nor anything suitable for a BMW 5 Series or a supercharged Mini. The benefit of an online system is that you can get access to the full breadth of Chilton’s resources from wherever you happen to be.

Other Redditors took the opportunity to share other useful car repair resources online. Operation CHARM is a popular repository of repair and diagnosis information that is available free to all. AllData was also cited as a useful service, which is accessible via some libraries or with a paid subscription.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve spent hours trawling through blurry scans and photocopies on Google Image Search, hoping to find what I need to solve an electrical issue. Similarly, I’ve had to lean on old forum posts for reliable instructions on how to replace difficult-to-reach sensors and pull apart dashboards. Having access to reliable industry-grade information instead of hearsay and stolen documents is sure to make your next repair easier.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com

The post PSA: Chilton Car Repair Manuals Are Available Online Via Public Libraries appeared first on The Drive.

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