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Most online automotive service databases require an expensive yearly subscription, and the price, excepting , is usually out of shadetree mechanics’ reaches. But free is always affordable. Chilton’s, long-time aftermarket service manual supplier, maintains an electronic database which Michigan residents can access free through the Michigan e-Library.

Some of the Chilton’s pages bring that tired “you get what you pay for” mantra to mind. Many procedures are explained only in the broadest terms, including frequent instances of the dreaded “installation is the reverse of removal” line. So it’s not as in-depth as a real manual, but the information on torque specs and bolt patterns is very good. The procedures make good checklists for competent mechanics to check their work, and to point out broad procedures to new hands.

You’ll need a Michigan driver’s license number to access the database; out-of-state readers may want to explore their state’s e-Library if it has one. Many physical libraries have consoles providing free access to all online material, including Chilton’s. Unfortunately, this too is confined to Michigan, barring interstate library programs of which I’m unaware.

Chilton’s [Michigan e-Library]

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4 Responses to Chilton's Electronic Library

  1. tgood says:

    The public library in my city has access to Alldata. You can only get it on the library computers, not online, but you are allowed to print anything or download to a jumpdrive. It’s the first place I go to before working on any of my vehicles.

  2. Anon E Mouse says:

    a Simple google search of michigan drivers license number, click images, and use someone elses. It worked for me =)

  3. Toolboss says:

    Chilton, quite frankly, is just as crappy online as it is in the printed form. If I need a reference that says the first step in brake repair is to disconnect the battery (as Chiltons does), then y’all better not get in front of my vehicle the first time I try to use my new binders.

  4. I know if you live in the Minneapolis area, both the Ramsey and Anoka County Library systems has access to Alldata.

    Never used it myself, but once in a while when I take my kids to the library I’ll see a guy in greasy clothes sitting at a terminal that looks like he’s in the middle of a project that he got in too deep.

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