Working on an older car without a manual is difficult, but working on a modern computerized vehicle without complete technical specifications is freakin’ impossible. Have you ever wondered how auto repair shops keep manuals on hand for every vehicle on the road? Answer: They don’t. Instead, they pay thousands of dollars a month to access a service like AllData that allows them to pull up computerized manuals for hundreds of vehicles.
We first heard of AllData When we were in the process of finishing up Project Yukon. We’d enlisted the help of a local tuner who helped us wring out a computer issue, and he quickly tracked down a wiring fault using a really handy testing and inspection procedures chart from AllData’s service.
After a little research, we discovered that AllData is “an AutoZone company,” which scared the bejesus out of us. These are the same people who didn’t carry an upper radiator hose for an F150 in a Texas store! Incredibly, though, AllData’s service rocks. Best of all, they offer service for DIYers as well via their site AllDataDIY.com; you can purchase individual vehicle subscriptions for $25/year and add additional vehicles for $15. When you just want to locate some wiring or track down a single issue, it beats the hell out of $100+ for a factory manual, and the additional diagnostic charts are quite helpful.
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