It seems that, whenever we buy a second-hand car, our first task is to buy the appropriate car manual to go with it. It matters not that we'll probably never use it, we still buy it and leave it on the shelf gathering dust. If you are an avid DIY mechanic, though, these are invaluable tools. So, where do you go to find a cheap one?
Where to find them?
The Haynes repair manuals have become part of the English language in the same way as we hoover instead of vacuuming. "Checking the Haynes book" is something that we do, whether it's an Autodata manual, Chiltons book or any other repair guide. These wonderful shop manuals are available from almost any motor factor or high street car parts supplier. Prices, however, are fairly uniform as they have a recommended retail price that most retailers stick to. If you want to buy a cheap one, then you need to start with the Internet. Amazon have a wide range of new Haynes titles, sometimes, at considerable reductions. You can usually find the make and model, but some of the more unusual vehicles cost the same as they would in the high street. eBay is another excellent source for cheap auto books and, again, you are highly likely to find a new copy of the title you need. Something to bear in mind with these sort of sites is that you mustn't be tempted to buy from the US versions. However cheap the manuals may appear to be, there are frequently major differences in specification and mechanics between the vehicles, which will render the manual useless for a European car. Don't rule out the purchase of a second-hand manual. A visit to one of the major car shows or auto-jumbles will reveal stalls awash with used maintenance books. The condition of these may not be perfect, but if you're a keen mechanic, they are unlikely to be pristine by the time you've finished with them, so this ought not to put you off. The bonus is that the price generally reflects the condition, so a real bargain could be yours.
Alternatives to Haynes
Haynes auto manuals are not the only repair books on the market. If you are servicing an American vehicle, then Chilton sells a huge range of manuals with the advantage that they can be downloaded online. Auto-books are useful if you have a classic to look after. Some companies, like Repairbooks.co.uk, offer downloadable versions of their repair manuals at a reasonable cost. Finally, don't rule out the manufacturers servicing and parts manuals, as these can often be cheaper than you think.