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I recently found out you can buy a repair manual for your specific car (in this case Haynes and the repair manual is specific your make/model but spans multiple years). When I went to my car's Haynes repair manual I then read one of the reviews and found out that each specific car has an "OEM service manual". For various reasons, I would like purchase one of these "OEM service manuals".

I would prefer to buy direct from manufacturer or if that isn't possible then a well-known/reputable 2nd-party website (I want to avoid Ebay because of the large hassle (sniping, is the item legit?, etc etc)).

As a consumer, can you buy the "OEM service manual" for your car direct from the manufacturer? If yes, would you please give a canonical example of where to buy one of these "OEM service manuals"?

Is the "OEM service manuals" usually one book or multiple books for each make/model/year car?

If you know for a fact that all/some manufacturers don't sell the official service manual to consumers that is an acceptable answer too.

  • You may have to be an authorized dealer to get one and you would probably get a shock at how much one will cost. (Just a guess though). I have experience of buying an original service manual on CD from Jaguar at a reasonable price once the cars became classics (e.g. XJ-S & XJ-6) – HandyHowie Oct 28 '15 at 14:06
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    Some cars have more options than others. For VW cars, you can get the "Bently" (publisher name) manuals that are from the same company that makes the actual dealer shop manuals, so they are very, very good. Nowadays, not even mechanics can "buy" some manuals - they have to be "licensed" for a per-year fee. – JPhi1618 Oct 28 '15 at 14:13
  • Also, the legality of most "service manuals" on eBay, etc, is questionable at best. Some are PDF scans of paper manuals, and some are "cracked" electronic versions. Sometimes it's the only way to get a copy, but buyer beware. – JPhi1618 Oct 28 '15 at 14:18
  • @JPhi1618 your current comment would probably be an acceptable answer (probably want to edit it a little. like flesh out more about VW does offer this... but maybe other manufacturers don't... but maybe you only know VW?). – syn1kk Oct 28 '15 at 17:05
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    A disadvantage to "Factory" or "Professional" manuals is they will often assume you are a professional. And you know what you are doing. A Chiton, Haynes, etc. (insert any typical DYI brand) manual will give step by step instructions often with pictures. A factory manual may state remove the xyz module and measure resistance across terminals A and C. Information that is useful if you know what module xyz is how to measure resistance. – mikes Oct 28 '15 at 20:34
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I'm not sure that you can purchase one from the manufacturer, but you can purchase them from Helminc.com without issue for many brands (but mostly American). I purchased two different ones from here, one each for 93 & 94 Camaro (also covers Firebird/Trans Ams). These are the exact ones used by dealership service mechanics. Some are hard copy, while I believe newer ones come on CDROM.

It depends on the year of the vehicle, but yes, one "set" (if more than one) usually covers a single year. There is much in the way of crossover, though, where one year's service manual will cover quite a bit of another year which is in the same basic model (ie: not much difference between a 94 & 95 Camaro, so the manual for one would probably cover the other also).

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This is specific to the make of your vehicle. For instance, you can purchase many tools and service manuals from manufacturers such as Chrysler and Hyundai/Kia, BUT you may not be so lucky when it comes different dealers such as Toyota or many GM vehicles. If you provided your specific make and model, I would better be able to answer this question.

As the person above said, that you have to be of certain "Criteria" to obtain one of these is true; However it isn't ALWAYS true as I said. With the internet being what it is today as well, online versions of these are sometimes readily available. The legality of obtaining one can be questioned though. From my experience obtaining these from Ebay has not been a reliable experience. However, though there are quite a few websites that sell them. I have ordered from certified OEM websites and have close to 100 manuals in my shop, all have been legitimate.

  • FYI, if you were wondering why I didn't include the specific make/model/year it was because I was trying to make the question/answer general so that people who don't have one specific make car could get value from this thread. But practically speaking I still want to at least try and purchase such a service manual for myself (I have a Mazda). – syn1kk Oct 28 '15 at 18:11
  • If you do a quick google search of "OEM Service manuals". You can actually find quite a few websites that offer both free versions that you can view online and ones that you can purchase paperback. Depending on your particular vehicle some manuals can be up to 3000 pages. My Miata paperback is only around 700 pages. My Dodge Magnum manual is around 2400 (I think you get the point). It just takes a little bit of googling around and some phone calls. Mazda themselves gave me my manual, they were extremely helpful (It did cost $600). – cloudnyn3 Oct 28 '15 at 18:19
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For a Toyota, you can get the same service manuals that the dealers use, manuals produced by Toyota, online: https://techinfo.toyota.com/

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The answer to this question will depend allot on what geographic area you live in and what manufacturer you're talking about. After spending quite a bit of time researching this very question I've found that there are quite allot of sources for OEM level service information if you own a North American model vehicle. If you live outside North America, it's much more hit and miss. I'm not sure why that is, but it may have something to do with copyright or licensing laws in the USA vs. the rest of the world.

First off, you've got the possibility of purchasing physical OEM second hand shop manual sets ( mechanical, engine, gear, wiring, etc. ) in good condition ( sometimes even new in the plastic ) for anywhere from maybe $100 to a few hundred dollars. This usually involves ebay or amazon.

But in many cases the on-line third party sources used by professional mechanics are both superior to the OEM service manuals, and have DIY subscription options. Just to list the ones I am aware of:

Do it Yourself Automobile Repair Manuals - Mitchell 1 DIY

Direct-Hit Repair Data Coverage | Identifix

Online Repair Manuals — Car Forums at Edmunds.com - Lists resources for a few other manufactures not listed here.

DIY Auto Repair Manuals, Service Manuals Online - ChiltonDIY

OnDemand5.com: online auto repair, estimating, and service information

TSB's & Wiring Diagrams

AllData DIY

Mazda North America offers their Tech Info site for a $20 USD monthly fee which gives you access to their service manuals and allot of other tech info.

Toyota has a similar service which another poster mentioned and Paulster already mentioned HelmInc for a variety of other manufactures' data.

Hyundai and Kia both make all dealer service manuals available free of charge:

https://www.hyundaitechinfo.com/

https://www.kiatechinfo.com/

I think that covers all their models world wide, but I haven't actually checked into that.

Outside North America things are quite a bit more sketchy. I've found it generally difficult to find OEM service manuals for non-North American models even second hand on ebay. The best I've found till now has been an European version of AllData, however it's only available to professional mechanics in continental Europe AFAIK, and I've found a European version of Mazda Tech Info which provides hourly subscriptions and is technically only open only to professionals, but I doubt they check that thoroughly.

  • kia isn't free anymore, in fact far more expensive than anyone else ... $19 for 3 days, $150/mo, $1500/yr. – davea0511 May 17 at 15:07

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