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Have you ever tried getting your hands on an old manual for your car or truck? Manufacturer manuals and repair guides can be invaluable tools to your restoration project or repair, but finding the right manual can sometimes be hard. The library is the cheapest place to start, but if you are not in a large metropolitan area with large libraries, you probably will only have books on newer cars. Besides, you won't own the manual anyways, and your restoration project will likely take longer than the 3 weeks you can check the book out.
Many manuals and shop books have been reprinted for older models over the years. They can easily be found on eBay or Amazon, or visit your local bookstore and they can likely order it for you. Be careful what you are ordering though, sometimes it is actually a scanned copy of the manual on CD or DVD only, which you need to view on your computer or print out hundreds of pages if you really want a hard copy. With rarer manuals, this may be your only option, especially if the book has never been reprinted.
To do a proper search in eBay or Amazon, type in a year, manufacturer, and model + "manual" or "repair manual". An example is "1969 AMC Javelin repair manual". If this does not pull anything up, remove the model so it is "1969 AMC repair manual", and you will likely find a manual covering multiple models that will fit your need.
1) www.eBay.com - eBay is on par with Amazon, but you're likely to find newer reprinted versions and/or cd-roms. You can still find original prints sometimes. Use the search box below or click the link above to go to eBay.
2) www.books4cars.com/ - If you find a website with more books and manufacturers than this site, you need to let me know because I don't think there is. Alex has over 300 auto manufacturers to choose from, and ALL have inventory. Some sites I visit have hundreds of manufacturer sections to choose from, with most empty. Alex has been collecting and selling manuals for 15 years now, and they even have a book store in the Seattle, WA area. The website is VERY user friendly and fast. Give Alex a call if you can't find what you need, he can probably help you out.
3) www.oldcarmanualproject.com - While researching another article I wrote, I stumbled upon a great website at http://oldcarmanualproject.com . This is a non-profit site that currently has tens of thousands of pages scanned from very old car manuals and shop books which you can view and print for free. The scans are work of a few hundred people since about 2000. It started with a scan of a few old Holley carburetor manuals, and quickly grew from there as dozens of other car enthusiasts scanned their own manuals and uploaded them. They now have 48 GB of scanned pages, which is tens of thousands of pages. If you cannot find the manual or shop book you need on Amazon or eBay, there’s a decent chance it may be on this website as they seem to have lots of older stuff that has not been reprinted lately.
If you need a manual RIGHT NOW and can't wait for it to be mailed to you, some sites offer instant download of PDF files after purchase, but you will only find the more popular American models. www.gearheadcafe.com is a good website for these.
Now that you know how to find the manual you need, you’re ready to tackle that project you’ve been waiting to do. There are MANY websites that offer old car shop manuals, these are some of the best ones I have found over time.
If you know of any site that is on par with any of these, please comment below.
About the Author
Daniel Fehn is a web designer, a huge classic car and truck fan, and a wannabe mechanic currently living in Minneapolis, MN. I designed and built timelessrides.com so I could share my enthusiasm for classic vehicles, and created the classified ads section for all to buy and sell their rides for FREE.
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