Why factory service manuals are better than commercial repair manuals

factory service manuals

DIY car repairs are the talk of the town nowadays and rightly so. Nothing beats learning more about your car and it is certainly better than getting third party information from a workshop mechanic. If you are that type of person you need to look into getting yourself a workshop manual. This manual/guide book is specifically designed to give you detailed information about your car.

The manual will talk about how to change your car’s headlights, for example, and teach you the process in detail. The workshop guide is a great resource for car enthusiasts and upcoming mechanics that are looking for more information on ‘how their car functions’. However, when it comes to workshop manuals there is more than one type. In essence, they are similar but there are a few differences that you should know about. We divide the manuals into two basic categories: factory service manual and commercial repair manual.

We will shed some light on both of them here:

Commercial Service Manuals

A commercial service manual or an aftermarket manual is written and compiled by a secondary company. The most common companies that sell service manuals are Haynes and Chilton while some even mention Gregory’s. These companies do not have a direct stake in any automotive company. Their only interest is to inspect and analyze a car so that a detailed manual can be made and sold in the market. A commercial manual will talk about many repairs in detail but it might miss out on specific information. After all, the entity that makes the car knows more about it than a company focused on selling its manual for profit.

Furthermore, commercial manuals are not specific to a particular model of a car rather they cover a wide range of models and years. Hence, it can become extremely difficult for you to find specific information about a particular car model. In other words, the level of detail in a commercial service manual is below par at best.

Factory Service Manuals

The factory service manual is compiled by the car manufacturers themselves so you can imagine the level of information and the attention to detail you will find in this book. You can easily get one for the particular model and year of your car and unlike a commercial manual, it will talk in excessive detail about that model only.

Moreover, in-depth information on the process of repairing will be much more diverse in a car factory service manual. This manual will teach you step by step in an easy to understand tone. It will teach you how to disassemble a particular component down to the smallest parts, instruct you on inspecting, testing, diagnosing, and performing a repair. If anything is broken and needs to be rebuilt, the factory manual will teach you how to do it. Not only that, but you will also be taught how to reassemble with the help of pictures and diagrams so that the component you repaired comes back as good as new.

The commercial manual will talk about one or two issues but a factory service manual will talk about all the possible issues you might face with a component.


It is clear from the comparison made above that factory issued car workshop manuals are light years ahead of any commercial manual solely based on the in-depth information they provide. Yes, factory manuals are slightly expensive but that is a trade-off you should be willing to make.