Car repair questions are among the most common asked in public libraries, often accounting for more than 10% of the reference questions. Reference librarians being called upon to deal with these questions will find that an hour or two spent becoming familiar with an automobile repair manual will pay big benefits in helping our patrons. A Chilton's Auto Repair Manual is not as difficult to use as many other reference books that we face with less trepidation. So even if you don't do your own tune-ups, you can help that patron who wants to overhaul an engine.
(The following material is excerpted from the CHILTON'S AUTO REPAIR MANUAL, 1998-2003, Chilton Book Company.)
Repair manuals are made for domestic and imported cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors. Your central library or reference center probably owns some of these. (Special hint: If you don't find information on a car with an American name, check an import manual.)
The language in car repair manuals is not simple, and some patrons may need help with it. There are lots of abbreviations. You'll know some of them and can look up the others in a dictionary of abbreviations. Caution: there are errors in any reference tool. For example, the 1982 Chilton's gives type of carburetor rather than size of engine in a chart on C580.
If you are using earlier Chilton's manuals, notice that the paging was broken into separate series for the car and unit repair sections, preceded by the letters "C" and "U" respectively. The Indexing was somewhat different also. For more information, read the "How to Use This Manual" inside the front cover.
It's very important to find out what kind of vehicle the patron has (car, motorcycle, truck, etc.), its make and model, and just what the patron wants to repair.
The majority of automotive manuals are for REFERENCE USE ONLY in the libraries that own them. If you refer a vehicle repair question, you will receive photocopies of the requested information rather than the entire repair manual.
The relevant sections for a particular model can be scattered widely throughout a repair manual, so you should specify just what information is needed so that a lot of unnecessary copying can be avoided.
Patrons often need "wiring diagrams" for the electrical components of vehicles. Not all general automotive repair manuals contain this information. Manuals published by Mitchell International (formerly known as NATIONAL SERVICE DATA) are the most comprehensive sources of wiring diagrams.
Refer to the Vehicle Repair Question Worksheet to help you ask pertinent questions about requests for automobile repair.
Complete the Automobile Repair Manual Practice Questions..
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