How Your Library Card Can Help You Make Car Repairs

Written by Erica Younglove, Reference Librarian at Central Library

If you are interested in do-it-yourself car repair, you should check out Chilton Library. This comprehensive and easy-to-use auto repair database is the digital equivalent of the Chilton manuals. It provides exclusive photographs, diagnostics designed by instructors, step-by-step repair procedures, maintenance schedules, wiring diagrams, and recalls for automobiles and light trucks.


Chilton Library can be found under the “automobiles” section on the JMRL databases page. In-library use requires no sign-in but it is also available remotely using a library card. Once you’re logged in, just start searching. Make, model, and year are all required. Then choose what you’d like to look at: repair, maintenance, or bulletins/recalls. It does have model years stretching back to 1940, but complete information is not available for all of the listed vehicles.

If you select “repair” you will be given an expandable “document tree” of all the components of your vehicle organized by major section. This will show up on the left side of the page. If you don’t know the section of the vehicle you need to look at there is a search option at the top of the list that can help. When you’ve found the information you want everything is printable. Two easy-to-find print buttons are located at the top of the page. Navigating back a step can be accomplished in the document tree or using the helpful path of links above the information you are viewing.

Choosing “maintenance” will give you the option of selecting more specific details about the car, like whether it is a coupe or convertible, and the mileage. You can also view a full list of vehicle configurations and choose yours. After picking one, you will then see a complete list of the recommended maintenance and the mileage intervals at which it should take place. All information is easily printable using the icon in the upper right corner.


Under “bulletins/recalls” you will find a page with a complete list of bulletins or recalls for the vehicle. You can filter it by system of the car, symptom of the problem with the car, or trouble code. You can also search for keyword or Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) #. The search includes the ability to limit your results to show recalls only. Results can be sorted by description, TSB #, issue date, or type. Clicking on any of the listed recalls will open a new window with a detailed report about the recall or bulletin.

Navigation of the site is easy. Your current location will be highlighted in the document tree in blue (when you are in “repair”) and at the top of the page your section will be highlighted in black. If you want to begin a new search, simply click on the “select vehicle” link at the top of the page.

Chilton Library is just one of the many databases available to JMRL library card holders. Visit to see more.

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