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Chilton II


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  For quite some time now, I had suspected that my Jeep was on its last leg. It regularly develops an impressive array of suspicious rattles, drips and wheezes, but it keeps chugging along with a good bit of TLC from my husband and a neighbor who’s a mechanic. Like most people in this economy, we’re on a tight budget, so anything we can do to minimize repair fees is worth a try.

  These guys seldom start tinkering with my car without first paying a visit to the Henry County Library System website. If you’re wondering what the library can do to help shade-tree mechanics, do you remember the old Chilton auto repair manuals? Most amateurs – and all professionals – are familiar with this well-respected series, which covers all aspects of car repair for both domestic models and imports. The books are comprehensive, accurate and authoritative. They are also big, clumsy and heavy. Each volume features hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages of dense type on tissue-thin paper.

  Our libraries carried the print version for many years. We allowed them to be checked out, and they enjoyed heavy use but more often than not came back (understandably) covered with greasy black fingerprints. Luck-ily, the current Chilton publisher, Cengage Learning, offers a format that keeps all the best features of the books while eliminating the drawbacks. is an online database that is searchable by year, make and model. Once you select your vehicle, a full menu of options becomes available with detailed instructions for maintenance and repairs.  In addition, the section on your particular vehicle will include manufacturer’s bulletins and recall notices that are added as they are released. 

  To access the entire collection of Chilton books online, visit the library’s website at Click on the link on the left side of the page that says “Reference Resources.” On the next page, click on the Chilton Library logo, and you’ll be prompted for a password. Anyone with a valid Henry County library card can obtain the password over the phone or in person at your nearest Henry County library. Once you enter the password, click on the Chilton logo again. Use the drop-down menus to navigate to the specific make, model and year of the car you’re interested in.

  For the most part, I still prefer print books over electronic products, but this is one example of an excellent, reliable resource that is actually better in the online format. All repair instructions, wiring diagrams and schematics are printable, and you can choose to print the entire section or just a page or two. Instead of carrying an oversized book out to your garage, just print what you need for reference and throw it away when the grease stains take over. The manufacturer’s bulletins and recall notices are updated as soon as they are released, so you never have to wonder if you’re getting the most current information. When you’re finished, there’s nothing to return to the library!

  With some help from Chilton, my personal mechanics and the gods of internal combustion, maybe my old Jeep will keep going a little longer.



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