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on 16 March 2012
When Haynes superb manuals first became popular any average mechanically able person could, with the right tools, tackle 90+% of the jobs that you might need to do on a car. In fact those who owned similar types of car to the Fabia in the 60's could easily remove and rebuild an engine from something like a Ford Anglia. It was almost as utilitarian as a Jeep. Nowadays however the professional mechanic will resort to a diagnostic computer before so much as picking up a spanner. Then there's the fact that modern engines will last many more miles than an Anglia's engine could, even if the dreaded rust didn't eat the car first?

I can only give this book 3 stars because it spends far too much time on covering complexities that only a handful of folk are ever likely to attempt. How many people rebuild Fabia engines? Even car enthusiasts are hardly likely to start tinkering with the innards of an engine designed for economy and reliability are they? Those who seek extra performance wouldn't start here anyway?

However when it comes to the sort of stuff that is still easily achievable by competent DIY mechanics the quality of the pictures is just not clear enough. Pictures are divorced from the text that relates to them and the print quality is just not good enough. Even more lacking is detail on how to remove necessary pieces of internal trim, often required to access and service switches and wiring. So much of this is just cleverly designed "push fit" nowadays but if you don't know how to remove it correctly you can end up breaking it.

In conclusion, as a regular purchaser of Haynes manuals for every car I ever owned, I feel that they've rather lost the plot. DIY mechanics will often be forced to dealerships just because so much is governed by electronic management sytems nowadays. Few folk are likely to ever rebuild an engine and yet the tasks that are still "do-able" are poorly covered. My last faults were diagnosed by reading Skoda Forums online and enthusiasts had posted detailed coloured pictures of one issue I had. I know that Haynes are aware of the issues I've raised but I still feel that there is a place for user manuals but with a greater emphasis on what is still DIYable and what's going to need computer diagnosis and even management sytem resets.
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on 14 April 2012
I must admit I sold this book in the end. I bought it to help me with small repairs on my Fabia vRS. (I don't think the book specifically deals with the vRS, but I figured that there would be enough similarities between models for it to be useful.)

Time and time again I would refer to the book and fail to find what I wanted. Even for things such as the best way to remove door cards etc. I would then look online and find it within minutes and in much clearer detail.

I know it's not fair to compare books with the internet, but Haynes needs to offer something that you can't find after a two second search on the internet. I'm sure the books of old used to offer incredible exploded diagrams, perhaps this is something they should go back to?

I offer it 3 stars because I found no use for it. Perhaps if you don't have access to the internet it would be of use to you? Though I'd at least advise you to have a look before buying.
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on 6 February 2011
Had numerous haynes manuals in the past, these don't seem to be as easy to follow as they used to be. Printed on very poor quality blotting style paper with small pictures.

A normal numeric index has been replace with a fancy alphanumeric one to bring it into the 21st Century. Just a gimmick like the space shuttle manual.

Nice clear colour photo on the back of a photographer taking a picture of a mechanic holding a clutch - pity the manual isn't like that. Only other colour images are adverts for the useful manuals everyone should have on their coffee tables like "Walrus Cleaning" & "Defusing Nuclear devices".

This is probably the reason why it is shrunk wrapped on the shelves at Halfords.
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on 22 February 2011
This book basically contains all the information you'd ever want on your Skoda Fabia and even a bit more (I have a diesel and there's model specific info on all the petrol models as well). The only thing is that some of the walkthroughs are a bit too simple. At certain points it's almost as if the guides were written for people that don't actually need them because they already know where everything is, they might just not remember since last time and need a pointer. Not really explanatory enough for people like me. But that's only in certain places and not the whole book. As a whole, the book is excellent. The index can be hard to use if you're not a car enthusiast but not impossible and once you find what you're looking for - in most cases - you'd have to be a complete boob to not be able to follow the instructions. It would have helped the complete boobs (at point I felt like I was one of them) if there were more pictures. If you don't know the english term for a mechanical part or tool (I'm danish), it can be quite hard to figure out where the little arrows in the black and white pictures actually point to or which tool or spare part you're missing in your kit. I've managed to figure it out most of the time anyway but it took a lot more time than it would have if the illustrations had been better.

All in all a good buy but if you're not just a little bit used to messing around with the internal parts of car, you might need someone with the knowhow to help point out and explain the parts to you the first couple of times.
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on 23 September 2014
Not as much detail as per previous Haynes Manuals, however it contains the basics you (may) need to know.

There are a number of mistakes in the book, for example a hex-key is required to remove the sump plug, this is not mentioned, it states a wrench and socket are required.

Not sure about previous books, however 1 thing I noticed this was missing, the size of sockets, spanners etc that you require to remove items. Would be a lot handier to know that to remove x bolt from y part required an 8mm socket.
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on 7 February 2009
I have been waiting for this manual to be available for some time.
Previous Haynes manuals I have had have been very good but this latest one has lower quality paper and not very good photo illustrations.
It is a nightmare to find what you want from the index due to the page numbering system. The first things that I looked for help I could not find, Removing the cover from above the engine on a 1.4 16v. and finding the bulbs I need for the headlamps. The information may be there but I have not been able to find it yet. All in all very disappointed with this manual.
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on 24 May 2014
Not as good as previous Haynes manuals I've owned. Example: there are many different engines fitted to this car but the Oil Specification is generalised across the model range and not given for each specific engine.
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on 19 September 2013
I have owned a few haynes manuals, what has happened to them? Cheap paper and rubbish pics but still a reasonably expensive buy, did answer my questions but not the best, bring back the old printer!
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on 14 August 2014
Follows Haynes normally excellent pattern, but crucially for me, there is neither a detailed description of the electro-hydraulic power steering system or, in the section devoted to electrical wiring diagrams, any diagrams relating to the system, not even the dashboard warning light. The consequence is that I have been unable to diagnose the cause of the, apparently, erroneously illuminated warning light.
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on 28 June 2013
A Haynes manual is an essential purchase for any car. It talks you through basic maintenance procedures up to the more in depth jobs which are probably best left to the very confident amateur mechanic.
Has certainly helped me to reduce my maintenance costs as I've happily changed brakes and front wishbone bushes, along with doing regular servicing.
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