Top critical review
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A Dying Art?
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.