National Car Care Month with Chilton

Even our daily driver and our special project car have their own designated recognition month, which happens to be April. Welcome to National Car Care Month (conveniently placed at a month to take advantage of possible income tax rebates). Growing up in the 70s and 80s, there were car repair manuals strewn all over my parents’ home, and yes, most often, they were Chilton. My Dad is still a car geek treasuring his classics but will rarely touch a computer.  For the rest of us, the Harris County Public Library has everything we need, and a library card is the key.

The ChiltonLibrary

ChiltonLibrary is an online auto repair database - minus the hefty manuals to cart around.  ChiltonLibrary manuals contain

  • detailed information on vehicle maintenance
  • labor cost estimates
  • troubleshooting guides
  • recall information
  • preventative maintenance 
  • repair instructions
  • and much more

All in one accessible interface.  For repair help, there are instructions, drawings, and videos - everything locatable with helpful "Table of Contents" links for each vehicle you research.  For students, an invaluable tool is the practice test section.  If you are studying for the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exam, there are 13 prep quizzes for specific topics – for example “Automatic Transmissions & Transaxles,” and “Automotive Heating & Air Conditioning.”

Vehicle "Recalls"

Inside the database, your auto's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is very useful for viewing specifications on engine model, engine brake, engine displacement, cylinders, transmission style, vehicle weight etc.  What I personally find most interesting is the "Recalls" tab. Over the years, I’ve received a number of recall notices in the mail and at this moment, it is easier to display them online than it is for me to search through my paperwork hoping to find them all.  Enter the number into the "VIN Decoder" search, and this will display the entire history of recalls for your vehicle as well as information on what the solutions happen to be – solutions like bringing your car in for a free fix. Below is an example of what you may find after typing in your VIN. When you have your information pulled up, you will click the drop-down arrows (at the right), and there find detailed descriptions of the recall and what you need to do at this point. That alone makes this database a wonderful resource. 

Get up and running

Ready to get started? Find ChiltonLibrary in HCPL's A-Z research index 

Or start at our homepage Harris County Public Library 

  • From the homepage, click “Online Resources,”
  • “A-Z Resources,"
  • click the "C" and you will find an alphabetical listing.
  • Click the "Chilton Library" link 
  • log-in with your username or library card number.
  • Once logged in, use the Vehicle Selector to fill in the year, make and model of your car and let the research begin!