An Inside Look at ChiltonLibrary and Car Care Programming Ideas

4 min read

| By Holly Hibner |

Here in Michigan, we take our automobiles pretty seriously; it is very common for laypeople to perform routine maintenance and basic repairs on their own vehicles. My husband wouldn’t dream of paying for an oil change or a tire rotation!

But when both got new vehicles in 2016, general maintenance wasn’t as easy and—although we didn’t want to pay the high costs for a mechanic—we wanted to do it the right way. That’s where ChiltonLibrary comes in! This 24-hour on-call “mechanic” provides quick online access to repair, maintenance and service information on the most popular cars, trucks, vans and SUVs on the road today. The oil filter was just a bit different on my new car, and ChiltonLibrary explained its location, how to remove it, and how to replace the new one. The best part of using the database is that you can get to the specific information you want quickly and easily, without lugging around a giant tome. You can print just the relevant page and go!

Let’s take a look inside ChiltonLibrary:

The main page of Gale’s ChiltonLibrary database first asks you to enter your automobile’s year, make, and model. You are then presented with all the data available on that vehicle, with links to categories like Repair, Maintenance, Labor Estimating, and Bulletins/Recalls.  Once you choose a category, it is very easy to drill down to the specific information you need. You can use the drop-down menus and specific links for information like automatic or manual transmission or what part of the car you need to repair (fuel system, brakes, steering, etc.). It’s absolutely foolproof, even if you have very little knowledge about cars.

Those who are less enthusiastic about car repairs can use ChiltonLibrary to learn exactly what needs to be done, on what maintenance schedule, and even get an estimate of labor costs. You’ll never be caught off guard by high estimates with the ChiltonLibrary labor estimate. You can enter your car’s current mileage and get a list of maintenance procedures that should be done at that mileage. For example, I should apparently have my brake linings/drums and pads/discs inspected, my engine oil and filter replaced, my tires inspected, my drive belt inspected, and my engine valve clearance inspected. I couldn’t tell you what most of that means, but that’s OK because my husband can get the instructions and close-up photos—even videos and animated graphics in some cases—of these procedures via ChiltonLibrary and go to work! Gosh, he will be so glad that I created this to-do list for him!

ChiltonLibrary also includes Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) test prep quizzes. Reference librarians everywhere can rejoice when test prep information is made available in this way. Practice quizzes are a regular request, and in my library we are asked specifically for these ASE tests very often. Jobs in the automotive industry are abundant around here!

Here are a few tips to promote ChiltonLibrary in your library:

  • Hold car care clinics that include ChiltonLibrary database instruction
  • Create displays of library materials about car care, and include screenshots from ChiltonLibrary
  • Teach new teen drivers about basic car repair and maintenance through ChiltonLibrary demonstrations
  • Hold test prep sessions for ASE test-takers, using the quizzes available in ChiltonLibrary


Meet the AuthorHolly Hibner Mary Kelly

Holly is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, MI. She has a mild obsession with collection quality (ok, maybe not so mild) and can be found at the Readers’ Advisory desk dreaming up read-alikes.

Tweet Holly at @awfullibbooks and read her blog at

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2 thoughts on “An Inside Look at ChiltonLibrary and Car Care Programming Ideas”

  1. Thanks for sharing with us its quite interesting and informative information which is very useful to take care of our automobiles pretty seriously. This is the remarkable stuff!

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