If you’re looking for a website that has OEM information for repairs, diagnosis, parts, and labor, this is it.
When you need OEM-level repair and diagnostic help online for your vehicle, you have a couple of options.
First, there’s search engines like Google and Youtube where, if you’re lucky, you’ll put in what you need to find and you’ll get a relevant answer.
Then there are helpful forums, Facebook groups, and Reddit subreddits dedicated to specific makes and models that, after digging around and asking the right questions, you can get your answer, sometimes with a helpful step-by-step.
But if you need Original Equipment Manufacturer-level help like diagnostic trees, and procedures written by the manufacturer engineers themselves, you often have to pay. I’m talking about Haynes, and Chilton online and the like.
ALLDATA also comes up a lot, too. It’s the gold standard of Automotive Software used by industry service technicians and independent auto shop mechanics to look up vehicle manufacturer diagnostic and repair information online.
But, with ALLDATA memberships costing as much as $190, it’s not for the average DIY mechanic who needs to know how to swap a bulb or locate a charcoal canister.
Fortunately, I’ve come across a free, not-for-profit website, set up by a group of anonymous programmers, with a collection of 50,000+ repair manuals for most vehicles
It’s called charm.li, and its mission is to empower the average DIY mechanic with information because everyone’s right to repair.
One of the not-so-anonymous programmers informed the /r/cars subreddit about this lifesaver of a website earlier this year, too (thread linked here.)
According to charm.li’s about us page,
“The Collection of High-quality Auto Repair Manuals spans almost all makes and models from 1982 through 2013. Our data will be available free of charge, permanently. You are entitled the right to repair, understand, and upgrade what’s yours without paying extra for a workshop manual.
As the above mentions, the small catch is that they only cover vehicles between 1982-2013.
From Acura to Yugo, they’ve got most car manufacturers covered, although it appears to be US-market centric.
Since it’s a no-frills website, it’s light and easy to navigate.
Finding what you need is self-explanatory, navigate to a specific year, make, and model, and then drill down to what exactly you’re trying to fix.
For example, here’s repair information for the heating element from a 1999 Honda Civic Sedan DX trim (aka my own car.)
Here’s the repair procedure for the front door handle on a ’95 Dodge Viper.
You can also download whole manuals for offline use via the specific make and model’s page.
Comments on the video from Jasper Motorsport where I found it from were concerned that this site might potentially be a goldmine of malware.
I’ve run charm.li through a handful of website checkers (like Sucuri Site Checker) and charm.li’s come up clean, free of malware of any sort every time.
Also, both my Chrome Browser and Windows Defender are not throwing up any red flags, so, as far as my own online risk mitigation set-up is concerned re Charm.Li, it’s a safe site.
Navigate this free site worry free.
To keep Charm.li’s mission going even if the site’s taken down, their about us page lists instructions how to download the site (over 700 GB’s worth of data) so either they or someone else can make an equivalent site ASAP.
You can also download individual car manuals on that car’s menu, too.
If you’re interested in helping them out in any way, including donating a digitized repair manual (as I’m sure they want to expand beyond model year 2013,) their e-mail address is email@example.com.
Their most up-to-date information is listed on their aforementioned about us page.
Tell all your family, friends, and acquaintances about charm.li.
Knowledge is power, and everyone deserves to know how to wrench on their own cars.
H/T – Jasper Motorsport