Fix Your Own Prius

There are two giants in the DIY auto-repair world: Chilton and Haynes. And now, for the very brave home mechanic, these two publishers have repair manuals for the Toyota Prius, 2001-2008.

Haynes offers the tradtional paper-bound book that, if you’ve ever pulled a tranny, you’ve undoubtedly seen before. (If you thought that example involved cross-dressing, do not attempt to fix your Prius. Ever.) For about $25, it covers everything from routine maintenance to emissions controls and wiring diagrams, with photos and step-by-step instructions for every procedure.

Chilton has gone all 21st-century on us with its new web site Twenty bucks will get you online access to the how-tos for maintenance and repair, with photos and illustrations to guide you through the process. This is the excuse you’ve been waiting for to hook up a wireless router in the garage and plug in your old laptop. You might want to get one of those plastic keyboard covers first.

Be warned, Prius owners: you must have a mechanical bone in your body — preferably dozens of them — to follow along with the more advanced techniques in either repair manual. But curious beginners with a reasonable understanding of how a car works should be able to start with the maintenance and work their way up to master home Prius mechanic.

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