Haynes Manual goes digital: Iconic vehicle repair guide will stop printing books


The iconic Haynes Workshop Manuals will no longer be physically printed and published for new cars, its publisher has confirmed following the death of its founder. 

More than 200 million manuals on 300 models of cars and 130 motorbike models were sold to DIY enthusiasts who wanted to maintain and repair vehicles themselves for more than 50 years.

Haynes Publishing was founded by John Haynes in 1960, but was sold for a reported £114million earlier this year to French firm Infopro Digital after his death from a short illness.

Haynes Publishing was founded by John Haynes in 1960, but was sold for a reported £114million earlier this year to French firm Infopro Digital after his death from a short illness 

The Haynes Manual shows home mechanics step by step instructions on how to strip and rebuild a car

The Haynes Manual shows home mechanics step by step instructions on how to strip and rebuild a car

Changing the drive belts on a car can be complicated, though with this easy diagram it makes the job far easier. Also, the tip on using a rubber hose for threading a spark plug can save serious damage

Changing the drive belts on a car can be complicated, though with this easy diagram it makes the job far easier. Also, the tip on using a rubber hose for threading a spark plug can save serious damage

More than 200 million manuals on 300 models of cars and 130 motorbike models were sold to DIY enthusiasts who wanted to maintain and repair vehicles themselves for more than 50 years

More than 200 million manuals on 300 models of cars and 130 motorbike models were sold to DIY enthusiasts who wanted to maintain and repair vehicles themselves for more than 50 years

More than 200 million manuals on 300 models of cars and 130 motorbike models were sold to DIY enthusiasts who wanted to maintain and repair vehicles themselves for more than 50 years

The publisher has now announced that it will cease all new printed manuals, but will continue to publish new guides online. Manuals that already exist will still be printed and published physically. 

In a statement, the company said: ‘We can confirm we’ve taken the commercial decision to cease publishing any new printed Workshop Manuals.   

‘However, we will continue to print and publish out extensive back catalogue of automotive and motorcycle titles.

‘In addition, we’re currently in the process of creating an exciting and comprehensive new automotive maintenance and repair product that will cover around 95 per cent of car makes and models – an increase of around 40 per cent over our current Workshop Manual coverage.’   

The very first Haynes manual was published in 1965 for the Austin Healey Sprite, while Terry Davey’s iconic cutaway drawings became a feature of the publication in 1972. 

Manuals included vehicles built by current and former GM brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Geo, GMC, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn and Vauxhall. 

Haynes also produced manuals for fictional vehicles, including the USS Enterprise from Star Trek, the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.

The company also has a large list of non-motoring titles in several categories including animal care, cooking, model railways and history.   

Manuals included vehicles built by current and former GM brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Geo, GMC, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn and Vauxhall. Haynes also produced manuals for fictional vehicles, including the USS Enterprise from Star Trek, the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

Manuals included vehicles built by current and former GM brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Geo, GMC, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn and Vauxhall. Haynes also produced manuals for fictional vehicles, including the USS Enterprise from Star Trek, the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

Manuals included vehicles built by current and former GM brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Geo, GMC, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn and Vauxhall. Haynes also produced manuals for fictional vehicles, including the USS Enterprise from Star Trek, the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

The very first Haynes manual was published in 1965 for the Austin Healey Sprite, while Terry Davey's iconic cutaway drawings became a feature of the publication in 1972

The very first Haynes manual was published in 1965 for the Austin Healey Sprite, while Terry Davey’s iconic cutaway drawings became a feature of the publication in 1972 

The company also has a large list of non-motoring titles in several categories including animal care, cooking, model railways and history

The company also has a large list of non-motoring titles in several categories including animal care, cooking, model railways and history

The company also has a large list of non-motoring titles in several categories including animal care, cooking, model railways and history 

‘This will provide consumers with more choice than ever before. More details will be provided in due course.’

The statement added: ‘Far from it being the end of the road for Haynes, the company is about to embark on an exciting new journey.’

Haynes started the publishing house after helping fix an Austin Healey Sprite while serving in the RAF and realising the official manual was not designed to help an average car owner.

The Haynes Manual showed how to perform tasks from simple services all the way to full engine rebuilds on hundreds of different cars, such as this manual for the Porsche 911 - though with prices for early versions going for six figures, it is likely that most owners will send their pride and joy to a specialist

The Haynes Manual showed how to perform tasks from simple services all the way to full engine rebuilds on hundreds of different cars, such as this manual for the Porsche 911 – though with prices for early versions going for six figures, it is likely that most owners will send their pride and joy to a specialist 

Classic car owners such as those with MGB Roadsters and GT Coupes can use the manual to keep the cost of repairing their cars to a minimum. Complex jobs such as changing the half-shafts or replacing a rear differential are made easy with the simple-to-follow instructions - which include photographs of each step

Classic car owners such as those with MGB Roadsters and GT Coupes can use the manual to keep the cost of repairing their cars to a minimum. Complex jobs such as changing the half-shafts or replacing a rear differential are made easy with the simple-to-follow instructions – which include photographs of each step

His first manual showed DIY enthusiasts how to strip a card down to its component parts and then put them back together again.   

The first run of 3,000 copies of his Austin manual sold out in less than three months, while the step-by-step approach and diagrams would become a hallmark of Haynes Manuals. 

The company grew over the course of 50 years, publishing manuals for cars and motorbikes and acquiring the Clymer and Intertec repair manuals from Penton Media in 2013. 

Haynes also founded the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset, home to a big collection of classic cars and motorbikes. 

He died aged 80 on February 8, 2019, following a short illness.  

The Haynes Manuals involved a strip down and rebuild of each of the featured cars

The Haynes Manuals involved a strip down and rebuild of each of the featured cars

Unfortunately, owners today are either too afraid to work on their own cars or look to YouTube where there are thousands of videos of people repairing every conceivable problem

Unfortunately, owners today are either too afraid to work on their own cars or look to YouTube where there are thousands of videos of people repairing every conceivable problem 

From Sri Lanka to Somerset: How John Haynes’ step-by-step manuals revolutionised DIY car fixes 

Mr Haynes was awarded an OBE for services to publishing in 1995 and in 2005 The Open University presented him with the honorary degree of Master of the University. He served as chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group until 2010

Mr Haynes was awarded an OBE for services to publishing in 1995 and in 2005 The Open University presented him with the honorary degree of Master of the University. He served as chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group until 2010

John Haynes went from having a lonely and isolated childhood in Sri Lanka to becoming the recognisable face of a global publishing brand.

His step-by-step photographic illustrations were an instant hit and the first print run of 3,000 sold out in less than three months. 

Since then more than 200 million Haynes Manuals have been sold around the world.

The books have spawned the Haynes Publishing Group PLC and the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset.  

Mr Haynes was born in Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, in 1938. His father managed a tea plantation. 

He told the National.ae in an interview a decade ago that the world he grew up in ‘was very different’. 

He said: ‘When we were about nine and 10, my brother and I used to ride round the tennis court on our bicycles. I remember once about 200 local children came to watch.

John Haynes published his first motor manual in 1966 for the Austin Healey Sprite, pictured above as a stock image [File photo]

John Haynes published his first motor manual in 1966 for the Austin Healey Sprite, pictured above as a stock image [File photo]

‘I suspect that was the only entertainment I’d have had all afternoon. In some respects, I was a very lonely little boy.’ 

He moved to Britain along with his brother David at the age of 12 and went to a boarding school in Kent. 

While at school, John re-built an old Austin 7 into a new special. He then completed his National Service with the RAF in logistics. 

He had been sent to Aden, but while over there, he had been asked by a friend to rebuild a car with him.  

He published his first motor manual in 1966 for the car he was asked to re-build, the Austin Healey Sprite. 

The Haynes brand soon took off as a major publishing business.  

Mr Haynes was awarded an OBE for services to publishing in 1995, and in 2005 The Open University presented him with the honorary degree of Master of the University. 

He served as chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group until 2010 and continued in an active role as a director.  

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