I’ve never been able to work out if the arrival of a Haynes manual should be seen as good or bad news for the car it features.
On the plus side, the publication of one of the brand’s how-to books proves the vehicle in question has achieved a certain prominence, both in terms of sales and long-term viability. I can remember looking in vain for Haynes guides to some of the more obscure ‘80s bangers that passed through my hands during my motoring youth.
But a Haynes guide also implies that the car featured within its pages is getting close to the sort of semi-junkyard status where cash-strapped punters opt to do it themselves. I can still remember the cold response I got from a senior Fiat PR when, as a naïve young journo, I asked if the arrival of a Haynes manual for the original Fiat Bravo barely three years after it was introduced meant it had become a banger. He hung up on me.
Which is why I don’t know what to make of Haynes’ latest manual – for the Toyota Prius.
It’s true that early versions of the mk1 Prius have now dropped through the £3000 barrier – but it hardly seems the sort of motor to inspire the oily-knuckled wrangling that the guide encourages.
Like most of us I’ve got (mostly) fond memories of Haynes’ products from – I had the corresponding issue for every clunker I owned in my teens and early twenties. I remember the guide’s breezy assurance that re-fitting an Austin Metro’s rear subframe was the “reverse of removal.” I’ve got the scars to prove it isn’t.
I know that modern, new-age Haynes manuals tend to major more on how to change wiper blades or check oil levels than how to rebuild gearbox synchro cones, but I’m still looking forwards to hearing about the first over-optimistic Prius owner’s attempts to reassemble the integrated starter/alternator by simply reading the disassembly instructions in reverse order…