What is the difference between a car workshop manual and a factory service manual?

A car workshop manual is a manual that describes in detail how to repair your car, how to dismantle, rebuild, or fix its parts or test any component.  Car workshop manuals aren’t published directly by car manufacturers like Honda, Mazda, BMW, etc., rather they collaborate with other publishers to publish their workshop manuals.  

Most car manufacturers publish different manuals for each model for the convenience of manual users. For instance, if a publisher decides to publish manuals for Mercedes’ cars, they will publish different manuals for all of their different models that have been released over the years.

Publishers of workshop manuals are hesitant in selling their manuals to regular citizens but the general public still manages to get their hands on these manuals somehow. Publishers would rather sell those to professional mechanics and workshop owners.  

These manuals can be accessed in the form of DVDs, hard copies, and PDF’s for laptops and cellphones. Some manufacturers provide these manuals for free and some sell these at a price. However, these manuals can also be accessed for free on third party sites, but the credibility of those manuals is questionable.  

These manuals provide step by step instructions for any repair, service, or maintenance task. They also come with caution warnings and tips and hacks on how to maintain vehicles better.  

Car workshop manuals have relatively less detailed procedures, or text in general, than a factory service manual.  

A generic and casual tone is adopted in a car workshop manual.  

Factory service manuals aren’t much different from car workshop manuals. Both of them were designed to serve a similar purpose. However, there is a minute difference which has been discussed below.  

Factory service manuals are designed to fulfill the same duties as a car workshop manual, i.e. they help car owners in servicing, repairing, and maintaining their cars. In this way, car owners can avoid regular trips to the mechanics and it’s an ideal option for car owners who love DIY jobs and are looking to minimize expenses.  

Factory service manuals are published directly by car manufacturers (OEM) and they don’t collaborate with any third-party publisher.

Factory service manuals were originally exclusively published for professionals and to this date, the general public finds it hard to get their hands on it.  

Factory service manuals are much more in detail as compared to a car workshop manual. They provide a lot more detail about the respective car along with elaborate step by step instructions, tips, and warnings.  

Factory service manuals, like car workshop manuals, can be bought or downloaded online or a hardcopy of these manuals can be bought. However, hardcopy versions of factory service manuals provide users with better quality in terms of how information is represented in them as compared to how it’s represented in a car workshop manual. They also provide users with better paper quality.  

A specific and formal tone is adopted in a factory service manual which is the opposite of the tone used in a car service manual.