NEW YORK — It was a simple idea, and one that took off, thanks to a Southern Automotive Service Training Center in Southern California.
The idea started with a few guys in a garage who were trying to build a service manual for a Lincoln Town Car, said Dale DeBruin, the owner of Southern Automobile Service Training in La Jolla, Calif.
He decided to make the manual available for free online.
The folks at Southern Automobiles, which is based in Las Vegas, were able to raise enough money to pay for the manual and then turn the idea into a business.
Since then, DeBrugins has turned the idea around.
DeBruins and his team now have more than 4,000 customers, including automakers like Ford, Hyundai, GM and Chrysler, and he’s also working on a more extensive manual for some of his customers.
The Southern Automotors Manual website features detailed diagrams and images showing how to make it look like an actual service manual.
The goal, DeBeers says, is to help people learn how to drive the car safely.
The manual is free to download, but there are fees for the services.
For example, Southern Automots offers online service training at no charge to those with credit card debt, De Bruins said.
DeBricos said he has to charge an extra $5 for a credit card transaction.
Southern Automobiles also offers online auto-repair training, and DeBries is trying to expand that to the automotive industry.
De Bruin is also working to build more vehicles that will look like the service manuals, but not just for Southern Automobilists.
Southern Automobility wants to offer more service vehicles for customers to buy, Debeers said.
Southern automotors, De Bruin said, are looking to make more than 20 different models of the service manual available by the end of the year.
For now, the company is looking to get some of the models out in the next few weeks.