Why you will normally not be able to get a service manual for your appliance
We get asked constantly about service manuals for appliance, especially washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers as well as service manuals for fridges and fridge freezers as well as cookers and ovens etc.
If you ever wondered why you cannot find an appliance service manual online then, wonder no more as we explain why that is!
This article is as full and as frank an explanation of the situation with service information as we can give. But, whilst you read this, please bear in mind that we often find some of this just as annoying as the public do, if not more so as it often hinders our ability to repair and earn a living.
It also is incredibly annoying that we appear to be living in a a "nanny state" in many ways, but it is what it is.
If you are looking for a service manual for your washing machine, dishwasher or fridge freezer we are afraid you are probably out of luck.
People also often assume that service manuals are available for every individual machine when, as a general rule, they're not.
For most appliances, especially laundry appliances like the commonly asked for ones to do with washers, washer dryers, dishwashers and dryers (collectively known as "laundry appliances") it is assumed by the manufacturer that you know what you are doing as any documentation will be aimed at a service engineer and not a member of the public.
That means you ofen see a "manual" that covers a vast range of machines that you have to work out what bits of it apply or don't to the model you are diagnosing an issue with. They rarely, if ever, apply to a single model.
You also have to bear in mind the price of the product, as a generalisation, it is fair to say that the cheaper the machines, the poorer the service support tends to be. In some cases (many really) this equates to no support at all.
The Service Information We Have Got
If you're really lucky, for most machines, you can get a parts blowout diagram like the one below, which will be generic and not model specific. It may not even look like the machine you have as it is meant for spares identification and will often cover a huge range of machines, not one specific one.
As you can plainly see from the above it covers no less than six different spin speeds, two suspension systems, three different backplates at least, three different motors and at least twenty or so UK models.
And, that's just under the old Servis brand name in this case.
Add to that all the people who use the same insides, like Hygena, Diplomat, Electra as well a host of others and you will see that this single diagram covers, quite literally, hundreds of model variants with most of the models covered different in some ways to one another.
You can see a diagram easily covering multiple models across slews of brands, they are very generic.
Service Manuals Cost Money To Produce
What most manufacturers will not do is invest time and money into something that they don't have to.
Such as creating a step by step walk through of how to diagnose and strip a washing machine as the engineers know how to do that and in most cases they won't even have a unique spares diagram drawn as, the engineers and spares suppliers know what they're looking for and at. In other words, they don't have to do this other than for the general public and, it's extremely expensive and time consuming to produce such information which many people then seem to think that they have a right to have, freely.
The short version of this is that there will more often than not be no service manual on any appliance, it simply will not exist as there's no need to incur the expense of production.
As we said earlier, where one does it will be generic across a wide range of machines and not model specific as it is intended to let an engineer see the general layout of the machine, how to gain access best and that sort of thing. It won't give you much of any help unless you already know what you're doing.
Bear this in mind, especially on low cost appliances as as on cheap appliances there's often not even decent parts information let alone any service info!
On own brand label products that can and does frequently get even worse!
When appliances are made every penny or cent counts, if the cost can be shaved to save a few pennies per machine then it will be in a price driven market. One of the first things to suffer when the pennies get pinched is (as we often tell people) the quality of the products but after that service gets restricted by cost. You can reduce costs by not having technical staff, pay engineers less, not produce documentation and so on.
Producing this information isn't cheap as we said, so it goes very early unless you buy from a decent manufacturer.
Even then however, just look at the quality of the user manual, a part they want you to look at. It will often be poor quality, written in some form of broken and twisted English indicating a poor translation and all too often is of little real use, especially with any problems.
That aside people often ask for these elusive "service manuals" expecting us to supply them totally free. We'd love to, but there's a few problems with that asides from the fact that they often don't exist, like how do we pay someone to track all this stuff down for people when we don't get paid to do it? Or, how do we defend any legal challenge over the provision when we run a free service?
Are You Competent Enough To Be Given A Manual
This is an argument that we come up against all the time.
The short of it is that we have to be sure that people are "competent" to hand out information such as wiring diagrams and the likes. So, how do we prove that? If it's in the forums, what about the competency of the next 300 people or more that read that thread at some point, are they all competent as well?
The short answer is that we can't.
People often come on the forums or send emails telling us that they are such and such, an electrician, an aircraft engineer or whatever and that they are more than qualified to repair a lowly washing machine. Well, how do we know that these people are or are not capable? How do we even know that we're being told the truth? How can we prove that to ourselves let alone a court if we got sued?
"Yes we supplied the information that led to the man's death because he told us he was competent" is not a statement that will work well in our favour in a courtroom.
We therefore have to have blanket rules which for the forums are clearly posted and for service information and wiring diagrams etc. is carried over to the entire organisation. We do not supply technical or wiring information that doesn't come supplied with the product unless you can prove trade status.
It really does have to be that simple I'm afraid as we do not want someone's death or injury on our conscience nor do we want sued over what is a free service.
And, the argument also runs that, if you are competent then you shouldn't need a service manual. Which is not a very sensible position in our opinion, but it has been heard.
It is usually the reason manufacturers throw at professional service technicians as an excuse for not allowing them access to technical info and, in our opinon in that instance, it's is complete bunkum, merely an excuse to prevent fair and equal competition in the repair market. But, if we can't get that info in the trade, there's no chance a member of the public wil get it.
Copyright On Service Information
"This information and documentation is intended solely for the use in service of the products and is not to be transmitted or relayed in any way or form to a third party"
Or words to that effect.
What this means is that we can't relay the information even if we have it, it's copyrighted. If we do so and get caught we could be sued which is, obviously, something we'd rather not get into.
This pretty much applies to every scrap of information out there, it's all protected and manufacturers get very huffy about us sharing it.
Notable ones that are notorious for poor information include:
- Whirlpool that now ecompases Indesit including Hotpoint, Indesit, Ariston, Creda, Cannon
- Homark (because they don't exist anymore really)
- Miele (totally closed shop on information and spares)
- Bosch Group (Bosch, Neff and Siemens)
- Just about all the own label brands
- Anything Chinese because they just don't write it or consider aftersales service really.
We could go on but you would be as well to research the brands that you are interested in withion the manufacturer section of the site to get a sense of what's good or bad.
So, in most cases, even if such a mythical service manual does exist we can't freely hand it out to anyone as we then breach the copyright on it.
Unless we want to re-write or indeed, write, thousands of manuals to cover all the appliances out there, that we may only ever sell one of, there is virtually not a hope that you will see sight of a service manual we are sorry to inform you.
We are really sorry that in almost all instances where we are asked for this information we can't help people but hopefully this article explains why you can't get them and why, even if you could, we cannot supply them and this is the very reason that the support forums on UK Whitegoods exist. We are trying to help people as best we can within the confines of the law and the industry rules in the forums in a manner that is both possible and legal.
Hopefully people will see that and understand that it's not our choice that such information is not available to the public.
Here's a great listen if you have 13 minutes to spare that explains a lot of this stuff and hopefully there will be a change in the future..