Car manuals don’t seem important at first. But as soon as you get an engine warning light and you need to figure out what kind of oil you put in, a car manual comes in very handy.
Owner manuals provide basic knowledge and safety information of the car. Unfortunately, a large number of car owners don’t have their cars’ manuals, especially people with used cars. Previous owners who have lost the manuals are to thank for this.
What is a Car Owner’s Manual?
Car manuals, also called user guide or instruction manual, is a physical or online booklet that provides detailed information about the car, maintenance details and troubleshooting details.
It provides engine details and information on how certain problems can be fixed. Owner manuals mainly cover three main areas: description of all control operations, description of maintenance required both by the owner and mechanic, engine and oil specifications and fuel capacity.
Owner manuals have been growing bigger and bigger over time as cars are getting more complex and more techie.
This article should not to be confused with a factory service manual. A factory service manual is also provided by the manufacturer. Initially, it was not offered to owners as they were made for dealerships so that the mechanics were able to fix their own product. Today, they are given freely to the public.
Do new cars come with Owner’s manual?
Yes. Most new and brandy vehicles sold by their dealerships or in showrooms come with an original manufacturer manual. It is mainly used cars that do not come with manuals as previous car owners or dealerships have lost them.
However, even if a car does not come with it, manufacturers provide online manuals in their websites through downloadable PDFs. These online versions are free while their paper versions (which can be sent directly to the owner) costs anywhere between $25 and $40 depending on the manufacturer.
How to find manual for a Used Car
If you have a used car, there are high chances that it didn’t come with an owner’s manual. Luckily, there is no reason to worry since there are many different ways to find a manual for your second hand car. Here are a number of ways to find it.
Find a manual online: Every car manual can be found online. Sites such as Vehicle History and Owner’s Manuals for Cars offer free PDF versions of owner’s manuals. Using these two sites and a google search, you’re guaranteed to find a manual for your car.
Visit Manufacturer Websites:This may require the owner to log in or to enter the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to access the manuals. Always ensure to print out online manuals and put them in the glove compartment since you might not be able to access it while you’re on the road.
Request a manual from Dealership: If you want a physical copy of a manual, start by contacting your local dealership. It your used car is still relatively new, then the dealership might have some manuals in stock. And if the vehicle is a little old, the dealership might have to order from the manufacturer.
Request from the manufacturer: If you’re unlucky contacting the dealership try reaching out to the manufacturer through a customer service rep and ask them to send a copy of the owner’s manual.
Buy a physical copy online: In case you’re having trouble finding a manual for your car, this might mean it’s an old model car or a rare car. The solution for finding such a manual would be to visit sites such as Ebay and Books4Cars where people are selling them.
Why is an Owner’s Manual Important?
The importance of an owner’s manual cannot be underestimated. It is the answer to almost all the questions about your vehicle. This information should make you a better driver and car owner. While most car manuals are too detailed and boring to read through or understand, there are a few important things that stand out and every driver should know.
Initial Setup of the Car:
Every year, cars add on more technological features. While some of these features are easy to setup and understand, they might require guidance on first time setup. These features include: keyless entry, voice recognition, fingerprint reader and Bluetooth connections. A manual will make it easy to setup with confidence before driving a new car.
How to check fluids:
To know where the coolant, motor oil and wiper fluid is located, check the manual. This applies to first time owners or owners with no idea how the chassis is set up. The manual indicates important tips such as what fluids to check while hot and while cold. For Instance, transmission fluid is checked when the car is on while oil level is checked when car is off.
Gizmos are the little tech features, they are quiet easy to understand. Avoid the frustration that comes with gizmos by referring to the manual. Also avoid a ‘what does this button do’ mentality by pressing buttons and flipping switches without knowing what they do as you might regret this in the long run.
Many people waste time and money by following a mechanic’s advice on when to change the oil or other vehicle fluids. For the most accurate fluid change schedule, always refer to your vehicle’s service manual. You can also use this manual to budget for maintenance and repair expenses.
How to decipher warning lights:
The warning lights on the dashboard can be quite a mystery if you don’t understand them. Sure some are self-explanatory such as the oil icon but some need a manual to decipher. The manual will show you what each light means and eventually save you from expensive repairs in the future.
You may think you know everything about your car but you really don’t until you read through the manual.
Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change’.