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Old 21st February 2015, 18:38   #16
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Most people don't bother with owner's manuals and I'm one of them. Only use it in a need-based style (lube capacities, recommended maintenance chart, a feature I don't understand etc.).

The problem is that owner's manuals / car manufacturers haven't kept up with the times. Putting my usability hat on:

- Why don't all cars have their owner's manuals online in an easy-to-search interactive format. No, I'm not talking about a PDF download (which is cumbersome when accessing from your smartphone, for instance). I'm talking about a well-designed website that has a clean, organised layout and is mobile-friendly.

- One of my cars had a 500 page owner's manual. In small print! You must be kidding if you expect me to read that, especially in the current era where we're hard-pressed for time. Ideally, each owner's manual must be split up into 3 sections:

1. The absolutely must-know important stuff - 10 to 20 pages (tops).

2. The nice-to-know stuff (hidden features, hard-press to roll up all windows automatically etc.).
Spot on!

Reg #2 -
I learned much more about car's features by reading online reviews like that of TeamBHP than by ever reading my own Maruti Swift manual.

The other challenge I have is that they cater to the lowest common denominator i.e transcending the thin line between documentation for documentation's sake and must-know important stuff (#1 point).

When I bought my Swift I resolved to read the manual, encouraged by similar minded well intentioned friends. But aside from the basics of what is where (fuse box etc) and the service interval etc, the rest of it was mind numbingly boring.

In 2015, its there's no reason why the owner's manual cannot be made into a simple app including DIY diagnostic help as well.

Instead I liked the Nippon (?) remote locking manual for Swift - simple no nonsense leaflet that's a giant FAQ with clear instructions. Its another matter that some of them don't work. But atleast the manual was nice.

Last edited by phamilyman : 21st February 2015 at 18:41.
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Old 21st February 2015, 18:52   #17
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I actually download the manual of a car and read it before the car even comes to me Helps me with knowing exactly what is what, and how to use certain features. But yes, I do take an hour or two and go though every single page of the manual.
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Old 21st February 2015, 19:32   #18
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

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I know its very naive to write a small article on owners manual as most of the car owners know its importance. But am just penning it down for those who are not aware of the importance of the owners manual.
Thank you Samba for writing this small but very important article on the Owners manual.

I feel that the manual is the bible for every owner that links the car and the owner irrespective of what the ASC says. It is one-stop read for 'everything' that is required to be known by the owner to operate the car under all circumstances, be it highways or under rains.

The issue that I see is most customer who go for the servicing their steeds, go blindly without even glancing (forget about reading properly) the "maintenance Schedule" section end up paying high bills and later complaining.

It is very rare of people to now even read the manual after getting the car. Lack of time and the attitude of "I know everything" harms the car in the long run. Be it running-in procedure etc.

PS: I feel reviews of cars found here have more or less the information the owners manual of the car.

Last edited by a4anurag : 21st February 2015 at 19:34.
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Old 21st February 2015, 21:11   #19
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

Reading a car's manual thoroughly is very important. Not only will it help you derive maximum utility from the automobile, but it can save you on a rainy day, when something goes wrong.

People, especially who have complicated cars, with lots of gadgetry need to know all the features as they may backfire, if you're unaware of them.

So, let me give you a real-life example. I was driving from Delhi to Simla in my E-Class. On the mountains, I felt a sudden loss of power while accelerating. A turn came after that, and I slowed down. Again, in 2 minutes, I felt like their was some loss of power. So, I stopped the car on the shoulder, opened the bonnet (Yes, it opens 90 degrees), to check if their as any fault. It seemed alright, the oil temperature was fine, and everything seemed spick and span. So, I continued on my way on. And again their was a problem. On carefully looking at the MID, I noticed an unusual sign on it that said 40. And it was then when I looked into the instructions manual, to understand what it meant, did I realise that I had by mistake enabled the speed limit assistant. It's stock is just below that turn indicator, and I might have accidentally pressed it.

Had I known what that logo meant initially, I would have saved ~30 minutes and so much tension and agony.

Guys, do read your manual before starting to drive the car, and another important point is to always keep the manual in the car

In-fact, I have an app on my phone, and most companies have started providing such E manuals.

Last edited by prakhar1998 : 21st February 2015 at 21:12.
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Old 21st February 2015, 21:44   #20
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I have never been a big fan of manuals, be it cars or electronics or any gadget. If i need to figure something out, i first play around with it. In the process, I usually end up discovering a few other features by mistake which would not happen if I were to open the manual and go straight to the section that has what i need. And if i read the entire manual, I'd probably forget it by the time i get into the car!

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- Why don't all cars have their owner's manuals online in an easy-to-search interactive format.
All new BMWs have an electronic version of the manual that you can browse sitting inside the car, on the display!
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Old 21st February 2015, 23:30   #21
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

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However, for the Fortuner's new voice command system, we actually had to contact Toyota to figure out how to use it! Compare that to the EcoSport's advanced voice command system that was so easy to set up & use.
Ford has a separate mini manual for the Ecosport Sync System. There is also a mobile sync app which teaches all the commands in an intuitive way. However we need to know and remember the exact phrases for the Sync system as it needs a predetermined set of phrases to operate. For example calling USB puts the USB mode, but for Bluetooth mode speaking "Bluetooth" wont work, you need to say "Bluetooth Audio".
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Old 21st February 2015, 23:36   #22
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I was going through all the replies in this thread. What i can make out is few people read it rigorously and few read it just when its required. For me its like, i like reading it. I love cars so love reading the details about it. Just as we read auto magazines or Team Bhp for added automotive knowledge.

Am not claiming if i read it i remember the whole manual. I just go through it. And ofcourse if i find some part to be a bit boring or a bit typical i sometimes skip that. But once i know the basic where about's it help a lot. For example if i need to get a quick answer about my car i know very well where to find it. I have seen many question's asked by people even over here whose answers are very well put up in the manual.

It will be great if we get a dedicated app for the owners manual for our mobiles or tabs , that will be easier than carrying the book let. Plus it will be more handy in case of an emergency. Plus for example when some one buy a car he get an App where he can register his car details so when he go for the service the details can be found over there itself rather than stamping and entering in the owners manual book.

Last edited by Samba : 21st February 2015 at 23:39.
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Old 21st February 2015, 23:50   #23
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I like to read manuals for... everything. In fact, I like to read manuals before I buy the thing if I can, because they are usually more honest about the real-life practical possibilities than is the stuff directly put out as marketing.

VW manuals, sadly, are depressing: They are full of things that "may not be fitted to your model." And guess what: they aren't. They might as well just give a pice of paper which says, "Sucker! You bought a cheapskate version!"

And it is not just in India: It was the same with the Golf I drove in London about 1990.

On the other hand, there really is no alternative, on a dark night with a dying torch, to having a good idea about where the jacking points are and how to use the tools.
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Old 22nd February 2015, 00:52   #24
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

Nice thread Samba. I used to read manuals for my bikes and cars and even bicycles quite meticulously till I bought my first Mahindra. The manual that came with my 4WD Bolero had no mention about the 4WD and it was a manual for the m2dicr model instead of the DI . I have just glanced through the manual of the Thar as by now I have realized that I know more than what is written in those Mahindra manuals .
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Old 22nd February 2015, 11:00   #25
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I have always found the owner's manual interesting. I started reading from old Maruti manuals, the first time i found a owner's handbook good was Daewoo Matiz. Since then i go through them whenever i get a chance, i frequently scan through them. When it comes to knowing a car properly nothing else can give you as much detailed information.

In general i like Euro car manuals, more than the Japs( Japanese cars anyways are not that complex). It's only when you go though a Euro car manual you realize the amount of effort they have put in to design that car.
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Old 22nd February 2015, 14:14   #26
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

Ever since I was a kid, I used to live reading the manuals of the new cars at home but now I have lost interest. I still read a few important things but much more can be learnt about the car on team-bhp and other websites. The owners manual is often not model specific that creates a lot of confusion.
Along with the full fledged manual another brief manual should be given comprising the important aspects of your model.
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Old 23rd February 2015, 10:48   #27
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I am sort of a fan of car owner manuals. The Toyota Innova manual is sitting right there on my book shelf. I frequently read it just for the heck of it.
And that has helped me too. For e.g propeller shaft greasing - the service center, I believe never did it on any car before I kept harping on it. It was only after my persistence that they got the gun to do it.

I also got to know from the manual that I can arrange the front and middle row seats in an innova in such a manner so as to create a bed- and a very comfortable one. This is something that I utilize a lot. I must have saved over 20k in hotel bills. We travel on business a lot as a family(3 members). While earlier this necessitated an extra bed every time we stopped at a motel/hotel, now I prefer to be in the car (except for summers).

Last edited by rrsteer : 23rd February 2015 at 10:53.
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Old 23rd February 2015, 12:05   #28
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

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Originally Posted by Samba View Post
3) Service center guys take you for a ride:

4) Car stops in the middle of the road:

6) Need to maintain a service record for your car:
1. Service Center guys (if one does not know them personally) are having a blast inflating regular service bills. A simple glance on the Service/Maintenance page is good enough to save thousands. Agree, we all don't have time to read the manual, but just open the manual and ask the Service Adviser to cross check the job estimate with what's in the manual. It'll sure catch a cheat and he might not mess with you. Takes about 5 mins.

2. People don't know to check fluid levels and replace a flat tyre

3. I really doubt anyone cares to endorse Service history in the manual. It's all digital and one can get a Service History report by just keying in the VIN.

The Service Reception/Lobby Areas can have the Owners manuals along with the newspapers and mags. At least 2/10 people might give it a glance.
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Old 23rd February 2015, 12:56   #29
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

I have always first read the manual before starting the car. Years ago, upon starting my Opel Corsa sail, I first spent almost 2 hours reading the manual. Of particular interest was a section where it said a certain fuel additive had to be added to the fuel every time I tanked up. i never failed in that duty driving across the country. Remember this was 14 years ago. German manufacturers did not think much of the fuel quality in India.

The first time I was driving uphill a red light came up on the dash and I knew exactly what it meant - having read it from the manual.

Fast forward to a few years later. Driving in a group from Manali to Leh and somewhere between Pang and Sarchu a friend who was driving his Mitsubishi Outlander 4x4 could not take a steep incline which routinely Swift/Innova/Scorpio were taking. All of us had to get down and push the vehicle uphill. The electronics would not allow us to rev up the rpm in AT. My good friend had not read the manual carefully - it did mention do not take the car on steep inclines!

The debate between what is useful, how much is useful, what is must know - is the usual balance between time, convenience and presentability. I agree wholefully that manuals should not be bulky, running into several hundred pages. Rather an easy to read, eye catching format with sections that easily tell you what not to skip over.

I am aware of vehicles that are now having electronic form of their manuals. But the few vehicles I have owned did not. But I do find reading car manuals very interesting. While at a service station, waiting for the car service to compete rather than spend time watching TV or browsing the net I end up reading some manual.

And yes, not reading a manual carefully would lead to normal things looking an uphill task and the friendly neighborhood garage taking an ill informed driver for a ride.

Cheers
Rajain

Last edited by GTO : 23rd February 2015 at 14:35. Reason: Typos
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Old 23rd February 2015, 14:43   #30
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Default Re: 10 reasons why you should read your car's owners manual

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Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
All new BMWs have an electronic version of the manual that you can browse sitting inside the car, on the display!
Yep, and it's a pretty good one too (surprising as Germans aren't the last word in interface design & usability).



While this is good, it's still not a replacement for a well-designed online user's manual. For instance, if my BMW's gear lever is stuck in 'P' because of a flat battery, and I want to tow / push it, what do I do?

On a related note, the Scorpio's video manual is awesome. I actually referred to it to understand its cruise control.



Video quality is good too. You can only watch the videos when the vehicle is stationary:

Last edited by GTO : 23rd February 2015 at 15:51.
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