Every Car Owner Should Read the Owner’s Manual

While it would be unfair to say that no driver has ever read the owner’s manual for their vehicle, those who have are a rarity. Across all forms of technology, from household appliances and smartphones to computers and cars, most user guides, instructions, documentation, and manuals are never read. Indeed, we’ve seen used cars with well over 200,000 km whose manuals were as pristine as the day they left the printer’s.

Why Don’t People Read the Owner’s Manual?

Cars were once much simpler to drive, maintain, and repair. This 1965 Ford Mustang manual isn’t even 100 pages long—that’s including all warranty, operation, and maintenance information. Clearly, cars have changed a great deal over the last 50 years, and the size of today’s manuals reflects their complexity. But size isn’t the only problem—informative but useless data, legalese, and other complex language are further reasons why so many owner’s manuals go unread.

Some people like to be shown how things work or prefer getting advice from friends or family; others like to look things up online. But the majority prefer to poke around and figure things out by trial and error. If you fall into any of these categories, you’re missing out!

What’s in the Owner’s Manual?

Believe it or not, vehicle manuals aren’t just there to take up space in your glove box. Here are five things you may not have known they contained.

  • Maintenance schedule – The maintenance schedule gives you a basic outline of what needs to be replaced, adjusted, or inspected, and how often. It can help you get the best performance and longevity out of your car or truck.
  • Fluid specifications – Engine oil and coolant need to be topped up now and then due to daily consumption and leaks or other problems, but it’s important to use the right fluid. The wrong one can sometimes damage your car. Choose the right stuff by following the manual.
  • Car features – Not knowing how to use automatic climate control might diminish the comfort of your drive, but not knowing how to use the lane keeping feature or adaptive cruise control can be dangerous. Read the manual to make the most of all the great features your car offers.
  • Vehicle customization – Many vehicles can be customized to the driver or multiple drivers, such as with automatically adjusting seats, mirrors, climate control, and audio system. The manual shows you how to set it all up.
  • In case of emergency – Even well-maintained cars break down. Your vehicle’s manual tells you what to do if a warning light comes on and how to change a flat tire.

Indeed, an owner’s manual is no page-turner, but consider what you’re missing by not cracking its spine. If you’re thinking about doing a little DIY auto repair, an automotive repair manual is a definite must!

For routine maintenance and repairs, check out all the car maintenance services available at any of our 600 NAPA AUTOPRO locations. For more information about owner’s manuals, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.

Benjamin Jerew