Ownership Don’t Underestimate what your Owner’s Manual can do

18:39  12 july  2018
18:39  12 july  2018 Source:   wheels.ca

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Some owners prefer to figure things out for themselves, through trial and error, rather than read a manual . Throughout my adult life, I have driven dozens of new vehicles, and I will be the first to admit I have never read an owner ’ s manual from cover to cover.

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Owner’s Manual: 43293_MY16_Sonata_Hybrid+copy © Susan Gubasta 43293_MY16_Sonata_Hybrid+copy

When it comes to riveting reading, car owner’s manuals would not make any short list, and for good reason.

Owner’s manuals are dry and filled with technical jargon, and most car owners have neither the time nor the patience to read them.

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Some owners prefer to figure things out for themselves, through trial and error, rather than read a manual. Throughout my adult life, I have driven dozens of new vehicles, and I will be the first to admit I have never read an owner’s manual from cover to cover.

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All new vehicles come with an owner’s manual, which contains a wealth of useful information about the recommended care, maintenance and operation of the vehicle.

These publications are available in print or digital form (car owners are advised to keep the print versions in their glovebox or trunk for quick access). Most automakers still produce printed manuals, but in the past decade, there has been a movement to digitize this information.

How to initially set up your vehicle, how to conduct pre-driving checks and adjustments and how to troubleshoot common problems — these are some of the topics covered in a typical owner’s manual.

Many of a vehicle’s features can be figured out with common sense, practice and patience. However, some of the infotainment and safety features on newer models can be tricky.

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If you are one of those who cannot be bothered removing the manual from the glovebox, try reading it online.

Most automakers offer their complete manuals online, which can be easily accessed. When you find yourself with some spare time at the computer, a quick Google search will steer you toward the owner’s manual for your make and model.

Some automakers offer smartphone apps, web videos and other digital instruction aids to explain the newer features on their vehicles, while others integrate an electronic version of the manual into a vehicle’s on-board computer.

In 2017, Hyundai introduced a virtual digital guide for owners of its luxury car brand, Genesis. This first-of-its-kind augmented reality app effectively replaces the bulky, printed manual and includes “how-to videos, three-dimensional overlay pictures, and an easily navigable interface,” writes Robb Report.

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a hand holding a cell phone: Owner’s Manual © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Owner’s Manual

I expect more automakers to move in this direction.

Some dealers offer tutorials for customers to explain the latest features on cars. Dealerships also host car-care clinics for new-car purchasers, where a vehicle’s controls, safety features, options and maintenance requirements are explained.

For car owners who have never bothered to read their manuals, I would suggest doing so. Cars today are equipped with a dazzling array of tech features, gizmos and operational instructions, and many owners are not even aware of some of them.

After all, you are paying for these features; you may as well derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from them.

From a practical standpoint, at least read the maintenance section, where you will find the recommended maintenance requirements for your make and model.

Maintaining your vehicle according to the stipulation of the manual is crucial to validating your warranty and to ensuring the safe operation of the vehicle.

When you buy a used vehicle, it should come with an owner’s manual. If it does not, then contact the dealership or the manufacturer to obtain one (a fee may apply).

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I cannot guarantee you that your owner’s manual will offer fascinating reading, but it will leave you better informed about how to maintain and operate your vehicle.

This will ensure that your vehicle runs more efficiently and holds it value over your ownership period.

I tell customers, “If you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. What you put in is what you get out, so look after your vehicles.”

For more information about automobile trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Susan Gubasta is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president/CEO of Mississauga Toyota. 

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