The Vehicle Owner’s Manual is Your Best Friend

What is the answer to most questions about your vehicle? Consult the owner’s manual.

It’s as simple as that. The vehicle owner’s manual is an instructional booklet that is specific to your vehicle. It includes important information to make you a better driver and car owner, including maintenance and troubleshooting advice.

Rather than excitedly driving off in your new vehicle, take some time to read your owner’s manual and get acquainted first.

13 Important Things Included in Your Car Owner’s Manual

  1. Setup Instructions

While some cars still don’t require any setup, many newer models have technological features that require some user input. These include Bluetooth, keyless entry, and voice recognition.

The owner’s manual can make this process easy. In order to take full advantage of your vehicle’s available options, learn all of the setup instructions before driving your new car.

  1. Gizmo Instructions 

In addition to setup instructions, you will also find instructions for how to use all of the features and gizmos in your vehicle. Avoid the frustration that comes with learning a new system by reading the owner’s manual before you start to use anything in or around the car.

Don’t flip switches and press buttons before you know what they do. If you don’t know what a particular button or function in your vehicle does, consult the owner’s manual first. This includes how to dim, brighten, or modify your headlights.

Your vehicle may also have a “battery run-down” feature that automatically shuts down lamps and lights to conserve your battery life.

  1. Maintenance Schedule

Taking preventative care for your vehicle is money well spent. When you catch problems early on, they are cheaper and easier to fix. Your vehicle will last longer, have higher resale value and better performance.

In addition to saving money on repairs, a well-maintained car is also more efficient, saving you on fuel costs as well. Additionally, any warranty claims normally request a complete service record.

Look in your car’s service manual to learn the proper maintenance schedule (oil changes, for instance), how often you need to service your car, and the expected lifespan for the car’s replaceable parts.

Save money on unnecessary maintenance and oil changes by following the recommendations in the vehicle owner’s manual. For example, many people waste time and money by following a dealership or 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 your car’s maintenance schedule to budget car maintenance and repair expenses. Your mechanic won’t like that you consulted your owner’s manual, but your wallet and peace of mind will.

  1. How to Check and Refill Fluids

If you want to know where the windshield wiper fluid, coolant, or motor oil is located, save yourself time and trouble by checking the owner’s manual first.

You will also learn if it’s better to check the fluid while it’s hot or cold.

  1. Oil Change

Make sure you are filling up with the proper engine oil and gas by consulting your owner’s manual. The “Engine Oil” section tells you how to check your oil level, what kind of oil and filter to use, and how long you can go between oil changes.

Bookmark this page for easy reference.

  1. Gas Grade

What kind of gasoline should you use for your vehicle? Check your owner’s manual to learn the proper octane level.

Premium or plus gasoline isn’t automatically superior. Different types of engines are designed to run on different types of gasoline. Use the gas grade (octane rating) that is recommended in the “Fuel” section of your owner’s manual. 

  1. Seat Positions and Head Restraints 

In order to provide the safest and most comfortable position in your car, check the owner’s manual for how to adjust seat positions and head restraints.

Adjusting the head restraints to the proper height will help cushion the head and spine in the case of an accident, reducing whiplash injuries and increasing effectiveness.

  1. Dashboard Warning Lights

Dashboard warning lights are not the same for all vehicles. While some lit-up warning signs are nothing to worry about, others can indicate important messages about your braking system, engine, and fluid levels.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will let you know what each warning light means and whether it is urgent or not. If you see a dashboard warning light that you do not recognize, look it up in your vehicle owner’s manual immediately. It could save you from a dangerous situation and expensive repair bills.

  1. How to Change Tires

Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you how to remove tire and operate a car jack. Since every car is different, you want to make sure you are lifting the car up at the proper location. Always reference your owner’s manual for the correct location to place the car jack.

We highly recommend consulting the owner’s manual so you can make the ideal tire change. You will learn how long you can drive on the spare and how inflated it should be. While you are replacing the tire, don’t forget to check the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.

  1. Ideal Tire Pressure

Instead of using the tire pressure on the sidewall of your tire, consult your owner’s manual for the proper tire PSI. The PSI printed on your tire is normally the maximum allowed pressure. Never inflate the tire over this number. If you overinflate your tires, you risk overheating, a blowout, or worse.

We recommend purchasing a digital tire gauge and checking your tire pressure about once every month. Maintaining proper tire pressure will enhance driver safety and fuel efficiency.

ALWAYS check the owner’s manual for the proper PSI level for your tires. You can also find the appropriate tire pressure rating on the placard on the inside of your driver-side door, glove box, or fuel door.

  1. Warranty Information

You can save a lot of money by checking your owner’s manual to see what service and parts are covered by warranty. Rather than forking over your hard-earned money to mechanic, check your manual first.

You will learn if you have any roadside assistance along with any relevant contact information. Additionally, you will discover all of the things that you should not do that may void any existing warranties.

If you are having trouble finding out what is and is not covered by your warranty, speak with one of the technicians at Auto Simple.

  1. How to Clean the Vehicle’s Inside and Outside

If you want to keep your vehicle looking brand new, consult the owner’s manual. It will tell you the best cleaning methods for your leather or fabric upholstery and outdoor paint, mirrors, and accents.

  1. Tips & Tricks

In addition to some specific driving tips for your model, you will also discover valuable tips and tricks for extending the lifespan of your vehicle, increasing gas mileage, and maximizing passenger safety. Learn how to maneuver your new vehicle and follow their instructions no matter how seasoned you are as a driver.

In addition to tips for safe driving, you will uncover little-known features. For instance, some cars have the ability to lower the windows a little bit on hot, summer days. Your owner’s manual contains a lot of hidden features you may be missing out on.

We recommend reading the entire vehicle owner’s manual before driving your new car. Every model is different. Get acquainted; learn the vehicle’s quirks and oddities.

How to Find Your Vehicle Owner’s Manual Online

Although vehicle owner’s manuals normally stay put, occasionally they do get lost or misplaced. If you are missing your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you could find yourself in significant trouble.

Luckily, there are ways (mostly free) to obtain your car’s service manual if it has gone missing.

  1. Find Your Vehicle’s Year, Make, and Model (and/or VIN Number)

When searching for your missing owner’s manual online, you will normally need either the vehicle’s YEAR/MAKE/MODEL information of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN can provide more accurate results depending on the manufacturer.

For instance, the VIN can provide a more customized maintenance schedule based on your specific vehicle.

  1. Look up the Manufacturer’s Website

Look up the official website for your vehicle’s make. For instance, if you drive a Ford, you can simply visit the Ford website and look up your vehicle’s year/make/model or VIN.

Sometimes, it may be easier to simply search Google for “______ owner’s manual.” Other times, going to the manufacturer’s website and using their search function will yield a faster result.

Here are a few websites that offer free downloadable owner’s manuals or printed copies for sale:

Another benefit of looking up your vehicle owner’s manual online is learning of any recall information and warranty details.

If you are having trouble finding the official vehicle owner’s manual on the manufacturer’s website, try Just Give Me The Damn Manual, a collection over 2,000 automotive manuals.

Related Resources:

Accessing the Owner’s Manual: Your vehicle owner’s manual should be stored in a protected and accessible place, normally your glovebox or trunk.

Auto Simple wants to help you find the perfect vehicle.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to drive away in your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.


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