Much like the appliances in your household, your car comes with an owner’s manual. And, just like the manual for your electric toothbrush, chances are, you probably don’t pay much attention to it.
But there’s a lot of useful information in your owner’s manual, which is why it should always be kept easily accessible like in your glove compartment. Sure, there is a lot of information in there that you probably won’t need, but there’s plenty of pertinent information, as well. Here are the six most useful sections of your car owner’s manual that you’ll want to bookmark for quick access.
Cars have warning lights to let you know when something is wrong. But sometimes, it can be hard to decipher what those lights mean. Your car has dozens of different dashboard indicators that cover a variety of different issues. They range from simple (door ajar) to complex (stability control is malfunctioning). And from specific (gas cap is off) to vague (engine needs servicing). A lot of times, you might see a dashboard light and not know what it means. Fortunately, your owner’s manual describes what each light means in detail.
Contrary to what some might think, the ideal tire pressure is listed in your owner’s manual, not on the side of your tire. You need to consult the owner’s manual (or the placard inside of the driver’s doorjamb) to find the right pressure for your car’s tires.
Fluid Types and Capacities
Motor oil and other types of fluids, such as coolant and transmission fluid, are not one-type-fits-all. For example, there are many different types of oil with a range of viscosities. Different engines require different oils in order to function properly.
So, how do you know what type of oil your engine needs? You guessed it: The owner’s manual. You’ll also find information regarding other recommended fluids there.
Here’s a quick crash course on engine oil. You should see the oil type listed as something like 5W-30. The number before the W indicates the viscosity (thickness) of the oil at low temperatures. The following number describes the oil at the engine’s normal operating temperature.
Stereo and Bluetooth Setup
Few things are more frustrating than spending 30 minutes trying to play music through your brand new, tech-filled car. Yet that seems to happen all too often.
Stereo systems aren’t always intuitive, but they’re pretty simple once you have the right instruction. Bookmark the pages in your manual regarding stereo and Bluetooth setup to make sure you’re not fumbling through random buttons while driving.
Following the maintenance schedule of your car is of utmost importance. Not only does adhering to the schedule keep your car running well, but it can also save you money on car repair and increase the resale value of your car (if you keep the receipts).
Scheduled maintenance is fairly straightforward – it lets you know when to have your oil changed; when to have filters replaced, when to have your tires rotated, etc. Following your maintenance schedule is easy, and in the long run, it will save you money. And your owner’s manual has all that information neatly organized for you.
While we’re on the subject of saving money, why spend hundreds of dollars on car repair when you could get it done for free? If your car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you’re entitled to some (or all) repairs free of charge.
Most cars come with a bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers all repairs for the first few years or so. After that runs out, the powertrain warranty, which covers major components, such as the engine and transmission, kicks in for a few more years. Keep the warranty page of your owner’s manual earmarked, so you know what’s covered and for how long.