Most people say they don’t have time to read their car’s manual. But, will you have time during a car accident, when your car breaks down on the side of the road, or during an emergency? Probably not. Here’s what your owner’s manual can tell you and how it can save your life.
How To Set Up Your Car
Every year, cars are adding more gadgets and gizmos that you need to figure out. Many of these things require a little setup, and it’s not at all obvious how to a lot of it. These systems include things like keyless entry, delayed lighting, and sound system decibel thresholds. Without guidance from the owner’s manual, the initial setup is baffling. However, once you dive into the basic setup process, you find it’s actually not so bad.
Checking Your Fluids
Reading a dipstick seems like it should be difficult, but it’s not. Some fluids need to be checked hot while others could. Read your user’s manual for more information about your vehicle. Generally, the oil must be checked when cold. The coolant must be checked when hot, but you don’t want to go opening the radiator cap once the engine heats up. All that pressurized water (superheated steam) will burn you. Remove the radiator cap first, then turn the engine on, then check the temperature of the water once the engine heats up.
Another fluid you need to check with the car on is the transmission fluid.
Advice For Good Driving
Every vehicle has its own quirks. But, there’s an ideal way to drive all of them which may or may not jive with your current driving style. This is especially important when breaking a vehicle in. Usually this is the vehicle’s first 1,000 miles. Your manual usually outlines the “dos” and “don’ts” of this time, and gives you valuable advice on optimizing your gas mileage to increase the vehicle’s safety.
If you’re in an accident, you will want to know a few things. First, you’ll want information about your insurance handy, the name of a good personal injury lawyer like Craigswapp.com, and the name of your doctor or a hospital near you.
Access Technical Data
At some point, you’ll need more technical information about your vehicle, its components, ranging from dimensions to what size engine you’ve got. The information can be found in your manual’s section on technical specifications. It contains a wide array of technical dimensions and information about the vehicle that’s not easily found anywhere else. It will tell you things like curb weight, engine capacity (for oil), braking information, and vehicle driving information specific to that vehicle.
For example, if your vehicle comes with an electric assist motor, the owner’s manual will give you its technical specifications, how to make best use of it, how and when you need to replace the battery, and the limits of the engine’s capacity and effective horsepower.
Tire pressure affects a lot of things, like gas mileage, and it can even keep you out of an accident. How? By inflating the tire pressure to the correct PSI (pounds per square inch), you are ensuring optimal rolling resistance and diameter. Over or under-inflating your tires is bad — so bad it can result in a blowout or uneven tire wear (which results in a blowout or premature failure).
Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Surfaces
You’ll want your paint to shine and your interior to look new. While there’s many cleaning methods that apply to most vehicles, you should read about any special considerations for your vehicles. For example, some vehicles with tinted windows need special care to prevent the tint from peeling or failing.
Your manual may also outline how to properly clean areas you don’t normally think about, like side mirrors, windshield wiper blades, and chrome accents.
“What Does This Do?”
Every vehicle has one. A thingie you don’t know what to do with. You can’t automatically know what every knob and doohickey does. And, while you could just start flipping switches and pressing buttons, you might accidentally do something you regret.
If you don’t know what particular functions do, just check the manual.
Decipher Warning Lights
When lights start going nuts inside the car, don’t freak out. There’s probably a reason for them. A little oil icon probably means your oil is low (this is bad and you need to stop the vehicle immediately). Some lights are a mystery. If you find yourself in doubt about something, consult the manual. Finally, check the warranty information and technical service bulletins to see if anything is covered or can be repaired for free or at a low cost to you.
Callum Cartwright writes on a variety of topics, from auto to family life for a range of sites. Writing helps clear his mind from a busy day and is a hobby he now wouldn’t be without!