RE: Do people want a hard copy of the owners' manual for their car?

Subject: RE: Do people want a hard copy of the owners' manual for their car?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Pamela Nelson <likes2read74 -at- hotmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 12:42:39 -0400

Pamela Nelson
>
>
> My husband and I share a car, and we periodically have to
> rent another for a day or two. One time I rented a car in the
> morning and later on could not for the life of me figure out
> how to switch on the headlights. After a good five-ten
> minutes of fiddling around, I finally turned to the
> operator's manual, which solved the problem.
>
>
>
> I don't know if it's because we've only owned American cars
> and this particular rental was a Japanese make, or what. And
> I'm not sure what I would have done if the manual had not
> been in the glove compartment - call the rental 24-hr
> roadside assistance number, I guess.
>
>
>
> I know I would have been very unhappy if the only help
> available was a CD version of the manual.


On the other hand, if it was on flash memory and displayed via the "standard" dash-mounted everything-display screen, it would be available as long as the car had power.

If the car didn't have power, you'd have more serious problems than a glance at a paper (or OLED) manual would solve.

Granted that it'd be tough to see that manual from under the car, but how many people these days:

a) do their own under-the-car mechanics (intricate enough that they need a manual with them under there) and,

b) get the info they need from the usual glove-box operator manual (as opposed to buying an aftermarket book or heisting a shop manual?

Somebody said "shrink-wrapped", but at the very least, cars are appliances these days.

What I need to know to operate my leased car is:

a) how to operate the controls that are accessible from the cabin seats
b) how to operate the seats (fold-downs and such)
c) how to replenish the windshield washer fluid
d) how to top up the tire pressure (and to what level) - though despite frequent checks, I almost never need to actually add air (see below)
e) how to contact the manufacturer's (GM... any other maker?) or the generic (AAA, CAA, or whatever it's called in your country) roadside assistance.

Even low-end new cars are getting tire-pressure monitoring displayed to the dash. My last couple of vehicles told me when they wanted service, based on sensor input, time-since-previous, driving history/style, etc. All service is done by the dealer (I lease). Each time I get a new car, I buy winter tires on separate wheels, and all rotation, balancing, pressure-check, etc. is done by the dealer... who even store my off-season wheels-and-tires for me. At the same time as the tire stuff or during a requested-by-the-car oil-change, they also check brakes and ball-joints, rubber boots and other likely-to-wear items.

Since I'm in Canada, we have daytime running lights as soon as the vehicle starts. Recent vehicles have switched the headlights on at dusk (or in tunnels and parking garages) and off in daylight without my input, and off when the vehicle is off and nobody is aboard.

I think it won't be long before cars come with built-in (possibly-context-sensitive) Help, and no paper manual, and it won't be a loss. I just hope they don't have a "Clippy".... "You seem to be having trouble finding the windshield spray control..."... Eeeeewww! Of course, if it's that nice British lady who gives the GPS turn-by-turn instructions, that might be ok. :-)


- Kevin



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