FRIDAY, MAY 18: You’ve just purchased a new automobile.
The first thing you should do after driving home from the dealer is show it off to your neighbours and then read the manual.
It probably won’t be a thrilling read, but it’s a must.
Learn about the make and model’s maintenance specifications and get familiar with all the buttons so you won’t be fumbling around for the windshield wipers in a downpour.
If you haven’t driven a new vehicle in a while, you’ll be amazed at all the technological advances. The dashboard might start to resemble an airplane’s cockpit if you don’t understand what each thingamajig does. So here are some reasons why you should read your manual.
Timesaver – Nowadays, many cars come with a variety of gadgets and devices. You can either play with each one until you figure out how it works or you can learn how to operate all the fancy equipment. By reading the manual, you’ll save time and unnecessary aggravation.
Specifications – Regular maintenance will keep your vehicle running correctly and prevent premature problems. The manual will tell you how frequently to change the oil, replace the oil and air filters, and rotate the tyres, as well as what type of oil, fluids and gas to use. If these conditions aren’t followed, it could invalidate a new vehicle’s warranty.
Warranty – Refer to your owner’s manual for what is and what is not covered by the warranty.
Safety – Safety should be a top priority so read the instructions on the proper installation of child seats and how to use the Antilock Braking System and the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, which is in cars built after September 2007.
Supplies – We don’t give them a second thought until we need them, but it’s becoming the car industry norm not to include a spare tyre. What you get instead is a can of Fix-A-Flat and a tyre pump. Know what your car includes and doesn’t include, in case you want to buy a spare or extra tools to put in the trunk.
Operation – What do all those buttons and switches do? Spend some time sitting in the driver’s seat, following along with the manual, to find out what each one does. This will help your body build muscle memory so you can change the radio station and turn on the air conditioner without looking while driving. Some higher-end vehicles have nifty features that you might never know about if you don’t read the manual.
Idle time – Find out the manufacturer’s recommendations for how long to warm up your car. Depending on the engine, your car may need as little as thirty seconds to be drive-ready.
Programming and installation – Most cars today are digitally programmed for Bluetooth and GPS. Learn how to use it and if upgrades are needed and compatible.
Log Book – Consider keeping a notebook along with the manual so you can log when you service your vehicle. If you find that the car is losing fuel efficiency, then the vehicle may need a simple service such as replacing an air filter, or it may signal a bigger problem.
Storage – Store your manual in the glove compartment – maybe we should start calling it the owner’s manual compartment – to keep it clean and dry. If you lose the manual, order a replacement from a dealer or download a PDF version online. Read and follow your owner’s manual and you will reap rewards.
Krishna King is the after sales parts manager for Bermuda Motors Limited. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, and chairs the Automotive Occupational Advisory Committee for the National Training Board. www.bermudamotors.bm.