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Why you should read your owner's manual

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Updated 6 Sep 2021

Michael Jacobson

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Helpful Information About Your Car:

Not so long ago, a person who shall remain nameless but who bears an uncanny resemblance to someone pictured on this very page, bought a new car and couldn’t find the handbrake.

No one told me . . . um, this person . . . that the handbrake had entered a new era in a new location – down below, out of sight and a tad north-west of the clutch.

Consultation of the owner’s manual was clearly in order, although initially the search proved fruitless as there was nothing listed under W for “Where’s the flamin’ handbrake?”.

In the end, common sense prevailed, all handbrake-related information was listed under H, and several years of happier and much smoother motoring ensued.

Customisation of Features:

When you pay thousands of dollars for your owner’s manual – or at least for the new car wrapped around it – why wouldn’t you take the time to read it?

This volume is a veritable encyclopedia of everything to do with your vehicle, and while it's always exciting to take ownership of new wheels, it makes good sense to amass a practical knowledge of a car's features, set-up, specifications and so on.

Don't think of it as manual labour; think of it as going by the book.

For instance, upon taking ownership of the vehicle, your manual can lead you through a range of tasks geared around personal preference and the activation/operation of many components, settings and systems.

This can include everything from the keyless entry, lighting and sound, safety features and seating and mirror positions, to finding the switch that provides access to the petrol tank, and heaps more.

In fact, your manual contains a plethora of insight, information and instruction around all the amazing electronic and mechanical technology in your car.

Car Advice And Details About Your Warranty:

Once you have everything set up the way you like it, one of the joys of buying a new car is driving it those first few times and revelling in the feeling of pleasure, pride and pure luxury.

Those first outings are also educational, providing an important guide to factors such as how the car behaves, fuel economy and general performance in various conditions.

Accordingly, many manuals contain advice on how to approach the first 1500km or so, and how the driving experience thereafter can be impacted by those early kilometres.

All of which leads us to your new car warranty, which is one more reason to keep your manual close by because it should detail exactly what your warranty covers.

As you can see, your owner's manual may not seem the most exciting part of your new car, but it is an asset not to be underestimated.

It tells the story of your car and here at AutoGuru, we believe that's a story worth reading.

And after all, you never know when you might need to locate that pesky handbrake.

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Written By

Michael Jacobson

Michael Jacobson is an award-winning Queensland-based writer.

His appreciation for motoring began as a young journalist covering racing from Simmons Plains in Tasmania.

Over the years he has interviewed many Australian and international motoring greats.

He has also been driven around Lakeside Raceway at ferocious speed, circumnavigated the Gold Coast Indy circuit at more than 200kmh and managed to squeeze 365,000 kilometres out of a Toyota Starlet.