JAM | Jun 22, 2023

Car Care Tips | Reasons to read your car owner’s manual

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes
The car owner’s manual of a 2015 Nissan Murano (Contributed photo)

There are times when trial and error or fiddling around with varied aspects of your car will work in your favour. In truth, however, it makes more sense for you to get familiar with your vehicle by reading the manual and getting to know your car.

Reading is essential and it can save you time and energy. Some of the issues or queries you have concerning your car can be addressed if you consult the manual. That should be your first step before you go elsewhere to learn about aspects of your car.

If you prefer not read a manual, then you’re in luck. We exist in the digital age, so you can tune into ‘YouTube University’ to become more au fait with the inner and outer workings of your car. Additionally, the manual for your car’s model and make are probably digitised. Your car dealership could probably help there.

So, instead of leaning on your family member, friend or car care professional who ‘knows all there is to know’ about cars, you can also educate yourself by consulting the manual.

This may very well be the least valued car care tip but it can prove to be beneficial for car owners and their vehicles.

Here are a few reasons you should read and consult your car owner’s manual

Understand the numbers and codes

Some of the basic features that you should know about your car includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), tyre configuration and rating, frame number, chassis number, among others. However, very few people actually know what these numbers and codes are. Some hardly know where on or in their vehicle to find them.

These numbers are essential to the identification of your car. They also provide the standardised configuration of certain components of your car.

Car Vin Number Under the Windshield. Vehicle Identification Number. Car Vin Closeup.

One location that you’re sure to find them is the car owner’s manual. Otherwise, you should be able to locate them on the car’s front door pillar, the lower left or right side of the windscreen, or the engine bay. These usually consist of VIN numbers, tyre configuration and rating, Frame Number, Chassis number, etc.

Learn how to change your tyre

There are so many routes you can take to learn how you change your car tyre. One of them is by consulting your car onwer’s manual.

The manual will tell you how to remove the tyre and operate a car jack. Since every car is different, you should always refer to your owner’s manual for the correct location to place the car jack because you want to make sure that you are lifting the car up at the proper location.

Consult that manual for the ideal tyre change. Chances are that it can also teach you how long you can drive on the spare tyre and how inflated it should be.

Know the features of your car

Most modern cars come equipped with advanced technology. As such, safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, among others are probably key features in your car.

Though the design of these features tend to be simple, familiarising yourself makes sense if you want to get the most out of your car. The manual will tell you how each feature works, and how to operate it. You may even learn something completely new about the car!

Understand symbols and dashboard warning lights

“Close up on cluster with check engine light on, indicating a car failure.”

Though you know about car dashboard warning symbols and lights, they present differently depending on the car model and type. So, deciphering the various warning lights may prove to be a challenge.

Instead of ignoring the lights or struggling to figure out what they mean, read your owner’s manual. The answer you’re looking for can be found there. You car owner’s manual will show you all of the warning light symbols and also provide a brief description of each.

Bear in mind that other benefits of reading your car owner’s manual. The four shared here serve the purpose of highlighting some of the reasons you should read your manual. Always remember, you do not need to depend on your car care professional or the loved one who knows about cars to educate yourself. Knowing at least the basics will put you in a better position to provide efficient maintenance and enables optimal performance.

This is the 18th article in the weekly series, ‘Car Care Tips’ where we highlight various aspects of a car, how to provide care and maintenance for optimal performance while ensuring safety. This series may feature your favourite mechanic or others from the motor vehicle industry.

Read the 17th installment Car Care Tips | Car Care Tips | The benefits of keeping a car maintenance log

RELATED Car Care Tips | Dashboard warning lights and their meanings

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