Modern vehicles come with a user manual that explains how the vehicle functions and how it should be maintained. For as long as you have it, it can serve as a valuable source of information, guiding you on how to maintain the vehicle and even giving you tips on how to drive it. But what happens if you lose this manual? Should you take the time to replace it? And if so, what’s the right way to go about it?
Replacing a Lost Car Manual
Let’s start by explaining how you might replace a lost car manual, since the process is probably easier than you think.
· Get a digital file for your car manual online. You can start by grabbing a digital PDF copy of your original user manual. For example, Edmunds has a great guide for how to find and download a PDF copy of a manual for almost any modern vehicle. Just make sure you’re getting the manual for the correct year. Once you have this, you’ll be able to refer to it on your computer or digital device whenever you want.
· Print a new copy of your car manual. Of course, a digital file won’t do you much good if your car is broken down on the side of the road. That’s why it’s valuable to print a new manual online, which is possible if you have access to the PDF or a similar digital file. It won’t cost you much to print a single copy of the manual, but you might as well get an additional copy (or two) to have on hand in case you lose the original again.
· Buy a replacement manual. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding an online PDF and getting it printed, you can also buy a replacement manual online. These aren’t generally expensive, but they’re probably costlier than printing the manual yourself. For older or rarer car models, you may have difficulty finding a copy.
The Value of a Car Manual
You might wonder whether you can get away without having a manual for your car. After all, you might have driven this car for months, or even years, with no manual and no issues to speak of.
However, your car manual serves many important purposes, including:
· Warranty details. Your original manual may have warranty information, which is important if you bought the vehicle new. If you have a used vehicle, this may not be of use to you. However, you can still refer to this information for details on how to correct common problems, or what to do if you face an issue.
· Digital system explanations. Most vehicles manufactured after 2010 or so have a bevy of onboard digital equipment, responsible for conveying information and diagnostics relevant to your vehicle (not to mention keeping it operational). Your owner’s manual can help you make sense of all these components.
· Tire pressure information. Do you know what the correct tire pressure is for your original set of tires? Most tires print a maximum pressure on the side of the tire, but you’ll need to refer to your owner’s manual for more details.
· Fluid recommendations. Owner’s manuals also include information relevant for the maintenance of various fluids. For example, different models of vehicle often come with different recommendations for how often to change the oil.
· Cleaning recommendations. While it may seem minor, there may be specific recommendations for how to clean your vehicle—including which products to try or avoid.
· Troubleshooting. One of the best reasons to keep a manual on hand is for troubleshooting. If and when your vehicle suffers a problem, your car manual may serve you well in diagnosing the problem and getting it fixed.
· Miscellaneous maintenance tips. Your owner’s manual may also have valuable information for keeping your vehicle maintained. For example, how often should you plan on having your fuel lines flushed? How often should you replace the disc brakes?
· Miscellaneous driving tips. The manual should also include tips for how to drive the vehicle in a way to maximize its longevity. Some of these tips will be common sense, but there may be additional information you’d otherwise miss.
· Resale value. Some used car buyers are willing to pay more (albeit slightly more) for a car that includes an owner’s manual.
Do You Need a Physical Manual?
Technically, you can get by without a physical owner’s manual. This is especially true if you have access to a digital copy of the manual, or if you’ve already read the manual inside and out. However, for most car owners, there’s significant value in having a physical copy in the glove compartment. And because it’s both inexpensive and easy to get a new copy, there’s no reason not to get one.