The least exciting part of buying something new and exciting is the owner’s manual. In fact most of us just toss it away and only get it when we come across something that we do not understand or if we face an issue. Cars are especially guilty as the last thing anyone would want to do is rifle through a boring user manual after getting the keys to their ride. However, a lot of issues people tend to face during the first few weeks can be avoided if they just take the time to go through the instructions given in the owner’s manual.
Take the time
That is, however, easier said than done. One of the biggest reasons people avoid reading owner’s manuals is because they can be quite complicated for the average person. Manufacturers do not help as it seems like most owner’s manuals are made as dreary as possible. Whether this is really on purpose or not is not known for sure and it is probably not but they couldn’t have done a better job had they been trying actively to dissuade people from actually reading the owner’s manual. The undeniable truth is that the owner’s manual is a very important part of your purchase and it is high time care was taken to ensure that it is easy to understand and possibly even interesting. In fact, they should be so easy that even a 5-year old should be able to make sense of it.
So how can it be done? It is quite easy. Every owner’s manual is full of a lot of technical stuff that is necessary but not always important. Instead of hitting the reader with a bunch of technical jargon and technical data upfront, the owner’s manual must open with easy to understand diagrams and explanations in an everyday verbiage. Troubleshooting for common issues should be done in such a way that they can be understood by someone who has minimal knowledge about the inner workings of a car, a la 5-year old. Most people tend to use the owner’s manuals when they are stuck somewhere and trying to solve an unforeseen problem and the last thing they need under such a circumstance is to be given cryptic information hidden in a labyrinth of complex terms and jargons. Not everyone who owns a car is an automobile engineer or a car mechanic or a race car driver to know everything there is to know about a car.
So the litmus test for a good owner’s manual is if it is something a 5-year-old can understand and while that might seem a bit silly, following such an approach will mean that owner’s manuals would be a lot more accessible and useful and live up to their names. Cars have come a long way from being inefficient machines to things that inspire a wide range of emotions but the owner’s manuals seem to be stuck in the past and it is high time they saw an improvement too.