Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Read the Manual!

My last new car is not actually new, but near enough and the manuals are in the cubby hole.  Thinking all cars to be more or less the same I didn't bother to have a look, as starting the engine and putting petrol in seemed to be easy enough. And so it has proved to be until it our first rains of the season. Even then, I found the wiper switch without difficulty and cruised off to the shops. When I got back in the car and set off, it was no longer raining and I noticed the wiper on the back window was going at full speed.  I didn't have one of these on my last car and so I was favourably impressed except that I couldn't find the Off switch. This becomes embarrassing in the bright sunshine but I still couldn't locate the right lever/switch/button.  In the end, I had almost sunk to the shameful depths of dropping in at my local garage and asking them to do it, when I suddenly remembered the manuals.  Piece of cake in the end: in my defence the small lever was partially concealed behind the steering wheel  and the one I had been convinced must be it, bearing the mysterious legend "LIM" which I vaguely thought must have something to do with LED lights and having up and down arrows, proved to be the Speed Control (which my husband had previously once pointed out - as it wasn't in the manual at all).  There was a side effect to the manual consultation - I learned there is a fire extinguisher under the driver's seat, and a first aid kit in a compartment in the trunk, next to the jack.  My husband did once make me learn to operate a jack and change a wheel on my own, but that was years ago and my current jack is a different design and gets put in a different place, so what good is that? Usually, if I have a problem, I just take out my mobile phone.  There is only one emergency my husband has refused ever to help me with: I must not say I have run out of petrol. There is no excuse for that.


  1. I am a manual reader myself - which works well except for when I'm driving his car and he's in the passenger seat telling me what I should be doing.

  2. I'm a manual reader, too, because I can't stand not knowing where things are in my car. I remember a funny story about my ex-fiancee who is a doctor with a taste for expensive cars. When he bought his Porsche, he was showing it off to some nurses at the hospital where he was working at the time. One of them asked to see the engine. And he couldn't figure out how to raise the hood -- with a group of co-workers watching. I'm similarly clueless mechanically, so I see learning the manual as a way to avoid embarrassment (though I don't tend to show off my car -- which is currently a 9 year old Honda Civic that I bought new and have babied over the years).