10 silly items found in car owner's manuals

Popular Mechanics

(Photo: R0ng | Flickr)

(Photo: R0ng | Flickr)

Auto-dealership service managers likely originated the now-common initialism "RTFM" when describing to colleagues the proper answer to a customer question about his or her car, which would be: Consult the owner's manual. No doubt this is a reflection of the growth in sheer page numbers of the owner's manuals that come with new cars today. We have trouble digesting some of the 500-page books of instructions, so voluminous that Chrysler stopped printing them for its vehicles in 2009 (they're available online for customers to print themselves).

1. 2013 Toyota Prius V

Page 35: "Do not dispose of the vehicle yourself."

It probably won't fit in your recycling bin anyway.

2. 2007 Mazda RX-8

Page 2-9: "The driver's seat belt has no provisions for child-restraint systems and has only an emergency locking mode."

Your kid is going to want to drive your RX-8. Just wait until he or she grows out of the booster seat.

3. 2012 Nissan Juke

Page 1-4: "Do not fold down the rear seats when occupants are in the rear seat area or any objects are on the rear seats."

Unless you simply don't like your passengers.

4. 2012 Nissan Juke

Page 3-7, 3-17: "Do not operate the key fob while on an airplane."

But seriously, if you could unlock your Juke from an airplane, that would be amazing.

(Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

5. 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK

Page 160: "Take particular care not to park on dry grassland or harvested grain fields."

Parking your Mercedes on a field of waving wheat or a meadow glistening with morning dew is apparently fine.




1968 Ford Mustang (photo: Fabio Aro | Flickr)

1968 Ford Mustang (photo: Fabio Aro | Flickr)

6. 1968 Ford Mustang

Emergency flasher switch: "It is important to push switch ALL THE WAY IN or ALL THE WAY OUT. Positions part way may cause inadvertent operation of other accessories."

(Via Virgil Hilts at Thetruthaboutcars.com.)

7. 2002 Mini Cooper

(Mini released a printed version of its Unauthorized Owners Manual in 2002, which included the following.)

Page 2: "This manual is not intended to help you understand the operation and maintenance of your motor vehicle. Rather, it is meant to provide you with invaluable information that would, under normal driving conditions, take most car owners months to discover for themselves. Information that has been painstakingly gleaned from many hours of vehicle operation."

8. 2002 Mini Cooper

Page 12: Unconventional Use of Headlamps to Attract Attention. "Your MINI's halogen lights are integrated into the bonnet (hood). Subsequently, raising the bonnet raises the headlamps. A handy feature for attracting Luna moths, playing Romeo & Juliet, illuminating nighttime tailgate parties and locating sexy neighbor's treed kitty.

"In the event of being hopelessly stranded in the middle of nowhere, or just hopelessly bored at home, rake the night sky with your headlights using a Hollywood premiere sweeping motion and let the party (search or otherwise) find you."

9. 2009 Saab 9-3

Page 13: "Only one person per safety belt!"

This kind of limited thinking is probably why Saab went out of business.

10. 2013 Chevrolet Volt

Page 9-19: "It can be dangerous to leave the vehicle with the propulsion system running. It could overheat and catch fire. It is dangerous to get out of the vehicle if the shift lever is not fully in P (Park) with the parking brake firmly set. The vehicle can roll. Do not leave the vehicle when the propulsion system is running. If you have left the propulsion system running, the vehicle can move suddenly. You or others could be injured. To be sure the vehicle will not move, even when you are on fairly level ground, always set the parking brake and move the shift lever to P (Park). See Shifting Into Park on page 9-19."

All right, we got the message!

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