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Letters To The Editor


Dear LubesnGreases,

The premise of the November 2018 Need to Know column is accurate: There is a metaphorical ton of information that must be relayed to a new vehicle owner and a traditional, printed owners manual is no longer the most effective way to do so. However, the statement that most original equipment manufacturers dont provide a printed version with the vehicle. Instead, theyre online, despite the wishes of those who stridently push for cost savings and the latest app and such things, does not hold up.

In addition to the basic need just to provide critical information if a vehicle is disabled on the side of the road where electronic access is not available for myriad reasons (remote location, battery drained, etc.), there is the fact that critical safety information is required by law to be provided to the owner, and not doing so with some certainty would set an auto company up for substantial liability.

Some of the auto companies are complementing the information in a friendly electronic format and perhaps providing a mini-manual with the key stuff only, but it would be difficult to see a time ever arriving where printed information of some manner was not provided.

John Fischer

Palatine, Illinois

Editors Note:

While hard copies of owners manuals are still available, the default is often to provide access to an electronic copy. Vehicle owners have the option of ordering a hard copy, as is the case with many Honda models. As far back as 2010, Chrysler began replacing traditional paper manuals with vehicle-information kits, which included a DVD as well as a short, paper user guide. An online component was introduced in 2012.

FCA, BMW, Kia and Mini have integrated owners manuals into their infotainment systems. Hyundai debuted its tablet-based augmented reality owners manual in 2015, and Mercedes followed suit in 2018. E-class and S-class Mercedes sedans will continue to come with printed manuals, but auto news website The Drive reports that the OEM intends for the app to eventually displace the paper.

According to, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does require that certain information be included in owners manuals, it has no requirement that the information be delivered in print.

Paper manuals may not disappear completely, but the industry has taken a firm step in the digital direction.

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