Drivers' handbooks - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
Rant Room Clean ranting only - No Swearing!

 6Likes
  • 2 Post By Sterzo
  • 3 Post By keithyboy
  • 1 Post By Sterzo
 
Thread Tools
(Post Link) post #1 of 14 Old 08-05-19 Thread Starter
Status: still detailing...
AO Detailing COTY Winner 2018
Membro Premio
 
RobM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 374
Garage
Drivers' handbooks

When did drivers' handbooks for cars get so insanely complicated?

I've just ordered a new family car. It's the latest Honda CR-V iMMD electric hybrid. It's a fantastic car to drive but the drivers' handbook occupies 906 pages. There's a 766 page user manual, and then a separate 140 page manual for the navigation system. Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace was only 200 pages more than that, and I have no desire to read anything that long.

Back in 1979 my Alfetta saloon was a technological marvel compared to the Cortinas and Cavaliers that most people drove, but the driver's handbook ran to just 62 (small and uncluttered) pages altogether. It tells you everything you need to know to use the car safely and to understand all of its features: it even includes a two-page spread explaining how to admire yourself in the mirror whilst smoking a cigarette - something that is, incidentally, completely missing from the Honda's 900+ page manual. Good job I'm not a vain smoker.

Of course the Honda is more complicated but the process of driving the two cars is essentially the same: you unlock, get in, belt up, adjust the seats and mirrors, start the car and drive off. There are instruments to tell you how fast you're going or whether you're running out of fuel, and there are switches for the lights, wipers, radio and other stuff.

So what on earth happened...?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Honda user manual last page.jpg (80.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Honda nav manual last page.jpg (81.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Alfetta manual last page.jpg (157.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Alfetta smoke a cigarette.jpg (166.7 KB, 13 views)

Currently driving....
Alfetta 2.0L saloon | Honda CR-Z Sport | Land Rover Freelander | Honda Insight EX
COMING SOON: Honda CR-V EX iMMD Electric Hybrid
RobM is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Status: Multiair replaced. Back to procrastinating
AO Silver Member
 
TonyGr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Scunthorpe
County: Lincolnshire
Posts: 4,352
Garage
But the Alfetta did not have a navigation system so that's 140 pages saved. I bet it did not have climate control, parking camera/sensors self dipping mirror, seat belt warning lights etc etc. so that is a good few more pages saved.

However I do agree the handbook nowadays assumes you know absolutely nothing. Does it have to tell you to release the parking brake before moving off or how to change a flat tyre? These are things we learnt as part of learning to drive and should not need spelling out in the handbook. However in today's blame culture the manufacturer has to cover every eventuality to avoid being sued because "you did not tell me I should not do this or that or should have done something else.

Procrastination is the thief of time
TonyGr is offline  
Status: Dreaming
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Orpington, Kent
Posts: 1,858

Member car:

Giulietta 150MA

Given the price of a new car, you'd think they could tailor the handbook to the specific car. Instead, they include pages of irrelevant information about features "for markets where applicable", tyre pressures for versions you don't have, diesel-specific info in a petrol car's book, instructions for two different types of dashboard, one configurable and one not. It's as though the manufacturer doesn't know what he's built. (Alfa guilty of all the above, though they're not the only ones).

A Vauxhall handbook listed tyre pressures by engine type, where "type" was a multi-character code not used in the model name, the car publicity, on the VIN plate or indeed anywhere but in the handbook. It did helpfully say not to slam the doors at night though.
armoore and RobM like this.
Sterzo is offline  
(Post Link) post #4 of 14 Old 09-05-19 Thread Starter
Status: still detailing...
AO Detailing COTY Winner 2018
Membro Premio
 
RobM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 374
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterzo View Post
Given the price of a new car, you'd think they could tailor the handbook to the specific car. Instead, they include pages of irrelevant information about features "for markets where applicable", tyre pressures for versions you don't have, diesel-specific info in a petrol car's book, instructions for two different types of dashboard....
I love the idea of a completely 'vehicle specific' handbook - and it shouldn't be too difficult to create: the manufacturer already has detailed production records for your car, so they know exactly which features it has/hasn't got. The car could even have it's own specific 'electronic' handbook built in, so (with the vehicle stationary) you can ask it to display the correct tyre pressures on the dashboard screen, or the instructions for working the sunroof, cruise control, or whatever.

Maybe the real problem is that cars have got bigger and more technologically advanced, but the handbook has only got bigger...
RobM is offline  
Status: Petrol head
AO Platinum Member
 
cue2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Kent
Posts: 30,536
The Stelvio displays tyre pressures , oil level and handbook info on the display. It also has three printed handbooks of increasing thickness.
cue2 is offline  
Status: strongstablestrongst able
AO Platinum Member
 
keithyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Cambodia
County: Phnom Penh
Posts: 13,824

Member car:

CRV/Jaaag

It's not bad if it's your own car and you can work it out as you go. It's a nightmare if it's a pool car from work, you need to leave now, and it's an auto that doesn't follow the PRNDL pattern, the auto wipers sense rain in a different county, and the radio can only find Capital FM.

The flip side of that is when someone else jumps in it to move it 500 yards, doesn't understand the gearbox either, and bunnyhops 500 yards in 1st because it's in manual mode. That's just hilarious.

Auto Express - six issues for a quid. Offer must end soon (and then immediately start up again).

Free poor quality torch/T-cut/I luv my VW Polo sew-on badge
keithyboy is offline  
(Post Link) post #7 of 14 Old 09-05-19 Thread Starter
Status: still detailing...
AO Detailing COTY Winner 2018
Membro Premio
 
RobM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 374
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by keithyboy View Post
...It's a nightmare if it's a pool car from work, you need to leave now, and it's an auto that doesn't follow the PRNDL pattern, the auto wipers sense rain in a different county, and the radio can only find Capital FM.
.
Yes, I can see that a 906-page 'generic' handbook probably isn't exactly what you need in that situation.

How about a voice-activated manual, so you can scream at the car "How do you get this poxy thing into 'drive'?" or "Just tell me how to switch off the 'bleedin' auto wipers"...
RobM is offline  
Status: pa taket
AO Platinum Member
 
milowokie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: United Kingdom
County: Cheshire
Posts: 22,726

Member car:

Jaguar XJR V8

Handbooks?


Just pop the VHS in and enjoy the video.....


milowokie is offline  
Status: Multiair replaced. Back to procrastinating
AO Silver Member
 
TonyGr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Scunthorpe
County: Lincolnshire
Posts: 4,352
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by keithyboy View Post
It's not bad if it's your own car and you can work it out as you go. It's a nightmare if it's a pool car from work, you need to leave now, and it's an auto that doesn't follow the PRNDL pattern, the auto wipers sense rain in a different county, and the radio can only find Capital FM.

The flip side of that is when someone else jumps in it to move it 500 yards, doesn't understand the gearbox either, and bunnyhops 500 yards in 1st because it's in manual mode. That's just hilarious.
But surely the real point is that no red blooded male reads the handbook. Many years ago when the company I worked for changed from Fords to Vauxhalls for company cars and I had one of the first Cavaliers I lost count of the number of colleagues who, having gone to their new car, came back and asked "how do you get it into reverse". As most will recall there was a locking collar which had to be lifted before reverse could be selected. Simple but novel and not something most manufacturers used at the time. It was in the handbook but they never thought to look it was simpler to ask someone who had a Cavalier. Best bit was that the delivery driver had driven front first into the parking place so the colleague could go nowhere until they had worked out reverse.
TonyGr is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
County: -
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM View Post
When did drivers' handbooks for cars get so insanely complicated?



I've just ordered a new family car. It's the latest Honda CR-V iMMD electric hybrid. It's a fantastic car to drive but the drivers' handbook occupies 906 pages. There's a 766 page user manual, and then a separate 140 page manual for the navigation system. Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace was only 200 pages more than that, and I have no desire to read anything that long.



Back in 1979 my Alfetta saloon was a technological marvel compared to the Cortinas and Cavaliers that most people drove, but the driver's handbook ran to just 62 (small and uncluttered) pages altogether. It tells you everything you need to know to use the car safely and to understand all of its features: it even includes a two-page spread explaining how to admire yourself in the mirror whilst smoking a cigarette - something that is, incidentally, completely missing from the Honda's 900+ page manual. Good job I'm not a vain smoker.



Of course the Honda is more complicated but the process of driving the two cars is essentially the same: you unlock, get in, belt up, adjust the seats and mirrors, start the car and drive off. There are instruments to tell you how fast you're going or whether you're running out of fuel, and there are switches for the lights, wipers, radio and other stuff.



So what on earth happened...?
Try having an alfa romeo, I've got a giulietta and mine doesn't even go into detail on a lot of parts, it's so vague and universal I a lot of ares it's almost like trying to read small print

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
Nafe85 is offline  
Status: strongstablestrongst able
AO Platinum Member
 
keithyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Cambodia
County: Phnom Penh
Posts: 13,824

Member car:

CRV/Jaaag

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyGr View Post
But surely the real point is that no red blooded male reads the handbook. Many years ago when the company I worked for changed from Fords to Vauxhalls for company cars and I had one of the first Cavaliers I lost count of the number of colleagues who, having gone to their new car, came back and asked "how do you get it into reverse". As most will recall there was a locking collar which had to be lifted before reverse could be selected. Simple but novel and not something most manufacturers used at the time. It was in the handbook but they never thought to look it was simpler to ask someone who had a Cavalier. Best bit was that the delivery driver had driven front first into the parking place so the colleague could go nowhere until they had worked out reverse.

And that was the Citroen's downfall. Every other car I've ever driven, I've just got in and driven. The only other I can recall was the 2nd gen Prius but that came with a sort of quick-start guide like you get with a mobile phone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nafe85 View Post
Try having an alfa romeo, I've got a giulietta and mine doesn't even go into detail on a lot of parts, it's so vague and universal I a lot of ares it's almost like trying to read small print

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
I remember my 156 handbook. That was a product of google translate full of stuff like "Please be turning on the light in the dark time" and "Do not be afraid to be using the braking pedal for the slowing down".
keithyboy is offline  
(Post Link) post #12 of 14 Old 10-05-19 Thread Starter
Status: still detailing...
AO Detailing COTY Winner 2018
Membro Premio
 
RobM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 374
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nafe85 View Post
Try having an alfa romeo, I've got a giulietta and mine doesn't even go into detail on a lot of parts, it's so vague and universal I a lot of ares it's almost like trying to read small print

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
I have got an Alfa Romeo! The handbook is 62 (rather light) pages, and is a model of simplicity and clarity. It's only the modern cars that seem to come with such lardy, generic and unhelpful tomes.

The 'quick start' guide sounds good: presumably just the info needed to get in, start engine and drive backwards or forwards? (which is actually all that most people need to do)...
RobM is offline  
Status: Dreaming
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Orpington, Kent
Posts: 1,858

Member car:

Giulietta 150MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithyboy View Post
I remember my 156 handbook. That was a product of google translate full of stuff like "Please be turning on the light in the dark time" and "Do not be afraid to be using the braking pedal for the slowing down".
Your words filled me with nostalgia for all those Japanese hifi manuals we used to struggle with. "Not stick screwdriver in bottom."
RobM likes this.
Sterzo is offline  
(Post Link) post #14 of 14 Old 11-05-19 Thread Starter
Status: still detailing...
AO Detailing COTY Winner 2018
Membro Premio
 
RobM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Suffolk
Posts: 374
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterzo View Post
Your words filled me with nostalgia for all those Japanese hifi manuals we used to struggle with. "Not stick screwdriver in bottom."
They were great! I remember buying a Japanese hi-fi amplifier years ago: I thought I knew how to set it up and use it, until I read the manual - which seemed to have been translated from Japanese to English by somebody who spoke neither language...
RobM is offline  
Reply

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Misc Lounges > Community Discussions > Rant Room

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Insurers Plan for Learner Drivers nomad Way Off Topic 16 20-09-06 19:51

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome