The other day I went to my new car to get the owner’s manual to find an answer to a question about the built-in navigation system. I dreaded trying to find my answer in that stack of books, booklets, pamphlets and flyers. Finally, I gave up. And yes, I actually weighed it on my bathroom scale. It weighted 4 lbs. The Owner’s Manual alone is ¾” thick. The Voice Activated User’s Guide book to the Navigation System is ¼” thick, and (in small print) on the cover is a note saying the book includes the operating instructions for the voice activated phone system. Yeah, right. If you can find it, I dare you to understand it. You can shift my car automatically, or you can shift it manually, using a paddle shift system. A paddle shift is the same system used to manually shift gears on a formula 1 race car. Do I really need a transmission I can shift like a formula 1 race car? At night, the dash has little blue, red and white lights everywhere, even along the bottom of the rear-view mirror. I guess all these lights are there to help me identify stuff in the dark. Guess what, a quick glance just doesn’t get it. Maybe I need to get my bifocals checked again. Or, maybe they could make these little words, emblems and icons a little bigger. Whoever designs all this night lighting, for these buttons and knobs, is not in their 50’s or 60’s. Also, the salesperson told me, on the turn-signal lever, if I put my headlight switch in the AUTO position, I’ll never have to turn my headlights on or off, again. Really. How nice. When I get out of my car, close the door and hit the lock button on my remote key, the headlights will automatically turn off after 30 seconds. Why do my headlights have to stay on for 30 seconds during the daytime. Listen to me, the sun is out for Pete’s sake? Unless I’m wrong, my car’s battery is being run down a bit during that 30 seconds, and that’s a waste of energy. How green is that? The salesperson also told me, if I want to turn off my headlights right away, and not wait those 30 seconds, just hit the lock button on my remote key twice, instead of once. I thought I was told I’d never have to turn my headlights on or off again. What really makes my head vibrate is I don’t have to stick my car key into an ignition switch to start the car. All I need to do is have my remote key somewhere on my person, step on the brake pedal and tap the little silver button on the dashboard that says “ENGINE START STOP”. To turn off the engine, I put the transmission in park and tap the same little silver button. I guess that way, you can’t be locked out of your car your car, and the same for a car thief. With all this computerization, why has no one yet figured out how to stop a car thief from hot-wiring your car and stealing it. Get this, the driver’s interior door has 8 buttons; the steering wheel has 11. Across the dash I counted 34 more buttons and controls to punch and twist on; not to mention, 2 phone jacks to charge cell phones and a jack for an IPOD or an IPAD. I just remembered, I forgot to check for buttons and knobs in the back seat. Why do I need to listen to an IPOD or an IPAD when I have all those XM/SERIUS AM/FM radio stations to listen to? Truly, I hope I’m not so spoiled when it comes to my listening requirements that I need such gratuitous and instant gratification such as an IPOD or an IPAD.
Guess what, the other day when I went to my car looking for that answer, and finally gave up, this is what really got me; the pictures in the owner’s manual of the navigation system, didn’t look anything like what I had in my car. And, that’s what caused me to write this.
I suspect it will not be long before you hear your car salesperson saying something like, “Hey, I can save you some time. For another $1,000.00 I’ll show you how to operate your new car and all of its electronic gadgets. Or, if you want, you can try to figure it out by yourselves. All the manuals are in the glove box.”
If you think I can’t write, try reading and understanding (the very 1st time) all the manuals, booklets, pamphlets and flyers that came with your last new car. This little article, compared to all that, well, it makes me look like another Hemingway.