As cars become more complex, the accompanying user manuals have become proportionally thicker. These days, your average luxury sedan or SUV will often come with a vehicle manual, a navigation manual, separate safety systems manuals and pamphlets, and--in the case of hybrids--a final manual to explain how the powertrain works. That's a good deal of paper that will most likely only be referenced once or twice (if at all).
For its 2010 model Chrysler, Jeep, and, Dodge vehicles, Chrysler Group LLC will be ditching the bulk of its paper manuals and replacing them with digital DVD manuals. The automaker will be the first to do so. According to Chryler's press release:
"The DVD includes the owners' manual, vehicle and tire warranty information, navigation and entertainment system guides, as well as information on 24-hour towing assistance. Video tutorials also are available for commonly used features, such as folding down a Jeep Wrangler soft-top, operating the video entertainment system and setting electronic speed control. In addition, owners may search by topic rather than sifting through a 500-page book."
"The printed user guide includes photos and diagrams allowing customers to quickly find assistance for emergency situations, such as changing tires, jump-starting a battery or assessing warning lights. The printed guide also covers basic operating procedures for temperature control, windshield wipers, seat adjustment and navigation systems."
Luddites and your grandparents can request a traditional printed manual by contacting their dealer or calling customer service. The switch will save 930 tons of paper, the equivalent of 20,000 trees, on an annual basis and save about 4 pounds of paper per vehicle.
So, loyal readers, what do you think about the jump to digital manuals? Is this something you'd like to see more automakers emulate?