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September 21, 2009

US: Chrysler owner manuals go digital

Chrysler is the first to provide digital vehicle owners' manuals, the automaker claimed on Monday.

Chrysler is the first to provide digital vehicle owners’ manuals, the automaker claimed on Monday.

It’s already common in the consumer electronics and personal computer sectors – a basic, printed set-up leaflet ships with the product to get the buyer started and more detailed manuals are either included on CD/DVDs or available to download from manufacturers’ websites. And, if you buy a used product without the manual, a replacement is easily obtained.

Chrysler said the switch from “four-pound” printed  owners’ manuals to a DVD and colour printed user guide – between 60-80 pages tops – that highlights commonly needed information for 2010 model year vehicles would save 930 tons of paper, or the equivalent of 20,000 trees, a year, starting next month.

“As vehicles have increased in complexity, so has the size of traditional owners’ manuals,” said the automaker’s aftermarket chief Pietro Gorlier. “With this new approach, we are making it much more convenient for customers to find the information they seek.”

The DVD includes the owners’ manual, vehicle and tyre warranty information, navigation and entertainment system guides, plus information on 24-hour towing assistance. Video tutorials also are available for commonly used features. Owners can search by topic rather than sifting through a 500-page book.

The printed user guide includes photos and diagrams for emergency situations, such as changing tyres, jump-starting a battery or assessing warning lights. It also covers basic operating procedures for temperature control, screen wipers, seat adjustment and navigation.

Customers wanting a traditional printed manual will still be able to get one from dealers or the central customer service centre.

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