How to Find a Car Owner's Manual

Car owner's manuals tell you what specific details about your make and model, from the type of oil the engine needs to where to attach a tow hook.
Written by Logan Utsman
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Cars of all variety should have an owner’s manual, but where they’re located can vary by make, model, and model year.
If your car dashboard has a
warning light
that you’ve never seen before, the first step to getting it fixed is knowing what it means. In such situations, your best bet is to turn to your owner's manual. This critical document can tell you everything from what viscosity oil your engine needs to the safest areas to attach a tow hook in the event of an accident.
Here’s how to find the owner’s manual in your car, with a little help from
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Check the glove box

A car’s passenger-side
glove box
is the most traditional location for owner’s manuals. Some cars have special shelves specifically for these books, and most modern cars have them placed within a branded folder.
Always check here first and look for a specific section of the glove box before you close and move on.

Check your car’s on-board telematics system

A growing trend among modern cars is digitized owner’s manuals. This is done to cut down on paper-based resources, boost sustainability, and increase connectivity. If you can’t find a paper book, chances are it’s available through a mobile device — either your smartphone or a tablet.
If this is the case, chances are also high your car has on-board telematics (such as Ford’s SYNC, Hyundai’s BlueLink, and OnStar), which is a great place to start looking for your manual.
Contact a service representative and ask where you can access your owner’s manual. You’ll download an app to read the manual. If your car doesn’t have on-board telematics but still no paper-based manual, check in the app store on your phone for an automaker-specific application.

Check with the car manufacturer

Automakers can, for certain cars (typically ones no more than 25 years old), supply a copy of your owner’s manual. Many offer owner-specific websites where drivers can download digital copies by entering in their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). The best way to start is by searching the make of your car along with the phrase "owner’s manual."
The first result should be a direct connection to the automaker. You can also call your local dealer and try to order a paper manual. This will likely come with a cost however, so keep that in mind.
There is a lot of work involved to maintain a car properly — especially if you want yours to last the distance. Knowing the specific details about your make and model will help you maintain it properly, therefore increasing the life of your car.
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