Naturally, the first thing most people want to do after they get a new car is drive it. Only a few people take the time to actually read and understand their owner’s manual first. But reading a vehicle’s manual is the only way to fully understand how a car or truck best functions.

Today’s cars are safer, smarter and more productive than ever before. With new technology, many tricks and features can be missed if the owner never looks through the manual.

Below are a few things you can learn from reading your owner’s manual—you never know what cool feature or tip will be revealed.

Discover hidden features. Some cars can instantly lower the windows on a hot summer day with just the key remote. Try pressing the unlock button, releasing it, then pressing it again and holding it down. Check your manual for details on this trick and look for other unknown features you may be missing out on.

Change setting preferences. Did you know a car’s headlights can be adjusted beyond the couple of settings you normally switch between? If you feel like your headlights are constantly too dull or too bright, check your manual to learn how to modify them.

Plan an oil change. There can be a huge variance in the amount of time cars can go before needing an oil change. The manual can recommend how frequently a particular vehicle needs every kind of maintenance, including an oil change. For more details on changing the oil, read our post: Don’t Rely on your Dashboard: Change your Car Oil Regularly.

Locate the spare tire. Not only will the manual reiterate the location of your spare tire, it will also recommend how long you can drive on the spare and how inflated it should be. You can also find recommendations on size, type and brand of replacement tires.

Save the battery. The battery run-down feature or battery run-down protection system can automatically shut off lamps and lights after a designated period of time to protect the vehicle’s battery life.

Reading the owner’s manual will give you more information than you might expect. Much of the content may seem like common sense, but there are a few hidden or forgotten tips that can help make you a better and more aware driver.

If you don’t have time to sit in your car and flip through the pages of the manual, try looking it up online. A simple search for “owner’s manual” including your car’s make, model and year will most likely lead you to a free electronic copy of the manual for your car.

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