Often when buying a used car, checking the glove box for an owner’s manual may be the last thing on a purchaser’s mind. Once the vehicle is home and something comes up, the glove box is the first place to check and, whew, the manual is right there, collecting dust but otherwise ready and waiting.
What do you do, though, if the box is empty? In the Internet age, distributing data is a breeze, and one website that’s been devoted to helping used car consumers has taken it a step further by offering free owner’s manuals in digital form for download.
While purchasing owner’s manuals online is possible through auction sites and even sites dedicated to this purpose, there hasn’t seemed to be a concerted effort to collect and distribute manuals from multiple manufacturers until recently. Some sites that do offer free manual downloads are saturated with ads or misleading download links.
Vehicle History.com is a site geared to used car sales, permitting the service of vehicle identification numbers so a buyer can learn more about where a used car has been in its past life. With just the VIN number the site searches public and private databases to uncover any information matching that VIN. There are charges for more advanced searches, as there are with most sites of this type.
Other features of Vehicle History.com include a VIN decoder, which permits you to convert your car’s 17-digit VIN into a surprisingly detailed description of your car. While that might seem a bit pointless until you consider that counterfeit VIN plates are one tactic thieves use to sell stolen vehicles. VIN numbers are located in several places in a vehicle. If two plates don’t match, something is up. If you decode a VIN and the description doesn’t match the car, something is also up. Using the VIN’s capability to the fullest is a tremendous way for a consumer to protect themselves.
Free Owner’s Manuals
As an added value, the company now offers downloads of owner’s manuals at no cost as well. Regular press releases announce the latest car manufacturers to come on board. While not every model of every manufacturer is currently available, and though manuals go back only to the year 2000, checking for your vehicle takes only a few minutes to produce results.
If your manual is available, you simply download the PDF from Vehicle Checklist.com’s results. From the PDF you can print out a full copy of the manual or simply the sections you need at any given time. There are no hidden fees or requests for payment or donations.
Using Vehicle History.com’s Owner’s Manual Lookup
- Click the Owner’s Manual tab on the home page at vehiclehistory.com.
- Click the black box, VIEW OWNER’S MANUAL.
- Select your Make, and then your Model and click CONTINUE.
- Select your Model Year and click CONTINUE.
The site will then start searching its database for the manual. If an exact match is not found, the results will suggest similar models or years.