Viewing an Owners Manual before you buy the Car?

sam775sam775 Member Posts: 22
edited February 2014 in Oldsmobile
Hello all. Is there a way to view (on the
internet or library) or buy an owners manual for a
car before you actually buy the car? I ask this
because I'm considering buying an Alero in the near
future and want to read the manual before I buy.
I've read that dealers are a little apprehensive
about letting potential buyers look at the owners
manual before buying. I've also read that some
dealers will put cheaper tires on the car that
aren't recommended in the manual. Are there any
other things on the car you should compare with the
manual besides the tires before you pull off the


  • bjmeyerbjmeyer Member Posts: 24
    I wouldn't think most dealers would have a problem letting you read the manual, as long as you seem like a serious buyer and don't tie up a salesman with tons of questions. If the dealer balks, tell them "fine, I'll just drive down the street to your competitor."

    If you really want to order one, try the manufacturer's web site. I know Toyota sells them that way.

    As for tires, there's not much you can do. Most manufacturers contract with several different tire companies, and use whichever brand is in stock at the time of manufacture. One of my manuals has as phrase to the effect of: "Your [car] may be equipped with tires from Firestone, Goodyear, or an other manufacturer." In general, I don't think its any dealer or manufacturer trick (with a few exceptions: Every Honda Odyssey supplied for magazine testers seems to have Michelin tires, but every one actually sold seems to have Firestones. Coincidence?)

    If there is a particular brand of tire you want, then see which of the cars the dealer has in stock has those tires. If the wheels are the same, a good dealer will probably swap them between cars.

  • hardestyhardesty Member Posts: 166
    GM manuals are available from - the Alero manual should be available for about $15. The service manuals (detailed) for 1999 are not out yet for all cars, but the basic owners manuals should be there (you can order online.)
  • mackabeemackabee Member Posts: 4,709
    Boy, we're really pulling at straws for topics.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Wow! Well, I guess that if you came to me and were interested in a new Honda, I would get you an owner's manual along with a box of no-doz and show you where our waiting room is.

    Three hours later, if the manual didn't scare you too much, I would be happy to sell you a new car?

    Yes, I know we are all different....
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    I too see limited value in an owners' manual as part of the purchasing decision. I can't think of anything in there that would influence my thinking.
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Member Posts: 43
    I have to disagree with above statements. I failed to see manual during the negotiations of my ISUZU Trooper, and regret it. To maintain their 50 000 miles warranty, I have to pay for a lot of maintaince work. I would negotiate stronger if I would foreseen such expenses in the future.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    More than on any other car? How much maintenance could a Trooper require?
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Member Posts: 43
    I don't know about any other car, but how changing power steering fluid and transmission fluid sounds to you in times when cars can go 100K miles without mandatory changes of the fluids. How about valve adjustment job at 60K in addition to traditional timing belt change at 75K. For me it sounds a bit excessive.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Transmission fluid changes at regular intervals don't sound so foolish (especially on automatics). Unless you have to pull off the valve cover when you do the timing belt, a valve adjustment independent of a timing belt change doesn't sound unreasonable, either. If you have to remove the valve cover to do both the adjustment and the timing belt, then that seems a bit silly--why not just do them both at 60K or at 75K in that case.
  • sam775sam775 Member Posts: 22
    isellhondas & mackabee-I started this thread to get an answer. I now have that answer. I wasn't pulling straws, nor do I have plans to read the entire manual before purchase. As stated earlier, I just wanted to see a few things before I sign my life away for five years and drive off the lot. It may not be a big deal to you but it is to me.

    C13-no it won't affect my decision on any car I buy. What affects that are the total cost of the car note plus insurance per month. When I created this topic I was looking at 2 cars. The 99 Maxima and Alero both of which I test drove. Upon receiving a few insurance quotes on the Maxima it is now out of the picture. But, if both were still in the picture I would've liked to take a look at the owner's manual for both cars just to compare. It may sound crazy, but I just want to see it before buying.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    It's not crazy. It's a perfectly good question. It's just my opinion that there's no information in it that could be of much help in a buying decision, mainly because all cars are so similar nowadays. And if it won't influence your purchasing decision, why do you want to see it before you buy?

    Tests in reputable magazines contain much more useful information for a prospective buyer. That is what I'd advise studying.

    So insurance on the Maxima was significantly more than on the Alero? I wonder why. How much was it?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516

    Probably because Nissan markets the Maxima as an "upper-level" car compared to the Alero, which is Oldsmobile's entry level car. To insurance companies, vehicle class has more weight than actual price - perfect example: a Crown Vic and a Mustang GT are about the same price, but we all know which costs more to insure.
  • sam775sam775 Member Posts: 22
    Well, I read the magazines too:) I just like to get all the info I can on a car. My current owner's manual doesn't give the type of info I have read from other car owners on this site. Stuff like breaking in a car, a clear answer as to what type of gas to use (my manual says 87 or higher), a particular brand of oil (no company just 5w30), etc. About the Max, the way my insurance company explained it to me (I'll use them since they gave me the cheapest quote), the Maxima has more horsepower, is hot in the heart of thieves, I live in the congested DC area, and I've had an accident over the last 3 yrs. Add all that up and I get a difference of $85 a month or $1,020 a year ($155 per month for Alero vs $240 for the Max). I really wouldn't be in the market 'cept me & the wife are expecting our first child and my Neon rides too rough, plus we would like a little more space.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    I'd settle for people reading the manual EVER. So many people seem to think it's no more valuable than the tag on a pillow that says "Do not remove".
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Tell me about it. Sometimes customers come in with a complaint about their defroster not working in the morning without the A/C being on. In that case, where that's how the system is supposed to work, you just have to make a note on the repair order referring them to a certain page in the owner's manual. Then, you rummage through the glovebox until you find the manual (always at the back or bottom, as stiff and as pristine as it was when it came off the presses), and put a post-it on the section about the defroster.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    As you may have observed, I have a certain frustration with people who buy wonderful cars that they can't drive, can't appreciate, can't maintain. Sour grapes, I know. I got my hang-ups.

    Anyway this guy says "I just bought a new BMW 328. My buddy says there's no break-in procedure. The mechanic says there is. Who's right?"

    I said "Didn't that car come with a manual?"

    He comes back all miffed and says he wanted the advice of the experts (a bunch of guys sitting at computers) and that he did in fact check the manual, but - and I believe I'm quoting verbatim - "I don't necessarily believe everything I read!"

    When I'm king, all these people are gonna be driving Pintos.
  • gba2michgba2mich Member Posts: 22
    I know the feeling.....gobs of stupid questions on the phone..."how do I blah, blah, blah ???" Ya know a quick cover to cover reading of that $25,000 book would sure help out. Yes, that would be the book that comes with a free car.
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