GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

January 12, 2014

High-tech rental cars should come with instruction manuals

Dear Abby: We rented a car while we were on vacation. Most of the newer cars have all kinds of high-tech equipment and devices — different kinds for different models of vehicles. The problem is the instruction booklets that describe how the equipment operates are never provided with the cars.

It’s dangerous to try and figure out how the equipment operates by trial and error while starting to drive an unfamiliar vehicle. Why don’t the rental agencies provide the instruction manuals, or at least a pamphlet summarizing the procedures? Surely not many people would steal them, since they’re just using the cars for a short time.

Also, it would be helpful if the rental agencies would include an inexpensive ice scraper with every car in appropriate areas of the country, so customers could clean their windshields and avoid the hazard of obstructed vision. — Car Renter In Charlottesville, Va.

Dear Car Renter: What you’re describing is also true with loaner cars that are offered when a vehicle is being serviced. I am pretty sure the reason those items are not provided is fear that they would be stolen.

However, I agree that knowing how to operate the radio, heating, air-conditioning and street map functions on the newer cars can be confusing — which is why you should ask to have the pertinent pages of the manual photocopied so you can refer to them as needed. (The technologically inclined can Google the make of car and ask “How to turn on the radio,” etc. because the information is available online.)

Dear Abby: My best friend died from the flu in November. She was only 63 and had been my friend for 23 years. She died because she was stubborn and insisted to all her friends — myself included — that she was “fine” and didn’t need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room.

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