2013 Dodge Dart: Not Your Traditional Owner's Manual
February 14, 2013
I wanted to troubleshoot phone-pairing in the 2013 Dodge Dart. Muscle memory impelled me to click open the glovebox, where I expected to find an owner's manual and/or a manual for the Uconnect system. I felt around for the familiar, fat paper guide, but instead I found a thin vinyl pouch that contained an owner's manual on DVD. (There was also a trim glossy "user guide" in the pouch, but in my determination to find the car's unabridged sacred scripture, I overlooked it. Shame on me.)
The DVD initially seemed unhelpful for in-car assistance, unless you could play it on the screen. A hunt for the CD player ensued. It lives in the center console: a CD player location I hadn't encountered before. I popped in the DVD.
The CD player couldn't read it.
This is why paper manuals are really, honestly much more useful than new media info systems. If you are the "first registered retail owner" of a Dart, as the DVD sleeve puts it, you can ask the Dodge dealer to give you a printed owner's manual, free of charge. You can also order a free manual by phone. Or you can download PDFs of the owner's manual, Uconnect system guide and other documents from the "owner's" tab at the Dodge site.
For day-to-day use, the user guide is helpful enough. It's thinner than a true owner's manual, but covers more ground that the pamphlet-sized quick guides that some new cars have for those who don't want to wade into owner's manual minutiae.
Of more utility, perhaps, is the Drive Dodge app, which the user guide mentions on its back cover. I downloaded it from the iTunes store, and found it had what most drivers would ordinarily need. There's one for Android devices, too.
But if I were buying this car, I'd order up a traditional paper manual. There's something reassuring about having one onboard, just in case there's an emergency in which both the car and phone are dead. And you'd rather not join them.
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 2,563 miles