CHOICE membership

Getting an owners manual online

Here is something for all you Australian Subaru owners. If you lose your owners handbook and want a new one, you have to buy one from Subaru. It’s a hard copy only. Considering the size, binding, etc, that seems fair enough.

But if you lived in the US and wanted the same thing except you are happy with a PDF copy of the manual, you simply go online and can download the owners manual for your car. The US manuals might be very similar but sometimes the same model has different interior, different engine, etc. That makes the manual unsuitable for most things.

Australians can’t download a manual from Subaru Australia. They force you to buy a hard copy. I haven’t found out how much the hard copy costs but I would suspect they are not cheap. The warranty / servicing book is available for download but not the owners manual. When I asked why, the only reply I got was that they do not provide an online copy. So I ask again:

Why? Perhaps CHOICE might know.

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I’m not sure if this is where you looked, but just in case… What happens if you enter your vehicle’s VIN in the US Subaru Vehicle Resources /Manuals? I can’t test it to see as I don’t have a valid Subaru VIN to enter. As each VIN should be unique, if the manual comes up, it might/could/should apply to your specific vehicle.

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That’s for that - good idea! I’ll try that. When I went into the US website, I just used the option of Year / Model, not VIN.

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Sadly, nope. When I use the VIN of my 2020 Subi it asks for a valid VIN.

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Being such a new model will make it harder to find second hand, but you could try to get a hard copy via

  1. resale sites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay, etc.,
  2. wreckers yards,
  3. Subaru car clubs, or even
  4. Car part stores like Repco, Supercheap, etc.
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Getting one is part of the problem,

so an issue is our top Australian friendly :roll_eyes: support as compared to Subaru US.

The extended family has owned Volvos, Citroens, Renaults, Hyundais, Suzukis and Nissans this century and none of them had more than an Australia specific insert or addendum. Each featured general international models with all possible options (‘this option may not be available in your market’ commonly noticed) or an EU generic.

It is possible there is no Australian specific owners manual for the Subaru that has more than the warranty and corporate info, and that information is in an addenda.

Any Subaru owners who can advise?

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@Obviousman did you look at:
JPNZ Manuals these manuals are apparently from NZ, so should apply
or
Subaru PDF manuals & Wiring Diagrams
or
Subaru Factory Service Manuals (FSM) - Every Model - USDM/EU
?

What model is your 2020 Subaru? It would make it easier to find any relevant link.

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You may find that most car manufacturers are similar and it isn’t unique to Subaru.

It would be interesting to know if all US sold cars today come with a paper owners manual…if they don’t, might be why they are available online.

With Subarus we have owned or had as work vehicle (continously except for 1 year) over the past 20 years, the manuals sit snuggly into the slot in the upper part of the glove box. They are difficult to lose unless one removes it from the vehicle and forgets where it is placed.

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Apologies - I didn’t make myself clear. I do have the manual; it was just that my partner had the car but she wanted me to look up how a particular car feature worked. Since I didn’t have the hard copy available at that moment, I tried to find an online version.

I can get online manuals for the US models of Subaru, but for the Australian / Pacific models there are no soft copy / online versions of the owners manual available.

I’d like to know why the US can get an online manual but for the same car manufacturer, Australians can’t.

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The answer lies in each importer’s business model, eg their P/L and approach to customer service.

Although making a pdf from a print-file is trivial, perhaps Subaru is not interested in potential customers reading manuals before shopping Subaru, and hence being at par or even one up on the salesmen?

Another thought is while Subaru is one of many in the US, operating in a highly competitive environment. In Australia they have a history focused on maintaining product value by various means, those means not being germane here. eg they are a known quantity with a brand reputation so may not need to ‘try harder’.

Comparing our local web sites in general across all industries as compared to those in say the US and CA, more than a few come up far short. The businesses either don’t care since they cannot attribute profit to web site expenses in our smaller markets, and thus don’t invest.

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Firstly, as a gross generalisation, businesses in Australia are far less internet savvy than businesses in the USA. This has been an issue discussed elsewhere on the forum in relation to Australian retailers generally not listing their inventory on the net thereby making it hard to buy from them. Perhaps now that COVID is restricting people from visting bricks and mortar businesses they may digitize their businesses. Secondly, our vehicle industry seems to operate quite differently to the rest of the world. For example, where marques have conceded systemic problems overseas, the same marque in Australia will continue to ignore and disavow the issue leaving Australian consumers to fight individually through the courts. Obviously, if our Federal Government moved to regulate and enforce consumer rights with any vigour we might enjoy similar benefits to those enjoyed overseas including being able to gain access to information on-line.

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I’ve had the same issue with wanting a pdf version. Unfortunately, I’ve had to download the US version. I’m reasonably happy with that as it’s not that big a difference. The main reason I like a computer readable version is for searching. Searching through 400 pages of paper ain’t much fun - the US version is a good alternative. Better if we had the matching Oz version - perhaps …

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Can you not search the PDF that you downloaded?

Normally you simply hit “CTRL” +“F” and a search bar appears at the top of your screen.

Fred, that’s exactly the point I was making, rather than searching through a paper book (User Manual in the car), it is much easier to do a search (Ctrl+F) in a pdf file. That is the reason I sought out and found a pdf version, even if it wasn’t 100% my Aussie model, it’s close enough. :smiley:

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Having owned a number of vehicles imported secondhand from Japan, I have purchased manuals from JPNZ several times. They are translations of the Japanese manuals.

The first couple of owner manuals I ordered were fine, but when I purchased a workshop manual for a Nissan Elgrand, the entire chapter dealing with heating/ventilation/air conditioning was left out. When I emailed JPNZ ( more than once ) to query this, I received no response.

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A slightly different discussion. The import of second hand models, Japan being one common source is a niche market in Australia.

With the end of car manufacture in Australia, one promise was of a more open market, and a reduction in the cost of vehicles. NZ appears to have embraced that future? Australia seems to still be stuck in a time warp.

Aside from the need to get appropriate manuals in English, is it that hard to side step the Aussie car importers and retail industry? Or do they have a foot hard down on the throttle in political system?

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