| 9:30 AM EST

F-150 Gets Digital Owner’s Manual

Everything you want to know at your touchscreen fingertips, while saving tons of paper 


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Ford isn’t the first carmaker to offer an electronic owner’s manual.

That distinction goes to Hyundai, which claims it was the first major OEM to do so with the 2015 Sonata.

2021 F-150 (Image: Ford)

But the redesigned F-150 pickup is taking the practice to a new level.

That’s because the popular fullsize truck long has been the best-selling the vehicle in the U.S. (43 years running), and anything related to it is worth noting…just don’t do it on a paper notepad.

Savings by the Ton

In this case, Ford is touting the amount of paper saved by switching to a mostly digital format.

In place of the traditional voluminous glovebox manual—which, at 625 pages for the outgoing F-Series, is longer than most novels—Ford is making all information available electronically through the 2021 model’s standard Synch touchscreen infotainment system.

As for the savings, Ford calculates the digital manual will cut paper use by 290 tons per year based on typical annual sales (last year nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks were delivered). That works out to the combined weight of 122 F-150 pickups, according to the carmaker.

(Image: Ford)

For more fun with numbers, Ford says if the pages in the manuals were stacked on top of each other the pile would stand 18,000 ft tall.

To put it another way, thanks to some back-of-the-envelope mathematics by The Drive, it would take 178 F-150s to haul all the paper saved from not printing the manuals or 71 trucks towing trailer’s with the paper. As a refresher, the new F-150 boasts best-in-class towing (14,000 lbs) and payload (3,325 lbs) capacities.

For those that still want something to hold onto, the F-150 also has an old-school printed supplement, which Ford describes as a “thin guide."

Easy to Use

But it isn’t all about saving trees.

There also are some practical reasons for owner’s manuals to go digital. This includes a searchable database that allows users to quickly find info on the specific feature or function they’re interested in.

Streaming “how-to” videos also will be available via the touchscreen—presumably when the vehicle isn’t moving. That goes for reading the manual, digital or printed too.


  • How General Motors Develops World-Class Propulsion Systems

    Dan Nicholson is vice president of General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, the organization that had been “GM Powertrain” for 24 years.

  • Breaking Down the Chevy Bolt

    Sandy Munro and his team of engineers and costing analysts at Munro & Associates were contacted by UBS Research—an arm of the giant banking and investment firm—and asked whether it was possible to do a teardown and cost assessment of the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler: Some Things to Know

    Design, materials, powertrain and manufacturing details about what is arguably the quintessential vehicle in the Jeep lineup.