Ten things we learned by reading the 2015 Mustang owner’s manual
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
While the 2015 Mustang hasn’t hit the dealer lots just yet, the car’s owner’s manual has hit the Internet. So, instead of reading a novel on a summer afternoon, we spent some quality time with the 441-page manual and its companion Quick Reference Guide. We learned a few things along the way, and here are 10 items that caught our attention…
1. Black Boxing
As we mentioned in our story on the S550 safety enhancements, the car not only has lots of airbags, but it has a data recorder. In the event of a serious crash that the air bag goes off or the fuel pump cutoff is triggered, it is designed to record around 30 seconds of info before the crash.
“To read data recorded by an event data recorder, special equipment is required, and access to the vehicle or the event data recorder is needed,” the guide say. “In addition to the vehicle manufacturer, other parties, such as law enforcement, that have such special equipment, can read the information if they have access to the vehicle or the event data recorder.”
Among the information it records, is whether the seat belts were buckled, how fast the car was traveling, what the steering wheel angle was, and, naturally, how far down that gas pedal was.
2. Big Brother
Now if you are the type that won’t use an easy pass on the toll roads because you don’t want to be tracked, you might not want to enable things like Sync 911 assist or use the Sync traffic and directions features. Why? Well, if you do will be sharing your location, travel direction, and speed with Ford and its partners.
“…When you connect to Traffic, Directions and Information (if equipped, U.S. only), the service uses GPS technology and advanced vehicle sensors to collect the vehicle’s current location, travel direction, and speed (“vehicle travel information”), only to help provide you with the directions, traffic reports, or business searches that you request,” says the guide. “If you do not want Ford or its vendors to receive this information, do not activate the service.”
Surely this is not limited to the new Mustang. It’s also not really a big deal, unless you really don’t want your info out there. In that case, however, you’d be better off buying a 1985 Mustang with a carburetor and no on-board computers…
3. Free Release
Now don’t get worried, we aren’t trying to scare you. Just touching on the interesting stuff. One point of interest is something really handy. We should have realized it before, but now you don’t have to use the remote or the key to open your trunk. That’s right, as long as you have the key fob in your pocked, you can just reach down and push the button hidden above the license place and open it up.
According to the manual, “Your vehicle must be unlocked or have an intelligent access transmitter within 3 feet (1 meter) of the luggage compartment.”
Now the button is cool, but we’d love to see the Mustang gain the trick that the Escape has where you can just stick your foot under the car and pop the trunk. That’s such a cool feature when your hands are full.
4. The Transporter
We have long known about GT500s not producing full boost until they are driven for a while. However, it is interesting that the new Mustang also has a Transport/Factory mode to ensure it isn’t involved in any shennanigans between Flat Rock and your driveway. However, if your car isn’t acting quite right, this mode might be the culprit and it will show up on the information display.
“Your vehicle is still in Transport or Factory mode. This may not allow some features to operate properly. See an authorized dealer,” says the manual.
5. Learning to Fly
Now we are used to Powertrain Control Modules learning to improve engine performance, but now that computers are controlling everything in the car, it’s not such a surprise that the transmission will learn as it goes too.
“This feature is designed to increase durability and provide consistent shift feel over the life of your vehicle. A new vehicle or transmission may have firm or soft shifts. This operation is normal and does not affect function or durability of the transmission,” the guide explains. “Over time, the adaptive learning process will fully update transmission operation. Additionally, whenever you disconnect the battery is or install a new battery, the system must relearn the strategy.”
It will be interesting to see how this secenario affects the aftermarket calibration of the new Mustang.
6. Street Mode
I’m sure this has been the case for a while, but I never really picked up on it before. It seems that both Sport+ and Track modes are only supposed to be used on the race track? Who knew? Seriously, I like to live my life in Sport mode. I never knew what a rebel I was until now.
“Sport+ provides a sportier steering feel and throttle response. Sport+ mode is ideal for use during more spirited driving,” says the manual.
Isn’t that everyday? But, it cautions: “Do not use Sport mode on public roadways.”
7. Storage Wars
If you are planning to buy one of those rare 50 Years Anniversary editions and socking it away in a climate-controlled garage, you might be interested to know that Ford recommends that you change the oil before you put it into storage and before you bring it back out on the road.
According to the manual, “We engineer and test all motor vehicles and their components for reliable, regular driving. Under various conditions, long-term storage may lead to degraded engine performance or failure unless you use specific precautions to preserve engine components.”
Sure, you were probably planning to drain all the oil, right? Well, Ford also recommends that you start the car every 15 days and run it for 15 minutes to bring it up to operating temperature. (Excuse me while I go out to the garage and start my Mustangs…)
8. Keep Your Cool
It’s interesting that in our conversations about the Performance Package, then engineers were adamant that it wasn’t a Track Pack. That sort of thing is a pure racing endeavor for them. However, it the manual it says if your GT is equipped with the “Track Pack,” that it gets 1.6 more quarts of coolant. That stands to reason, as the Performance Pack cars get a larger radiator.
Of course, we do have to take some things with a grain of salt, after all this is the first “printing” of the manual. In fact, it says the car has hood lifts, and the example we had in our Mustang Week display definitely had the age-old prop rod. So, we’ll just chalk that Track Pack talk up as a minor mistake.
We have all read about how the 2015 Mustang’s convertible top closes in a hurry. However, there might be some instances where it takes longer than 15 seconds to get the job done. Like George Costanza in the pool, there might be some shrinkage, and it might need, ahem, a hand.
“If you keep the top open for an extended period of time or if the temperature is low, the top material may shrink slightly,” the manual explains. “If this happens, pull on the latch handle to secure the top.”
10. Tanks A lot
It seems like the Ecoboost Mustang’s fuel system components or packaging must take up a little more space than its naturally aspirated brothers. As such, the turbocharged ’Stang’s fuel capacity is down to 15.5 gallons versus the 16 gallons you can put in a 3.7- or 5.0-powered S550. Either way, the low-fuel indicator will illuminate with about a 1/16th of a tank or 35 miles to go.