Generally, cars don’t come with instructions. Sure, they have an owner’s manual, but most of the how-do-I-work-this-thing stuff is expected to have been already figured out when you get one. That’s partially why this little shifter hang tag, seen on a 2016 Ford Fiesta, is so puzzling. I’ve never heard of a carmaker doing anything like this before.
This was spotted and sent to us by fellow Beetle owner and friend-of-Jalopnik Coty, who happens to work at a Ford dealership. He took precious time from his break watching Orange Is the New Black to photograph this for me, so big thanks.
It seems to be die-cut exactly like a hotel Do Not Disturb sign, and the fundamental message isn’t so different, in that it warns you not to disturb the shifter, especially when going into reverse.
Here’s the full text:
PROPER SHIFTING OPERATION
TIPS TO AVOID TRANSMISSION DAMAGE
• BEFORE APPLYING ANY GEAR THE CLUTCH PEDAL MUST BE FULLY PRESSED
• SHIFTING INTO REVERSE:
– THE VEHICLE MUST BE STATIONARY PRIOR TO SHIFT INTO REVERSE
– BRING THE VEHICLE TO A COMPLETE STOP. THEN, WITH THE CLUTCH PEDAL FULLY PRESSED TO THE FLOOR, WAIT FOR TWO SECONDS BEFORE SHIFTING INTO REVERSE (THIS WILL ALLOW THE GEARS TO STOP SPINNING). THE LENGTH OF WAIT TIME WILL IMPROVE THE SHIFT FEEL AND AVOID UNWANTED NOISE DURING THE SHIFT.
DO NOT DAMAGE YOUR TRANSMISSION
Reading this over, that first bullet point is sort of a tiny primer about driving a manual – push the clutch, then shift. They seem concerned that the clutch gets fully pressed, which makes sense.
I’m guessing Ford must be dealing with some complaints about noisy shifts into reverse for them to go through the trouble to print this up. It seems to be only in Fiestas, so I don’t think Mustang drivers have been bitching about these same issues.
There’s some great advice here, too: do not damage your transmission. Thanks for that one, Ford. Great idea.
The “GO FURTHER” thing is a bit enigmatic; do they mean go further not damaging transmissions, or is that more of a general life command?
I’ve reached out to Ford for comment; I’ll update if they have anything interesting to add. Personally, I’m a little surprised to see a transmission warning/instruction tag on a Ford, since I’m old enough to remember this:
That was how Ford “solved” a bunch of automatic transmission problems where cars were popping out of park and rolling away. I’m not sure if this hang tag is just a modern-era attempt to correct an issue with adventures in labelling, but it sure does feel familiar.