The thrill of buying a new car has been dulled in recent months thanks to the car market losing its collective mind and sending inventory and prices into freefall. But if you took the plunge at some point, you’ve probably noticed the manual accompanying your vehicle may only barely fit into the glove compartment. They’re enormous—and some new data has assessed just how imposing they can be.
The answer? Longer than The Lord of the Rings—all three volumes put together.
The UK car advice site Scrap Car Comparison recently took one for the team and examined which make and model car manuals would take the longest to actually read cover to cover. Using both word count and an average reading speed of 238 words per minute, they determined the Audi R8 had the most demanding manual, requiring 43 hours and nine minutes to read all 616,064 words. That’s longer than it would take a person to read the entire Rings trilogy (40 hours, 22 minutes), Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace, and roughly six times the length of an average book’s 100,000 words.
The Audi e-tron is nearly as long at 603,649 words. The Ford F-series clocks in at a more reasonable 194,305 words, or 13 hours and 36 minutes of reading time.
Popular models like the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, and Hyundai Tucson would typically take you between eight and 11 hours to read.
It’s no wonder that most people tend to get a feel for their car’s features through driving and keep the manual tucked away. But bear in mind that the manual contains important information for adhering to a maintenance schedule, fluid specifications, and other details that can prolong the life of your vehicle. Many new cars come with a quick-start guide, too. Poring over every word like it’s Tolkien isn’t necessary, but you’ll still want to give it a look.
And in case you were wondering if manuals were always this beefy, the answer is no. A manual for the 1965 Ford Mustang clocked in at a slim 100 pages.
[h/t Scrap Car Comparison]