This article on how to drive a Model A Ford was originally published in 1928. Driving the Modal A was a totally different experience than the Model T was.
Filling the Radiator—Before starting the car, see that the radiator is filled with clean fresh water. The cooling system holds approximately three gallons. If in winter, use anti-freeze solution (procurable from any Ford dealer). As the proper cooling of the engine is dependent upon the water supply, it is important particularly with a new car to see that the radiator is kept well filled. Any steaming causes loss of water as will leaks in hose or radiator.
Filling the Gasoline Tank—The tank has a capacity of ten gallons. The gasoline gauge on the instrument board panel indicates the amount of gasoline in the tank. Gasoline can be drained from the tank by opening the petcock in the sediment bulb located on the engine side of the dash. The screen in the gasoline tank filler neck should occasionally be removed and cleaned. IMPORTANT— After cleaning be sure to replace this screen. Also see that the small vent hole in the gasoline tank cap does not become clogged. If the vent hole is clogged the gasoline will become air bound and fuel supply will be irregular.
Proper Oil Level— Before starting the engine, make sure there is a sufficient supply of medium light, high grade engine oil in the oil pan. If there is not enough oil, more should be added through the breather pipe located at the left side of the engine (a metal cap covers it). Five quarts of oil is the amount required in the oil pan. To determine the correct oil level, use the indicator, which is of the bayonet type, located on the left side of the engine just to the rear of the breather pipe as follows: Pull out the indicator—wipe it off—re-insert the indicator and again remove it. The mark made by the oil indicates its level. When the oil reaches the point marked "F" on the indicator, it is at the proper level. Under no circumstances should the oil be permitted to get below the point marked "L" as any attempt to run the engine with too little oil may seriously damage the parts. The letter ''F" indicates '' full,'' the letter " L" means "low." When replacing the oil level indicator, see that both the short and long ends of the indicator enter the opening in the crankcase. Failure to insert both ends into the opening permits the oil to leak out as the opening is not fully closed.
Instruments and Control Levers of Ford Model A Cars follow conventional practice. Inset shows standard gear shift lever positions.
Before Starting the Engine— Be sure the gear shift lever is in neutral position—i.e., the position in which it can be moved freely from side to side, as in any standard gear shift car. Advance the throttle lever, located under the steering wheel (right hand side), about three notches, or until the accelerator pedal moves slightly downward.
Pulling down the throttle lever or pressing on the accelerator pedal, controls the quantity of gas entering the cylinders, and regulates the speed of the engine. In the Model T there was no accelerator pedal. Carburetor control was entirely by hand lever.
Place the spark lever (left hand) at the top of the quadrant (the notched quarter-circle on which the lever is operated). This is the retard position. The spark lever regulates the timing of the spark which explodes the gas in the cylinders. Readers who are familiar with the Model T will note the changed location of engine controls.
Always retard the spark lever when starting your car. Starting the engine with the spark advanced may cause the engine to kick back, and damage the starter parts. After the engine is started, advance the spark lever all the way down the quadrant.
Theft-Proof Lock—The Ford type electro-lock used in the ignition switch is a combination switch and theft-proof lock affording full protection for the car and meeting the exacting requirements of the underwriters as regards theft insurance. To unlock the electro-lock, simply insert the switch key into the ignition switch and turn the key to the right. This releases the cylinder of the lock, which snaps forward and closes the ignition circuit. When the cylinder is released the engine can be started in the usual manner, AND THE SWITCH KEY WITHDRAWN FROM THE LOCK.
To shut off the engine, push in on the cylinder of the lock until it snaps 'back in the lock position. This shuts off the ignition and locks the car in a positive manner.