How to write better instructions in four easy steps

My fiance (yes, the Grammaniac is engaged! Yay!) received a tire pressure gauge for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure it came with the world’s worst set of instructions. Not only have I decided to make fun of them, but I’ll also use them as an example of how to write instructions that make at least a fraction of a bit of sense.

Step one:
Ensure proper noun-verb agreement : …when tires are cold.

Step two:
Choose the correct word to represent the idea you are trying to convey: Remove cap on tire valve.

Step three:
Do not make up words: set screw is two words, not one.

Step four:
This is a set of instructions, not a word scramble game: small.

For the lazier type, you could even skip these four steps and proceed straight to step five: hire a damn proofreader.