What Every Car Should Have

In the past few years I’ve come across a few convenience features that every car ought to have but most still do not.

First on the list is a thermostatically-controlled climate control system.  Instead of messing with the air temperature, volume, and vent selections, just set the temperature and let it do the rest.  For some reason some of these systems (e.g. BMW’s) don’t automatically control the air conditioner, which they should.

Second is rain-sensing windshield wipers.  Again, why have to fiddle with wiper speed every time the car changes speed or you go into a different microclimate?

Third is backup sensors or camera.  The first time I used them I was skeptical, but now I’d be hard-pressed to buy a new car without them, esp. a minivan or a truck with a big blind spot right below the rear tailgate window.  I prefer the sensors to the camera because you can concentrate on looking in various places and letting the beeps guide you, rather than having to look down at a monitor on the console.

Fourth is automatic headlights.  These aren’t quite as useful as the wipers, even though they typically work off the same infrared sensor on the windshield, because unlike wipers most of the time headlights are either on or they’re off.  Also, it seems harder to get the logic right than for the wipers.  I’ve driven one vehicle where the lights don’t come on until it’s fairly dark, not in the early stages of twilight.  Plus I happen to think that the lights should come on automatically whenever the windshield wipers are operating above a certain speed, consistent with the laws in some states that your headlights are supposed to be on whenever you wipers are operating non-intermittently.

Fifth is remote keyless entry, with the seat and mirror settings that are controlled by the particular remote unit you use to unlock the car.  The settings part is handy if you have more than one driver on a regular basis.  Honda’s version is particularly clever because you can also retrieve the settings from a button on the driver’s door, so if you happen to borrow the other driver’s key you can easily override their default settings.

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One response to “What Every Car Should Have

  1. Couple of things I would love:Volume control on the car stereo (and my TV for that matter) that is based on the output decibels rather than just a knob controlling some potentiometer (or whatever they use these days). I hate the fact that my car stereo is blaring when I switch from NPR to KISW since most radio channels (besides NPR) boost the volume output (ditto for ads on TV).An automatic headlight dipper that dips my headlight to lowbeam on an approaching vehicle and switches back to highbeam once the vehicle passes. I have to keep switching between high and low while driving into my community at night. We had one of these in India (that we custom built and then started selling!)

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