Hiding In Plain Sight: 40 Car Features To Make Driving Less BothersomeBy Olajide O
Road trips are a blast, but there are always ways you can improve the experience. First off, having friends who enjoy such trips can go a long way to having a good time. Second, even though it’s not just about the destination, it certainly helps to have a good destination in mind. But there’s one more factor to a road trip that can make it an adventure: your car! Depending on how well you know your car, it can either be a mundane experience or a trip to remember. However, even if you’re not planning on taking a road trip, and just use your car for a daily commute, it’s worth taking the time to explore your vehicle’s features. It’s time to finally break out the owner’s manual and read it because it’s likely that your car has some cool features you never knew about. Now let us dive into these fantastic features that could be hidden away gems in your vehicle.
Opening the hood during a vehicle crisis can be overwhelming when you have to sift through the dozens of parts laid out before you. What’s worse is if you need to fix a problem and don’t know what to touch or where to look. What can be the solution to this?
Some engines come with color codes to make troubleshooting easier; even if you’re not a mechanic, such a system is designed for any car owner to be able to navigate. Every brand/model uses a different color code, so check your owner’s manual first.
Remembering to lock your vehicle is standard for every car owner. But even the most responsible drivers can forget to close their windows. If your car has key-controlled windows, you don’t need to worry about the hassle of unlocking your vehicle to roll up the windows.
It is a new addition that is fast becoming an integral part of new car models. Press down on the button to unlock the car for about 5 seconds, and if your vehicle is equipped with this feature, you will see the windows roll down. Pressing the button again will cause it to roll up.
Does your car have a sunroof or a moonroof? Did you know that there’s even a difference? Sunroofs are the ones that cannot be opened — what would be the point if they expose you to the sun? The windows that open are the moonroofs.
Tesla vehicles are equipped with this excellent feature. It helps to regulate the temperature, and you don’t have to go too hard on the air conditioner. You can also avoid the intense UV rays of the sun from any angle. Overall, it boosts the internal environment of the car.
Dimming Rearview Mirror
Did you know that you can easily adjust your car’s rearview mirror? We’re not just talking about the angle. Some vehicles have a brightness setting that can help to improve visibility, even with blinding headlights from behind. If your car has this, the brightness setting will likely be located on tabs near the mirror.
If your car has this, you can choose between daylight and nighttime. Although this is not standard in every vehicle yet, we anticipate that it will be more commonplace in the future. After all, additional safety features are in everyone’s best interest.
Gas Tank Locator
It is not news to find out that people who have just bought cars may be oblivious to where their gas tank is located. We’ve all been there at some point or another when we have to pop our head outside the window to see where the gas tank opens out.
Now, you can stay in your seat in a new car. By the fuel gauge, you will find the gan tank locator. The arrow next to the gas pump icon indicates which side the tank is on. That just saved us a lot of time and embarrassment at the gas station.
Warning on the Road Condition
Specific indicators are installed in cars to provide drivers with information about the condition of the road. It helps them know what to expect on especially hazardous roads. It comes in handy when fog, heavy rain, or snowfall makes the road dangerous to navigate. Winter, in particular, is a tough time to drive.
Check your owner’s manual to see what icon the model uses; for some, a snowflake indicates icy roads. It’s important to be aware of these before getting into your vehicle so that you aren’t surprised by the unknown symbol while you’re driving.
One of the significant challenges that car owners have faced over the years is the availability of spaces inside a car. Car designs have increased efficiency in space usage, and manufacturers often leave room hidden under seats for car owners to keep essential materials.
As good as it sounds, there is a downside. These safe spaces are designed to be entirely out of sight, so it can be easy to forget that they even exist — including what you stored there. Be sure to read the car’s manual thoroughly to find the hidden storage spaces.
This feature feels like it belongs in a science fiction movie, but developing technologies make it available in some of the more advanced cars today. In driver’s education, we are warned not to get behind the wheel if we’re sleepy, but not everyone heeds that warning. Now, automatic drowsiness detectors are here to save the day.
The feature uses facial scans and metrics such as lane deviation, the angling of the steering wheel, pothole avoidance, and more. If after 15 minutes of abnormal behavior, the car alerts the driver that it’s time to pull over and rest up before heading back out.
Warm Steering Wheel
We all know the struggle of getting behind the wheel after the car’s been in the sun all day, but frozen wheels are just as unpleasant. This feature can be a real game-changer if you live in a cold area.
Like a seat warmer, all it takes is the push of a button to turn your wheel from an icicle into a cozy spot to rest your hands. If your car doesn’t have this feature, but you live in a cold climate, you can see about having it installed when you order from the manufacturer.
Hooking It Up
Hooks are vital to any comfortable car experience. Hanging school bags, groceries, and umbrellas on hooks is a safer way to drive, as they won’t be rolling around in the back seat. As you’ll notice, if you have an SUV, larger cars have more hooks for owners to use.
You can find such hooks in the trunk, behind the headrests, and above the passenger windows. People don’t use them often because it may make the car seem less orderly if you have to hang too many things. But if you have any fragile items to carry, they are the perfect fit.
Jeeps are known for being utility vehicles, especially with their efficacy in off-road courses. However, they can do a lot more with many hidden surprises in different parts of the vehicle. It might seem a bit childish, but you might find a few toy figures and pictures hidden in different parts of the car.
If you have kids, it is a lot more fun as you can lay back while they go on a treasure hunt in your car, searching for the easter eggs Jeep included. You can even join in. Do this while you are not in transit, though, just to be safe.
Drivers are often guilty of being challenging to interact with, especially with someone in the backseat. If you ride shotgun, you’ll also struggle to hold a conversation with those in the back. The conversation mirror functions by making it easy for people in the front seats to communicate with passengers in the back seat.
If your car has this, it is concealed in the sunglasses holder. Drivers can easily monitor kids or pets by glancing at the mirror. You can also communicate with your passengers without taking your eyes off the road or hurting your neck by turning around too much.
We often find it challenging to create space in the backseat and the trunk. Usually, car owners have to bend over the backseat or move things around to accommodate bigger loads. Instead of the hassle, deploy the magic seat feature to create more trunk space.
The feature allows you to push forward the seats without bending or twisting anything out of shape. With the newly created trunk space, you can fit in anything such as a bicycle, your folding chairs, or large suitcases. Moving day has never been easier!
Umbrella in the Door
What do you do when you are driving, and it starts raining? If you are in transit to a garage, you’ll stay dry. But what if you have to get out? If you store your umbrella in the trunk, you have no choice but to get wet as you leave the shelter of your car to retrieve it.
Some car manufacturers came up with a solution to this problem by making space in the door to stash your umbrella. Rolls Royce or Skoda owners can attest to how handy this clever solution is. It is inside the door panel, and all you have to do is pop the space open on a rainy day.
Self-driving vehicles are taking the streets by force as they increase in popularity day by day. Car manufacturers like Tesla are putting in a heavy shift to ensure that cars’ autonomous driving systems are installed to help drivers enjoy the beneficial kicks.
Mercedes is taking the first step in maximizing this technology with its Drive pilot feature. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the Tesla autopilot, and their cars can drive themselves to a certain degree. The driver still has to be active and be in control most of the time, but he can feel a bit more relaxed.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
The pressure monitoring system was specially created to determine the vehicle tires’ air pressure. It comes with an alarm system that flashes a warning light to let the driver know when the air pressure in the tires is not optimum. It is found in all passenger vehicles nowadays to ensure safe driving and help reduce road accidents.
Modern cars now have digital screens on the dashboard which display the pressure number. Thus, drivers can determine the tires’ air pressure with more accuracy. This is a significant improvement over older cars that require that you manually feel the tires.
Lane Centering Sensors
Technologies targeted at lane-centering have come in handy to make driving safer and ultimately reduce accidents. The sensors ensure that the car is well-positioned between the lines on a particular lane. Any aberration is corrected immediately as the car automatically adjusts without the driver’s input.
The car has an inbuilt camera that identifies the distinct lanes, and it makes sure that the car doesn’t drift into another lane. As a warning, the car makes a sound or vibrates to alert the driver. Some newer cars even gently realign the vehicle without the driver’s input.
If your car has a noisy engine, we won’t hold it against you. Of course, noisy doesn’t mean old. Even newer car models produce a bit of sound. Noise pollution can be a real problem, and car manufacturers have been incorporating noise-canceling technology to combat this.
Cars nowadays have insulation materials integrated into their walls and seats. This is one feature that you won’t find if you take time to explore your vehicle since it’s underneath the seats and interior. Car manufacturers may include extra insulation around the suspension and the car engine mounts for a quieter and smoother ride.
Anti-Lock Braking System
This braking system has saved the lives of countless drivers, even if they’re not aware of it. Sometimes, jamming the breaks can cause the tires to lock up. This feature helps restore some traction to the wheels. The steering wheel becomes more flexible, and braking is limited to make it easier to control the car.
It comes in handy when the roads are slippery. Driving in the rain can be risky, and the braking system is often deployed to prevent accidents. Slamming on the brakes is responsible for the lock-ups as well. The Anti-Locking braking system now comes with virtually all cars to overcome the risks.
Although it rarely happens, people can sometimes be locked in the truck. Even if you’re just goofing around in your car, getting stuck in the trunk can still come with a moment of panic. For the last 20 years, every car model has been installing a failsafe feature to help people escape from situations like this.
With an easy tug of the release handle, you will have the trunk covering open in a bit. In case it gets dark, some cars’ trunk release handle glows, making it easier to locate. As long as your car model is newer than 2001, you can rest assured that you’d find this feature.
If you live in a region with a persistent snowfall, you might want to get your hands on one of the newer models of Skoda cars. It has some unique features perfect for freezing conditions, like an ice scraper located in the fuel door.
These other features include heated windshields that melt off ice and snow off the screen without you putting a dime worth of effort. Your freezing mornings become less stressful, and you’d be amazed by how smooth things run. It also functions as a cleaner for the windshield.
Car Seat Massagers
Whether you’re fond of road trips or just commuting daily to work, you’re probably familiar with the back, shoulder, and bottom pain of sitting in your seat for hours on end. Some cars have a massage feature to help relieve muscle tension and erase any form of discomfort when traveling.
The massage will stimulate your body to produce endorphins, enhancing your mood, and you’d feel a lot happier as you drive. It doesn’t matter how long you have to sit through traffic; this car seat massage is a real problem solver and reduces bodily stress.
Citroen’s Picasso car model has this gem hidden away in the car’s trunk. It is a foldable shopping cart that can come in handy during your expeditions. The feature might not have succeeded, and thus, it was removed from later models, yet it was a thoughtful initiative.
The intention is what matters. No one would have thought that a shopping cart would be useful in a car. It is entirely unnecessary, but we reckon that some people loved it. Maybe with the surge in popularity of reusable bags, similar features will come back.
Every car has hazard lights, and knowing about them is a must for all drivers. They are vital in reducing accidents by alerting nearby drivers if there is an issue with your car. This includes if the engine is failing, a ruined tire, or maybe an accident.
It’s easy to remember to use it when you’re not-so-legally parked, but in an accident, you may forget to turn on the hazard lights in your moment of panic. Fortunately, some cars have sensors that automatically turn on the lights, saving both the distressed driver and nearby cars.
Imagine going grocery shopping alone and reaching your parking space with your hands full of groceries. It can become quite inconvenient to open up your trunk while still holding your bags. And, if you are like us, you do not want to drop the bags to open the trunk.
Hence, this feature is quite convenient as you can easily open the trunk by passing your foot under it. The movement is detected by the sensors added to some of the latest car models. Specific car models have been equipped to sense the car owner’s approach and open up automatically.
Blindspot Monitoring System
Blind spots are a major cause for concern; that’s why cars are often equipped with half a dozen mirrors to help drivers see what may exist just outside their range of vision. But there are still some spots that are just out of view.
Some cars have an inbuilt detection system that monitors blind spots to enhance the safety of the driver and other drivers or pedestrians. It alerts the driver to the presence of near-invisible obstacles, giving a warning to prevent collisions with other cars, signposts, etc.
Electronic Stability Control
It’s been close to 11 years since car manufacturers began developing a stability control unit in their vehicles. The sensors beep every time a car starts to drift off lane or too far in a direction. Any tiny swerve can be straightened with ease.
The stability control unit also influences the brakes and ensures that the wheels can turn safely and smoothly. Whenever you make a sharp turn, it activates and regains traction on winding roads or in snowy or rainy weather. Every car produced since 2011 possesses this system.
Lighting up the Floor
This doesn’t happen to everyone, but enough drivers have experienced the headache of parking their cars and stepping out into a puddle of water unsuspectingly. Sounds quite annoying, right? Especially on what is supposed to be a good day! Picture your well-laundered outfit and shoes getting splattered by the water.
This can be easily avoided with proper floor lighting available in specific car models such as the Hyundai Genesis. The car model has a bright light feature that lights up the floor just by your car door before you step out. A glistening pool is hard to miss, and you can spare the extra bill on dry-cleaning.
Most drivers have been in the position where they have had to strain their eyes to see when almost blinded by the bright headlights of another following them in tow. Some newer cars enable you to slightly adjust your rearview mirror electronically to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
Adjust your mirror to a safe level of visibility, giving it a double check just to be on the safe side. Mirrors on your car are placed where they are for a reason, so it’s important to be able to see through all of them. After evading the blinding lights, make sure you restore the mirrors to normalcy.
Computerized Driving Assistance
We consider this to be one of the more subtle parts of a car that a driver might not even be aware of, even though they work almost every time. Most drivers do not know the benefits of a system such as parking assistance as it can help inexperienced drivers park well.
Parallel parking is one of the most challenging maneuvers, and not every driver is good at it. This feature can do the job easily, reducing the stress of parallel parking. It also helps with a drive downhill by reducing the car’s acceleration and beeps when there is a danger of running into a road hazard.
Fuel Cap Holder
Ever lost the fuel cap of your vehicle? Many drivers tend to run into this problem after pumping gas. After waiting for your car to fill up, there’s sometimes an urge to hit the road as soon as possible, meaning the cap can be left behind.
Most cars nowadays have the fuel cap holder installed so that drivers don’t need to hold onto the greasy, smelly cap or risk losing it. This is a simple feature, but it massively reduces the stress of refueling; we are glad it was invented.
Set the Ambiance
Here’s another feature to amplify your driving experience. The lighting in your car has a lot to do with the ambiance that would be perfect for a road trip. Customized interior lights that dimly illuminate the inside of your car really change the atmosphere.
While you might be aware of the lights in your car, you may not know that you can adjust them just to set a mood. We discovered that as lighting induces your mood in your home, it can also enhance your driving experience. You can expect more of this feature in newer car models.
Signal Change Warning
We all have this cringe moment when we are caught in a long queue waiting for the lights to scream “GO.” During the wait, it’s easy to get distracted. Even though it’s unsafe, people check their social media at red lights. It is hard to tell when the lights change if you’re distracted.
Subaru car owners have the car manufacturer to thank for proffering a much-needed solution to the problem. They designed a system that notifies the driver when the traffic finally moves again with a beep instead of getting an angry honk from the car behind.
Unless you have ever forgotten a young one in the backseat of a car, you might not know how significant this feature is. Backseat reminders have come in handy for parents who have had one too many ugly experiences leaving their kids in the backseat of the car for hours.
The mistakes happen too often, and automakers have made it their business to eliminate its occurrence. The system detects if the rear door was opened or closed before the car started and issues a flash alert if the weighted sensors still detect the lighter passenger as the driver leaves.
With the advent of cellphones, it quickly became apparent that using the phone while driving is extremely dangerous. In older cars, drivers need to use a Bluetooth earpiece or speakerphone to talk while driving. Newer cars, however, have upgraded using a built-in interface.
These cars have an integrated Apple Car Play or Android auto that eliminates the need for your phone as you drive. It also allows you access to complete maps, plays music, answers calls, and other useful apps on its dashboard.
Another feature newer cars are using is a dashboard display that is projected onto the car’s windshield. It does have as much information as the interface mentioned above, but it goes a long way to keep drivers’ eyes on the road.
As you can see in the picture above, it doesn’t even hinder your view of the road. The driver can ascertain the car’s relative speed, the road’s speed limit, and even basic navigation directions if the car’s GPS is in use.
Rolls Royce Champagne Cooler
The Rolls Royce brand is synonymous with top quality and a luxurious lifestyle. It stays true to this stereotype with their latest Phantom model that has a champagne cooler installed in the car, built in near the back passenger’s seat. This brings luxury to a whole new level.
It is a convenient feature to make long trips more enjoyable. It also boosts the glamour experienced by the passengers. You can feel at home upon entering and feeling the luxury. Don’t spill any drinks on the expensive leather, though.
Built-in Hidden Vacuum Cleaner
It costs both time and money to visit a car wash facility every month but doing the wash yourself can be quite taxing. While those two are viable solutions for keeping your car hygienic, some car models are equipped with a cheaper, easier, and faster solution right in the car.
Car manufacturers now attach a vacuum cleaner to cars, making it easier for car owners to vacuum their own vehicles. The hose for the inbuilt vacuum cleaners can usually reach almost every corner of the vehicle. We think it is a great idea, particularly for Uber drivers/taxis who pick up different people every day.
As car owners, we understand the usefulness of an air freshener gently wafting scent in the car. With manual air fresheners, it can take some time to figure out what is the right scent for you, and they need to be changed relatively frequently. You don’t have to go through that hassle with modern technology.
With luxury sportscars, you can select between the numerous options of fragrances with the push of a button. Ambient Air is the new feature observed in the BMW that can be found in the glove compartment. It hosts an in-built air freshener dispenser that you can customize according to your preference.
Fuel Saving Frames
Ignoring the existence of EVs, gasoline fuel vehicles are still the most used cars in the world. The level at which it consumes fuel heavily depends on the kind of materials used in building the car. Aluminum is the best material to reduce the weight, and therefore energy consumption, of cars.
Although it is more delicate than steel, it can be forged to become stronger. Pickup trucks are the prime example of this feature. The latest trucks weigh less compared to older models by at least 700 pounds. This makes them more fuel-efficient, and there is also less pollution due to reduced fuel usage.