After I eagerly read your responses to this column, I must say they fell into two distinct categories: one, people whose vehicles also have the switch and either agreed or disagreed with my complaints; and two, people who thought I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. (Or, making ground up body parts out of a switch, as it were.)
This surprised me, because I believe strongly that few automotive enthusiasts can live with a modern automobile without at least one complaint about a feature, or a function, or a switch, or a button, or a lever. And so today I want to know: whatâs your complaint?
As you may have guessed, Iâm going to start with a few more of my own to get the ball rolling here.
So, just to begin: I have this feature in my SUV where I can unlatch the rear liftgate by pushing a button by the driverâs seat. This is a common feature; many SUVs have it; and I do not find it special or unique or good or bad in any way.
What I DO find particularly unique is what happens after you press the button, and the liftgate has been released. Hereâs how it goes down: You push the button and you hear the tailgate release. Then you open your door to get out of the car, in order to grab whatever you want from the tailgate. Then you shut the door, because thatâs what you do when you exit a car. And then â I swear this actually happens â the force of shutting your car door is so great, and it rocks the car so much, that the tailgate actually manages to re-latch itself.
This happens every single time I un-latch the tailgate. It doesnât matter how hard I open or close the doors, either, unless I make a concerted effort to close them so softly that they donât latch. But either way Iâm left with some sort of latch issue, and after a while I realize I really want to kill the latch people, too, and possibly ground them up and feed them to the switch people.
Hereâs another annoying feature: I once had the opportunity to drive a 2006ish Maserati Quattroporte. You know: the one that now costs $19,000 and has a transmission that shifts like a small child got ahold of a clutch pedal and a gear lever.
Anyway, the big annoyance of this car was not the transmission (though it was awful) and not the depreciation (though it was awful) and not even the infotainment system, which seemed like it had been designed by an Italian grandmother who had never previously experienced the act of listening to music while simultaneously operating an automobile. No, the big annoyance was actually the fuel door release.
The problem was this: you could only open the fuel door when the car was on. So youâd pull up to the gas station, and youâd turn off the car, and then youâd push the fuel door release button, and youâd think âSON OF A!â, when nothing happened. And then youâd have to restart the car every single time, until you finally remembered that, inexplicably, Maserati had designed the vehicle so you could only open the fuel door when the car was running. So how do you get gas if youâve run out? Nobody knows. Probably not even the grandmother who designed the infotainment system.
So those are two automotive features that especially annoy me, and now itâs your turn. What little items bother you the most? What features do you think they designed without ever testing in real life?
Are you sure the car had to be actually running or would the fuel door release perhaps unlatch if you only turned the key into the ‘run’ position without cranking and starting it?
My 1998 328i HVAC system will remember the last fan speed setting, except for “OFF.” If the fan speed is set to any speed (or automatic), it will resume that setting when the car is restarted. If the fan speed is set to “OFF”, it will come on at the lowest speed setting when the car is restarted. Why?
Is your system among the generation of BMW HVAC’s that don’t have an off button? I’ve owned several BMWs where the only way to actually turn off the HVAC was to hit the fan “down” button x number of times to turn it off. Annoying when your fan was all the way up. Let me hit this button eight times to turn off my A/C.
My ’02 Audi requires me to hit the fan button repeatedly to turn the HVAC off. Even more annoying, it sometimes flakes out when the fan is on the lowest setting. One more click down should turn it off, but instead sets the fan to full power. So now I have to click down a whole bunch more times to turn it off. I think it’s a software bug.
At least in the 199-2005 3 series cars (E46), this is an option the dealer can program for you. There’s a few different options for what to do when the car is turned on.
I fondly remember my 2001 E46 wagon, which was equipped with a non-automatic climate control. It had one dial for temp and one dial for fan and the “oppressed” driver had to decide how much of either he or she wanted. My E90 was fully automatic and when I wanted to change the fan speed, I pressed a button (usually several times) to increase or decrease the speed.
However, the E90 also came with automatic wipers which in their automatic setting actually did a good job of modifying the wipe speed to match the rainfall. You win some, you lose some…
I never tried, and I suspect yes, if you just turned it to accessories it would work. I still find this a bit annoying though, no?
I had a 2001 BMW 540i and it had the little switch/wheel you’re talking about. Didnt really bug me…..
What drove me rank about that car was the auxiliary engine cooling fan. That pos was driven by some sort of a thermostat. It would auto turn on in heavy stop and go traffic during very hot weather.
I don’t know how any one from cali or the southern US didn’t shoot their 540. When that little bitch fan came on, the car groaned like a 90’s hyundai with 150K miles.
I had a ’98 540 and feel your pain. That engine did not like the summer. Sounded like a UPS truck in hot traffic.
Speaking of cooling fans, the one on a 2001 X5 with the I6 runs for a few minutes after you shut the car off. I never trust the fan to eventually turn off. I always worry that it’s broken.
The Venture Bros. on Adult Swim had a hysterical scene were Brock Sampson is trying to quit from OSI via an OnStar-ish type interface in his car.
“Call [Eastern European-named mother].” “No match found, please try again.” “Call [tries different pronunciation].” “No match found, please try again.” *manually searches in address book” “Would you like to call [pronounces name perfectly, as I had originally said it]?” “YES, sweet baby jesus, YES.”
I have a few folks I have learned to incorrectly/differently pronounce their names to get the voice recognition to work.
Interestingly, when the bluetooth module in my 2008 MDX went out and was replaced, the new version was way better at recognition…same bluetooth profiles but the recognition was way better in the later version of the module. Saying “call” no longer adds a “four” to the number.
My worst car “feature” ? In my 2012 VW, doors lock automatically over 20 kph. You can’t de activate this yourself in the MFI, and worse, the dealer won’t de activate this. I live in a nice area so don’t need to lock doors, and it is a royal pain when doing school runs for the doors to auto lock and have to be manually unlocked each time. Little ones don’t wait and if you forgot to unlock while rolling up, you get three door handles yanked off the car.
I’ve been told by first responders that a door lock does not do anything to make you safer, it just means they have to break a window, which isn’t helpful.
I’m not sure if this only helps using the phone’s voice recognition (i.e., Google Now) or if it would help trying to use a car’s voice dialer as well. Could be worth a shot though.
Your dealer has the capability of deactivating this but if they won’t do it either find a dealer who will or find a friend with VCDS to do it for you.
As far as first responders, if you are in a crash severe enough to trigger the airbags, the car will automatically activate the flashers and unlock the doors.
Voice control is something automakers have been trying — and failing — to do for years. I have given up all hope. Every time I go to a product launch they tell us it’s ‘new and improved’ and it never really is.
I would give a scathing review on it for each time they fail. These systems have been around long enough that they should work or go the way of voice warning (which I actually want to come back).
I think this problem is going to solve itself in the next couple years. Apple and Google have largely gotten voice recognition down and as carmakers start adopting CarPlay and Android Auto capability, they can let the software companies handle the software and they can go back to focusing on making cars.
Surprisingly the voice calling on my 2013 Hyundai Elantra works great 99.8% of the time. There was one time when I asked it to call someone who was not in my phone book… the system simply said “NO” and went back to radio. I had a good laugh over that. The real tricky part though is remembering what you put as the entry in the phone book…I had ICE MOM AND DAD (for In Cae of Emergency) and the system would say: “Call Liz”
(Or as the comic which my Grandmother snipped for her (now late) cousin who owned an ’85 Chrysler “Super-K” New Yorker with Voice Alert stated: “..and your hair is a mess! :-) )
The voice-recognition system in my Accord is third-generation, I believe, and I still can’t get it to do what I want. (Especially vexing is the “legal-eagle” lockout, which stops one from scrolling through options on the dash screen unless you state “Next” to the voice-command! Needless to say..it don’t work!)
@Lie2me, I have a similar issue with my vehicle. The BT50 uses the Ford Sync system to operate many of the vehicles functions, including comms.
If you listen to the way the synthesised voice speaks and emulate it’s pronunciation of vowels in particular it will respond.
I have yet to have issues with consonants. The biggest difference in accents of the same language, ie, British, Australian, US, etc. is how vowels are pronounced.
Two items: Both federally mandated nannies. The seat belt warning light/buzzer and the clutch pedal interlock switch. I hate them both because they both assume I’m too stupid to be driving a car.
I like the seatbelt buzzer (beeper, in both of my cars) because it prevents me from having to nag my passengers to buckle up. Most of the time they hear the beeping and do it themselves.
I hate the clutch interlock, too. Also the automatic gearshift brake lockout. I brought my mother-in-law’s ’96 Camry into an audio shop many years ago for a head unit replacement. The brake shift lockout was no longer working, but you still had to press the shift button on the side of the selector to get it out of park. Perfectly safe, as you had to take a conscious action to shift it from park. I had to endure a lecture from the installer when I picked it up about how incredibly dangerous the car was.
I remember my first car didn’t have a clutch interlock and I jerked it more than once when I was first learning. My current DD sometimes experiences hard starting if the fuel pump isn’t run for a second before you crank it, so my method for starting the car is to turn the key to START, wait a second or so, then hit the clutch. It’s like having a start pedal!
Not sure the clutch interlock is federally mandated. Saab didn’t use one. Maybe they just assumed that Saab drivers are adults who know how to drive.
If I’ve been driving the slushbox vehicle a lot and switch to the 3-pedal, I sometimes forget to put her in neutral. I’m a fan of the clutch pedal switch.
I forget often to put it into neutral (after only 40 years driving stick) and so when I let up on the clutch pedal after it starts, the car jumps. I’d rather have a neutral switch than a clutch switch.
Clutch pedal interlock is not federally mandated. Car company lawyers are just super freaked about anything that could potentially make a car move without the driver intending it to.
They still pay out millions of dollars a year settling park-to-reverse lawsuits from people who got out and walked behind their cars without having the column shifter all the way in Park.
I used to drive old VW’s which didn’t have a clutch interlock switch. That saved my butt on more than one occasion when the clutch cable broke. With no interlock, you could put the transmission in first gear with the engine off and then crank the starter to get the car moving, then you could shift without the clutch as needed in order to get home (avoiding red lights and stop signs as much as possible of course).
I’ve done this in a car with an interlock. The interlock is on the clutch pedal, not on the clutch pressure plate itself. You just have to press the clutch pedal down when you want to start the car even though it’s not connected to anything.
True enough! I’ve just never encountered this situation on an interlock-equipped car so I didn’t even think about whether it would be possible.
My first car having been a Corvair, yes. I drove the thing for a week that way when the clutch cable broke.
I have a 2007 car without a clutch interlock. Starts fine without pressing the clutch. Are you sure it’s a federal requirement?
I had a couple cars you had to push a button to turn the key back to take it out of the ignition what was that about??
I believe the button was an allowable substitution for the transmission interlock that requires you to be in park to remove the key.
My Grandmother’s 1978 Futura had one of these — and no interlock on the transmission lever whatsoever!! Take the car out of “Park” without the key in the ignition (and the steering column locked)? No problem!
I don’t get the frustration with the clutch interlock. What circumstance do you regularly encounter where you would require the clutch to be released while starting? Yes you can start it while in neutral, but you’re going to have to depress the clutch as soon as you’re going to start moving anyway.
On my Cadillac STS, everything is routed through the amp including the turn signals. Guess what happened when the trunk seal leaked and fried the amp? No sound at all from the turn signal or any other sounds from the car. The cherry on top is, once I unplugged the amp, the keyless entry and remote start stopped working as well until I got the replacement amp in a few weeks later.
Honda started running the remote/security system through the stereo a while back. People installing an aftermarket unit would just cut the speaker wires and stuff the factory one back into the wiring behind the dash.
GM’s windshield wipers tucking under the hoodline. So when there is a snow or ice storm they get trapped under there. Scraping and cleaning the lower part of the windshield becomes even more of a chore than usual. Have cursed this ‘design feature’ on every GM vehicle that I have owned between 1997 and 2006 (3 Montanas, a Malibu and a Venture). Absolutely an idiotic idea. I know how Jeremy Clarkson would like to treat the person or team responsible for this piece of idiocy.
Ford Explorer (1996). The front seat and console were too narrow to allow me to lock the driver’s side safety belt when I was wearing a coat. What were they thinking?
My Hyundai does not have an exterior release/lock for the trunk. So have to open it from inside or using the fob release button. A minor annoyance.
2005 Buck there is no place to grab onto when opening the trunk. Have to grasp the inner rim of the trunk, right where the rust proofing is applied.
Many vehicles will not allow you to open the back hatch (or trunk) unless the car is in park. Well when I am stopping to pick someone up or drop them off, I would rather just pop the back rather than put the car into park. A minor annoyance and probably a safety feature but still one that bothers me.
As for the clutch interlock requiring the clutch to be depressed in order to start the car. While working at a dealership, I backed a manual Mustang (70’s model) into a bay. Left it in gear as I had been taught and the keys as required in the ignition. The service manager later reached in and started it. It ‘shot’ forward and ran over his foot, breaking it. That taught me the reason why these are now used.
My windshield wipers also tuck under the hood edge. They can, however, be manually pulled up and away.
I had an 05 suburban and the windshield wiper configuration was tragic, they could not pull away to clear snow and ice, so you could not leave them up if your expecting snow or ice changing the blades was a pain, and the wind shield washed fluid came up the blades to spray on the windshield. The problem is when the nice GM dealer in Arizona tops off your washer fluid and you drive in through Wyoming in a blizzard your washer fluid freezes and you get grit covered on your windshield its not fun to drive in.
I think I missed something in my driver education. I have been driving manual transmission cars for about 30 years now, I was never taught to leave the car in gear when I parked it, unless I was on a hill with a steep grade – that is what the hand brake is for.
Perfect example of what you’re talking about here. About 10 years ago, I had my ’83 Mustang into the Ford service shop for some work. A 20 something pulled the car into the repair bay and apparently left it in 1st gear when he turned it off and got out. Well, a little later, with the car up on the lift I got to watch the service tech reach in and up through the driver door to turn the engine on (I don’t remember exactly what was being worked on – think it had something to do with the cat). Anyway, he turn the key and has to jump away from the car to save himself as the car lurched off the lift and come to rest with the front wheel on the floor and the back tires tettering on the edge of the lift. Lots of interesting damage to the car ensued.
The responsibility should be on the person starting the car to ensure that it’s in neutral before turning the key. I’ve always left the car in gear when parking. I never trusted the parking brake enough to keep the car from rolling. I use both – the car in gear is the main thing keeping the car from moving and the hand brake is the backup.
We can agree to disagree on this one. But I must add, if the parking break fails, you’ve got bigger issues to worry about – like the integrity of the car’s brake system.
Well to be fair, the parking brake system is usually completely separate from the service brakes. The parking brake usually only operates on the rear wheels and is mechanically engaged by a cable ratchet system which is entirely independent from the service brakes hydraulic system. So your parking brake could not work at all while your service brakes are in perfect working order.
On cars with rear drums the parking brake usually only operates on half the brake shoes. Hence why they can sometimes be iffy. I used to have a W123 Mercedes that had rear disc brakes – they actually used the rear hubs as mini brake drums for the parking brake with mini brake shoes inside which were cable-actuated. Nowadays there is generally a mechanism that mechanically activates one of the pistons on the rear calipers. But again, completely independent of the hydraulic brakes.
The mini drum style inside the rotor hat are the most common type, I’ve never actually had a failure where a car was saved by the gear, but I am in the leave in gear camp just how I was brought up. Always push the clutch and do the neutral shake.
I never leave the car in gear for this exact reason. I have had people get ANGRY with me for doing so. “What if the parking brake fails?” Trust me — I’m a lot more likely to forget it’s in gear than the parking brake is to fail.
Fair enough. I’ve just gotten into the habit over the years: key goes in ignition, depress clutch, move gear lever to neutral, then start. It’s just habit now.
I was test driving a car at Doug’s favorite dealer a few weeks ago, after about 10 consecutive days of single-digit temperatures. Alas, the battery didn’t have enough juice to turn the car over, so we had to jump it. I was standing outside the car, in front, while the sales guy attempted to start it with the jump box under the hood. For no reason, I absently wandered off to the side. It’s fortunate that I did, because once it started, he dropped the clutch, without making sure the car was in neutral. It was in first, and it lurched forward about two-three feet before killing the engine. It was exciting. Of course, if I’d still been standing directly in front of the car, CarMax might owe *me* money now, instead of the other way around…
Many manual transmission cars and pickups have to be put in reverse before the key can be removed from the ignition switch.
I’m from Florida and I never left a car in gear – ever. My Father-in-law always does, and so of I course made his Miata lurch as he was stepping into the passenger seat. Urk. No harm done, but pretty damn scary.
I have since acquired a house with substantial slope to the driveway (for Florida) and an Audi Ur-S6 with a weak parking brake, so now I do always park in gear.
I think all VW models now have wipers that tuck under the hood line, but you can bring them up to “service mode” by tapping the wiper arm within 30 seconds of shutting off the ignition. You can’t simply turn the ignition off while they are at the top of their sweep on a newer VW, the car knows this and will park them automatically.
They also have a feature which parks the wipers in a way so that the blades stop in (alternating) up or down positions. Supposedly this helps prevent the blade from bending into one place.
I perfer this after several cars with blown blower resitors (because you always have to have the fan on).
I never drive without the fan on, ever, and I’ve only had one blower motor failure. And that was on a car where every blower motor failed eventually (early Taurus).
Always blows my mind when someone doesn’t use something because it might break someday randomly. I’m saving my blower motor for the next owner of my car LOL.
Once I experience hypoxia at 0 feet AGL the second or third time, I became very willing to take a little noise and replace a blower motor now and then, in order to ensure that you have the freshest air available in the cabin.
I even get nervous when people drive with the inside air turned on, unless I can prove to myself that some fresh air is being mixed in.
I’d rather not have a gauge than the idiot gauges that are most commonly found today. Aparently the mfgs say that they had too many people bring their cars in when the needle dropped to the low side of the gauge when the vehicle was at a hot idle. So now they put in a gauge that shows a fixed reading if there is a minimum amount of oil pressure. If you know what you are doing though you can bypass the calibration resistor install a pressure sender in place of the pressure switch and have a functioning gauge on some of the early versions of the idiot gauge.
A lot of cars also have an idiot version of the temp gauge with a dead band in the middle that can represent up to 40 degrees or range with the same needle position. So you don’t know the car is running a little warm and then bam it is at or very near the hot mark an instant later.
I agree on both the oil pressure and temp gauge. If they are going to use an oil pressure switch, just use an idiot light. No point in have a full dial that has two positions. At least the light catches your eye instead of a gauge you’re used to ignoring since it provides no useful information normally. My Miata has the worst oil pressure gauge concept so far. It moves in every way like an actual oil pressure gauge. The only problem is that it has zero correlation to oil pressure. The gauge reading is based on an algorithm that takes into account coolant temperature and engine rpm. It basically tells you what the oil pressure is supposed to be, and not what it is. I don’t get why they went through the effort. The temp gauge works as you describe, where the needle gets to normal, and represent a +/- 40 degree range. Both of those are probably my biggest issues with an otherwise perfect roadster. It also has only one setting in the intermittent wipe position. It would anger me more, but after my 93 Passat, nothing has as good of an intermittent wipe design. (They must have used all their good engineers for this function only.) Intermittent was below off, with speeds 1 and 2 above. To set the time in between wipes, you would push the stalk down to intermittent, then flip it back to off. Flip it back down to intermittent, and the time spent on off was now set as the time in between wipes.
My 89 Volvo 240 has a shift light; manual says to shift when the light comes on for optimal economy. Oh boy, some complex algorithm measuring manifold vacuum and rpm and whatever; no, it just lights up when you hit 2000 rpm, period.
A signal from a switch is a disrete signal. You’ll find that many digitally controlled devices use a discrete signal, ie, on/off, yes/no, etc. A discrete signal is easier as it is essentially a digital signal.
Many transducers are analogue and require conversion into a digital signal for further processing by a computer.
My 2012 Camry Hybrid chimes at me when I turn the car off while the driver’s door is open. Why, I have no idea. It drives me nuts though because my automatic reaction when I hear a chime in my car is to wonder if I left the lights or the car on, or if I’m doing something stupid. Am I doing something stupid? Or is an engineer at Toyota having fun with owners? “Ha! This’ll piss people off!”
It’s doing that because (a) the door is open and (b) your keys are in the ignition. Basically, you’ve triggered the same circuit that chimes if you shut the car off, leave the keys, and open the door. My old Chevy would do the same thing. It thinks you are doing something stupid (leaving the keys in the ignition), because the only things it knows are that the keys are in and the door is open. It’s not keeping track of the order.
How do we know that the car is using an actual key instead of a keyless ignition? As far as I can tell the Camry Hybrid comes with push button ignition.
My GTI has 4 way power adjustable lumbar support for both passenger and driver. I don’t use the feature so it’s no great bother. It’s just odd that of all the features they could have added to the car, they chose 4-way power lumbar.
My other thought is that some VP at VW has a bad back and he couldn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t be thrilled by this feature.
I can appreciate the lumbar support, but going to the expense to make it power operated strikes me as ridiculous overkill. Once you’ve set up your seat to perfection, you’re going to leave it that way, aren’t you? And manual adjustment would be just fine for occasional trimming.
Once a seat is set to perfection, it is not left alone if a car has more than one driver. On a related note – power seats with no memory function. If the seat can’t remember a couple of positions, why bother with the motors? Manual seats are lighter and simpler, as well as faster to adjust if you have to. They admittedly give up some of the fine tuning you get with power seats, but you would have to be really picky for that to make a difference.
Disclaimer: I haven’t suffered the ownership of a car that did this, I only imagine it to be terrible.
However even more upsetting is my wife’s Volvo, it has power seats with memory but the mirrors have no memory! WTF?!? If I moved the seat then I also need to move the mirrors you fools.
In a similar vein; 2009 Civic Si has steering wheel spoke mounted remote controls for stereo, which is in the middle of the stack about 6 inches away from the steering wheel spoke, and features nice big round knobs for easy controlling without looking.
The fact that I have to press a button on my key or in the driver’s door to make the trunk latch functional on my GTI. This makes absolutely no sense. If the car is unlocked, the rear hatch lever should be functional.
It works like that in mine (2013). Meaning if the car is fully unlocked (two clicks on the remote unlock button the way I have the car set up) then the rear hatch lever opens the hatch. That or press the rear hatch button on the remote once to unlock only the rear hatch (doors remain locked).
Wife’s Volvo has this same “feature” and it drives me crazy! You can’t open the hatch when the car is running due to the automatic door locks. I actually BROKEN the handle once at the airport due to this insanity. When I open the door it should unlock all available doors. I can understand keeping the rear doors locked for kids, but the hatch? I just don’t get it. In the Volvo they only way to release the hatch is the key FOB… which is IN the ignition thus you have to turn the car OFF to release the hatch.
Try pressing the unlock button on the door to unlock the hatch – shouldn’t be any different than other Volvos.
On a 2013 Passat, the default is press unlock once… only the driver’s door unlocks. Press again…all doors and trunk unlock. You can reprogram it through the MFD so that all of the doors and trunk unlock on the first press. The GTI and SportWagen should be the same.
Yes, yes, yes!!! Minivan/PT Cruiser-style fold down armrest should be standard and those claustrophobia inducing consoles should be an available option. The ones in my vehicle seem to be always in the way.
When almost all the automakers decided right around 2005 that the only spot on the car that needed a slot to insert a real key to unlock the car was on the driver door. Forget the passenger door. Forget the trunk or hatch. Just the driver’s door.
My Saturn is this way – the Subbies are this way, the G8 is this way – seems every car is now this way. You know, save 3 to 5 bucks because in a focus group people said they didn’t use it much.
What happens when your key fob breaks on your late model car? Telepathy doesn’t seem to work for me, just the key.
That doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. How often does the key fob break? And when it does—and you don’t elect to get it fixed immediately—you’ll 9/10 times need to access the car via the driver’s door, anyway.
In addition to removing lock cylinder from the passenger side and trunk, the one in the driver’s door is pretty fragile and might not survive actual usage for long.
The lock cylinder on my girlfriend’s car wore out. Replacement was easy, but of course I went cheap with a generic one that came with a new matched key that was good only for the door (read: the original ignition key won’t work in the door now). Eventually the key fob was replaced and we could resume using the remote, so fine, everything normal right?
Always remember that car batteries love to die in the airport’s long-term parking lot. We come home from vacation to find a dead car battery (so key fob doesn’t work) and the new key needed for the replaced lock cylinder was not on her keychain. AAA created a gap between the door frame and body with a small airbag; however, with the car locked the locking lever on the door was almost completely recessed into the door. Why do they keep those parts? Can you even lock a car that way anymore? Anyway, I think it is completely smooth and I doubt we could have pulled it up even if it was exposed. As we approached complete despair, I managed to hook the hood release, allowing AAA to jump the battery and letting us in with the key fob.
I use a key all the time. My remote unlocks all four doors even when I’m the only one getting in. I decided to get myself in the habit of unlocking the driver’s door with a key in case there are shifty characters around, or hidden, ready to jump in on the passenger side. I recommend it to all women who are traveling alone.
Depending on what kind of car you have, this may be programmable. A lot of the German manufacturers have made this setting adjustable, sometimes by the dealer and sometimes by the owner and if it’s a VW, by anybody with VCDS and a laptop.
So you may be able to change it so that one press on the remote unlocks only the driver’s door while two presses unlocks everything else. Worth looking into next time the car is in for service.
Gee Whiz. My 96 S-10 has this feature. one touch of the fob unlocks the driver’s door. two touches unlocks both doors.
Yes, I find this interesting as well. I had a 2000 Grand Caravan, it had key slot for every door on the van – including the two sliders and the rear hatch. I think there was one each for the glove compartment and the extra storage under the passenger seat. Today, a car is lucky to have one
My fathers 2000 Kia had one lock cylinder. At the time we thought it was just because it was a cheep Korean car. It sucked having to reach across the car to open the manual locks on the other doors.
Our 2006 matrix has one cylinder as well, however when you turn the key twice it opens the other doors. I have done this in other makes as well. So those of you without a Clicker give the turns a shot and it should open the passenger door locks.
On my 1992 Cadillac it would unlock or lock all of the doors if you held the key turned in the respective direction for a few seconds. I would guess vehicles with power locks probably still have this function, though I haven’t actually unlocked a car with the key in years.
You might be annoyed by the tailgate re-latching itself after having been released. Nissan LEAF? There is NO WAY to release the tailgate while you are in the car, so if you drop off a friend at the airport, you have to get out of the car to open the tailgate to let them get their luggage. Why not use the key fob? Well that’s pressed up against my thigh in my jeans pocket, not exactly accessible while sat down.
Another feature missing from the LEAF is the door lock/unlock buttons on the door are unlit. A+ to Nissan for actually putting them on the door. But why do they not light up at night? It makes it really difficult to let someone out of the car at night if you are dropping them off. Of course the side mirror adjustment controls are lit at night. Who exactly adjusts their side mirrors at night anyway? The window switches are lit at night. Why the heck don’t they do the same with the door lock switch? My WIfe’s ALtima is also blessed with this ‘feature’.
I hate the fact that the LEAF ‘creeps’ when in drive or reverse. They are trying to simulate an automatic transmission. It doesn’t HAVE an automatic transmission. They spent a lot of time and money ‘adding’ a feature that isn’t necessary. It’s the first thing I noticed when test driving the LEAF for the first time. I laughed at the stupidity of it.
Nissan are now introducing simulated gear changes in their CVT’s because some people don’t like the smooth operation. They miss the feel of it shifting and think it is slipping. More stupidity to make people comfortable with what they are used to, rather than allow them to adjust to the new reality.
Idiot lights. The car knows the value of whatever its measuring but only lets you know when its too late. One example is tire pressure sensors. The car knows that my left front is losing 1lb of pressure each day, but doesn’t let me know until I am in the middle of nowhere at midnight. Thanks. At least in the LEAF I was able to add a 3rd party logging tool that provides realtime readings from the TP sensors with a handy dandy delta function that beeps at me if the pressures differ by more than I specify. I asked the nice guy at Tesla how I could display the tire pressures. “Oh it only lets you know when they get low”. An idiot light on a 17″ touch display? They couldn’t find a spot to put tire pressures on some screen, somewhere? anywhere?
Some cars—like my VW—have indirect tire-pressure monitoring systems. They use the ABS system to detect when one wheel is spinning at a faster speed than the others, and therefore is a smaller diameter. It meets the federal mandates, but by the time you get an alert from such a system, you’ve gone a significant distance at low pressure.
And worse, VW doesn’t tell you WHICH tire is low. Just that A tire is low. Well which one, smart asses????
a lot of systems don’t tell you which is low. 2009 Honda Si, for example. I guess they expect you to rotate your tires often. Although the system that does it by counting tire rotations ought to be able to point to the one that’s odd.
And when the ABS monitor tire pressure systems gets into slippery / hydroplane conditions, it also shows a low pressure warning, due to the driven wheels going faster. As if you don’t have enough to worry about. Ask me how I know…
My 2007 GTI didn’t use that system. It immediately told you the pressures were low via actual sensors. Our 2005 MINI has the system you describe.
VW got rid of the direct TPMS system in at least some of the cheaper VWs only recently. Yes, your Mk.5 Golf GTI definitely would have had an actual TPMS. I’m not sure what the Passat and CC use; I know the Touareg has a real one, though.
Funny, my MkVI GTI has the cheaper system where it measures wheel rotational speed via the ABS system. Just got the warning today “Check Tires!”
Turned out the left rear was down to about 25 psi (should be 38). Must have picked up a nail somewhere…
It must have been on the Mk.6 vehicles that they made the transition to the indirect TPMS, as mine is a Mk.6 wagon (which is structurally a Mk.5, but has the electronics architecture from the Mk.6)
Honestly I’d rather have the ABS monitor system because it means not having to mount sensors on winter rims or replace dead sensors.
Oh yeah, I hate engineered-in creep! The Focus I drive for work has the DCT which internally is like a manual transmission and so would not inherently have creep like a traditional automatic. So they engineered it in! Gah! Terrible.
Yeah. One of the benefits of a stick-shift is that there is no creep. However, I often wonder (in the land of seemingly endless laws) if it’s legal to sit at a red light with foot off the brake?
Yeah, why not? I don’t think there’s any law against it though it might not be a great idea only because you’re not showing your brake lights to traffic approaching from the rear. I sometimes do it but not if I’m the last guy in the line of stopped traffic.
You’re also going to fly into the intersection or into the car in front of you if someone rear ends you and you don’t have your foot on the brake.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you know that you are about to be rear-ended (i.e. you see it coming and have time to react) you should take your foot off the brakes. With your foot on the brakes, all the kinetic energy of the car behind you is going to be transferred to the structure of your car where it may cause injuries to the passengers. With your foot off the brakes, a substantial portion of that kinetic energy is going to be spent accelerating your car since it can roll freely which means less energy dissipated into the structure.
Of course you then have to be ready to get back on the brakes immediately after the impact lest you be pushed into the path of a tractor trailer or something. Obviously the wisdom of this maneuver depends greatly on the individual circumstances of the traffic situation you find yourself in.
I have a Skoda with a DSG. I think it would be annoying if I needed to get on the throttle every time I wanted to creep forwards a little bit in traffic. I’m grateful that some geek with a laptop put that feature in there.
the maserati fuel door thing comes from Ferrari, which up until 2011 at least (the last time I fueled a Ferrari) had to be running to open the fuel door. It’s exactly the opposite from Lambo, which must be shut off to open the fuel door. If you happen to work for a company who runs those cars, it’s really annoying to keep that straight.
Of my two cars, 2011 Mazda 3 (i-touring with 5 speed) and 2003 ford escape (XLT 4×4), there are zero things I would want to change about either car.
It’s not about buying cars you don’t like. It’s about the little things that end up annoying you because they were left out, overdone or poorly executed. Things you don’t notice until you’ve spent time with the car.
Agreed. I wasn’t going to comment until I recalled that my ’03 Taurus takes over audio control when the car is shut off, turning the volume down to some level that I suppose is preset to ‘safe’. Well, I hate that! I know what I was listening to, if I wanted it turned down I’d do it myself! OTOH, Ford added a feature to later keyfobs that I wish I had .. you have to press the trunk button twice to open. Having accidentally brushed the button on my ’03 fob, and then had to walk back and shut the trunk .. argh!
I’m starting to not like the sunroof on my ’02 Mazda Tribute, but only because the switch is going out and I’m too cheap to fix it. It’s not like I’ll miss it any more than 4 days out of the year.
I’ve got an 07 Mazda3 Hatch Sport and I can’t really think of a “feature” that I don’t like on the car… maybe the rear windshield wiper intermittent speed is a little too fast to be practical and ends up scraping a dry window half the time. Also the trip meter only goes to 1000 miles so you can’t use the B one for oil changes Everything else is pretty well thought out…
Mirror adjusters are at the front of the door which makes you have to lean forward out of position to adjust the mirrors.
Manual climate control won’t let you do recirculate with heat or floor vent so if you are driving on a dusty road, it just sucks everything up.
I would have thought that the “Off->Max A/C->Normal A/C->Bi-Level A/C->Vent->Heater->Defrost” pattern would have been banished to the dustbin of GM history along with turn signal stalk-mounted cruise control.
I’m going to go in a slightly different direction and mention the most obviously missing feature in cars today. The cell phone mount/dock. Pretty much everyone has one, but had to go aftermarket to get it. To do so we block our air vents, or our stereo controls, or part of our windshield because the dashboard wasn’t designed with a place for our phones in mind. Why? When will the automakers acknowledge the obvious reality that Every. Single. Driver. wants to have their smartphone accessible while driving?
Why? You can make calls and answer them using steering wheel buttons. If you’re playing Angry Birds, you can just keep the phone on your lap…
I don’t think they are going to spend money to give you a reason not to spring for the nav they are offering.
In there defense, phones come in all different sizes and shapes. An unused universal mount built into the dash would look hideous. I’ll settle for enough flat real estate on the dash to let me use something like a beanbag mount.
Power trunk or hatch closing. I guess you could see it as functional, but it just seems so cheesy and pointless. I get power opening, but both our vehicles have power close and the weight of the hatch alone lets you close it with 2 fingers and no effort.
And yet plenty of manufacturers put the close button on the lower edge of the tailgate, at the exact same height as the grab handle.
That said, I’m only annoyed when the power tailgate refuses to open without the power mechanism, and physically jerks back when you try and open it normally.
It’s highly functional for older people. A seventy-something woman was delighted after I saw her struggling with the liftgate on her late-model Equinox LTZ, then came up and showed her how she could just press a button on the key fob or the gate itself. And the Ford thing that lets you swipe your foot beneath the bumper to open the liftgate…genius. I myself could use something like that from time to time.
So, apparently she had never read her owner’s manual?? Reminds me of a co-worker that had driven her car for a whole year, w/o noticing that it had a CD player, and then only because she was thinking of having one added!!:-)
We had the opposite problem. None of us realized until she’d bought it that Grandma’s 2014 Soul (w/nav) did not come with a CD player. On the plus side, she is now firmly in the MP3 age and uses an iPod touch, which she seems to like better (lost audio quality notwithstanding).
Yeah. I remember some of the OEM, and aftermarket radio units with the DX/Local button on ’em. And having to explain that the wrong setting is why they ain’t hearing their favorite station..
Granted some automakers are hiding them now since they are being slowly phased out. My CD player is in the glove compartment. In a MY2015 car.
I know the Mk VII Golf has the CD player and SD card slot in the glove box. I think it makes a lot of sense, because most people are streaming music or listening to the radio or satellite radio now. Have a CD player for when people want it, but there’s no reason it has to use valuable space in the center console that could be going to screen real estate or tactile controls.
Or worse, like a woman I know who didn’t realize her Cruze didn’t have..uhh..CRUISE until long after she had driven it home!
I like the idea, although the fact that the automatic doors and hatch on my septuagenarian parent’s 12-year-old-but-less than 50k Town and Country stopped working a long time ago gives me pause.
Hopefully other companies have more reliable electronics than Chrysler. Their TPS system is also permanently stuck on “low pressure”
Judging all automatic doors and tailgates by a Chrysler product is like assuming all cars randomly decide not to start after experiencing an old Jaguar with Lucas electrics.
In my experience all sorts of electrics and gadgets on Chrysler products fail pretty early. Sunroof motors and window motors and stuff like that seem to die on every 5+ year old Chrysler product I’ve ever spent any time with.
Just sayin’: Chrysler electronics were fine until Daimler came along. Not that Benz electronics were any better in the same era…
I would have said the seat belt light that never went off in my Jaguar S-Type, but after a couple of years it dawned on me to try a Ford disabling code (latch and unlatch seat belt about 20 times, if I remember correctly). Instead it’s the $600 digital key. Plus, when your car lights ups but won’t start, you have it towed to your favorite mechanic to fix the starter. He correctly diagnoses the problem, but has a patholigical fear of messing with the key, apparently with good reason.
That a destination cannot be entered into my navigation system while the vehicle is moving. Not so much me using it while driving, but it would be nice if my passenger could use it while I’m driving. This is on a Land Rover LR3.
Also, on Ford’s, that the door will unlock while pulling the interior handle even if previously locked. My dog managed to open the door on the interstate one day by doing this.
I actually think that’s a great feature. If I’m pulling on the door handle it’s because I want to exit the vehicle. I shouldn’t have to unlock the doors first.
I can see the problem for dogs/kids though. I guess keep them in the back and enable the child-proof door locks.
Thankfully not everyone does this. All three of our cars have nav and you can update/input on the fly.
VWAG products get this partly right–one pull to unlock, 2nd pull to open. (At least that’s how my Mom’s MkIV Jetta worked.)
Yeah I remember that. VW has changed it on more recent cars; on my GTI it’s just one pull to open whether the doors are locked or unlocked.
In my Mk3 Focus, the front doors open & unlock on the first pull, whereas the rear doors unlock on the first and open on the second. This is optimal, IMOâsafer for kids but adults can just get out.
Lumbar adjustment knob located on the right side of the driver’s seat, squished next the console where it’s impossible to reach without reclining the seat.
Doors that refuse to lock while the trunk is open, forcing you to to either return to the door to lock it or dig out the remote which supposedly never has to leave your pocket.
Multimedia systems that only mute when you push the OFF button. Then when you restart the car they (1) scare the crap out of you by un-muting, and (2) refuse all inputs for 5-10 seconds while the car pairs with your phone.
On most cars, you need to push and hold the panic button in order to set off the alarm. On my 2014 Volkswagen, if you so much as brush it slightly, it goes off…which is embarrassing. Also, I do not like the two-tone horn thing…which I know VW has had for a while because my 1997 VW also has it. The lock/unlock/alarm horn sounds wimpy and I’d prefer it if they’d just use the more masculine driving horn for alarm functions as well…or just change it to a simple beep (a la Toyota, BMW, Audi, or Hyundai/Kia vehicles with the smart key).
I have a 2014 and agree with the alarm button sensitivity…the most embarrassing time was when the neighbors had something stolen from their car the night before and came rushing out of their house in a panic when my jetta started wailing in the driveway. Now I keep my keys in my jacket pocket instead of my pants.
Have you changed the fluid? My Cougar was awful until I changed the fluid, then it was OK. It still wasn’t the best, but it was better.
Look into an aftermarket fluid cooler as well as changing the fluid. There was also a cheap sensor which liked to break on one of the Ford transmissions, but it may have been AOD-E and not the 4RW70. When the sensor was out to lunch you could never engage overdrive.
Maybe I can get the family mechanic to change the trans fluid AND check the brake pads, because I keep getting this brake warning light on the dash and I don’t know if it’s a 20 year old sensor malfunctioning or worn brake pads.
Have you checked the brake fluid, the brake warning light will come on when the fluid is low. It could also be due to an actual problem with the brake system so you should get it checked immediately. The do not have a pad sensor, they indirectly infer that the pads are worn by the fact that the fluid will get low because of it filling up the caliper.
Do not let them “flush” your transmission. The AOD-E and early 4R70W have a drain plug in the converter accessed by a rubber plug in the bottom of the bellhousing so that you can truly change almost all of the fluid. With the flush machines they may pump 12 qts into it but about 50% or that will come right back out into the machine. They also will not change the filter or clean the magnet when they use a flush machine. 100% new Mercon V fluid will improve the function of the trans, which brings up the other problem with flushing the trans. Most places use a so called universal fluid and then put a dose of something that is supposed to “convert” it to the proper fluid for the vehicle.
I checked the brake fluid, the level’s fine. So it’s gotta be the pads. Likely the front ones, because front brake pads always wear out faster.
Also J-Mod that bad boy! You can get firmer shifts and the 4R70Ws are pretty much bullet-proof from the factory.
My sister bought a base Kia Soul. It had power locks, but no key fob, so in order to open the hatchback, she had to first unlock the front door and hit the unlock button on the door, then go to the hatch. There is no keyhole on the hatch. On the old Hyundai Accent hatchbacks without power locks, you had to manually lock the hatchback with the key, or it would stay unlocked
On my GMC Sierra, the most hated thing is the whole design of the Intellilink system. When you use the physical buttons and knobs for the climate control, the screen has to announce the change – which temporarily overrides your ability to use the radio until the climate control info slowly fades away. Then to select my music off my phone, it actually expects me to scroll through my music by sliding my finder down the screen as the letters pass by, then tap the up/down arrows to get exactly to where I want, then tap the artist, then album, then song. Virtually impossible to do safely while driving. How about a simple scroll wheel on the steering wheel or let me use the tuning knob?? Also, after a phone call, both the big screen and the screen in the gauges stays on the phone info instead of switching back to the radio/iPod. So I have to manually go back to where I was at on both screens.
Minor annoyances: the bed liner doesn’t cover the top of the bed under the rear window, and the grocery bag hooks are on the underside of the rear seats, so to use them you have to flip the seat up. And the back up camera is low resolution, gets dirty easily and washes out in the sunlight. But not to worry, the camera image stays on the screen for a few seconds after you shift to drive so you can see what you ran over as you drive away.
The company’s fleet of Nissan Versa S’s was that way, too. Power locks, but no keyless entry, and the cars only key slot was on the driver’s door.
To open the hatch, you unlock the front door, reach inside, unlock the power locks, then go to the hatch and pull the handle.
My sister had an Escort that was the opposite…keyless entry but no power locks, it only unlocked the drivers door.
The “Feature” that causes my subaru cruise control to cease functioning when the check engine light is illuminated and additionally causes the cruise indicator to continuously flash 100% of the time until the proposed problem is repaired.
I believe this is only when something happens that might affect the cruise system that is not just your average check engine light.
I happen to know setting an overboost code your modified WRX will do that ;-) I also know it will reset after 5 engine starts if the condition doesn’t persist. You can just start and turn off the engine 5 times while stopped to speed that process along…
My Impreza did that with a thermostat code. The most annoying thing was that it kept clearing like you said with the five key cycles. Unfortunately, I required more than 5 key cycles from the light coming on to get it to the dealer, so I could never have it fixed under warranty.
On my last three Cadillacs, the parking brake release is shaped exactly like and is 1.5″ above the hood release. Both are out of my line of sight, being on the underside of the dash. I finally gave up on the parking brake because I was tired of having to get out of my car to latch the hood before departing.
Really? It’s like any other primitive and obsolete system (LORAN, ADF, rotary-dial telephones). I’ve simply ignored it completely since 2007.
So is Satellite Radio too expensive, but people, like my wife pay the almost $200 it costs for her to listen to her Fifties-on-Five channel.
What gets me is to have On-Star and/or Satellite Radio/NAV in a vehicle where I will never use either. I don’t subscribe, but I already paid for the equipment that came installed in the vehicle.
It takes some doing but I pay $20 for 5 months of service with Sirius/XM. You have to call and ask for the promo rate, sometimes you have to talk to 2 or 3 people and you have to do it every 5 months. I don’t really care if I have it one way or the other so if they give it to me good, if not, oh well. Getting ready for the next call to them next month.
My wife renewed Sirius/XM three times so far on the Grand Cherokee after the 1-year trial period expired, and it isn’t due to be renewed again until Nov 2015.
(And, you know, it didn’t make sense to me since I have all their 50’s-on-5 programming recorded from our Dishnetwork and reduced to mp3 on 700mb CDs, for which there is a player inside the GC. And we all know, they’re not making any NEW 50’s music any more.)
Unlikely that Sirius/XM is to be renewed though, since my 23-yo grand daughter now uses the GC as her daily driver and she uses her iPhone/iTunes to play her music through the audio system.
I don’t believe anyone used the Satellite Radio function in the GC since Sept 2013 when my wife quit driving the GC after she got the Sequoia.
My wife charged it on the business credit card and paid the billing along with other “business expenses.”
My wife got me a Sirius subscription once my original free year expired. It was pricy so I declined renewal. They have been calling with some really good deals. I still said no. My IPOD has over 1700 songs on it and my kids tend to keep me up to date as to what is good ..well good according to them ;)
I find Sirius and XM go into week-long (longer? trial periods every 2-3 months. My parents have the hardware on their car (bought slightly used, so it’s not like they were paying for it), and although they don’t pay for the service, they’re happy to take advantage of it when it’s free.
Satellite radio has the most to fear from improvements in wireless broadband service. Once coverage and cost reach a certain point it will become like cable TV and cord cutting.
But out here in the sticks, satellite radio is nice although many people choose to use the cellphone/musicplayer function instead.
It’s scary to think that my Laptop has over 6000 mp3 tunes on it and that each tune can be played in shuffle fashion so the listener will never know what is played next.
My Honda, with the gauges that are always lit, even when the headlights are off. I don’t know how many times i’ve driven off at night assuming I had my headlights on. Usually catch if pretty fast, but for heavens sake, who thought this was a good idea?
My Scion is the opposite. All the gauges are in the center of the dash, so when you’re driving at night the area in front of the steering wheel is completely dark. I’ll be driving along, glance down and think “Holy Crap! My lights are off!” Nice little adrenalin rush.
My GM car with DRL has a big green warning light on the dashboard, telling you that your headlights are not on.
You sure that isn’t the reverse? My two cars with DRL’s have a green light telling you the headllights are ON not off.
why on earth don’t car’s simply have their headlights on all the time? OR at least have auto headlights. Up in Canada all cars have DTRL’s and for some reason MOST PEOPLE don’t realize they HAVE NOT turned on their headlights.
DRL are my pet peeve, especially the high beam variety. If someone cannot see an oncoming car in broad daylight, they need their license revoked. I can name several traffic situations where their glare makes it harder to see other hazards. It is a lowest common denominator concept that assumes the worst in others. In all of my reading up on the subject in the mid 2000’s there is no concrete proof that they actually reduce collisions. They are based on a simplistic, borderline faith based logic. They were foisted upon us primarily by GM lobbying the NHTSA to alter its rules in their worst 90’s era dysfunctional failure mode. My thought was “oh great a stupid debatable “safety feature” for marketing purposes by one of the most mediocre car companies on earth.”
DRLs work for me, by which I mean that if your car has lights on, there is a much better chance that it will not add itself to the ever growing list of cars that I have run into. Particularly in places like parking lots where there a lot of cars which are not moving, and the ones that are moving could be coming from pretty much any direction except vertical.
Agree with you on the high beam running lights. I really hated the Avengers, and that same generation Sebring when they came out. The light was almost full intensity. I have no idea how those were legal.
Ford does that crap, no nothing to let you know if the headlights are on and the gauges are always lit, even on cars without DRLs.
I hate that! The Focus I drive for work is like that; the gauges are always brightly lit. Not so much an issue for me as I am pretty good about remembering to turn on and off my lights as appropriate but for a lot of people there’s no visual signal inside the car that your headlights are off.
VW tackled this nicely on my GTI. First, when DRLs are engaged there is a DRL light illuminated on the dash but if you drive into a tunnel or other dark space (or the sun goes down), the dash illumination slowly fades out until only the needles are lit. It’s a nice subtle reminder to turn on the headlights.
Of course the question is, if VW has a light sensor for dimming the dash lighting like that, why don’t they just put in automatic headlights?
Because the headlight switch with the extra detent for Auto costs $0.05 more per car than the regular one!
One more. Panic buttons on key fobs. Considering that most people ignore car alarms, it’s of limited use, at best. With the fob in a jeans pocket, almost any action involving bending over, tying shoelaces, working under the sink, etc. will get the car honking.
This happened all the time on my Impreza were I used to work. I usually parked by a wall, and worked on the other side of it. I stopped keeping my keys in my pocket while at work because of it. Subaru made the lock unlock keys recessed so those didn’t get triggered accidentally, but apparently couldn’t be bothered to do the same for the trunk release.
Often, when I arrive at my father’s house, one or both of the automatic sliding doors on his Grand Caravan are left wide open with no one in sight.
And considering that you aren’t (they say) supposed to have anything on your key but the fob, it’s more likely you’ll hit a button by mistake. I lost count this winter. In the pocket of my coat, it touches something, or I breathe too hard, or something, and panic noise or trunk pop.
First, the truck automatically locks the doors about two seconds after the vehicle starts to move forward.
Second, if you don’t have your seatbelt on, the warning buzzer becomes increasingly annoying until you buckle it. For whatever reason, like you’re moving dirt around a backyard and need to be in and out of the truck every 30 seconds.
I wear seatbelts, but a few times I’ve buckled the damn belt and sat on it just to spite the truck.
On my GMC, the seatbelt warning for the driver gives up quickly, but not for the front passenger. It never gives up.
@OneAlpha – My ’07 Chevy ‘Hoe does the same annoying door lock thing. If there is way to disable it I haven’t found it. Most annoying going through the drive-up line at school
No, what I was saying is that I remember GM cars locking upon being put into gear, and…oh wait; I coulda had a V8.
Yes, I see how that could be annoying in the drop-off lane at school if you’re constantly stopping and starting. My car doesn’t lock until you reach 10 or 15 MPH; I can’t remember.
that reminds me. I was renting a Chevy Corsica (not by choice; poisonous little varmint) when somebody ran a light and t-boned it on the passenger side front wheel at a relatively low speed. To its credit, it survived nicely, still drivable, except that I, rattled as I was, got out of the car to see the damage without turning the ignition off; and the car locked the door behind me when I shut it. In the middle of rush hour, in the middle of the intersection, with a locked car with the engine running. Which is when I found out that car rental places don’t have spare keys.
You can permanently disable the autolock function, at least until you turn it back on, but the seat belt beeper resets itself after every time you restart the vehicle. To disable it you have to put on our seat belt. You can then remove it and it will not come on again for the rest of that key cycle.
I’m positive that you can disable the belt minder on those trucks so it doesn’t come on each key cycle.
Disable Belt-Minder 1. turn the ignition switch to the on position, DO NOT START THE ENGINE. 2. wait until the safety belt warning light turns off. (approximately 1 minute). * step 3 must be completed within 50 secs after the safety belt warning light turns off. 3. buckle then unbuckle the seat belt nine times, ending in the seat belt unbuckled. * after step 3 the restraint warning light, (airbag light) will turn on for three (3) seconds. 4. within approximately seven (7) seconds of the light turning off, buckle then unbuckle the safety belt. * the restraint system warning light will flash four, (4) times per second for 3 seconds for confirmation
They told me they COULD do it, but that I’d have to sign a piece of paper saying I acknowledged that the truck was now “unsafe,” and that they’d have to report it to my insurance company.
If either of those things were in my father’s ’06 he must have disabled them permanently within a few days of getting the pickup.
He does complain quite regularly of the gas and brake pedals being too close together, and hitting the one while he’s going for the other.
Two ways to open trunk on a Challenger: the soft-touch button under the spoiler or the button on the dash. If you can get in the car [doors unlocked] you can open the trunk. No way to lock valets or lot attendants out.
Ratcheting foot pedal parking brake, useless as an emergency brake. Located under the protruding hood release. Lift your foot while wearing work boots, snag latch & open hood.
Worst feature on a car I don’t own: the bare metal parking brake pedal on current CR-Vs, the edge of which is right in front of your ankle when left foot is on the dead pedal.
IIRC the folding seat releases on the Challenger are on the front of the seat (inside the cabin), so you wouldn’t be able to keep them out anyway.
When my then-85 year old grandfather bought his last car (a 2000 Taurus) he was irritated to no end by the same thing. Ended up having my father scavenge a non-matching trunk lock cylinder and key, and rigging up a chain to keep the folding seats from unlatching.
My recently retired Mazda had a better solution — the valet key was missing a few of the necessary cuts to engage the trunk and glove compartment locks. There was a toggle switch in the glove compartment that disabled the remote trunk release. And the rear seats were released via really handy cables near the trunk opening.
The HVAC on my Lexus. It has automatic temp control and manual adjustment, which is fine. But, it’s as though they designed it only for warm climates. Every time I’ve tried to use it in “Auto” the fan goes to full high speed and the A/C comes on. where I live, I may use A/C 2-3 times over the summer and it’s still easier to use in manual mode.
Oh that’s a good one. Seriously the speedometer should top out at what the car can actually do. I think my wife’s Volvo has 180 as the top end and there is no way the car could do that even downhill in a hurricane. As a result all the numbers are jammed so close together you can’t tell 55 from 60. Ironically in the 80-90s GM had the opposite problem: they only went to 85 despite the car being to do much MUCH more… unless it was a Cavalier in which 45 would have been plenty.
There was a time in the ’80s where it was mandated by the government that cars could only have an 85-mph speedometer. Thankfully that stupid rule went away at some later time but yes the unnecessarily high max speed is also stupid.
Another thing that’s stupid is people who think that the max. speed shown on the speedometer is the max. speed that the car is capable of.
Somehow fitting these ridiculous speedometers always seems to put useful ranges in less visible locations, too. My car has 0 at the 6-o-clock position, which means that reading the first 30mph is nearly impossible with the tilt wheel fully raised.
BMW 3-series in Europe have turn stalks made from steel where high voltage runs through. This might be a safety concern.
Similarly, any ’90 to ’15 Audi runs hot if you don’t keep a very close distance to the car in front of you. The faster you go, the closer you have to be. Again. This is a safety issue.
So that’s why I hated my 1994 Audi 90 Quattro Sport so much! It was quietly overheating, causing a buckboard ride unhindered by decent damping. I still have a copy of the actual letter I wrote Audi Canada to Bruno Schwartz complaining how awful the car was compared to the ’88 I had previously. But the fact is I wasn’t tailgating well enough. Who’da thunk it! Bruno, all is forgiven!
I wouldn’t say a feature but a lack of a feature, it is one of the most absolutely annoying things when a car does not have a grab handle on the driver’s side roof. I like to drive and hold the grab handle sometimes and it annoys me to no end if I drive a car that does not have one. Also cars that make you have to go into the car to unlock the trunk if you don’t have the key fob, even if the car is unlocked.
My SRT-4 and my Lexus were both like that grab handles for everyone but the driver was this some liability issue I missed…
I actually don’t use that handle I liked my sisters VW had a sunglasses holder for the driver instead of the handle. I adapted a Volvo version of one of these to my WRX it worked great convenient place to have them. My lexis has a sunglasses holder that doesn’t fit sunglasses.
I hate the blind spot systems on new cars. It’s another one of those nanny devices that isn’t needed and will make everyone that uses them worse drivers than they are.
Our ’14 Odyssey has Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. Both very obnoxious. I turned off the LDW the first 4 miles I drove the car. The FCW can be disabled, but then the warning light glows on the dash. The FCW falses a lot, has activated when nothing is around and is on its lowest sensitivity. I could just turn off the FCW and cover the light with black tape, but I figure one day it might actually save me from hitting someone.
Honda also has LaneWatch, which turns on the camera in the right mirror when you signal or change lanes and displays the image in the top screen. I don’t find this annoying though. It can be helpful trying to peer around corners or parked cars.
“I hate the blind spot systems on new cars. Itâs another one of those nanny devices that isnât needed and will make everyone that uses them worse drivers than they are.”
As a Challenger driver, I disagree. The system works really well in that car. I especially like the cross-path feature when backing out of parking spots.
I don’t complain about thick pillars most of the time, but I won’t buy a Challenger because I can’t see out of the damned thing *without* aid. I remember borrowing a 2013 Challenger from the lot and taking a coworker to lunch. When I tried to back out of the parking spot, I was praying and crossing my fingers because I couldn’t tell if there was any cross traffic.
Japanese cars will have wide angle mirrors on both sides. I have imported a lot of JDM mirrors for various autos and enjoy converting both sides to wide angle glass and not having the stupid objects are closer warning in the way.
Yes, my Front Collision Warning on my Volt falses quite often. Usually has me talking to my car (probably a sign of impending insanity)… Volt: “Beep, Beep, Beep!” Me: “No, I’m not going to run into the car in front of me…or to the side of me”
Totally true: you cannot take the driver’s license driving test in DC with an electronic parking brake.
Pedals TOO SMALL & too close together for big footed drivers. Nothing like pressing on the brake & gas simultaneously w/ your size 13EE!! :-)
The exact opposite – small pedals FAR APART. On my ’04 Cavalier, I can lose my entire size 11 between the brake and gas when trying to heel-toe.
Yes. Another Ford Focus complaint. Those things are very good at concealing pedestrians in the crosswalk while making right turns. Not good. Especially if they’re walking at just the right speed to stay in the blind spot as you’re turning.
Both my Accord and my wife’s Elantra do this… If you unlock the doors, you have exactly 60 seconds to open the door or the re-lock themselves.
I find it rather annoying if we go grocery shopping. I walk up to the car hit the unlock button then pop the trunk. Load the groceries and put the cart in the rack. By the time I get to my door they have already locked themselves.
My Mazda3 does something similar, but the timer is even shorter. But opening the rear hatch disables the timer, and the doors will stay unlocked.
You should have bought a KIA Sportage. Zero annoying features, at least to me. But like Li’l Abner said about obeying laws, I like all features, good or bad.
– Headlights that remain on for any length of time after I’ve shut them off. I still can’t walk away from a car with them lit and not worry about a dead battery. – Backup lights that come on when a car is unlocked. Drives me bonkers when you’re driving or walking through a parking lot and they suddenly turn on in a nearby car, especially without accompanying brake lights. They simply shouldn’t come on EVER, unless a vehicle’s transmission is in reverse.
Had a Pontiac that did that, and yes, it annoyed me. My Scion has a delay on the interior lights, they slowly fade on a couple seconds after you open the door. Somebody actually had to engineer that. For the love of God, why?
This, “â Backup lights that come on when a car is unlocked. Drives me bonkers when youâre driving or walking through a parking lot and they suddenly turn on in a nearby car, especially without accompanying brake lights. They simply shouldnât come on EVER, unless a vehicleâs transmission is in reverse.”
Agreed on the reverse lights should only be on while the car is in reverse. My former coworker had a Silverado, and would sit in hos truck before work. His reverse lights would always be on, and I was usually parking next to him. Sometimes I waited like an idiot to make sure he wasn’t backing up.
The headlight delay I like. Sometimes it’s dark, and nice to see were you’re going. I also like it when they turn on with the unlock button on the fob at night.
Check your owner’s manual, the headlight delay can usually be adjusted for different lengths of time or disabled completely.
I gotta say on my VW TDI wagon it is the temp chime, it chimes in when the temp outside is 39 F why 39F who knows well I guess some German engineer does but I do not, I could see 32 or 31 but 39? I hated the door always locked feature but you could get that de programmed but not the 39 F reminded. Also who ever decided to put the 12 volt lighter by the ash tray did not talk to the guy who decided to put the latch there as well, this car has very little cubby space so if you plug in the charger the latch door must stay up, why did they not just use a split latch or move the 12 v to a better location.
“Black ice may form even when the ambient temperature is several degrees above the freezing point of water 0 Â°C (32 Â°F), if the air warms suddenly after a prolonged cold spell that has left the surface of the roadway well below the freezing point temperature.”
Yep. That cubbyhole in the dashboard is small, and on top of that, there is *no* space below the armrest. It was definitely designed for Europeans.
It had nothing to do with smartphones. Traditionally, European cars and cars intended for the European market have not offered the same amount of convenient storage or cupholder accommodation that other cars have, and although the gap is narrowing, there is still lots of lingering evidence of that.
2) that I need to put the G8 into a special “engineering mode” at startup to be able to see an instant fuel-economy display. (This is the “you really don’t want to know” feature.)
3) the way the panel around the shifter on my Forester has little holes for each “P,” “R,” etc., making it almost impossible to get dust out of the holes.
4) the cheap plastic on the rocker panels of my Forester that shows light scuffs from shoe soles. If there’s any place on the outside of a car where a panel ought to be resistant to that, it’s the rocker panel!
To display the instant fuel economy in my Scion, you have lean way forward and push a little button that is identical, and right next to, the trip odometer reset button. Totally unsafe to do while driving. Stupid.
A lot of cars used to do this. It allowed you to lock the glovebox for valet which kept people out of your truck.
Yeah, I’ve never valeted the G8, ever. Manual transmission + known delicate clutch + 415 hp + valet = bad idea.
ABS: Anti-lock Braking. During the winter of ’97/’98 the Chevy I was driving tried to kill me by locking up the brakes and making it near-impossible to tell when my wheels were turning or not–forcing me to slide into the middle of an intersection where the light had turned red while I was still 300 feet away and I was driving less than 20mph on black ice. After having driven non-ABS vehicles for over 20 years all over the world and driving that specific Chevy for then over 2 years, I had never encountered a situation where feathering the brake pedal wouldn’t even let me feel when the wheels stopped on ice.
I was able to control the stop, but had to pedal the brake far lighter and far more slowly than ever before. Fortunately for me, the cars at the light saw me coming and knew I was on a typically ice-covered bridge on the downhill slope so they waited for me. I won’t say they cheered when I came to a safe stop, but they seemed impressed that a Camaro with Tennessee plates handled the slide so well.
Note: The newer ABS systems seem a little better, but I still don’t trust either them or the ASC (Automatic Stability Control); the ASC tends to cut power when I actually need it on a 4×4 and manual transfer case. Just because the rear wheels slip a bit doesn’t mean the front wheels can’t pull you across the snow.
Perhaps, my friend. But the question did not ask for CURRENT gripes, but any gripes. The only time I like ABS is on dry and regular-wet roads. if there is ice, I don’t trust any of ’em.
I also do not like ASC and tend to turn it off on my Jeep whenever it snows–but it turns itself back on once I go over 35mph. No way to permanently disable it even for single trips. Even my Fiat 500 lets me turn ASC off at highway speed.
On our ’07 ‘Hoe you can turn off the ASC. ! always turn it off when I need to make a quick turn on a snowy road.
I’ve got an ’04 Cavalier with that Delphi ABS system. I can testify that it absolutely sucks for 4-wheels-on-ice stops. I rear-ended a rabbit once when the Cavalier just plain wouldn’t stop – wouldn’t even reduce speed – under full ABS at parallel-parking speeds.
Brake feel is worsened by the fact that at least on the J-bodies, there is no front/rear brake proportioning other than the ABS system. On dry pavement, the rear brakes go ABS while the front brakes are still only loaded around 50%.
Where this ABS system shines, though, is in 1-wheel incidents. It handles wet manhole covers and frozen puddles better than most other cars I’ve driven. The best for a narrow downhill city street where you don’t have the luxury of being able to swerve around something slick.
3. Acura MDX key fob memory that only recognizes the driver if they have used the fob to unlock the car. Results in HVAC settings that are way off the mark if you entered the unlocked car after the other driver has used it.
5. Honda information display won’t show the outside temperature if there is a service alert showing, like that you’re due for an oil change.
6. No stock passenger airbag defeat switch on BMW M Roadster, and it’s impossible to find anyone who will install one now.
7. Sun visor that can’t be moved over to side window. Or sun visor without extension to cover full side window.
9. Air vents that can’t be directed straight toward the driver, or completely away from the driver (GMC Safari).
Never understood #1. Every television gives a visual indication of volume. I can hear if it’s too loud.
Interesting–try hitting the unlock button before getting in even if the door’s unlocked. Couldn’t hurt.
On newer Honda Navs, the legal-eagle display will eventually dismiss itself. (As opposed to the first few generations which would sit there and mock you, whilst disallowing ALL access to audio and some HVAC, until you push the damned “OK.”)
The reverse lights on GM cars that come on as part of the perimeter lighting strategy once someone has turned the car off. Makes me rage in parking lots every time because it looks like the car is about to back out of the space when in actuality someone just parked.
SO MUCH THIS. My car has this and I want to take a crowbar to them every time I see it. One of the worst ideas ever.
If their plan was to make other drivers pause, they succeeded. Unfortunately, it also makes them rage at GM products.
I hate them with the heat of 1000 suns. Backup lights should be triggered when the transmission is in reverse PERIOD. Even stupider, in general they really don’t provide any practical, usable light unless you’re parked in near-total darkness.
2006 Nissan Pathfinder… 3rd row seat. Enough space for a kitten at the expense of a comfortable 2nd row. Drives me nuts.
Anyone who owns a GM vehicle besides me that thinks where they put the buttons for the heated seats(on the sides of the doors) absolutely stinks. So awkward to turn on and adjust. The worst ergonomics ever.
If it is any consolation, Subaru used to (still does?) put them on the back of the center console underneath the armrest, almost all the way to the hinge.
Yeah bad location. Take a look at a Mazda speed 6 they are on the front of the console you’d never even know they were there. In both cases just sorta stuffed where they had some space.
My Subie has them there. The other thing about the Subie switches is that they are hard switches, not just buttons that control the BCU. My wife loves this because she always wants the seat heaters on and so she just leaves them on. I hate this because my wife always leaves them on and then I wonder why my butt is uncomfortably warm a few minutes into my drive.
If cars are going to have auto headlights, they really should have a feature that A) turns them on when the wipers are activated and B) displays a pop up message saying “It’s dark out and your headlights aren’t on, is this really what you want???”
Too many people rely on auto headlights to work 100% of the time, and rain/snow/fog screws things up, as does anyone who ever turns them off (valet) because the drivers of these cars never check to see if their lights are actually on.
There are times when I need to drive around after dark with all of my exterior illumination turned off.
Thankfully, several manufacturers program their automatic headlights to turn on when the wipers are activated, but it’s mind boggling that just as many don’t.
As for the actual headlight switch, I like GM’s solution best: “auto” is the home position. It’s still possible to override auto and turn the lights off, but then the switch returns to the home position and auto mode resumes the next time the vehicle is started.
I’m always so irritated by vehicles that I know to have automatic headlights driving around un-illuminated in the dark.
Newer Fords with the autolamp feature have lights with wipers that turn on the lights when the wipers are on for more than a few seconds, if the headlight switch is left in the auto position. There is a delay to avoid turning them on when you just want to wash the windshield or clear it from the rain that happened while it was parked.
For maybe 3 bucks and a few lines of code you can have auto headlights why not? I haven’t touched my headlight switch in weeks. Pretty simple function for a car to handle automatically. Headlights and wipers is your personal opinion, depending on state and road rules. My car has DRLs so the lights are always on anyways.
If you’re driving on a highway in the rain you kind of need your headlights/taillights on. Especially taillights. Cars at highway speed are kicking up that highway mist…if you have a dark-colored or neutral-colored car on a rainy day with the lights off, it’s invisible.
I’m not a fan of auto headlights in general. Ford’s implementation kind of sucks, it never turns the headlights on early enough whether it’s dusk or twilight. So I wind up having to do it myself anyway.
Dunno which Ford you have experience with, but in my 2013 Focus the auto headlights come on with the wipers. IIRC it’s the only car I’ve driven that does that, and I love it. All cars should.
Also a Focus but I wasn’t speaking of the headlights/wipers thing (that’s a great idea) just that the headlights don’t come on when for example the sun is setting until a point much later than I myself would turn them on. So I wind up turning them on myself which defeats the purpose of having auto headlights.
Old Ford autolamps had an adjustment, via a screw on the sensor module. Somehow doubt that is still the case, though.
The gear shifter in my F30 BMW is not very intuitive. I am used to it, but it still makes very little sense. Push forward for reverse, pull back for drive, push a button for park. Who thought of this thing?
I have a base model (SLE-1) 2013 GMC Terrain. It has voice operated phone calls but guess what – it will not recognize the name from your phone’s contact book. You have to save the number to the car’s contact book for the car to voice-dial a number
Sure, lets just manually enter all 100+ contacts into the system. That will not make anyone astoundingly pissed off at all..
– nannies in general, not stuff that covers my driving but beeps and bips. e.g. washing the car and you want the radio on, BEEP BEEP BEEP ‘cos the door is open.
– The tailgate on my Saab locks itself AT ALL TIMES. Absolutely infuriating, i despise it with a burning passion. Cannot put into words how much i hate this.
– Auto climate control. Blows too hot or too cold to reach set temp, no way to regulate the temp of the sir coming into the cabin. NIGHTMARE.
There’s a clear trend to automated functions peeving us off as you read down the list of this thread.
The best part of my Saab 9-5 was the trick sliding arm rest. Every time I’d drive someone new they’d lean on it and go WHOOOOOP!! when it slid forward suddenly.
“â Auto climate control. Blows too hot or too cold to reach set temp, no way to regulate the temp of the sir coming into the cabin. NIGHTMARE.
Yup, I have these 2 issues in my Ford Fusion. I just disable the auto climate control to deal with that issue, but since I have the auto option I’m stuck with buttons instead of the vastly preferable knobs for fan speed & temp adjustment.
The wiper problem can’t be bypassed, of course. Drives me crazy. In fine/misty rain it doesn’t wipe enough, but in regular light rain it goes crazy and wipes too often. The sensitivity level is adjustable but it makes little difference. Can’t stand it.
I went from this: http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2012/03/08/14/38/2003_volkswagen_passat_gls-pic-519393859973517556.jpeg
to this: http://image.motortrend.com/f/wot/thread-of-the-day-ford-focus-st-volkswagen-gti-fr-s-or-brz-which-would-you-pick-201351/55254176/2012-volkswagen-gti-interior.jpg
I’m just realizing how much I hate my car’s HVAC control, especially compared to that of a decade prior. The AC and Recirc buttons no longer have detents to indicate by feel alone whether they’re engaged. I have to look for the little yellow light.
And another! If you rotate the temp knob all the way to cold, it goes “MAX AC” and turns on the recirc and AC. Well, if I wanted that I would have pressed the recirc button.
In general, if a car gives me manual controls, don’t automate sub-portions of it! Also in this category are paddle shifters that won’t hold a gear at high revs.
Yes! This is one of the biggest pet peeves about my GTI. Those knobs are terrible. They’re all perfectly round. There is a red “pointer” on each knob but it’s only on the outer rim of the knob and it’s barely visible in the best of circumstances. Especially the far right knob for air direction, it’s impossible to tell where it’s set without really looking at it.
The Ford Focus company car I have has something much like the older Passat photo you have above, knobs with real pointers which make it very easy to see what mode you have selected.
Seriously though, they should either put the controls on the center stack OR the wheel, but not both.
The wheel is great for the driver to control the radio, and the redundant controls work for the passenger. My wife and daughter sometimes get control of the radio, and the redundant controls work out great for me.
So you can let the passenger deal with the radio without having their hands all over the steering wheel?
2010 F150 SuperCrew 4×4 I like the idea of the retracting side steps on my F150 but in reality it is a failure prone design. Ice and snow jams it up so it won’t deploy or stay locked in place. The deployment button is vulnerable to debris. I’ve traveled down a good gravel road with no obvious debris and found one to be deployed (has occurred multiple times). My wife has wrecked 2 of them by scraping objects. I had one break due to cold. I rarely see them as options now on new F150’s so they obviously have been problematic for many.
The Windshield washer button is basically the entire cap on the end of the control stock and is very stiff. it is hard to spray fluid without activating the turn signal. This feature has been changed on subsequent models.
Traction/Stability control – For “average” person driving in “average” conditions i.e wet roads, dry roads, good gravel road, icy roads and mild snow conditions the system works well as delivered BUT extremes in condition and the system is more of a liability than a safety aid.
Examples 1. Turning from a side road merging onto the highway in winter on an uphill. I enter the turn and start to gently accelerate. if the system detects yaw it cuts power and starts playing tap dance with the brakes. All fine and dandy but at 60kph instead of the driver (me) gently applying more power to smoothly drift out of the mild slide it causes a rather abrupt lurch and in some cases has caused me to fight the steering wheel. No fun and not very smooth. 2.Deep snow – if I have to move over to allow for oncoming traffic in deep snow on the right wheel one needs to counter-steer and apply some power to keep from getting pulled into the snow bank or ditch. The system detects the slippage/pull on the front end and thinks you are in trouble so cuts power and does the brake dance and you get pulled further into the deep snow. I know a few loggers who have been put into the weeds because of the same issue. 3. You say why not kill the traction/Stability control – the system automatically re-engages at 35 mph (56kph). I’ve disengaged it when plowing through deep snow in the backcountry or in muddier and even sandy conditions where you do not want to loose momentum but once the system hits that magical 56kph it goes back on. I’ve had to back down a long hill covered in 18 inches of snow due to it re-engaging and trying to save my life. 4. I had a loaner 2013 F150 2 winters ago (due to wife wrecking side step and box)with electronic locker. HATE IT………. I will go out of my way to avoid buying a truck with it. a…The stupid nannies are even worse with the E-locker and the E-locker has its own automatic engagement and disengagement points. If you engage the E-locker without disengaging the traction control and get wheel spin it does its thing but due to the solid diff lock it causes a sort of wheel hop/axle wrap load in the driveline. You can feel the back end chatter. I followed a Chevy once with E-locker and his truck did the same stupid thing. b… E-locker automatic engagement/disengagement points. It will disengage at 25 mph (41 km/h) and will automatically reengage at speeds below 20 mph (32 km/h). Fine for anyone not wanting to use a truck as a truck or doesn’t really need 4×4 in the first place. The part that makes me shake my head is this:In 4L (4X4 low), the electronic locking differential will automatically disengage at speeds above 62 mph(100 km/h) and will automatically reengage at speeds below 56 mph (90km/h). How many people will be dumb enough to run their trucks up to 62 mph(90kph) in 4 lo?
I must add my points are also one of the reasons I tend not to like truck reviews by non-truck guys. They don’t notice weak points that would bother someone who actually will find the limits of their trucks. I’ve never seen a truck review even by truck “experts” that actually test trucks in snow and ice and muddier conditions. Most 4×4 tests are drag race based on the 1/4 mile, 1st up the dry paved hill, dry paved slalom crap etcetera.
Lou Raptors let you choose what settings to have the truck in via off road mode, I have never used the elocker tinwork trucks but would use in in 2wd on the raptor cruising around blm land at 80-100mph. I feel you on traction control interruption having had it kick in a weird times, but to turn it off you need to be in off road mode which involves slowing to 5 mph or less then holding the traction control button, so not always an option but more fun to drive the truck in that mode, its a shame that ford doesn’t give all trucks the option to over ride the nannies like the raptor. which they allow you to severely retard the ABS system.
Carilloskis – It would be nice if Ford put the the “off” setting that the Raptor has on its other pickups.
I find it is a problem in extreme conditions which may be less than 5% of my driving but that extreme may mean the difference between getting out of the back-country or spending the night stuck.
Ditto on power running boards. Neat feature for a short amount of time until they jam up or get destroyed. Useless for the average truck that doesn’t need the off road clearance, though.
“A sunroof is an operable metal panel in a car roof that slides back to let in light and air. A moonroof is a similar panel, but its panel is made of glass and can let light in even when closed. The term “moonroof” was coined by Ford in the 70s but is now used generically to describe glass-panel inbuilt electric sunroofs in vehicles by all manufacturers. ”
I recently bought a 2008 Fusion for commuting – nice car all around. Driving home one day I heard a loud BEEEEEP – scared the crap out of me. I thought something had gone wrong,broke,etc. Turned out it was the stupid compass had finished calibrating itself and needed to alert me with a “CALIBRATION COMPLETE” message on the dash and a loud warning tone. WHY??????
For the same reason my coffee maker and toaster have to beep when they’re done. Because they can, and they (the designers, not the appliances) want to drive us crazy.
Someone posted the panic button on keyless entry because it sets off while inside your pocket. Well there is another problem with remote keyfobs: the feature that rolls down all your windows when you hold down the unlock button. When the keyfob is in my pocket with anything else down come the windows… bonus points if it is storming outside. The first time it happened to me I was inside my house and it rained all night long… I discovered it the next morning. Some cars even open up the sunroof and I’ve seen convertibles that will actually put the top down with this.
Global open as it’s sometimes called. For as many people there are who crow about how great this feature is, there are just as many who it frustrates and angers. Luckily on most cars that have it, it can be enabled/disabled.
I’m a fan of global open. Maybe your key fob has a particularly poor implementation of it, but I have not accidentally triggered it once in eight years. It takes very deliberate action to use it.
I had to enable it on my GTI using VCDS but I love it. Nice to roll all the windows down on a hot day as I’m walking to the car, vent all that hot air before I get in.
Or, as more likely happens, realize I forgot to roll up a window when leaving the car and just do it with the remote rather than having to get back in and turn on the ignition.
I like the feature too for my own personal use. Unfortunately it causes headaches for customers who don’t know what it is and trigger it accidentally. They bring it to a dealer, who might also not know that the feature exists, and they pound parts.
Floor Shifters (I like column shifters the best!) Hand brakes that you have to pull up with your hand Touchscreens 4 doors (Prefer coupes) Small interior size Ugly aftermarket rims (YUCK) There are other stuff too but can’t remember em.
It can work out great if you want it to. You should see the Great Baroque Beasts of the 70’s. My dad owned a ’72 Lincoln Continental Mark IV when I was a child. 2 door coupe and GIANT on the inside.
The closest car to those Great Baroque Beasts today is probably the Dodge Challenger or the Honda Accord coupe.
Notably, in a given model of car, the front seat is likely to be roomier in a two door version than a four door version, because the B pillar is behind the driver instead of next to their shoulder.
Sentra and others switch from econ mode into normal every time you start the car and then you have to push the econ button again, it should be where you left it when shutting off the car.
I can’t complain about many poorly implemented features, because I drive an 2004 Cavalier and it doesn’t have many features at all.
But there is one that bothers me. Mandatory A/C usage when the HVAC is set to defrost. If the control knob is set anywhere even close to the defrost setting, the A/C comes on and cannot be turned off.
There’s already a control button on the dash for the A/C, but pushing it while the controls are set on a defrost setting does nothing – the compressor keeps running and the snowflake light stays lit.
The A/C really helps clear the windshield on those mornings when the engine’s cold, or when I have a cabin full of people. But if I’m cruising down the highway solo in a light drizzle, I only need a little fresh air on the windshield, not to have the compressor grinding away and sucking up my gas. Sure, have it on by default, but let me push the button *** THE BUTTON THAT’S ALREADY THERE *** to shut it off.
I agree in general, but every time I see an idiot driving in the rain, 360 view completely fogged in I understand why this is. I’ve lost count of the people I’ve driven with who were running the defroster vents with the A/C off and recirc on who had no idea why their windows would never clear.
I’ve heard that feature exists so the compressor gets run periodically through the winter, keeping lubricant circulated throughout the system.
While that’s probably a side benefit, the reason they do it is because a side effect of running the a/c is that it dehumidifies the air – which is extremely useful when you’re trying to keep moisture from condensing on the inside of the windows! People exhale a lot of water vapor so it’s quite helpful for defogging purposes to dehumidify the air in the car.
Ironically, I destroyed the A/C on a car once through use of this feature, not realizing I had it. The car lost its coolant rather spectacularly at the end of the summer, and I thought “oh, I’ll leave the A/C off until I get around to fixing it.” Didn’t realize the thing was kicking in the compressor on defrost all winter.
For whatever reason, I need the AC to keep the windows clear in certain conditions. Maybe I have water trapped somewhere in the car. Even with the mild “weather” near SF, I would have to replace the AC compressor if it ever died.
It’s funny. I moved out to the PNW last summer and though wow, you don’t even need A/C here. Then may A/C compressor gave out in January, and I realized that’s not true. In Michigan, I had plenty of cars over the years without working A/C and never had a problem. Hot air was always enough. I even disconnected the A/C pressure switch on my previous Impreza to keep it from coming on because it frustrated me like it does Lack Thereof. It’s funny how you gain a different perspective living somewhere else.
My Honda has that “feature”. Searching through forums, I found a super-secret button combo to disable it. Mind you, AC is great for defrosting quickly, but it doesn’t need to be on ALL THE TIME.
Gun-slit windows on seemingly 98% of all cars. That and the thick A pillars that oncoming cars and people hide behind so you almost hit them before you realize someone or something is there.
You have to your head almost on a swivel like a fighter pilot at times especially on parking lots and in neighborhoods.
I generally like my 2015 Sonata. It does a lot of things right, few things wrong, and the feature-to-price ratio is just insane; I would have been out another hundred bucks a month to get the same content in another car.
But it has this blazing blue LED accent light in the roof that’s supposed to light up the cupholders or something. But it glares RIGHT*IN*YOUR*EYES*WHENEVER*IT’S*DARK and you can’t see crap. It’s like having one of those jackasses with aftermarket blue HIDs perpetually sitting in your field of view. And it cannot be turned off.
Within a day of getting the car I sliced up a tiny square of foam tape and flush-inserted it in the recess. No more light. And I can see at night.
Are you sure you can’t dim them? My BMW has accent lights that can be set to either orange or white, and you can fully adjust them for brightness and turn them off. I don’t see why Hyundai wouldn’t have those options either.
I guess that’s what the extra thirty grand you pay for the Bimmer buys you. I dug through all the in-car menus, checked the manual (I know, right!) and looked on the proverbial Internet. Nada. The only modulation option I could find was via opaque tape.
When I put it on I had a flashback to sitting in my grandfather’s Cutlass Ciera back in the early ’90s, and seeing how he’d put tape over the too-gaudy strips of flag decals, and thought, “Oh my God. It’s happening. I am grandpa now.”
You wouldn’t think blue light would be that distracting, but it is. I had a USB stick that lit up blue plugged into my car stereo, found it very annoying. Replaced it with one that glows orange, no problem.
#5. batteries with those damn plastic guards over the terminals that make it virtually impossible to put jumper cables on them.
#3. inability to completely shut off air flow to chest vents even when the dial says defrost and feet only.
#2. lacking the above inability to completely block air flow at the chest vents with louvers that close completely.
#1. lack of an affordable true wagon (sedan based and not elevated) with a manual larger than a golf.
I went and looked at the new Hyundai Genesis, went in the fully loaded one which had every single option known to man and then some, even HUD, but for some reason there is no rear 12V outlet, USB nothing, nowhere in the back anywhere. How is that even possible? The Azera has it, but not the Genesis, it was like someone goofed and completely dropped the ball there.
“The Azera has it, but not the Genesis, it was like someone goofed and completely dropped the ball there.”
The new Sonata has it, too; I know because this evening I was using it to keep my phone charged while my son sketched on it as we awaited the car wash.
What my trim level doesn’t have is air vents in the rear of the console – but, insultingly, they molded it so you can tell that there *ought* to be something there; it’s just that your cheap ass didn’t pony up for the feature. Thanks for rubbing it in, Hyundai.
My 2007 BMW 328xi is the most thoughtfully designed car I’ve ever had. Gas cap is unlocked if the car is unlocked, simple (no unlatch button, which I hate). The dial Doug hated that lets me get fresh air from the vents while heated air hits my feet. The “Rest” heat function that lets me sit in a parking lot on a freezing day and wait for my wife in a shop, with the heat on and engine off. Works in car washes too. Seat heater remembers to stay on for a perfect amount of time while the car is off. One touch moonroof that opens and closes perfectly each time. The cruise control is fabulous. Automatic lights turn off when I open the door, brilliant. No feature complaints. None.
My wife’s Lexus RX350 has a gas filler release that is hard to locate, and it has a parking brake that catches my ankle when I use the dead pedal. I hate that. The Automatic lights stay on so long you never trust them.
Our 2005 Murano would let you specify how long you wanted the lights to stay on after the car was turned off, if at all. I thought that was nice.
Push lock button twice on the fob, second press will turn the headlights off for the paranoid Lexus driver. If they stay on too long you might be leaving a door or trunk open they will stay on until you latch all doors.
Doors that lock themselves automatically when your car is idling and you are standing on the outside of the car… (this happened just after having started the car though, possibly because sometimes you unlock your doors but decide to get robbed instead of getting into your car, but why would this happen on a car that has been started already, and that wasn’t locked in the first place???). Currently waiting for road assistance, at my own home…after having deceided I cannot bring myself to break a window on a car that I bought 3 days ago..even if that would be the cheaper (but more time consuming)alternative… This is a 2001 Ford Mondeo btw. My brothers Integra Type-R has also done this to him once btw… Sometimes I just hate cars… (yeah, I have a spare key, it’s sitting in the ignitin of my car, because the original key is worn out thanks to some bright head at Ford sometimes in the 90’s deciding that flat keys were old fashioned…I hope he died of eye cancer while slowly getting eaten by flesh eating bacteria…seriously)
$200 and three hours later I can now get into my own car again :) Brilliant… But, at least I don’t have to vacuum up broken glass, go to the scrap yard and buy a new window, open up the door and spens hours replacing the broken glass. (nto to mention the small pieces of broken glass that would never come out of the door and annoy me with their rattling for years to come(lol, years to come, it’s an old used ford ffs))
I’m more troubled by the opposite. Most early-2000’s GM products will do this, but automatically *unlock* all the doors when you shift to park. There are situations in which this might present a safety issue, the most egregious example of which being the DEA Agents who were killed when their fully armored SUV unlocked its doors when stopped, letting the baddies in.
I love my old Lexus t doesn’t just not let you lock the drivers door while it is open, using the power switch, it has position sensors on the lock mechanism, even if you slide the lock switch manually it will click it back. And if say a lock gets stuck on a door it will keep trying to unlock it. Hey say it is just a Camry but there is so many little things not the same.
Automatic brakes for people who can’t properly hill start a manual transmission vehicle. This now seems to be a “thing” in Europe where MT is the norm. Thank you, Audi A3 & Nissan Quashquai
The wipers on the ’91 Bonneville I used to have, which I’m sure were identical to those on a wide range of GM products, made me grumpy every time I turned them off. After turning the switch to the off position, they’d take one more screeching swipe across the windshield before hunkering down in their little recesses. This never made sense to me; I’m turning the wipers off because it quit raining, and I don’t need them anymore. Who decided that the now-dry windshield needed one more pass?!?!?
Trunk release button is beside the fog light button on my FR-S. It is mostly hidden by the steering wheel.
Most hated? Easy – the panic button. I don’t need the horn blasting when I carry a rape whistle round the neck…
My old E-class had a really annoying fuel door lock. It seemed like half the time I got out of the car to pump gas, the auto fuel door lock would engage. It is doubly annoying because you’d think Mercedes would have some sort of cool overdesigned fuel door release, but it’s just an auto lock feature that seems to operate on its own schedule.
The older I get, the more I hate auto locks and windows, too. Yeah, you look stupid walking around the perimeter of your car to lock the doors, but not nearly as stupid as when you pay $800 buck to disassemble and reassemble the door trim.
Maybe that’s the real reason auto doors and locks are so popular. No one sees how silly you look because they never see you pay the bill.
Do auto windows and locks break? My 14 year old Lexus auto up/downs and lock work great, I even hooked the windows up to the autostarter so I can open and close them from a mile away if need be LOL. I also put 14 year old JDM power folding mirrors on the car and wired those to flap in and out like dumbo ears every single time I lock and unlock the car and they are still cranking along. The dimming glass on them is still original working great too.
The fuel door on your E-class is locked with the door locks. There is no magic or mystery to it. If yours were malfunctioning that’s another thing, but not a poorly designed feature. I My Passat had this, and I didn’t even realize it until it jammed up and I couldn’t open the fuel door. I way prefer this setup to the stupid buttons and levers inside the car.
Analog tachometers that read in revolutions per minute times 100 instead of 1000. My 1976 BMW 2002 has two identically-sized gauges that both read 10, 20, 30, 40, etc. etc.
I would have figured this was old-fashioned and not an annoyance anymore, until I drove a friend’s 2009 Jetta recently. Same damn setup.
In my Frontier the worst features are the ones I didn’t get. Why? Because they put a giant blank in the place the switch should be for said feature. They are ugly and constantly remind me of what I didn’t get. My cold ass reminds me I didn’t get the heated seats. I don’t need a bunch of fake switches to remind me that I can be a cheap bastard.
on my 2012 Prius… the backup camera beeps (to remind you that you are in reverse BEEP BEEP BEEP). And of course the beeper for when you don’t have your belt on (BOP BOP BOP) And if that is not enough, if shift the car in reverse without your belt on you dueling beepers (BEEP BOP BEEP BOP)
Next time you’re backing up without your seatbelt on…go for the trifecta and open the front door. :-)
That is a Prius trademark. Being that the Prius is highly computerized and people love to hack it—and the fact that such a feature is indeed annoying—I’m fairly certain that can be disabled without you having to tear something up.
First you use the washer. It doesn’t do the usual spritz thing. No, it pisses down the center of the glass. The first time I tried it, I laughed and showed all my friends. Then you hit the wiper. Since it has such little spring pressure, the arm is barely held to the glass. Using both the washer/wiper together results in two 1/2″ smear archs.
Automatic door locks (the ones that lock automatically when you attain a certain speed). I don’t live in an area where I’m at risk of being carjacked, and this feature always results in much annoyance when I’m picking up people curbside, or opening doors to let out kids or dogs, etc. In my current car I can’t figure out how to disable it so I have to take it to the dealer. If they charge me I’ll send the bill to Ford.
If you have an information display on the Ford, it’s hidden in the settings menu. If not, try this:
It isn’t a button, but I hate the 13 cup holders in my van. Even a morbidly obese American family on their way to the hospital to have their feet collectively amputated would struggle to populate them all.
One of the most annoying things I remember was on my parent’s 64 Impala wagon. The radio speaker was on the passenger side and so was the clock. When the radio was on the driver would turn the radio up to hear it and the front passenger would get blasted (this was during the AM radio only days). The clock was hard for the driver to see because it was on the passenger side but then the clock did not work most of the time.
Also annoying is not to have a hatch release on the rear hatch especially if you are loading or unloading.
1, Windshield wipers ever since some bright spark decided to hide them down below the windshield when off in that plastic trough. Snow melts down there into slush, The temp goes down overnight and ice forms around the mechanism. As dumb as electric cars sold in wintry climes, designed by fops in sunny Cal-if-forn-eye-ay. Yes I know Norwegians buy more EVs than anyone else, but lack of taxes and fat incentives mean even that stolid group respond to free money and put up with the dross.
2. Lack of rain gutters on roof. In the last 20 years, The ginormous brains who design cars with this now standard “feature” have been responsible for gallons of water cascading into the car after say an overnight rain when you open the door. I always crack the driver’s window after starting the car first time each day, so as soon as the car is moving and I’m already sitting with a wet behind, the first turn sluices the remainder of the water on the roof through the window, just for good measure.
Ergonomicists (?) apparently restrict the practise of their trade to how far knobs are from the steering wheel and screwing that up royally (hood latch, parking-brake releases too close together and the operation of most infotainment systems), without giving a moment’s thought to doing something useful about wipers and roof-gutters. You know, like spending time on something actually of value.
Cars with more computing power than the moon landing (what doesn’t these days) and yet can’t figure out that the driver’s door has been open for 10 minutes with the key in the ignition and SHUT OFF THAT DAMN CHIME!!!!!!
I recall having a few GMs as loaner cars that went “bong-bong-bong-bong-bong” for thirty seconds or so, then went to one “bong” until the door closed and/or the key was removed.
My 05 TL lets you leave the lights on and has a timer to turn them off but they are not fully automatic, meaning they don’t turn on based on light conditions. The thing that really bother me though is the dinger will ding when you open the door to remind you they are on. If they are going to go off anyway, just like the full auto ones on my 13 TSX then why does it ding?
Had a 89 XT6, automatic. Did not have the interlock that made you put it in park before removing the key. Trouble with that was every other car I ever drove, except my 66 Chevy, has the interlock. So, you get use to it and if you forget to shift to park you never realize it. Happened to me once and was glad the car was still in the parking spot when I got back and realized it :)
This car did have a good feature, the wiper (only 1) parked under the hood as others have complained about. But, there was a switch that you could throw that would stop it from parking when you were in one of those freezing situations. Then you could raise it up off of the windshild.
If you’re going to put automatic lights in a car, automakers, put one more ambient light sensor in to ensure that the gauges and displays are visible.
The 9th-Gen Accords and other redesigned Hondas are perfect in this regard, plus the automatic lights won’t reactivate when you open the door to get in the car. However, I bet @roverv8i’s TSX’s displays go to “night” mode if the lights are on in the middle of the day, and they probably come back on when the door is opened.
My most hated feature is when I try to put on seat belt too quickly and it stops and locks… and I have to then pause and wait before trying again.
There is no reason this day and age to have a vehicle designed with poor ergonomics. There are some vehicles with better switch placement for the ease of operation.
Another design issue I have is with some left hand drive vehicles. The Japanese and Koreans are able to make the best possible right and left hand drives.
Chrysler in particular are very poor at making changes to items that are constantly used in their vehicles, ie, shifters, etc.
One day the world will truly globalise and everyone will drive on the same side of the road. Who cares what side, so long as it’s the same.
On RHD cars, are the indicators on the left stalk and wipers towards the driver’s door, or are they the reverse of that found in an LHD car?
The thing that always seemed weird to me about RHD cars is that the shift gate pattern is the same rather than being reversed. It seems weird as hell to go to the farthest away spot from the driver to engage first gear.
I believe the stalks are the same as in LHD, with the indicators on the left and the wipers on the right. Just like the shift pattern, it stays the same even though you’d think it would be mirrored.
If it was ever standardized it would definitely be left-hand drive. RHD is not nearly as common, so there’s no reason that a global unification would go that way. It’s basically Japan, the UK, India, and some various tiny countries vs the rest of the world.
Fourth-generation (2006-) Mitsubishi Eclipses have no internal hatch release, and in fact, no *manual* release at all. You have to either pop the hatch with the button on the fob, or open it using the latch at the outside, which is a button on the spoiler that triggers the same electric popping mechanism. If the battery’s dead and you want something from the hatch (like, I don’t know, your FRIGGIN’ JUMPER CABLES!), you’ll be crawling back there.
I also hate the “CRUISE” light that’s prevalent on so many cars when the cruise control system is merely on. First, it’s not imperative that I know that information. If I need to stop or slow the car, I’ll just use the brakes, which will turn off cruise control. If I try to set a speed and nothing happens, I’ll hit the button to turn it on. Neither of these situations is important enough to warrant a light that takes up the same amount of real estate and prominence as the “OH MY GOD THERE’S NO OIL PRESSURE,” “THE PARKING BRAKE IS ON, YOU WANKER,” and “SWEET JESUS, CHECK THE ENGINE, SHE’S GONNA BLOW!”* lights.
Second, on many cars I’ve driven the CRUISE light doesn’t dim with the dimmer switch, so if I’m driving at night and want to dim the dash lights a bit for better night vision, I still have jillion watt green CRUISE light staring me in the face.
Come to think of it, my 2008 Acura TL has no way of getting to the trunk (where I normally keep my jumper cables) if the battery is dead. The only ways to open the trunk are with the key fob or with the (electrically operated) button on the dashboard. No folding seat, either, just a ski pass-through! I guess you’d have to open the ski pass-through and pull the emergency release with an arthritis grabber.
Not a fan of cars that make you turn the cruise on with each restart; I’m used to cars which maintain that state. Ford (and maybe Fiatsler), I’m looking at you!
Wish I’d known about Mercedes’s vacuum-actuated door locks before purchase. Dat central locking pump price.
Oh man. You just brought back memories of spending a whole day pulling up the interior, finding vacuum junctions, and testing vacuum with a hand-held vacuum pump and the Mercedes vaccum system service manual to try to find vacuum leaks and troubleshoot both the door locks and the climate control. Man that system did some weird things when there was a vacuum leak.
Not to mention that the fuel stop solenoid on the diesel was vacuum-operated, so when you have a vacuum leak, the engine won’t shut down.
When I had mine, it was just a vacuum pump on the engine for all the systems (including engine shutoff) – but that was on a diesel.
(And what bk_moto said! Fun times troubleshooting lines and actuators and rebuilding 30+ year old lock diaphragms…)
One last thing that relates to Doug’s original automatic climate control post that started this all: too many climate control systems don’t know whether the engine is warm. So you drive home with the climate control set to a nice, toasty, 300 Kelvin, shut the car off, and go inside to complain about how no one else can drive in the snow. The next morning, you start the car, and the climate control says “Yikes! It’s cold, and I’m set to hot! Drastic measures are called for!” and starts blasting frigid air from all the vents. Is it too much to ask for it to hold off until the temperature gauge has moved a few mm?
Most climate control systems will keep from blowing cold air on you unless you have the heat on max, which may be 80 F. If people would just keep these things set to the actual temperature you want, many of these complaints would go away.
I really, really don’t understand people with automatic climate control systems that don’t just set the temperature and leave the rest alone. Yeah, I understand there are special cases where you might want direct fan speed control, but it really works so much better if you just let it do its thing.
My folks had a 2002 or so Passat with auto climate control that was smart enough to wait until the coolant temp reached a certain point before increasing the fan speed so you didn’t get blasted with cold air. So what do they do? Set it to MAX instead of just setting the temperature so of course it blasts cold air. Hey everybody, setting it to MAX doesn’t make the car warm up any faster just like setting your house thermostat to 95 degrees doesn’t make it warm up to 70 degrees any faster. Set the temperature you want and let it do its thing. If you don’t want to do that, don’t buy automatic climate control.
A Ford Fairmont had three vertically-oriented sliders (fan speed, heat, and ventilation mode). Friend’s dad had one. Whenever the car was too cold, he just moved all three sliders all the way to the top. When the car got too hot, he moved them all back to the bottom. Repeat indefinitely. Binary HVAC operation!
Both of my cars (2009 G8, 2013 Forester) have auto climate control that won’t turn on the heat until the engine is at least warm enough to warm the air above outside temp. It took a bit of time to train my wife not to impatiently start fiddling with the controls immediately on startup.
Auto-climate is a Godsend for folks like me — constantly fiddling with the fan speed and tweaking the temp a shade this way or that!
Now on my third car with ACC, just hit AUTO, then turn off A/C (unless it’s a warm, humid summer day). Set temperature at 68 degrees when the normal high-temperature is below 55 degrees (and my house is around the same temperature), 70 degrees when the normal temp is between 55 and 72, and 72 when the normal high exceeds 72 in order to reduce fan activity. OCD, but it works!
My C70 does the EXACT same thing with the trunk release haha. I agree, it is the most infuriating thing in the world.
1. Settings that do not default to the last setting used. ex. ’07 MINI Cooper S-sport button has to be pressed every start cycle. ’14 Chrysler 300C-cruise control has to be turned on every start cycle.
2. Turbo lag. Mercedes must’ve made that a no cost option on the ’12 C250 because there’s an abundance of it.
3. Soft stop a la ’06 BMW 330i. Supposed to modulate the brakes for you (so you don’t have to-just constant pressure on the brake pedal) when coming to a stop so that the car doesn’t jerk back. Never worked on my ’06. My local BMW reprogrammed the car 3 times with no luck.
Sport modes reset with the ignition because EPA fuel economy testing is done with the car in the mode it starts in. Throttle response and shift points make a difference in that. Still, it’s annoying. My FIAT 500 did the same thing.
General gripe; the symbols screenprinted on the surface of the control as now found on pretty much every control of every car (as well as every other object you own) that wear off in a few years, sooner if it’s a control you use a lot; and then there isn’t even a molded in outline to reveal what the knob is for, or a symbol on the panel under the control.
I remember test driving a couple MKV GTIs a few years ago. The auxiliary input audio jack was in the glove compartment. WTH?
The multi dick stick that controls wipers, washer, dimming, lights, running lights, the codes for a nuclear attack, etc. there is no consistency from car to car. having a specific switch, knob or button for each category is much more elegant. putting 27 different controls on one stick is not great design, it is clumsy.
Made worse, for me, because it shares an edge with the fog light switch on my 2013 Focus. Made worse still because the fog lights are automatically disengaged when you turn the car off. Other New Orleanian drivers might know as well as I do that “fog lights” are really “pothole lights” and necessary whenever you drive in the city. An electronic release for the hatch, on the other hand, is NOT necessaryâif I need to open the hatch after I get somewhere, I’ll just use the fob or the hatch proximity thing; if I’m dropping someone off and they need some thing, I’ll just unlock the doors, which will allow them to open the hatch from the back. So I end up doing that same dance, except I actually have to go to the back of the car to close it. Bonus points if it’s raining.
Another thing: the rear wiper switch. It’s a rocker switch on the end of the wiper stalk, which is on the right. Way too easy to bump it when reaching for my phone, which is mounted nearby on the dash. It doesn’t rest well, because “off” is the lower position, intermittent is up one (middle), and on is the top position. In the Chevy Sonic I rented once, similar switch, but off was centered, intermittent was down, and on was up, which made it a lot easier not to activate accidentally and felt more intuitive.
But to mitigate your pain with it, why not … pull the switch and disengage the wire to the release?
The 2nd worst feature is a toggle blinker, where you touch the stalk by accident, it goes off, and blinks and blinks and blinks, and all your attempts to cancel it are for naught, and then you hit the freeway overapss support because you were distracted by the stupid blinker.
My 2004 Mazda 6 has instrument cluster lights that turn on with the ignition, not the headlight switch. Then there is a separate button (very difficut to see) that controls the intensity of the lights, for daylght/nightime driving. Then there is a separate dial that acts as a rheostat. What was so wrong with instrument lights that came on with the headlight switch, with a simple dial or knob rheostat?
All Cars: Switches near the cup holders. Do they realize that there is going to be liquid there? Someone pulls out in front of you, and there goes that morning coffee on your heated seat switch.
Chrysler: Only a intermittent rear wiper setting. What happened to being able to have “on” and “delay”.
All cars: Overly aggressive traction control systems. I’ve had cars yank the power because of some slippage on snow. Scary when trying to get across an intersection with your foot to the floor.
“Chrysler: Only a intermittent rear wiper setting. What happened to being able to have âonâ and âdelayâ.”
You don’t need a full-time wiper in back. I happen to like it because it runs roughly once for every two swipes of the windshield wipers based on the rate you have the front wipers going. Delay, slow or fast, the rear wiper on my Fiat 500 runs one for two.
“Switches by cup holders” — You mean you don’t keep a lid on those cups? About the only time you should see a spill is if you actually crash, at which point that really won’t matter, now will it? To-go cups have lids for a reason.
“Overly aggressive traction control systems.” — While I agree they are annoying for the reason you describe, your takeaway about ‘foot to the floor’ is just stupid driving on ice and snow. The only time I ever do that is when I WANT to slide.
“You donât need a full-time wiper in back. I happen to like it because it runs roughly once for every two swipes of the windshield wipers based on the rate you have the front wipers going. Delay, slow or fast, the rear wiper on my Fiat 500 runs one for two.”
Says who? You? I’ve driven in plenty of weather events when the delay wiper on the back was not enough. It’s an obvious cost cutting move by Chrysler as other automakers include it. Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean that I don’t need it and or want it.
“You mean you donât keep a lid on those cups? About the only time you should see a spill is if you actually crash, at which point that really wonât matter, now will it? To-go cups have lids for a reason.”
I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that the to-go cups were fool proof right from the pickup window. Or that an errant passenger wont drop something. But I see that you’ve got it figured out there.
“Overly aggressive traction control systems.â â While I agree they are annoying for the reason you describe, your takeaway about âfoot to the floorâ is just stupid driving on ice and snow. The only time I ever do that is when I WANT to slide.”
You obviously totally missed the “Trying to get across an intersection” part of my comment. I’ve had cars cut power when there is tire slippage in the middle of the intersection when traffic was clear but there are now oncoming vehicles. Because the TCS is too aggressive it stalls the car out you end up starting to panic to get it out of the way by pressing gas even further to get some power out of the car (and most people would just floor it). The way around is to turn TCS off completely during snow and ice events, but it can be useful and it turns itself back on during restart.
To-go cup lids fail at an alarming rate, particularly with to-go cups being made out of thinner and thinner plastic.
This scenario is all too common: the to-go cup gets wedged a little too tightly in a (poorly-designed) cupholder, and you pull up on it to try to loosen it. The cup rim deforms, the lid pops off, and the contents slosh out.
I think in that case the cupholder is well designed; it did its part in securing the cup. The problem is the cup deforms if you breathe on it, popping the lid off and spilling as you describe.
While I agree that it is frightening to have cupholders near buttons, I don’t think there is a good spot anywhere in the car for cupholders. Where could you put them that a spill would do no damage? You gamble anytime you eat or drink in the car. If you want to keep it clean, find another time and place for food and drink.
It’s not the location of the cupholders; it’s the location of the switches. Even just raising them on a bit of a plinth — or recessing the cupholder — can provide adequate protection.
I’ve never personally owned a car where a spilled drink endangered the switchgear. I look at a picture of something like the new Q7 and I imagine very expensive repairs.
As for the cupholder, some are definitely better than others. The best restrict the movement of the cup without directly gripping it.
The Audi A6 combines the most feeble cup holders yet installed in a car with horizontally oriented infotainment switches. The completely foreseeable does happen.
Well, I can’t speak to the A6, but most cup holders that I am aware of use at least some form of restraint through compression against the sides of the cup. If that isn’t there, either it has been removed (usually a rubber-like insert) or it was poorly designed (which seems unlikely). Every car I’ve owned that had a cup holder in it has been reasonably snug to prevent that circumstance.
The cup holders are merely two round holes, almost two inches deep. They’re made of slippery plastic, and are quite capable of securing soda cans, provided the car is parked on a level surface.
Why wouldn’t you want your headlights to always be in auto mode? As I noted earlier, GM’s system allows you to temporarily override auto in odd situations where you want lights on in daylight or off in the dark.
If I remote start the car, I don’t want the entire car lighting up each time I do it, especially in an area where the lights can wake people up in the middle of the night. My KIA does it right: AUTO, Low Beams, Parking, OFF.
It’s been a while since I rented a GM car, but if I recall correctly, the headlamps don’t turn on when the vehicle is remotely started, only the parking lamps.
I advocate the default auto headlamps because so many idiots drive around in the dark or rain with no lights on.
2014 Passat: Headlight switch has three positions: “On,” “Off,” and “Auto.” If it’s “On,” headlights will stay on even when you turn the car off. If it’s “Auto,” the headlights will turn off when you turn the car off, but the PARKING LIGHTS stay on, perfectly happy to drain the battery at a slightly slower pace.
For 20 years I’ve driven European cars that watch your back by turning off the lights when you lock the car, thus preventing headlights from draining the battery if you are distracted/tired/etc. This Passat – oi!. One more thing to worry about.
The headlight setup makes it particularly ironic that the Passat’s 12V socket turns *off* with the motor, so you can’t leave your phone in the car to charge while you run errands.
Pretty sure the parking lights staying on with the lights in “Auto” is the “coming home” feature that’s supposed to help you find your way to your door in the dark driveway. It should only be temporary, it’s not going to stay on long enough to drain your battery.
I suggest actually timing the lights. Some stay on for two minutes or so, some stay on for almost 10 minutes. Some cars even used to have a control that let you vary that time (I’m remembering a ’79 Caddy). Two minutes can be too short if you have to unload packages from the back seat/trunk/hatch but 10 minutes can be too long if you never carry that much stuff.
Interesting thing with my Fiat 500; even if I accidentally leave the lights on when I park, they shut off automatically when I turn off the key. On the other hand, I’ve had people ask my why my radio is running 20 minutes after I turn it off and it’s because I tend to sit and wait in the car fairly frequently either for my wife when making a quick run into the store, a medical appointment or just waiting for a place to open. Since the default is to shut everything off when you turn off the key AND the Fiat doesn’t have an ‘Accessories’ position AND I don’t want to sit with the car idling for so long, I set the radio for maximum delay and only need to turn the key on every 20 minutes or so. I have no problem letting the radio play as I leave the car, either. It fools some into thinking the key’s in the ignition and you should see a joyrider’s expression when they look in and see there’s no key. (Dash cams can be so fun!)
The MkIV Jettas and other VWs of that era used FULL LOW-BEAM HEADLIGHTS as DRLs, and the only thing the headlight switch did was turn the IP and marker lights on.
The doors on my Fiat Uno do not have any place to rest my arms, which makes me feel really unconfortable when I am a passenger, and the button that activates the blinkers is placed unconfortably behind the steering wheel.
I hate it when you turn the windshield defroster on and the A/C comes on and you can’t turn it off. Must make sense when your windshield fogs up on a chilly 50 degree California morning, but here where it’s -10 degrees it’s just annoying. I need HOT air coming from the defroster vent, at least my Altima let you turn the A/C off, my cavalier insist that the A/C is best for my defrosting situation.
Just because the a/c is operating doesn’t mean it can’t be hot air. The air passes over the A/C evaporator first which cools/dehumidifies it and then passes over the heater core which heats it. So you get hot dry air.
A/C actually is best for your defrosting situation, technically. Though you don’t necessarily need it all the time. At least Nissan got that memo.
There’s another question of whether the A/C is actually operating at -10, even though the light is on. If the evaporator gets too cold to the point where it’s likely to start freezing up (as the water condensing out of the air starts to freeze on the evaporator) the system will automatically disengage the compressor to keep the evaporator from freezing up. So the a/c light may be on while the a/c is not technically operating.
As long as the air coming out (or the exchanger, depending on how the sensors are placed, etc.) is sufficiently cold, the A/C clutch should disengage, and the compressor shouldn’t be running.
It should only be on a 100% duty cycle during the initial cooldown or on a REALLY stupidly hot day – in cold weather it may well be on 0%, outside of defrost mode.
Non-defeatable traction control – i.e. 2011-present VW Jetta and 2012-present Passat. There is no switch anywhere to turn off the traction control! It’s one of those things you don’t think much about when you test drive the car, but catches you off-guard trying to get up a steep driveway or unplowed side road in a snowstorm when you need the wheels to spin to keep going. Get stuck going up – “that’s all, folks!”
The strangest part – other models with the same electronics network (i.e. Tiguan and 2010-2014 Golf and Sportwagen) have a switch. This is blatant cost-cutting on VW’s part.
Neither of my Fords has a ‘mist’ setting for the wipers, so if I want them to cycle once, I need to turn them on, then quickly off. No other vehicle I’ve owned has made me do this.
Sync stereo forgets I was listening to Bluetooth audio on my phone every time I shut off the engine. Defaults back to Aux In and I need to dig through a couple menus to tell the car to pair to the phone again and start streaming.
My dad’s F150 has both these problems. The Bluetooth forgetfulness is incredibly frustrating. Thankfully my Focus both has a mist setting and remembers the last audio connection.
Those stupid fake drilled aluminum pedals. They look dumb because they are obviously not drilled aluminum. And, they are slippery. I’d love to have plain old fashioned rubber pads on my WRX — then maybe I could heel-and-toe. As it is, if I try to heel-and-toe my foot slips on the slick aluminum edge of the brake pedal. Another example of loss of function for dubious cutesy effect.
On the older Caddy CTSs: integrated radio/car information screens. Great idea, and easy to use, but if you want to do anything, you must turn on the radio… and there is no mute button. Need to find your fuel range? Set the clock? Use the satellite navigation? No dice, sucka! You MUST have the radio on! Also since it’s not analog, turning the volume knob first won’t help.
In my 2006 Ford, AC comes on and off automatically on ANY position except when blowing to my feet only. Not good for mileage and probably not good for the system’s durability. On my Toyota, it only comes on automatically on the defrost setting.
I left the AC on the “on” setting for 18 years on my Toyota pickup, and it was still blowing cold when I traded in the worn out vehicle.
(e.g. my old Mercedes’ owner’s manual had a reminded to run it for 5 or 10 minutes a month, minimum, even in winter, to keep the compressor happy.
Note that even with AC “on”, you won’t be running the compressor full-cycle unless it’s actively cooling, thanks to the electric clutches they’ve all (?) used for decades.)
When you use the windshield washers, the wipers wipe while the nozzles are spraying and stop afterward, as they should, then a few seconds later, the wipers do one last swipe … smearing any remaining half-dried muck all over the windshield. And there was no way to stop it doing that.
Cruise control indicator comes on to indicate that the cruise control is enabled, but there is no indication when it is actually active and controlling the speed. They fixed this on the Mk6.
General feature I hate: Steering wheel audio controls on the right side of the steering wheel (on LHD cars). If I wanted to use my right hand to adjust the radio, I’d adjust the radio directly. Japanese cars seem to put these on the left, where they’re far more versatile.
Also: cars with a delayed “courtesy wipe” on the windshield washers that activates a second or two after you turn them off. Leads to streaks way more often than it actually catches drips.
Specific feature I hate: the door pulls on my new Edge. They are vertical and nearly at the front of the door, meaning they are useless for leverage in actually swinging the door shut.
I miss the padding on the top of the door sill which is more comfortable when you put your arm up on the sill. If any place needs a soft touch and not hard plastic it is the sill.
Forty-five years ago that used to be steel–un-upholstered steel. Plastic is softer than steel any day–and nowhere near as hot or cold in their respective seasons. That plastic also doesn’t wear as rapidly and destroy the car’s resale value as quickly.
I don’t want steel, I want padded plastic or cloth on the top of the door sill like my 99 S-10 has and like my 2000 Taurus had instead of hard plastic. The padding is put in the middle of the door and the arm rests on the door are too low to comfortably rest your arm on. Much more comfortably to rest your arm on soft touch plastic instead of steel or hard plastic.
I suspect that was at least partly a victim of the styling trend of higher and higher beltlines that we’re seeing. The higher the beltline, the more awkward the angle is for resting your arm on the window sill like back in the day.
True about the higher belt lines but it is easier for me to rest my arm on the top of the door because the arm rest is too low for me to comfortably rest my arm.
My late, beloved ’87 Ford Escort GT, like all Fords of its time, had an emergency flasher switch that was not only hidden underneath the steering column where it simply could not be seen, but it required the driver to pull it over, then out (or maybe it was out then over – I never did really figure out how to work it).
The only explanation I could think of was that Ford’s engineers were so pissed at having to meet a government mandate for this feature, they decided to make it nearly impossible to operate. Just to show the bastards.
Out, then over. Pulling it out activated the switch; pushing it over locked it in place. It was an “evolution” of previous designs that were just knobs that pulled out, I think.
I remember this style in Chrysler vehicles at the time as well. Very inconvenient, and not at all where you think to reach in an emergency.
The one in my 97 Subaru had a nice flick back and forth action (large switch, top of steering column). A good solid response through your finger when you snapped it on.
My beef with modern cars usually relates to HVAC controls. My 2007 Chevy truck had the best HVAC controls I’ve ever used. It had a dial for fan speed, two dials for temperature and a final dial to control the airflow. Because the fan speed dial wasn’t a silly infinitely spinning wheel that just served as an electronic input I could easily determine the fan speed I selected just by feel. Same applies to the airflow control. It had several distinct positions that were easy to remember and operate eyes-free. Plus It allowed for 75/25 splits, something no other vehicle does. My 2010 truck had an obnoxious series of buttons to change temp, scroll through a list of airflow settings, and scroll through a list of fan speeds. It was horrid and difficult to operate without looking at it. My 2014 has largely fixed this. I now have buttons for each airflow combo and a dial for temp again. The fan speed dial is infinite though so no fine control without looking at the screen.
It occurs to me that by reducing cars to a single physical keyhole, the company saves a ton of money on key/lock replacement. If you need to rekey the car, you just get a new front door lock with matching keys, and throw out the old keys.
I suppose the glove box lock still has a key, but that’s pretty easily changed. A lot easier than taking apart a door, tailgate, or ignition.
I almost forgot! 2012 Focus: what the hell is up with the dome light?! I’ve been driving this car for 3 years and I have yet to figure out the logic for the dome light. Sometimes it comes on when you open the door and sometimes it doesn’t. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it and nothing about it in the owner’s manual.
Has anyone cracked the code? The footwell lights reliably come on every time the door is opened but it’s a total crapshoot as to whether the overhead light will come on.
Hah, I haven’t noticed anything weird in my 2013. The “off” button should light up amber when the dome light is turned off (i.e., not on “door”). That’s all I got.
Maybe it’s on an ambient light sensor? I know the car’s got a couple of them, as the auto lights and gauges and MFT screen seem to go dim and bright and off and on more or less independently of one another.
My biggest gripe is the auto headlamp switch arrangement in my M. As you turn the knob away from you, the settings are:
IMO, the Auto should be the last setting you encounter, so you can leave it there. I don’t like leaving it in auto, because my lights are going on and off in the garage with every start up, or any small underpass, even on the lowest sensitivity setting. I know this is hard on HiD lights! But when I DO want them on for a little while in the parking garage, I have to go to Auto (then they blip on) and to On (where they blip again).
The Auto at the end of the arrangement was how it was in my GS, and that was much better, more intuitive.
Putting “auto” past “on” also allows for a “auto override” feature. I have seen this in one or two cars (which, I can’t remember). The switch is arranged as follows:
Cancel is a momentary position, and the knob springs back to auto. It shuts off the lights, but only until the car is shut off. The next time you start the car, it’s back to full automatic.
Useful when you’re parked somewhere and want to keep the lights from shining in a window or something, but you don’t want to forget to turn them back on.
Now that you mention it, I think my grandpa’s Terraza has this feature. I tried a cancel on the highway once to see if it would let me do it at night, in motion. A big warning message came up in the center screen that said TURN ON LIGHTS!. But it let me do it, so good on GM for that.
1998 Cavalier, cloth seats. On exiting the car, 9 times out of 10, you’d get a static shock when closing the door. (Maybe it was less of a problem at different times of the year.)
But, on the inside door handle, right where your fingers go when gripping the handle, there’s an exposed phillips screw head. Touching that screw grounds you, preventing static buildup on exit. So I just got in the habit of grounding myself as I exited the car.
That made me think “time to just weave a few stainless wires into the threads on the bolster, and ground them”…
HVAC controls which do not allow simultaneous heat from the front dashboard vents and driver windshield at the same time. This is brutal in the North on a 0 degree morning and you do not have time to warm your car up. You choose between having a windshield that doesn’t ice up and fog or freezing cold hands.
My 2011 Mazda6 allows either heat through the front dashboard vents and at your feet OR heat to the windshield and heat to your feet…or just heat to the windshield.
Except *every Toyota I have ever owned* has always tended to get the driver’s side seatbelt stuck in the door, due to how it falls/retracts when exiting.
On my F250, the “Tow/Haul” light doesn’t dim with the other things, meaning it’s SUPER BRIGHT at night.
But that’s just a mode indicator, and it’s going to be ON with towing or a heavy load, and doesn’t need to be SUPER BLINDING BRIGHT on a dark night.)
Also: Aftermarket stereos that don’t actually go “dim”. Oh, they have dimming “features”. And multiple dimming levels.
It’s like the designers think everyone buys a stereo to be able to go to stereo shows and show off how bright the stupid thing is…
1. It’s my bad, but I can’t seem to remember how to turn off the wipers with the stalk mounted switch. This might be because moving the stalk up from the off position gives you a sweep of the windshield wipers, so settings are from up to down: sweep, off, intermittent, faster, even faster.
2. I’ve never used the lumbar support knob on the driver’s seat. It’s on the console side of the seat, and so close to the console that I can’t fit my fingers in there to turn it.
3. Daytime running lights with always-on dash lighting. I don’t know how many times I forgot to turn on the headlights at night because the running lights provide what looks like nighttime light and the dashboard lights are on. Other cars, not Volvo have an indicator for the headlights. Oh well
Bad enough under normal conditions but, add rain, (at night obviously) and they are actually dangerous. The first thing I do when I get in my other cars is turn them off! The Mercedes doesn’t give me that option.
Wow, it is amazing that this post went almost 500 comments without a mention of auto dimming mirrors – good call.
I think this is another love-it-or-hate-it feature, but I agree; I’m not a fan of the one in my car. It spends most of its time dimmed, turning the rear view into a blur of lights were it is difficult to distinguish which lane each car is in.
Adding insult to injury, some of them can leak, pissing the liquid crystal all over your interior. This reminds me to get back on ebay to find a manual mirror…
My 2003 Golf automatically locks the rear hatch upon closing if you hit the button on the fob to open the hatch without unlocking the doors first. This has left me feeling very stupid in the grocery store parking lot many a time.
This is the second time now, mr DeMuro, that you’ve used “ground” in the present or future or whatever-it’s-called tense, of “to do something”. Once might have been a typo, but two posts in a row (and possibly more than once per post) seems to be revealing that you actually think that’s correct.
It isn’t. The correct form of the verb is “to grind”, as in “I’m gonna grind them up until they’re all ground up”.
(Yes, there is actually talk in the comments above about “grounding”, but that’s from *another* verb “to ground”, meaning “to create an electrical connection to Earth”.)
Colloquial. Where I'm from, we use 'ground.' You are going to 'ground up' the meat to make hamburg, or you are going to 'ground up' the ice to make a drink. Also please note that 'mr' should be capitalized and followed by a little dot.
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