Does complaining about new car design flaws mean that you’re getting old? Or are there valid objective reasons for not liking everything that product market research throws your way?
In the case of cars, many technological changes truly are improvements. The motor starter was quite innovative years ago. Not having to stand outside in the rain while turning an engine hand crank must have been greatly appreciated. But not every car “innovation” makes driving more safe, convenient, or fun. Here are five new car issues that many experienced car owners take exception to:
Who Cares About the Road, Look at the Computer.
Touch screens are great on our smartphones and other mobile devices. Anyone who’s experienced sticking keys on old laptops will appreciate touch screen keyboards. However, many people take issue with them being used on car dashboards. The problem is you get no tactile feedback when using them. Unless you take your eyes off the road and look at the touch screen, you can’t tell if you’re turning on the radio, the air conditioner, or the navigation device.
While it looks slick, it’s a step backward in car safety. With knobs and buttons, you can operate these devices by touch without looking away from the road. There are enough driving distractions as it is without adding more. Safely driving a car shouldn’t require the multitasking abilities of a fighter pilot. We believe this is dangerous and trending car design flaw. Touch screens should be removed.
Regulation and Design Trumps The Need To See
Increased requirements for crash safety have resulted in the use of thick roof pillars which increase the size of blind spots. This problem is made worse by the fact that American cars are required to have a flat left side view mirror instead of a wide view mirror that European cars commonly use.
Why would they require different mirror shapes? Why would the perception be affected by whether you’re looking to the left or the right mirror? We think this requirement is ridiculous. They should be both convex or flat. One or the other.
Fat pillars and the flat left side view mirror are meant to make driving safer even though they increase the blind spot. One consolation is that the thick pillars will improve your odds of surviving the accidents caused by the reduced visibility. Now you can be at ease. When you crash and flip your car because your rear view mirrors are funky at least your roof won’t collapse on you. Is it a good to place safety over good vision? No! This design philosophy is a car design flaw. If safety trumped vision we would all be driving civilian versions of the HUMVEE.
Thanks to the ever shrinking size of electronics, new cars are brimming with features and functionality. Car manuals get thicker by the year because of this trend. Everything digital has multiple functionality that requires navigating through complicated menus to do the simplest of things.
It used to be that setting the clock ahead one hour in your car took a few seconds. Today it may take a half hour. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Having a clock on your dash that does 100 other things besides giving you the time of day, doesn’t increase its value. It just means that those 99 other functions get ignored because people have better things to do with their time than learning about them.
The Missing Dip Stick
Having too much or too little oil will do serious damage to your engine. Oil level detection is too important to be left entirely to a sensor that can go bad. The dip stick is a simple and fool-proof method of checking your oil level. It will always work no matter how many years you keep your car. Unfortunately, sensors can fail. The dipstick can also let you know when your oil gets dirty. While some cars still have them, increasing numbers of cars have done away with them. Eliminating the dipstick not a good trend in our opinion and an absolute car design flaw.
There’s a few new cars now that have skimpy sun visors that fail to extend low enough to keep the sun out of your eyes when it’s low in the sky. Some are fixed and won’t swivel to cover the side window or are too short to cover much of the window.
Some people will say you should wear shades, but sometimes you don’t have them with you. Glare protection isn’t just a matter of comfort; it’s also safety countermeasure. Sun glare kills motorists every year. With all of the efforts to make cars safer, omitting adequate glare protection is a “glaring” danger.
What New Car Design Flaws Have You Discovered?
We have two Toyotas. One is a 2008 Sienna van and the other is a 2008 a four door Camry. They don’t have to many car design flaws but there is one that drives us NUTS! When ever you turn on the air the air conditioner automatically turns on. So if you just want air the A/C turns on. If you want heat boom the A/C turns on. It’s a small gripe but it is a real pain none the less. What have you discovered with your new car? Write them below.