The Top 5 New Car Gripes of Reasonable Consumers

Does complaining about technology changes mean that you’re getting old? Or are there valid objective reasons behind not liking everything that product market research throws your way?

In the case of cars, many technological changes truly are improvements. The motor starter for example, was quite innovative in its time. 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 5 new car issues that many experienced car owners take exception to:

Touch Screens

Touch screens are great on our smart phones 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 that 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 backwards 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.

Reduced Visibility

Increased requirements for crash safety have resulted in telephone pole thick roof pillars that 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.

Perhaps the reason for this requirement is that we get confused by convex wide view mirrors on the left side but apparently have no problems using the wide view side mirror on the right side. Why would perception be affected by whether you’re looking to the left or the right?

To recap, fat pillars and the flat left side view mirror are meant to make driving more safe even though they increase blind spots which make driving less safe. One consolation is that the thick pillars will improve your odds of surviving the accidents caused by the reduced visibility.

Overly Complicated Gadgetry

Thanks to the ever shrinking size of micro electronics, ever-increasing layers of functionality are heaped into every device you use today. Car owner manuals get thicker by the year because of this phenomenon. Everything digital has multiple functionality which 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.

No Oil 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. Sensors on the other hand, can go at any time. One extra benefit of the trusty dip stick is that it also lets you know when your oil is starting to get dirty. While some cars still have them, increasing numbers of cars have done away with them.

Inadequate Sun Visors

Not all new cars suffer from this problem, but a number of them 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 that 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 about safety. Sun glare kills motorists every year. With all of the efforts to make cars safer, omitting adequate glare protection is a “glaring” inconsistency.

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