STUPID THINGS THEY PUT ON CARS
Updated
4/28/14
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I prefer to leave my money in the bank, and drive an older vehicle. But every time I buy a newer one, it is always more retarded than the previous one. I know that a lot of people are dumb, and can't do anything for themselves, but not everyone is. I think the car makers should put a switch on the dashboard labeled "do you have a brain ?-Yes / No". If you choose yes, most of these idiotic "features" would be turned off.

1. Lights. Many new cars seem to flash some kind of code on the parking lights, after the owner locks the car with the keyless remote, and after the horn "farts". Of course, the owner thinks it's "kewl" and has to look around to see how many people's attention he's got, as he walks away from the car. I think it might be a good feature for cars for people in the
3 to 8 year old age group. But I would be emabarrased by something so foolish.

Speaking of door locks, many cars now have ONLY the keyless entry, with no regular lock at all. If the car's battery happens to go dead, there is no way to unlock the car to get to the hood latch so you can use those jumper cables that are now nicely permanently locked in the trunk also. Good luck with that! And with the amount of junk using power on parked cars these days, if the battery is several years old, it can go dead just by sitting in an airport parking lot for a week or two.

Many cars now turn on the back-up lights when you unlock the car from the remote. This really looks
dumb, especially in broad daylight. And I've seen people, myself included, waiting for a car to back out of a parking space, only to find that the owner just walked out of the store and is not even near the car yet. This is especially true when the driver must be so ugly, that he ordered the optional dark tinted windows, and you can't even see if there's anyone in the car. More recently, I see that just turning on the back-up lights isn't enough, they have to FLASH now, too! Mommy! Mommy! Look at Me!

Then there's the
dumb lights that shine down from the bottom of the outside mirrors. Must be so you can see if there's a monster under your car. Better have Daddy check for you!

2. The "Auto" power windows. I prefer to drive with my window rolled down about an inch. The designers must not approve of that.  Every newer car I've driven seems to have this monkey-see, monkey-do feature, where a quick push of the "down" button lowers the window all the way. But
I don't want it down all the way, only an inch!

3. Most windshield wipers now have a new feature called
Auto-Smear. In the old days, I could try the windshield washer to see if it was going to work, WITHOUT turning on the wipers and making a big mess. But the thoughtful folks at the Big Three decided that if you hit the washer, it has to run the wipers 4 or 5 times, whether the washer actually works or not. And the "low washer fluid" light on many cars does not light up until you try to use the washer.

4. Air conditioning can be nice when stuck in traffic on a 90 degree day. But I never cared for it too much, more bother than it's worth. The extra junk under the hood is
always in the way when working on something else, and it's about a hundred pounds of extra weight to take along on every trip.  And the car-makers haven't caught on yet that "O-ring" seals do not contain expensive refrigerant very well, so it always leaks out. And whenever you have the front defroster on, even if it's 20 below outside, the A/C runs to help "dry" the defroster air. I wasn't aware that the air was "wet" when it's 20 below! And on most cars, turning the A/C temp dial to a warmer setting simply directs more of the cold air that you're paying extra for, through the heater. Sort of like leaving the fridge door open so the butter don't get so hard!

5. My newest vehicle is a pretty basic 1997 Ford Ranger pickup. The 4 cyl. engine isn't very peppy, but I don't really need pep. At today's gas prices, the 23 MPG is more important to me. And it's 5 speed manual transmission isn't too likely to let me down. I paid less than $2000 cash for it, and I'm sure I'll get at least 4 years of use from it. But here's some of the
stupidity that my previous '88 Ranger didn't have:

The top of the dash board is a big curved blob. Can't set anything up there, it's on the floor in no time at all. But I'm sure that's "for my own safety".

It has one lighter socket, and 2 additional "power outlets". The lighter socket is located such that when shifting into 1st gear, one is very likely to push the lighter in. The ashtray is very inconvenient, under the dash and centered behind the shifter, and lacks a light. I'm sure that's "for my own safety", I shouldn't be smoking anyway. Right next to it is one of the "power outlets" that won't accept the lighter, even though that's
where it should be.

The combination signal-lever, wiper switch, and headlight dimmer is a little
clumsy. When reaching for the dome-light switch on the dash, the lever gets bumped, turning on the wipers or a signal. And the auto-turn off of the signals is too sensitive, just moving the wheel just a bit while waiting at a red light turns the signals off, and with the wheel in certain positions, the signals won't stay on at all.

Speaking of turn signals, all of my previous vehicles somehow made the signal lights flash on and off with a $1.98 flasher that had two wires on it, and lasted forever. This thing has an "electronic" (oooh...high-tech) flasher that needs six wires with a real big,
dumb, stupid, retarded, idiotic connector on it. But it still does the same thing, the signals light flash on, then off, then on, then off, again and again and again. I'm sure it's probably available only through the Ford dealer for about $79. But at least it does appear to be made out of Real Plastic, not some cheap imitation!

Lifting the outside door handle, even when locked, turns on the dome light for about 30 seconds. I imagine this makes it easier for
crooks to see if there's anything worth stealing inside. But I don't like it. I often lift the handle to make sure I locked the door before I walk away, and the light comes on needlesly. And if the door isn't fully latched when I park in my own garage, the dumb light stays on for 40 minutes. Good for the battery!

The manual window cranks are much harder to turn, probably thanks to a
cheap plastic "tape" gear mechanism that lacks any kind of spring. Can't have a spring, at least until someone figures out a way to make that out of plastic too!  I imagine that'll strip-out pretty quick.

Adjusting the headlight aim is a big production. On the '88, I could simply turn a couple Phillips screws while observing the lights shining on the garage door. Took about 2 minutes. On the '97, a special 3.87123456789 millimeter socket of some sort, that the auto parts stores never heard of, is needed to turn the ass-end of some screws behind the headlights. I finally found such a tool, only to discover that some tiny 1/8 inch
plastic tabs were broken off of the nuts for the screws. This resulted in having to remove the entire grille and both parking lights from the truck, just to aim the headlights. I imagine I could have simply taken it to the Ford dealer and had them do it for me, for about $800, which is half of what I paid for the truck. Interestingly, the grille, the headlight assemblies, and the parking light assemblies all resembled things I used to get in a Cracker Jack box when I was a kid!

6. I have a '92 Chevy van I use once in a while. As I said earlier, I like to have my window open a bit when driving. On the Chev, water sits on the roof, and the first right-turn you make gives you a lapful! My 82 Dodge didn't have that problem.

7. If you lock your keys in your Onstar-equipped GM vehicle, just push the blue button in the middle of the dash! Oh gee, how can you do that if the door is locked? Oh, I see, just call Onstar on your cell phone. But if you have a cell phone, you really don't need to pay $$$ for Onstar, do you? Call your Dad to bring you the spare keys!

8. The front end. I've read years ago that most drivers like to be able to
see the front corners of the car while driving. Makes parking a lot easier. The carmakers respond by making them worse. Practically every newer car has the front fenders molded way down low at the front, can't see them at all while driving. Go figure. They've also succeeded in making both the front and rear bumpers into one big plastic "denture" that extends all the way to the wheel wells. Running into a shopping cart, for example, causes the entire denture to fall off, surely resulting in thousands of dollars of repairs ("totaled") because a couple little plastic tabs are broken off.

9. Brake lines are
vital parts, tubes that carry brake fluid under high pressure to each wheel.  They are made of steel, and usually rust out within 10 years.  If they're about ready to go, chances are they'll blow out right when you need them most, slamming on the brakes hard to avoid a crash. I'm surprised the automakers haven't been sued over this yet! After all, Ford was successfully sued when an ignition module failed, and the driver was struck while walking along the highway. Of course they could spend another $2 per car to put on stainless steel lines, but that would cut their profit down to only $14,998 per car. Sure, they put a plastic coating on some parts of the steel lines to stop rust, but not the whole thing. And when you go to replace the lines, you'll find that nothing is standard. No two fittings will be the same. Double flare on this end, bubble flare on that end. One bigger than the other. One end standard, the other end metric. 10 trips to the auto-parts store. Why?

10. The angle of the windows keeps getting flatter. The windshield is now getting to be bigger than the hood. And the top of the dash is about 3 feet deep now. Why? I can list a few problems that this causes. Frost. The more horizontal the angle of the window, the faster it frosts up. Just look when you go out in a parking lot on a cold morning, all the huge windshields are all frosted up, while the more vertical ones are not. Rain. When driving in the rain with these huge windshields, every drop of rain splatters into a much bigger "splat" on the window, much harder to see through. Of course the manufacturers will say that this big angle gives better gas mileage. My first vehicle was a 1960 Ford full-size pickup, and it got 15 miles per gallon, and the windshield was nearly vertical. Funny that a 2006 Ford full-size spaceship, with all of these "advanced" features still seems to get only 15 miles per gallon!

11. More on windshield wipers. That 1960 truck I just mentioned, I bought from a farmer, where it had stood in a field for several years. Then I drove it for 3 or 4 years, without EVER having to replace the wiper blades. Thanks to "advances in technology", wiper blades seem to last about a year now. But I guess every little thing we can do to
fill up those landfills is important!  I also like the "hideaway" wipers on some vehicles. They seem to be good at hiding away for the winter.

12. Room under the hood. Back to the 1960 Ford once more. In that truck, I could stand ON THE GROUND under the hood, in the space between the engine and the frame! I put a new serpentine belt on a Saturn for someone recently, and there's barely a half an inch of space around the engine. Couldn't even touch the bottom pulley from under the hood. I looked underneath the car, and it looked pretty much like the bottom of the little plastic cars I played with as a kid.
Black plastic. It should be a requirement that auto designers have to REPAIR cars for a couple of years before they're allowed to DESIGN them. Bet it would be a lot different then!

I'll put more here when I think of more to put here!

13. I just thought of more! Those "PANIC" buttons on the keyless entry remotes. Has ANYONE actually MEANT to press that button? And those
stupid automatic locks that have to lock all the doors everytime the car starts moving. Better safe than sorry, as my 1st grade teacher would have said. Gimme my pacifier! I need my pacifier!

14. And who in their right mind would put the gas filler on the right-hand side of a car? (Probably the same guy that decided the engine should be the wrong way under the hood, as in front-wheel drive).

15. Cupholders, cupholders, and more cupholders. I hear Chrysler has a full-time cupholder designer. I imagine he's designing the world's first Power Cupholder. Gotta have that! But actually, my '97 Ranger is the first vehicle I've owned that has any cupholders at all. They are on the floor, on each side of the shifter. And they are IN MY WAY! My toolbox won't fit on the passenger side floor because of the stupid things. I'm going to have to get out my Sawzall and take care of the problem. I always have the perfect cupholder with me when I'm driving, the space between my legs!

UPDATE: My '97 Ranger met it's match in October of 2013. I was clipping along at 70 MPH when some inattentive driver shot out of a side road 20 feet in front of me. I have to give it credit, between the seatbelt and airbag, I walked away with a scratched wrist and a sore knee! But the truck fared much worse. It had 208,000 miles on it, and still ran and looked almost like new before the crash. After driving it for over 6 years, I got more than I paid for it from the insurance!

I bought a '97 Ford E150 cargo van for temporary vehicle after the accident. That's where I learned that the 4.2 L. V-6 isn't the greatest thing ever invented. After putting 6000 miles on it, the PLASTIC intake manifold gasket became dissolved by the anti-freeze, causing coolant to leak into the cylinders, resulting in 2 bent connecting rods (shot)!

                                                                       
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