Car options that you don't need

It seems that these days it’s almost impossible to buy a car without lots of useless toys inside.
[Background: I grew up with a 1984 Chevy Cavalier with NO options]
For example (and this is what brought up the idea), what purpose is serves by the remote keyless entry system. it’s basically a remote control for the door locks. If I’m walking towards the car anyway, how much time/labour am I saving by pressing that little button rather than inserting and turning the key? So why is it practically a standard feature on even low-end cars like the Civic, Corrola and Cavalier? Does it do any good?

Some things I can understand. Rear defrost, power steering, and for the really decadent, air conditioning, I guess; these serve a function [even if the car comes with a fan and vents].

Well, rather than elaborate more, I submit it to the masses.

I like that system, but I think we could do well without visors on a car that has a tinted windshield top anyway.

Power door locks are nice with alarm systems. OEM will be cheaper than fitting them aftermarket.

There are nice if they unlock all doors; it makes it easy for passengers. They don’t have to stand around waiting for you to unlock the doors.

For one person on a car without an alarm, I agree they are a waste, just more stuff to carry.

Temperature display

compass [OK it would be nice off road]

Air Conditioning is for the weak!

I bought a truck when I lived in North Carolina, and it didn’t have AC (this was 17 years ago) and I haven’t had it since. I prefer the frsh air and wind of the open window. If I lived aomewhere like Arizona that would probably change, I’m sure.

So are engines. :smiley:

[sub]sorry, couldn’t resist. i’ll stay out of here from now on.[/sub]

Too funny! Personally I don’ like doodads that let me know utside temp, fuel economy & so on. I figure they are inaccurate anyhow. A/C is really nice for road trips! It’s wearing to drive for hours on end & have the rushing air noise & heat & stickieness, ick. I dn’t use the AC much, but I definitely like to have it.

Don’t EVEN get me started on gear shift indicators though!

(Here in Colorado many drivers treat turn signals as an option too…)

A/C is something I prefer. I’ve always driven a black car, which isn’t really a problem here in New York even in August - windows work. But I think when I move to Mississippi I’ll need to get my a/c fixed so it runs.

Power windows and door locks? I don’t liek them. My first car had power windows, and they’d go DOWN fine but you’d have to manually shove 'em to get 'em started going up. Just one more thing to break. Ick.

The digital dash on my current car ('88 Cavalier z24) has a little thingy to tell you outside temperature, which isn’t very accurate but gives you a nice ballpark figure. Completely unnecessary, but I didn’t pay any extra for it, and it hurts nothing.

I HATE those automatic front seatbelts. I have a big scar across the back of my left wrist from getting my arm stuck in an automatic front seatbelt. (I refer to it as my “Polish suicide scar.”)

After living in the desert, A/C and visors are a must! Some things though:

Heated steering wheels? wear gloves

Individual climate control? quit complaining and button your coat… I’m quite comfortable.

Power seats? How many times do you actually have to adjust your seat 6 different directions?

Headlight wipers and washers… On a car? Planning on mud covering up the front of the Mercedes?

Remote door locker and trunk releaser? When your hands will be too full to open the trunk, use the shopping cart.

Outside temperature readout? Who cares when you are driving.

GPS? If you don’t have the foggiest notion where you are, you have bigger problems than not having a GPS.

Infra-Red sensor? If it’s really that foggy, should you really be driving?

Back up alarm? Use a mirror.

Pop down TV’s/DVD monitors? My dad always just told us to shut up and look out the window for entertainment.

Automatic ride sensor? Hey… some roads are bumpy, life sucks.

Automatic mirror dimmer? what, the flip switch is too confusing to operate?

Mileage and fuel consumption computer? Dividing miles by gallons can be tricky ya know.

Not mud, slush. A real concern for those of us who live where it snows. I can see where they’d be pretty useless in the desert, though.

Here’s a useless feature: Our Toyota has two little lights on the dashboard. One is green and says “ECONO”, the other is orange and says “POWER”. As far as I can tell, they serve to tell you how far you’ve depressed the gas pedal. :rolleyes:

Actually, there’s some defense for this one, at least in my mind. In bad weather, it’s often nice to know just how cold it is outside so that you know if the rain that’s falling is actually going to be turning to ice on the road, because the outside temp is hovering around freezing.

So…IMO, not totally useless, and often helpful. At least if you live in PA or one of those other bad winter weather states. :slight_smile:

I wish I could have gotten power seats. They can give you up to an inch or so of extra leg room than the manual adjustments and that would be a help in my current vehicle.

I recently heard a nasty rumour that all new Mercs come with a TV as a standard feature.

I have a Saturn, and the wipers have three speeds: intermittent, slow and fast. That’s fine, but when it’s on the intermittent setting, you have three more speeds to choose from: every 3 seconds, every 6 seconds and every 12 seconds. Pretty stupid. I’d like to take one of those intermittent speeds and put it on the back window wiper. That one just has on and off. Be nice to have an intermittent setting for the back one.

I like my keyless entry. When it’s raining, that few seconds that it saves keeps me that much drier. And at night, it’s nice to have the doors unlocked and the lights on inside when I get to my truck. Makes me feel just a tiny bit safer. I also like electric windows and couldn’t live in Florida without air conditioning. Automatic transmission is nice since I do a lot of stop and go driving in traffic. Other than that, anything else is just sissy stuff. :smiley:

Headlight wipers and outside temp. Come on you two!! hahaha Until I moved back here to the lovely midwest, I spent the past couple of what felt like eons in the desert, but I grew up in MN near the Canuck border. LOTS of snow and really really cold shit. I have never, ever had a time when there was so much snow or slush on my headlights that I couldn’t see at night, or had to get out to wipe them clean. And outside temp? If its nearing winter, is winter, or just after winter, I just always assumed that if I saw something that looked wet, it was ice and if it looked like rain, it would freeze. Not saying that they can’t have a use, but come on. If they were really that useful, I would think more cars besides the luxury cars would have them. It’s not like it’s a great expense :slight_smile:

Scary options on a car? By far it’s anti-lock brakes and airbags. Good concept, but too many people have the notion that if they have em then they can stop on a dime on ice and even if they are in an accident, they are indestructable… and they drive like it.

Daytime Running Lights- I live in Florida. I know when I’m supposed to turn my lights on. It is the law. I tested out a Malibu the other day and there was absolutly no option to adjust the lights. They were all automatic. What do I do when turning around in a residential area in the middle of the night? I don’t want to shine my lights on some 4 year olds window!

Medical Kit- Which is now optional on some SUV’s. I think it is rediculous! If I need a band aid, how hard is it to stop at the closest Texaco?

Radio Controls on Steering Wheel - I like resting my wrists on my steering wheel, thank you very much!

Seat warmers.
That is just beyond ridiculous. Now seat coolers for leather seats, maybe I can see, but seat warmers fer chrissakes??!!

I agree with the OP completely. It’s been my experience that the more gadgets there are, the more there is to break. And gadgets can be expensive to fix (especially if you consider them unnecessary in the first place!).

My car is a Saturn SL-1, standard shift. No power windows, doors, or anything. Very reliable. Very driveable. Now I’m not a strict utilitarian - I don’t want “No frills” stuff. My Saturn is a pleasant looking car. But the important thing is it works well, and is pretty low maintennance.

Now here’s the philosophical part:

I have observed the trend toward gadgetry and “extras” in several fields. Cars certainly, as discussed here. Also in computers and software. Look how much extra junk comes in Windows and other MS products. (My favorite example of useless crap is in MS-Word 97: ever notice the little hand at the bottom of the screen that writes in a book as you type? I guess it’s there to inform you that you are typing…)

In my opinion, the reasons for the trend toward useless gadgetry are as folows:

  1. People don’t have the time and/or inclination to really look at what they need and what will be useful. Consequently, the look for the model with the most “features”.

  2. People would rather play with gadgets than drive/fly/hike/whatever properly.

  3. Industries perpetuate the predeliction toward gadgetry because they are easy to market.

  4. Style is more important than utility to many people. “Form over substance” at its worst.

Have you driven much?

When traveling at speed, the spray from cars/trucks in front of you can come up and coat your lights with a muddy film. I see it all the time in Denver. While driving through a storm from Casper to Cheyenne, I had to get out of the car and not only wipe the lights clean, but actually break the ice off. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen, really. There was a sheet of ice built up over the headlights, about 1/8" away from the lens. Kind of an igloo effect, I guess.

I object to vehicles with mother-knows-best complexes. I know perfectly well that I should buckle my seat belt, and I invariably do. I do not need an annoying little buzzer that whines for 15 seconds to call attention to the annoying little light that reminds me to buckle up (I disconnected it on my Explorer). I don’t need a car that automatically locks the doors when I crank the engine (like a certain particularly noxious Taurus I once had to rent)–suppose I’ve got a passenger about to get in? Likewise, the stupid thing automatically unlocked all the doors when I turned the key off–I was drive-testing a cell system, and often had to stop in unsavory areas to make test calls. I wanted the doors locked, dammit. Then there are the cars that do something annoying (buzzer, voice, flashing lights, etc) to remind me that the door is open–I can see that perfectly well, you stupid $#!^^* car.

Now that I’ve got that rant off my chest, to address a couple of items that have been mentioned already: visors and AC.

I live in Texas. Prior to moving, I lived in Louisiana. These are not cool, dim places (how I wish they were). My AC was out part of last summer, and I was miserable; I would skip lunch rather than drive anywhere during the day. Fortunately, the visors don’t break down. I’m sensitive enough to glare that I’ve been known to actually use the silly little secondary visor behind the first one; a tinted windshield just isn’t enough.