Modern automobiles

I'm the master of reblogging this week, but that doesn't mean you can't have a bit of original content too. This one is going to make me look like a curmudgeon, but I don't care.

I picked up my Toyota truck from the body shop today. I think they did a fantastic job, and am very happy with the results.

Part of the project involved using a rental vehicle while my wheels were indisposed. Insurance provided me with a Dodge pickup via Enterprize. I also wind up using a rental a few times per year at my paycheck job. There are times when I have to use a State owned vehicle, and occasionally drive my wife's car.

So what is the deal with automobile designers? Every single car is so completely different you nearly have to take a class to operate the damned thing. I'm not talking about driving, but the features here.

This Dodge had the dashboard lights turned nearly off. I really didn't have hours to read a manual to learn how to turn them back up. As a result, I have no idea how fast I was going on my early morning commutes. I tried to match traffic and not be a hindrance or overly agressive.

It also had a radio that refused to be turned off. It automatically came back on every time I started the car. I didn't want to get familiar enough to find a satellite radio channel. This truck also came with a dial in place of the gearshift. Even the simple act of turning on the headlights takes fifteen minutes of exploration.

I'm not saying the Toyota is any simpler. It's just my truck, and I invested the time to figure out where everything is, and how it works.

I always said moving the dimmer switch from the floor was the first sign of Armageddon. The world was simpler back then, and everything worked just fine.

When I drive my wife's car, I still don't know how to work the heater or air conditioner. I figured out how to open the window.

This isn't a complaint about modern gadgetry. I love having my iPhone speak to the truck and play music, or take calls without using my hands. I have satellite radio and enjoy it.

My gripe is: Why does every manufacturer insist on trying to one-up the competition by making their product completely different? One stem on the steering column, two stems on the steering column. Twist for wiper speed, no twist for headlights. No horn in the center, let's put it on the stem thingie. A dial that looks like it might brighten the dashboard actually points the headlights toward the ground.

It's damned near impossible to jump in a different car and just drive it. I'm all for the gadgets, in fact they ought to put an electronic finger drum set on my steering wheel. I just believe they ought to standardize the basics. Make the wipers, horn, headlights, and heater the same across the board. Dress the dials up any way you like. Just make them all in the same spot and operate the same way.

I feel the same way about the gauges. Why can't they all be in the same spot from car to car? This one isn't as big a deal, but it would be nice. I can usually figure out what speed I'm driving after a mile or two. It's probably no less safe than texting and driving.

Oh, and move the damned dimmer switch back to the floor.

Okay temper tantrum over. We'll return you back to reblogging the stops on my blog tour. It's going really well, and I'm getting lots of comments. It seems like quite a few folks are going to read Will O' the Wisp. They aren't sales yet, but some of them will follow through. I'm also seeing increased blog traffic, so that's a bonus.


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31 responses to “Modern automobiles

  1. “Just make them all in the same spot and operate the same way.”—I’ll second that. I picked up a rental car in Seattle, and I learned the hard way I should have taken time to find out how to turn on the wipers before I pulled out of the parking garage. Trying to find them in high traffic at night in pouring rain was loads and loads of fun…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Don’t even know if my Corolla has a dimmer switch. I do agree that some universal locations for the important dials and parts would be nice. Don’t even get me started on car horn locations. There are some types where I always hit the thing by accident.


  3. You are a curmudgeon but I am right there with you. I stuck in a rental for three weeks last year and I still did not feel I could operate it safely when I turned the silly thing in.


  4. SD Gates

    I love that word curmudgeon. Stick with German cars. Once you get accustomed to the controls they are all about the same. Too many diddlywinks in cars these days. Had a 1972 Mercedes, absolutely no computer or power stuff on it, loved that car. Best car ever.


  5. The dial-a-gear freaks me out in my husband’s new truck. Every time I get in there I reach for the imaginary gear shifter. I’m clueless how to operate the radio and air-conditioner. There seems to be a big learning curve for just about everything nowadays, and I’m not sure it’s for the best. The Apple watch…like who really needs that thing? (love wing windows and a floor dimmer…what lame company first took the dimmer off the floor???)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Have you tried driving a car where the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car? (not to mention all the cars on the wrong side of the road).

    I did OK the first time this happened to me, because I was driving in fairly rural areas. But, when I came back to the USA after 4 months of that, I kind of drove like an idiot.


  7. It is frustraring, and someone may already have pointed this out, but they do it so when you come to buy s new car, the trauma of getting to know a different make is too much, so you just buy from them again! πŸ˜‰


  8. Ali Isaac

    Totally agree with you. Same about coffee machines. This is very important to me, as switching it on is the first thing I do in the morning. It all needs to be simple. Dont speak to me before that first cup of coffee. These machines are sensitive and fragile. They dont last long. It would be so much simpler if the replacement worked in the same way as the previous one…


  9. I couldn’t agree more.
    We had three Dodge/Chrysler vehicles in a row or simultaneously, and when we got our Kia, I had to figure out so much stuff. (But I wanna go on record as sayin that our Kia has been a superior vehicle, has never leaked oil, and has cost us nothing but maintenance, and she’s 10! 10! Knock wood!)
    We bought the Kia in Georgia, and as such, I never had to use the defrost, ran the heat rarely, and seldom used the wipers. So now, even after two winters, I am doing all those things wrong, lol!


  10. A horn on the end of a stick? That’s a new one for me. I’d hate that! Not that I EVER use my horn, but I, like you, would at least like to know where everything is and how to use it without going through the rigmarole of reading the manual. Life WAS simpler back in the day. Ah, well.


  11. Amen, brother! I have also noticed the frustrating differences from car to car, and I hate them! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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