Tag Archives: rental cars

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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