The Open Road Is Calling: 40 Top Car Features For Happier Driving

By Israel O

This article was originally published on drivingtodays

You have only truly bonded with your car once you know all the ins and outs of it. We bet there are still secrets about your vehicle that you don’t know. In the beginning, cars were simply created as a faster means of transportation, but now they are designed for different reasons. Some are developed for their aesthetic and appeal, while others are for maximum speed on the highway. One thing they all have in common are secret features that will enable you to do some amazing things while you’re behind the wheel. Remember, it’s only a secret because you don’t know it yet; once you do, you’ll discover they are standard features an experienced car owner should know how to use for optimum satisfaction. Now let’s have a look at 40 of these not-so-secret features. 

1- Improved soundproof technology

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t hear the noise on the road while seated in a car, the answer is because of the soundproof technology that accompanies all vehicles. This noise cancellation technology removes all road and engine noise.

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Typically, the manufacturers add extra insulating materials around the car’s body and engine to cancel any noise. Also, the more expensive the car, the better the noise cancelation technology that accompanies it. This advancement provides comfort and convenience while traveling.

2- Checking level of alertness

There are sensors in certain vehicles that detect whether a driver is awake or feeling drowsy. These sensors will only give you total control of the car if they fully certify that you’re awake. Or else, it’ll alert you and advise that you stop. 

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These sensors determine your level of alertness by scanning your face and using specific parameters. These parameters include noting how you change lanes and avoid potholes. If the system detects that you aren’t awake, it’ll notify you of the nearest stop.

3- Snowflakes on the dashboard

Snowflakes on the dashboard indicate that the road condition isn’t too friendly. This symbol shows up on the dashboard to warn you of poor driving conditions like icy roads. It is triggered by temperature gauges which sense extreme changes in road conditions.

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These road condition indicators are vital features that inform the driver of hazardous weather conditions, including fog and heavy rain before and during a journey. The road condition indicator also swings into action when there’s a risk of road freezing. 

4- Protective brake system

All cars in the United States are required to have an Anti-Lock Braking System. This feature assists the driver in restoring tire traction while steering during emergencies. The system comprises sensors that detect if breaking will cause a lock-up.

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The Anti-Lock Braking System swings into action if it detects that braking while driving during an emergency or wet conditions will result in a lock-up. Other situations that can cause a lock-up include slamming on the brakes. Look for the ABS symbol on your car to see when it is in service.

5- Driving assistance

Many cars now have computerized driving assistance that takes over certain functions. These functions are executed without the driver’s involvement. For instance, the driving assistance feature can help you do parallel parking or avoid sharp acceleration while descending. Gone are the days of just cruise control.

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Some of these high-skill moves are reasonably difficult to execute even for the most expert drivers. However, you can leave it all to your driving assistant. The feature also helps detect hazards and obstacles such as bikes and pedestrians on the route.

6- Getting a massage in your car

Many people probably don’t know that their car has an inbuilt massager. This feature is particularly useful and handy for those who embark on long-distance driving or who get stuck in traffic frequently. The feature is available in many luxury cars.

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The seat massager eases the muscle tension in your shoulders and helps you limit back pain while waiting in traffic. It also makes you feel relaxed and enjoy a stress-free journey if you’re going on a road trip. It must be nice! 

7- Extra storage space

Over the years, automobile manufacturing companies have evolved in the way they expand storage spaces in vehicles. Typically, all you have is just the trunk which can only take a limited amount of things. Today, cars come with more secret storage spaces. 

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Some extra storage space is located under the passenger seat. This location doesn’t apply to all cars. However, explore your vehicle for hidden storage spaces or endeavor to read the user manual. Also, do not forget to retrieve your loads from these spaces. 

8- Keeping the car in the right lane

Staying on the right lane and maintaining the center is an arduous task for most new drivers. With the fantastic invention of lane-centering technology, you can drive and keep your safety by staying in the center of the lane. 

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This technology uses cameras to determine the middle point of the markings on each lane. It also ensures that the driver stays in the right lane by taking control of the steering. However, it makes an audible warning before it acts. 

9- Preventing numb fingers with warm steering wheels

In winter, when everywhere is cold and filled with snow, you can keep your hands warm while driving and prevent suffering from numb fingers from scraping the ice. There’s a steering wheel feature that can help keep your hands warm. 

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You can activate the feature by pressing a button on the steering wheel or finding it near the seat heater controls. You can also order a steering wheel that comes with the feature if your car doesn’t have an inbuilt one. 

10- Finding the gas tank

Finding the gas tank shouldn’t be a problem if you’re driving your car as you must have filled it several times. However, the story changes when you’re in an unfamiliar vehicle. Many people do awkward things while trying to locate the tank. 

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However, the good news is that the fuel gauge usually displays the gas tank locator. The direction in which the locator points is where the tank is situated. The next time you want to refill your tank, ensure you look at the dashboard. 

11- Automatic trunk opener

The thought of opening the trunk of a car with hands filled with groceries is a dreary one. The reason is that you will have to drop the load onto the dirty ground. You don’t have to worry about this dreary feeling with new car models. 

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New car models now have sensors that enable you to wave at the car’s underside with your leg. Once you do this, the trunk opens. Some other models even open the trunk automatically once they detect that you’re approaching the trunk. 

12- Illuminating the floor

Apart from the front and rear lighting that many cars possess, many drivers struggle to see the ground beside the car, especially in the dark. Most people are also not alien to stepping in a puddle unintentionally after stepping out of their vehicle. 

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In a bid to address these ugly situations, some manufacturers, notably Hyundai, produced car models that have a light feature that illuminates the floor immediately when you step out of your vehicle. Let’s hope that other manufacturers follow suit; otherwise, there are options to buy something similar on Amazon.

13- Manual trunk opener

If your car is less than twenty years old, there’s a rope or hanger that you can pull in case you’re accidentally locked in your car’s trunk. The hanger is usually located in the handle area, and it glows in dark situations for easy access. 

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Getting locked up in a car’s trunk is scary and traumatic. Criminals usually lock people in car trunks as a way of detaining them. The US government in turn mandated that every car manufactured since 2001 have this feature for safety reasons.

14- Discussion mirror

We all know how awkward it is to discuss with someone at the back seat of the car while you’re driving. You’re always tempted to look back at them to ensure proper communication. Sometimes, you won’t even be able to hear them well. 

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The story changes with this conversation mirror that you can open whenever you wish to discuss with someone in the back seat. It also lets you keep an eye on your kids or pets when they are seated in the back.

15- Adjustable seats

Carrying several items in a car can become an impossible task when the storage space isn’t sufficient. Thankfully, some car models now come with adjustable seats that are also known as magic seats to help you create extra storage space. 

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The trick here is that these magic seats can be pushed forward to give you extra space in the trunk. They’re adjustable to allow you to fit in items like bicycles and suitcases that would otherwise not fit in the trunk. 

16- Hooks for hanging items

Cars contain hooks located at various parts of the interior. Typically, you can find these hooks on the headrest. You can hang certain items like school bags on these hooks. Other places where you can find these hooks include in the trunk. 

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Besides the headrest and the trunk, you can also find a hook on the passenger window. The trick is to read your manual for places that contain hooks. The size and number of hooks depend largely on the size of the car. 

17- Flexible mirrors

Mirrors are essential elements in a car. It gives you enhanced visibility and helps you see beyond your standard field of vision. Most mirrors are slightly adjustable, including the rearview mirror. A non-adjustable rearview mirror might be hazardous and a reason to go to your local garage.

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The headlights of a car behind you might obscure your vision if the rearview mirror is not adjustable. These days, we have vehicles that enable drivers to adjust their side mirrors electronically. However, don’t forget to ensure that your visibility is on point after adjustment.

18- Light adjustment

Lighting contributes a great deal to the appearance and comfort of a space. Many people know that cars have interior and exterior lighting, but they aren’t aware of how to customize it to enhance comfort while driving. Look at the nice and also helpful lighting in this car.

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The good news is that you can adjust the lighting in your car. There are various options ranging from the brightness of the handles to lighting up the footwell. However, the amount and adjustability of lighting depends on the car model. 

19- A place to keep an umbrella

Many people are used to keeping their umbrella in the car’s trunk. However, you can hardly avoid getting wet before you can retrieve the umbrella when it starts raining. To this end, some automobile companies have offered a solution to this problem. 

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Specific car models like Rolls Royce and Skoda have a specially designed place in the door panel containing an umbrella. If you do not know about it, it’s pretty hidden, but keeping an umbrella there allows you to access it without getting wet. 

20- Smart car features

Using a phone while driving is a dangerous endeavor. At the same time, we can not totally avoid the use of smartphones while driving due to their versatile features. These salient features include music, calls, maps, and GPS. Many manufacturers were required to find a feature to incorporate this technology in their cars.

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Nowadays, there are many smart cars on the road that come with a screen on the dashboard. You can access various smartphone features from this screen, ranging from answering calls and music to accessing a map and other favorite apps. 

21- Blindspot Detectors

Avoiding a blind spot is tricky and challenging. People that drive newer car models have the opportunity of enjoying a unique updated feature that helps detect blind spots. It’s called a blind spot monitoring system, and it uses radar sensors. 

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The radar sensor scans the vehicle’s surroundings and checks for any obstacle. If it detects one, it’ll alert the driver with a ding which is a cue not to change lanes yet. The feature will also indicate the obstacle’s direction.  

22- Perks of owning a Jeep

Jeep owners enjoy certain benefits that other car models do not have. For instance, they can run without hassle on an untarred road. Another funny perk that most jeep owners do not know is that manufacturers hide small pictures in them.

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These pictures might be animals, cars, or other random things that’ll bring a smile to your face when you come across them. If you own or drive a Jeep, check around the car especially inconspicuous places, for these fun revelations. 

23- Stability control

Every vehicle that is more than twenty years old has an inbuilt electronic stability control feature. The feature comprises sensors that determine when a car is being moved too far in one direction. The feature can help you maintain a lane. 

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It automatically straightens the car if it finds that it swerves too much in a direction. The feature helps you maintain traction by engaging the brakes, especially in certain sensitive circumstances such as during rain or while doing a sharp turn.

24- Inbuilt vacuum cleaner

Cleaning a car is usually a herculean task for many people. The reasons include lack of amenities, time, or space. Besides, many people lack the ability to pay attention to details during the washing process—however, the narrative changes with new car models. 

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Newer car models now come with an inbuilt vacuum cleaner with a long hose that can reach every nook and cranny of the car. You can find this hidden vacuum cleaner at the back for most vehicles that come with this feature. 

25- Traffic signal indicator

Waiting for a traffic signal to permit movement sometimes feels like endless torture. This is why many drivers distract themselves while waiting for the green light by grabbing a snack or reading a book. Some people also distract themselves with their phones. 

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To rectify this situation, manufacturers at Subaru offered an innovative and clever solution. They added a feature to their car which informs the driver that the traffic signal is now green. The system uses a slight beep as an indicator.

26- Gauging tire pressures

Tire pressure monitoring is essential for the safety of your car. Old vehicle versions use manual methods to check and monitor tire pressure. On the other hand, new car models have inbuilt monitor systems that notify you of the pressure in each tire. 

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Some vehicles use a warning light on the dashboard to notify the driver that one or more of the vehicle’s tires has reduced pressure. In some newer and more sophisticated car models, the dashboard shows the pressure value in each tire.

27-  Fuel-efficient frames

Car manufacturers have invented newer and safer ways to make cars weigh less. They use aluminum instead of steel since it weighs less. Weighing less means less fuel consumption and less pollution. Besides, the advantages of an energy-efficient vehicle are numerous.

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In the nearest future, we should be looking at cars that weigh around fifty percent less than what they weigh today. Today, some car manufacturers are producing pickup trucks that weigh almost thirty percent less than what they weighed last year. 

28- Backseat sensors

Some parents are guilty of accidentally forgetting their kids or luggage in the backseat for hours. Certain car manufacturers have offered a clever solution to this problem by adding sensors to the backseat. These sensors can detect weight on the backseat.

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The sensors also alert the driver and display the presence of a body on the dashboard. The back seat sensor swings into action as long as the sensor detects that the rear door has been opened before or immediately after starting the car. 

29- Interactive display

New car models now come with an interactive display, also known as a “heads-up” display. This feature helps to limit distractions while driving. It does this by displaying some essential information on the windshield directly in front of the driver. 

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This information includes speed, songs, and videos. It also tells you if you’re driving in the right direction. This new update tries as much as possible to give all of the handy information on the screen without obscuring the driver’s view. 

30- Adjustable rearview mirrors

You can now customize and adjust the rearview mirror setting to enable you to have a stress-free driving experience. You can also reduce the headlight glare, which will help you avoid cars behind you from obscuring your view with their headlight. 

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Look for a tab under the mirror which you can use to activate some settings. You can choose either day or night settings. You can also dim the rearview mirrors if you wish. Play around with the mirror next time you enter your car. 

31- Shopping cart

People that drive the Picasso model by Citroen should watch out for a foldable shopping cart tucked away nicely at the side of the trunk. This foldable and handy shipping cart was not included in newer models due to the low acceptability. 

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We do not know what inspired the manufacturers to include a shopping cart in a car in the first place. We understand that some people found it handy and will be disappointed when they find out that it has been removed in newer models. 

32- New sunroof

Many people do not know the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof. A moonroof is a car with a window that can be opened while a sunroof is one that can’t open the window. Today, we have electronic sunroofs that can be opened with a button. 

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People that drive cars like Tesla would understand and relate better with a smart sunroof. You can open it with a button to reduce the strain on your air conditioners. Opening the sunroof also helps you maintain a desired car temperature. 

33- Choosing your desired fragrance

Keeping a car smelling nice is what many people desire. However, the stress of choosing a particular fragrance and changing the packets seem like a burdensome task for most people. Today, new car models come with features that help solve this problem.

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Cars like the BMW have an automatic fragrance dispenser that offers a wide variety of scents and electronic options. The feature is called “Ambient Air.” You can find it in the glove compartment. Keep your vehicle refreshed with this unique technology.

34- Champagne cooler

Some luxurious cars like Rolls Royce come with champagne coolers as part of the numerous luxurious features that it offers. The cooler is located in the passenger seat of the company’s phantom model. Check the armrests next time you are in one.

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Typically, any rolls Royce car model is meant for luxury and offers several features that make traveling and driving frivolous and magnificent. One of these features is the cooler that will keep your drinks chilled and make your journey mind-blowing. 

35- Ice tools

People that live in snowy areas will find many hidden features in their cars that can help them ease the problems that come with winter. Many vehicles, especially Skoda models, come with tools that can help you melt ice on your windshield. 

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Apart from the windshield warmer, you can also check the fuel door for an ice-scraper. This tool can be used to remove snow or ice on and around your vehicle. With these tools, the morning following a snowy night becomes stress-free.

36- Hazard light

All vehicles come with an automatic hazard light. This feature helps you notify people that your car is in a dangerous situation. We activate this feature as soon as we need to pull over on the highway due to a flat tire or accident. 

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The adrenaline rush of anxiety that accompanies harmful and accidental situations can make anyone forget to activate the hazard light. However, starting the light at the right time could save your life or get you some help in dangerous situations.

37-  Color Codes

Opening your hood as a car owner is a dreary feeling in most cases. The reason is that it usually signifies that your car has a fault. When you open the hood, you’ll notice that many parts stare at you, leaving you clueless if you’re not an expert.

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Hence, manufacturers have color-coded the parts to ensure that you do not tamper with the wrong elements. These color codes will also help you navigate the hood’s content without hassle. Head over to your manual to know what applies to you. 

38-Smart windows

Many people dread the notion of realizing that their windows are still down after getting out and parking their car. The thought of having to go back to the parking spot discourages lots of people. Thankfully today, we have key-controlled windows.

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These key-controlled windows respond to specific remote control devices with new cars. You have to unlock the car first by pressing down for approximately five seconds after which the windows will come down automatically. Repeat the process to get them up.

39- Automatic pilot

The autopilot feature became popular with the Tesla car models, where the car can drive itself without little to no human intervention. Even though this feature isn’t completely safe on the road at the moment, they are lifesavers in many situations.

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You can’t give up control entirely in these cars, but this feature can give you ample time to relax while driving on a long-distance trip. At the moment, the Mercedes Drive Pilot feature is another reasonably popular imitation of the Tesla model. 

40- Holding the fuel cap

Another secret feature in your vehicle that you have probably never thought about is the fuel cap holder. It’s usually attached to the fuel cover to make finding it easy while filling the tank. It also ensures convenience for the driver.

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We have all at one time or the other been in a situation where we don’t know where to place the fuel cap at a gas station. This innovation also comes in handy when we don’t want to soil our hands with petrol.