The Five Dumbest Car Features of All Time

    October 21, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Dumb car feature

    Probably the sole most moneymaker in the auto industry are the add-on features for your car. Yes, we all know that if you live in LA, you’re going to want a sunroof, and that’s going to cost you a ridiculous $2,000+ dollars. Or if you live in Boston, what’s a car without seat heaters? So maybe those are reasonable requests, but it’s the dumb things that make your car bill go from $20,000 to $32,000. Think again. Do you really need all those extra features? Ehh…. maybe not.

    Well, here are the top 5 most ridiculous car features that you really don’t need.

    Dumb car feature

    #5 – Fake wood Panels

    Seriously, what is the point? It’s ugly, and we know it’s fake.

    Dumb car feature

    #4 – The Vinyl Top

    If it’s not a convertible, there doesn’t need to be anything of the roof.

    Dumb car feature

    #3 – Pinstripes

    Installed at the dealer as a way to mark up the price.  Not only do they cost you extra, they actually detract from the lines of the car.  If your not driving a custom hot-rod you don’t need pinstripes

    #2 – The Push-Button Start

    Most of us do not drive race cars.  This rather pointless device, tends to just add an extra step to starting up your car.  Sure it looks cool, but that is about it’s only function.

    Dumb car feature

    #1 – The Automatic Seatbelt

    Mandated in the late 80’s when passive restraints became a law.  These seat belts were good in theory, except for the fact that the lap belt was no part of the program.  Without a proper lap restraint, these automatic belts were essentially useless.  They tended to break easily, and often strangled you if you open the door and stuck your head out.

    1. Franko says:

      I had an ’87 Ford Escort with the automated seat belts. If you tried to get out before the seat belt finished disengaging it would wrap itself around your neck!

    2. Happy Camper says:

      I miss Not having a Cneter Counsel.. It always gets in the way of Getting Lucky
      Have to go to the Back Seat now..

      and miss the Condomn Dispenser in the Glove box..option


    3. Chris says:

      A simple question for everyone who has a car with a start button, or has driven one, or is ever likely to drive one: If you’re driving along and the accelerator pedal gets stuck down, how do you turn the engine off?
      In 2009 a California Highway Patrol officer and his family were killed when the accelerator pedal in their borrowed Lexus stuck down. The car eventually crashed, partly because the officer could not work out how to kill the engine.
      In any normal car, turning the ignition switch back one notch to OFF will kill the engine. The power brakes will have at least one or two good stops left in them. The power steering will fail but that won’t be an issue until the vehicle is going quite slow. As long as you don’t turn the key back any further or remove it from the switch, the steering lock won’t engage. Killing the engine by turning it off is just like running out of petrol.
      Cars with push-to-start buttons have different ways of killing the engine while the car is underway. Some require the button to be held in for several seconds, others require a rapid series of presses. All drivers of such cars should establish what the procedure is to be sure they can safely stop the vehicle in the case of a stuck accelerator pedal.

    4. HomeList says:

      Honestly there are way dumber car features over the decades than this list discusses.

      Pin stripes and vinyl roofs aren’t even features, they’re aesthetic modifications.

    5. LAS says:

      I don’t even have to remove my keys from my purse to turn on my car or even unlock the doors/trunk . The push button ignition is amazing. I do worry about it failing but I guess I’ll deal with that should it happen (knock on wood).

    6. Cliff says:

      The dumbest website feature of all time:

      Advertisement videos that start on their own and won’t allow you to stop them.
      I hate you, website.
      I am leaving.

    7. thats good.. its makes easier my time to travel anywhere.. it’s takes time to start your engine.. i love it..

    8. RegentRoy says:

      To Moddyd, you wrote “How is the push button start adding another step?
      It’s just a substitute for putting the keys in the ignition”
      Answer – Because you still must put the key into the ingnition switch.
      You don’t just jump into the car and push the “start button” and go.
      That type of starting system would a car thefts dream come true.

      • Jesse says:

        Quite a few newer cars allow you to just get in and push the button to start it…you do not need to put a key in anything.

        Example: My fathers Cadillac came with an electronic fob which he carries in his pocket. As he approaches the SUV (at approximately 20-30 feet away) the fob transmits the unlock signal and unlocks the car, turning the alarm off as well….he doesn’t need to do anything. The car senses the transmitter is present and allows the SUV to start with the push of the button. He can also open the truck but that requires pushing the button on the fob to do that.

        As he walks away from the SUV, somewhere around 50 to 75 feet, it knows he has walked away and it locks the car and sets the alarm automatically preventing the push button start from working.

        I don’t believe there is any place to even put a key on his SUV.

        Works great when it works but I sure wouldn’t want to have to deal with it when it eventually begins failing….too many electronic parts to make the system work.

    9. Rob says:

      Dumbest car invention: automatic wiper blades. Really? Is it that challenging? If you can’t tell if it’s raining or are unable to operate the wiper yourself, what are you doing driving a car?

    10. Bill says:

      I never had a car with automatic seatbelts. I had friends that did, however, and they always sucked.

    11. Conroy says:

      You missed head light wiper blades, seen primarily on the older Mercedes Benzs… Those are @ the top of my list.

    12. Bill says:

      Are we saying that turning a key to start a car is too much work?
      Tech for tech’s sake makes no sense.

    13. david says:

      it’s amazing that you have never been in a car with a push button start, not only does it mean you don’t have to put the keys in the ignition and turn (not huge I know, but it sure isn’t adding steps [hint: you can count on your fingers!]) but if for some reason the button doesn’t work, there is a place to put the key in and turn.

    14. Bounce Rate says:

      Its weird to think that pretty soon we’ll have a whole generation of kids who will never get to see those horrid automatic seat belts.

    15. moddyd says:

      How is the push button start adding another step? Its just a substitute for putting the keys in the ignition.

      • Jessy says:

        well I find it stupid for the simple reason of adding useless electronic components. The more you add the more likely to a failure of some sorts you are. (Shorts, open circuits). Sorry but I find it pretty stupid when that guy over there can’t start his car because the push-start button is broken.

        • brocklanders says:

          I miss keys.

          • Bill says:

            I don’t. Ever have to replace an ignition switch? Biggest PITA ever.

            The start button+RFID keychain=all win, all the time. You have all of the computer stuff anyway, so why not…

            • Peter says:

              I completely agree. If you need a standard metal key and then push start button, then that is dumb. But if you have a fob or electronic key that you just slide into a slot, then the push button is necessary.

              Ignition key barrels fail much faster and more often that an electronic push button which is just a momentary switch that doesn’t wear out for decades.

              The great thing about electronics is that most of it is solid state and low voltage. It will last much longer than mechanical devices and if it shorts, then it is because you have been messing with it.

              My wife has a prius for 6 years now from factory and it has never, ever needed repairs or replacement of parts yet. It has never let us down and we put it through hell, even going offroad with it and subjecting it to strong vibration. It has done about two hundred thousand miles. Only needs an oil and air filter every service date, new tyres when they are worn and a little bit of petrol now and then. 🙂

          • yebo77 says:

            I miss my push button transmission.

        • Lukong says:

          I never thought of that, that is hilarious, but if you have a key starter ignition and use your keys improperly you could miss up your starter and I’m guessing you know what happens next.

          Though that happens once in a while also with push button ignition you just need to be in the vehicle.

          • Lukong says:

            Sorry the keys have to be with you while your in the car with certain Push Button Ignition.
            It seems that each person here is talking about different cars.

            The one Peter is talking about might be a BMW.
            The one I’m talking about is a Nissan.

      • mnzamag says:

        … you still have to put the key into the ignition.

      • Matty says:

        In the BMW you have to put your keyfob in a matchbox sized slot in the dash before the ‘Start’ button will work. Same with most of the cars I’ve seen although you can pay extra to have completely keyless; then as long as the keyfob is in the car you can start the engine.

      • Pks says:

        Once you ‘unlock’ the car door you place your key into the dash, then you push the botton to start the car. Present ignitions you place the key in the ignition (on the steering wheel or dash) to start your car… you don’t have the extra step of pushing the button. That is how, to quote you ‘How is the push button start adding another step’.

      • Cogelon says:

        No, it isnt so you idiot, you have to put your key in the ignition, turn it to the on position and then press that stupid buttont

      • Mac says:

        I had a MG that had a start button – the key only turned the ignition on. I went sleepwalking one night and woke myself up pushing the start button, which made the car jump.
        All ‘D’ Citroens with manual tranny and before locking steering columns were introduced had a separate start button. A separate start button is less likely to go bad than a turn-to-start ignition switch. But they’re pretty reliable.
        In both of these applications you had to turn the ignition on with the key before the engine would start – the start button only operated the starter motor (whether or not the ignition was turned on).


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