If it’s time for you to replace your current vehicle and you’ve decided to buy used instead of new, you’re already on the right track. After all, if you buy a newer used car, you’ll avoid the huge depreciation hit you take when you buy new. Buying a high-quality used car gives you a lot more bang for your hard-earned buck, especially as the economy slips into recession thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now you need to think about what you need for your next ride. Do you really want to pay more for features you probably don’t need? Here’s our take on the top 10 useless features you don’t need in a car.
Useless Car Feature#1: Why We Consider GPS Navigation One of the Top Useless Features in a Car
In the digital era of the twenty-first century, the days of struggling with paper maps to figure out where you’re going have become a distant memory. GPS is all some folks even know how to use these days. Do you have a smartphone? Most people do. So why pay more for a used car with the latest GPS when you can just use your phone? For a fraction of the cost, invest in a good dashboard phone holder and you’ll be all set! Granted, built-in satellite GPS is more reliable than cell phone coverage, but how often do you need directions in places with spotty service? For most people, that will be rarely if ever. The cost of a factory-installed navigation system varies widely starting from $500 but is often just one piece of a “tech” or “premium” package that can add as much as $4,000 to the price of a car. Save your hard-earned dollars and use your phone!
Useless Car Feature#2: V8 Engines (Unless Work-Related)
Let’s just be honest here for a moment: Do you really need the oversized power of a V8 engine? No, you don’t. We are qualifying this, however, by saying in some cases a V8 may be useful for particular work-related situations requiring powerful pickup trucks. If you feel like you just have to have something more powerful than the typical 4-cylinder engine, you can get a V6. But a V8? Seriously, it’s totally useless, especially when you consider most V6 engines have way more horsepower than they used to thanks to developments like variable valve timing, direct injection, turbocharging, and supercharging (forced induction). And a V6 will be a much lighter engine than a V8. In fact, there are now V6 trucks available that give you all the power of a V8 engine without the weight and cost of a V8 engine, so there is no reason to go for the V8 anymore. If you’re a die-hard sports car fanatic, you might feel the need to have a V8 car like the Chevy Camaro SS or the Ford Mustang GT, but are those what you really want to be driving for your daily commute? Even SUVs are mostly V6s these days, except for the really giant monsters like the Cadillac Escalade that need a V8 just because they’re upwards of three tons. And it goes without saying that V6 engines are almost always more fuel efficient than V8 engines.
Useless Car Feature#3: Night Vision
In some vehicles you can have the dashboard screen go into a night vision mode to show the road ahead of you in greater detail at night. This is one of our useless features for all kinds of reasons. Does this mean you’re turning off your headlights at night for some reason? Bad idea! Unless you’re some kind of secret agent who regularly needs to drive at night without headlights in order to sneak up on someone, there is really no good reason for this feature. Plus, using it literally means taking your eyes off the real road in front of you to look down at a screen instead. And as with other high-tech features, it represents yet another expensive option you don’t need.
Useless Car Feature#4: Social Media Integration
Social media in your car? It should be easy to understand why this makes our list of useless features you don’t need in a car. We’ve already seen too many tragic accidents caused by texting while driving. Trying to use social media, even if it’s only accessible through voice-activation, falls squarely under the umbrella of distracted driving. Anyone who seriously feels the need to be using social media while driving should be seeking treatment for social media addiction and stop putting the lives of others at risk by their distracted driving!
Useless Car Feature#5: The Cigarette Lighter
After all, who still smokes in their car these days? And if you rely on adaptors that plug into cigarette lighters in order to provide regular power to devices, you know how annoying that is. More modern cars have regular power outlets available for those purposes, as well as USB ports for powering your devices, so you can skip the cigarette lighter altogether in cars.
Useless Car Feature#6: Motorized Rearview Mirror
It’s one of the most basic things you do when you get in any car, especially if more than one person drives it—you check the position of the rearview mirror and adjust it to where you need it to be. And you do that with your hand, manually. Do you really want to pay extra to have it be motorized? Do you really need to pay for a “memory” system that recalls settings like mirror position and seat position for different drivers? The sensible answer to these questions is “NO.”
Useless Car Feature#7: Gesture-Control for Audio
Vehicles that have the latest fancy infotainment system might include the ability to adjust the volume of the audio by making a hand gesture (as if you were twisting the volume knob). We’re guessing people can do without this added expense. And you can bet this kind of system will mis-interpret some of your hand gestures and suddenly crank up the volume or turn it way down when you had no intention of doing so.
Useless Car Feature#8: Manual Transmissions
Finally, manual transmissions are going away, and most people would say “Good riddance!” But seriously, automatic gearboxes have gotten so much better in recent years, they just make manual transmissions seem like a primitive technology no one needs to put up with anymore. Even drag-racing cars don’t have manual transmissions anymore, so why would you bother? Automatics now shift way faster than any human can shift with a manual transmission, and it’s way less work too, which you notice anytime you’re stuck in traffic with a stick-shift. And then there are those nerve-wracking hill-starts. Also, no matter how good you are on a stick-shift, you’ll have to replace the clutch at some point, and that’s becoming an increasingly expensive repair, often exceeding $1,000. There are many more reasons why manual transmissions are going away, but we think you get the picture.
Useless Car Feature#9: CD Player
The CD play makes our list of useless features for much the same reason as GPS systems. You don’t need a CD player if you have a smartphone. Do you still use a CD player at home? Probably not. Everyone uses music streaming services or MP3 player apps to listen to music these days, and that holds true for your in-car listening as well.
Useless Car Feature#10: The Spare Tire
A lot of people don’t even realize how the traditional spare tire is quickly become one of the most useless features on modern cars. In fact, some have no idea the car they bought most recently has no spare tire at all! Getting rid of spare tires is increasingly common among car makers in the ongoing quest to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy. So what happens when you get a flat in a car without a spare tire? First of all, most cars now have TPS or tire pressure monitoring systems, which means you’ll know if you’ve got a problem in enough time to find a place to fix it. If you have a real blowout with traditional air tires and don’t have a spare, you’ll need a tow. But doesn’t everyone these days have a roadside assistance program that includes free tow, whether it’s part of their car insurance or AAA membership? Finally, it’s also becoming more common for cars to have “run-flat” tires standard. This means the tires are specially reinforced and able to keep carrying the car safely for up to another 100 miles to find a repair shop.
An Honorable Mention and Future Predictions for Useless Features
An “honorable mention” to this top 10 list is the sequential automatic transmission, which is rapidly being replaced with the CVT (continuous variable transmission). And in the “future predictions” category, two more items that might become useless features in the years ahead include gasoline engines (replaced by electric vehicles) and even the act of driving itself if driverless cars ever become widely adopted.
Ready to find the next used car that will serve you well for years to come? Check out the inventory we have available at Auto City! We focus on newer used cars with fewer miles to give you the best car choices possible at fantastic no-haggle prices. We take pride in putting you in the driver’s seat, not just of great used cars, but the whole car shopping process itself. We let you take the lead—no pressure, no negotiating. And we even offer a 3-day moneyback guarantee, no questions asked. If you need great financing, we rock at car loans! Find out all the different ways we do things differently, and if you have any questions, always feel free to call us at 619-588-4349.
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