Regarding the "ten features"

Our hosts have a list of features they propose be made mandatory on new models.Talk about planned obsolescence. Cars built with a myriad of electronic gadgetry will be as disposable as laptops. Too much potential failure for marginal benefit.

I’m inclined to agree, but no one is going to listen to us. New cars are becoming more and more complex every day. This trend is not likely to reverse itself any time soon. It will probably get worse.

Imagine the posts we’ll be reading a few years from now. You won’t need a mechanic to fix a car, you’ll need an electronics expert.

I live and work in a relatively rural area of one of the poorest states in the country. Although most of us here are comfortable a great many are struggling and without transportation they would be homeless. In recent years I have bypassed ABS systems, SRS systems, anti-theft systems, etc on quite a few cars. Certainly that statement will draw a lot of flack from those unfamiliar with the situation faced here but when facing a bread winner who is working 2 part time jobs and scraping to feed his kids it’s difficult to not offer the option of having serviceable non-ABS brakes for $100 vs replace the hydraulic module for $1200.

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I’m on your side, and yes, you will probably get a lot of flack from the “safety” crowd.

My cars are both more than ten years old. If either car’s ABS computer failed, I’d probably be inclined to forget it and continue driving with standard, non-ABS brakes. Same for the air bags. I don’t feel I need them, since I always wear my seat belt. For thirty years I drove cars without ABS or air bags, and never had a problem.

I’d still feel perfectly safe and comfortable driving such a car today.

Unfortunately, what you’re doing would probably render the cars unable to pass a mandatory safety inspection in many states, including mine. There isn’t an easy solution to this problem.

Next will be stability control, which I believe is now mandated, or soon will be, on all new cars.

Then people wonder why the price of new cars continues to climb. All of this stuff doesn’t come free. It increases the cost to buy and the cost to maintain, especially as a vehicle ages.


Agree Rod; although people have a right to demand these things, those that don’t want them should have the right to buy a car without them.

My last car purchased has no ABS, no Traction Control, no Stability Control, no automatic climate control, no self-dimming rear view mirror, etc.

But it has regular A/C, power windows, cruise, and I had to take the remote door locks.

Starting next year I understand that all North American cars will have Traction Control, ABS, Tire pressure monitoring and a few other things. The poor schmuck in Missisippi will have to live with these things as his car ages.

I often travel to countries without any of this legislation, and ride in cars and trucks that resemble what we had in the 80s, free from all these things to protect people from themselves. They all have seat belts and crash padding, but not much more.

"My last car purchased has no ABS, no Traction Control, no Stability Control, no automatic climate control, no self-dimming rear view mirror, etc.

But it has regular A/C, power windows, cruise, and I had to take the remote door locks."

Sounds exactly like my '06 Matrix. All that plus a 5-speed manual and a timing chain.

Agree; I wanted the best and longest lasting car that was reasonable good on the highway as well. It’s a 2007 Corolla CE and has automatic since my wife can’t shift gears. The timing chain was another thing I wanted.

Last month on holidays I rented a 2010 Matrix with the same type of equipment, but it had ABS and Traction control by now. Rental agencies buy what is the easiest to resell.

I agree, I think we have gone well past the point of “enough already”. The problem is there is no limit to the number of gadgets that can be dreamed up and no limit to some bureaucrat’s ability to dream up some reason why we can’t live without them until we end up with cars that won’t start without the government’s permission.

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Many of the features mentioned were OK. I am not fond of the Nanny Key Fob, and I am a parent.

I like a choice too and would not be critical of disabling options that did not exist several years ago for the sake of saving the whole car needed for transportation to employment.

The downside to what you do is that it makes it possible that someone and their trial lawyer who smell money could make your life difficult if someone had a crash traceable to lack of traction control or antilock brakes.

Cars built with a myriad of electronic gadgetry will be as disposable as laptops. Too much potential failure for marginal benefit.

If you consider keeping you alive a marginal benefit, then maybe it is…for you.

I am reminded of the trite statement “If it saves ONE child’s life it will be worth the cost.” How affordable would that Night Rider Firebird be? If new automobiles are made unaffordably expensive will the working class be left to do what the Cubans do?

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Another way to look at it is whether the benefit to society outweighs personal benefit. A good example is the motorcycle helmet law. Is it a right or a privilege to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? The helmet law exists to reduce medical costs for cyclists involved in an accident. If a rider is permanently incapacitated, someone has to pay to take care of them, and that would be handled through insurance. Is it worth the increased cost of insurance to let someone decide whether they wear a helmet? Certainly high speed accidents would result in death with or without a helmet. But low speed accidents could result in slight personal injury if the rider wears a helmet.

Many of the items on the referenced list would reduce accidents. Are they worth it to keep distracted drivers off your bumper?

The benefits of so many gadgets is extremely negligible for many of us. Would the most sophisticated electronic/hydraulic handling package be significantly safer than the performance package that is available on most cars? Or does that expensive system only give handling equal to the performance package when “needed” while offering a soft and gentle ride when not needed? And the dumb drivers who push their luck and rattle the nerves of sensible drivers won’t let themselves be deterred from riding your bumper at 75 miles per hour. The idiots will just tape over the radar antenna and push on. I would prefer that an annual tax of $1,000 be added to the cost of a tag of any automobile with the horsepower to exceed 90 mph or accelerate to 60 in under 10 seconds. I feel somewhat certain that there would be a decline in accidents and a decline in the injuries in accidents with such a tax.

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Sounds like the problem is the drivers, not the cars.

That tax would be added to just about every vehicle on the road then. My old Civic produced only 126hp and was able to get to 100mph and had a 9.5 second 0-60 time

Stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, and on and on and on. Will they really reduce the number of accidents, or, will they simply allow aggressive drivers to lose control of their cars at even higher speeds than previously possible?

The hi-tech safety gizmos are just another example of our country putting all our decisions in the hands of the government. Personal responsibility? Proper driving habits? Who needs those when your car practically drives itself, and compensates for bad driving habits? Oh, except when the car is pushed beyond its limits, and the car, the driver, and all the safety gear end up in the ditch or slammed into a wall. How far should we allow Mommy Gov to regulate our safety? A bad diet can eventually kill us; should we have our meals planned for us by the Feds? Sounds crazy, but who could have predicted so much regulation in the auto biz, all supposedly for our own good because we’re perceived as too stupid to take responsibility for ourselves? I certainly won’t ever be able to persuade the safety-police that they’re creating the very situations they’re trying to avoid, but I’ll also certainly never be convinced that all the expense and complexity of this technology is a worthwhile substitute for good and responsible driving practices.

I’m NOT disagreeing with you…but the problem is…NOT if any hi-tech safety devices will save the drivers life…but will they save the innocent bystanders life that he just took away because he lost control of his car and smashed into a group of kids waiting for the school bus.