Some Things About New Cars

  • May 22, 2024

To say cars aren’t like they used to make them is like saying flying commercial isn’t like it used to be.

For one thing, many new cars that aren’t electric cars (or even partially electric cars) have two batteries now. One to start the engine and other to re-start the engine. Over and over and over again. This is the second battery that is part of the automatic stop-start system pretty much all new cars with engines now come standard with in order to eke out fractional per-car increases in gas mileage and reductions in CO2 “emissions” that – when factored out over a manufacturer’s fleet of vehicles – helps the manufacturer comply with the latest slew of gas mileage and “emissions” regulations.

This second battery is necessary to keep the primary battery from being discharged to such an extent that it hasn’t got the power to start the engine when you try to start it. But it also draws power and so depletes charge – kind of like leaving the dome light on by accident. That’s why the ’24 Dodge Hornet I tried to test drive recently didn’t start – and eventually had to be towed to a Dodge dealer.

If you have a car with two batteries, it will likely also need to be towed to the dealer when the second battery needs to be replaced – because you probably won’t be able to replace it yourself as it’s buried deep within the guts of the car and requires that the car be plugged in – to a computer, at the dealership – to successfully replace it with a new second battery.

More?

Almost all new cars already have what are styled “driver performance monitors.” The ones Biden decreed shall be required in new cars by the 2026 model year. The manufacturers of new cars anticipated the requirement and so are ready for it, already. You can’t see the performance monitor with your eyes but its eyes (infrared ones) are on you. If the system thinks you are “drowsy” or “not paying attention” it will cue harassing visual and audible corrections.

That’s all – for now. But more – to come.

When the decree goes into effect come 2026, the system will do more than just harass you. It will prevent you – from continuing to drive. Because you will be considered “drunk” or at least “impaired” rather than merely “drowsy” or “not paying attention” and the car will then assume the role of police – and pull you over. It is very likely, incidentally, that cars already fitted with “drowsy” driver and “eyes on the road” monitors as in the video above are also capable of pulling you over, too.

Their systems just haven’t been fully activated – yet.

More?

Did you know you can’t swap out seats – if you don’t like the seats your car came with? Not if it’s a car made within the past 15 years or so and has airbags embedded in the seats. The seats are no longer just seats. They are part of an integrated system and removal of any part will cause the system to have a fit. It’s the same, by the way, for door panels – which also now have air bags embedded within as well as mini-computers called body control modules. This is one reason why repair costs have skyrocketed – and insurance costs along with them.

No more just unbolting the four bolts that hold the seat’s tracks to the floor – and installing a new pair of seats from some other car. It used to be that if they fit, it’d work. Like so many other things, you can’t do that anymore, either.

One more:

A real spare tire – one that’s the same size and type as the other four – is both rare and often extra-cost. What you typically get now is not even one of those “space saver” mini-spares that are for temporary use only. But at least they let you gimp on down the road instead of waiting by the side of the road for roadside service.

The “space saver” spare is going the way of the full-sized spare – in part because it takes up too much space in the trunk/cargo area of new vehicles, many of which (such as the few cars that are still available in a market that has gone over almost entirely to crossovers) don’t have a lot of space to spare.

Instead, they give you a tire repair kit which consists of a bottle of goo (to seal the hole) and small air compressor to refill the damaged tire once the hole has been sealed by the goo. This is great if all you’ve got is a hole. But if you have a tear – if the sidewall is damaged – no amount of goo will plug the hole and you’ll be waiting for roadside service by the side of the road.

It makes you want to go new car shopping, doesn’t it?

. . .

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