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Must Have Features in Your Car

Arup Das, 15-May-2011

Tips 1-4

Don't get fooled by the good looks of your car. The features inside also matter whether they make your everday drive easier or end up saving your life in an accident

Have you ever wondered what features your car should be having? Well, you've come to the right place for the answers.

While customers are blessed with the option of choosing the convenience and safety features of their choice, it has also become harder to pick the truly essential ones from the seemingly unlimited choices at their disposal. One must remember that not every feature available in the market for your car is going to be helpful. There are some that are helpful for the drive and make driving more convenient. There are others that improve your safety in case you meet with an accident.

So, in an effort to make your choices easier, we have gathered the must-have car features (in no particular order) to help you come to grips with what features are available, what they do, and why you should have them in your next vehicle even though they may add to the cost. End of the day it's your call. Save money and buy a bare minimum car or own a safe and comfortable vehicle.

1. Reverse sensing system

Reverse sensing system

Many may sneer and say if you can’t reverse your car safely, you better not drive at all. But in big cities, with chaotic parking lots and unreliable attendants, it is better to repose faith in a reversing system. A proximity sensor in the rear portion of the vehicle senses when the vehicle gets too close to an object and warns the driver. The system is automatically activated when you engage reverse gear. Small sensors send and receive ultrasonic radio waves, which bounce off obstacles and alert you to their presence. A buzzer gradually increases in frequency as the vehicle approaches closer to the object. Some cars also have a visual aid as an added help to ease parking woes.


2. Airbags


Airbags are now available in affordable cars. Crash sensors wired to an on-board computer trigger an airbag during a collision. The front airbag inflates automatically to prevent occupants from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel or windshield. Side airbags reduce the risk of occupants injuring themselves against the door. Although airbags are optional, we recommend it.


3. Defogger


The back window gets just as fogged as the front windshield; however, many cars do not include a rear window defogger as a part of the factory-installed accessories. The defogger clears the mist off your window and hence maintains good visibility. Without this visibility in the rear window, you will be facing a potential safety problem.


4. Antilock braking system (ABS)

Antilock braking system (ABS)

ABS too has been introduced in the hatchback segment in recent years. One has to pay a premium but then it’s worth the amount as it prevents a car's wheels from locking up during "panic" braking. Basically ABS allows the driver to steer the car and swerve away from harm's way even under hard braking. This is a key advantage of a car with ABS as opposed to one without the system. However please also bear in mind that merely the presence of ABS is no guarantee of safety. So, drive carefully.


Tips 5-9

5. Head restraints

Head restraints

Head restraints are extensions of vehicle seats. They're those things that most people think of as headrests, but that's not really their primary function; they are actually designed to restrict head movement during a rear-impact collision. In doing so, they reduce the chance of neck and shoulder injuries. Having a locking head restraint is important. If the head restraint is not locked in position during an accident then this can compromise the amount of protection the restraint offers. The restraint must be at least as high as your eyes and as close to the back of your head as is comfortable. Set it no lower than your ears. If your head restraint is too low, you could get serious whiplash injuries in a rear-end collision, even at slower speeds. Have your passengers do the same. Always check your head restraint when getting into a car, particularly if you share a car. The head restraints may have been adjusted for someone of a different size and may not suit you.


6. Traction control

Traction control

Traction control utilises the anti-lock braking system to detect and control wheelspin. Sensors monitor the speed of each wheel. If the system recognises that a wheel is turning faster than its counterpart on the opposite side of the vehicle, it pulses the brake on the faster-spinning wheel in an attempt to transfer power to the wheel with better traction. Traction control can be a big help when you're driving on wet tarmac or other slick surfaces, and if a wheel spins when taking off from a stop. Some drivers may find the intervention of traction control annoying, especially if they drive a performance vehicle. So most systems have a button or switch that allows the driver to temporarily deactivate traction control. When the system is disabled, a warning light will illuminate on the instrument panel to remind the driver that traction control has been switched off and is not available. The system will remain disabled until the driver pushes the TCS button again, or until the start of the next ignition cycle. Disabling this does not disable or affect the operation of the ABS system. Many people mistakenly believe that traction control will prevent their vehicle from getting stuck in surfaces like snow or mud. This is not true. It does not have the ability to increase traction; it just attempts to prevent wheels from spinning.


7. Adjustable comforts

Adjustable comforts

Who wouldn’t want to custom the driving comfort? Most cars have the seating and steering position designed considering an average driver in mind. This setting puts shorter and/or taller than normal drivers at a disadvantage; the issue can be compensated by virtue of steering adjustments. An steering wheel adjustable for reach can be extended towards or away from the driver. Most cars though get a rake adjustment whereby the steering can be lowered or raised. Meanwhile a seat height adjustment function allows short or tall drivers to lower or raise the seat in order to aid visibility or be comfortable in the car.


8. Multiple 12V power outlets

Multiple 12V power outlets

Nowadays most of the cars have at least 12V power outlet on centre console which is actually a boon as it provides a way to charge your mobile phone. We don’t recommend chatting on the phone while driving, but it's a comforting feeling to know you have the power to make a call in case of an emergency. For those who can’t live without their MP3 players and iPods, multiple power outlets become their saviour as they can run their players as well.


9. Fog lamps

Fog lamps

Adequate light is necessary for you to drive safely. Especially in foggy weather; due to inadequate light you may drive blind. As fog lights produce a low but wide beam of light it penetrates through fog and produce less glare. It helps in improving vision in ugly weather not only in fog but in rain and snow also. Different types of fog bulbs are available such as yellow, white or blue. Yellow fog lights are considered better because they only emit one part of the light spectrum and therefore scatter less. There are also halogen fog lights, and xenon HID.




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