The Ten Basic Car Features You Can't Live Without

Could you imagine your car without any of these things?


10.) Fuel Gauge

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Imagine this: you’re driving along one day, minding your own business, when suddenly, your car comes to a grinding halt. You’re out of gas, and you’re nowhere near a gas station. If only you had a simple way to gauge how much fuel you had.

Admittedly this is a bit unrealistic since you’d probably carry fuel with you if you didn’t have a fuel gauge, but even still, it’s difficult to imagine life without them.

Suggested By: burglar can’t heart click anything, Photo Credit: Pete


9.) Electric Starter Motor

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Every day you get in your car, and 99 times out of 100, it starts right up with minimal effort on your part.

Try crank starting or bump starting a car, and you will never take the electric starter motor for granted again.

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Suggested By: Tom Landers, Photo Credit: Willdre


8.) Adjustable Seats

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Cars have to work for a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and without adjustable seats, cars would be completely impossible for most people to use, or at the very least, extremely uncomfortable.

Suggested By: Jonee, Photo Credit: BMW


7.) HVAC

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There’s something to be said for getting in your car and just being comfortable, no matter what the weather is like outside. You won’t melt when it’s hot, and you won’t freeze when it’s cold.

You’ll miss it the first time you’re in an older car that either doesn’t have HVAC, or does but it’s broken. Just ask Orlove.

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Suggested By: bbutle01, Photo Credit: Mazda


6.) Windshield Wipers

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Could you imagine how dangerous driving in inclement weather would be if windshield wipers didn’t exist? It would make going out in a light drizzle a nearly impossible task, let alone a snow storm.

They’re one of the simplest, cheapest parts on your car, but also one of the most important.

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Suggested By: Stig-a-saw-us-wrecks, Photo Credit: osseous


5.) Electric Headlights

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Electric headlights are such an integral part of cars, and have been for such a long time, so it’s hard to imagine life without them. The earliest automotive headlamps were powered by acetylene oil, and they weren’t all that effective.

Having electric headlamps means that it’s easy and safe for you to drive at night. So much better than having to fill up your headlamps with carbide and still not being able to see well.

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Suggested By: Countersteer, Photo Credit: Audi


4.) Fuel Injection

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Old carbureted cars are cool as hell, but fuel injection is better in every way. With fuel injection cars are easier to start (especially in the cold), more efficient, idle more consistently, and have better throttle response.

Plus, with fuel injection you won’t run the risk of flooding your engine.

Suggested By: Vlan1, Photo Credit: Brain Toad


3.) Alternators

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The switch from generators to alternators in the 1960s was huge in the automotive world. It meant that you could have more advanced (and power hungry) electronics like radio, A/C, safety systems, power controls and more.

Without alternators, cars today would have no greater level of technology than they did in the early ‘60s.

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Suggested By: JohnnyWasASchoolboy, Photo Credit: Pentti Immonen


2.) Standardized Controls

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Steering wheel is ahead of you where your hands fall. At your feet, the clutch is on the left, brake in the middle, gas to the right. Gauges to tell you how fast you’re going and how your car is running right behind the steering wheel. Transmission, HVAC, and radio right in the middle of the dash.

It’s easy to take the standardized control layout for granted, but cars were nigh on impossible to operate before that layout was standardized.

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Suggested By: 8695Beaters, Photo Credit: Porsche


1.) Safety Systems

We as car enthusiasts take safety systems for granted. We shouldn’t. Allow my colleague Patrick George to explain:

“That’s a graph of U.S. traffic fatalities over time relative to the total population. It’s at its lowest levels now since before World War I, and it’s not because Americans are getting better at driving. (Probably the opposite.)

I know we bitch and moan about how overly complicated modern cars are, but it’s hard to argue with those results when you’re talking about human life.”

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Suggested By: Patrick George, Photo Credit: Stephen740

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

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Top Photo Credit: Volvo


Contact the author of this post at chris@jalopnik.com.

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