Are Gadgets On Cars A Waste Of Money?

Thursday, 25. August 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Are gadgets a waste of time and money? If recent reports are anything to go by it’s a resounding yes. Some recent additions such as brake assist and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) are there as vital safety aids but few drivers know that they are fitted to their cars and even fewer know what they do. In an experiment carried out by Auto Express 80% of drivers had gadgets they didn’t use at all and 70% of those didn’t use them because they didn’t know how to.

More than half of motorists questioned had gadgets fitted to their cars that they didn’t realise existed. So does this mean that the £1.6 billion spent each year on gizmos is a waste of money?

Actually, probably not, as many of the drivers questioned had purchased their cars second hand from a dealer who wouldn’t know himself about all the gadgets fitted on all cars.

However, when purchased new, the gadgets are often key to the purchase decision. Readers of my newsletter know about ESC as I bang on about it all the time as it actually saves more lives than ABS and runs second place to seatbelts.

But when asked 50% of drivers didn’t know that it was fitted and 50% didn’t know what it was for. The technology is crucial in helping drivers to prevent an accident by applying drive and braking to individual wheels that stops your car from careering off the road.

The problem according to safety expert, Matthew Avery who works for safety testing company Thatcham who provide euroNCAP safety ratings for cars is that drivers experiment with the technology by switching it off, thereby leaving them exposed to an avoidable accident.

The advice is leave it on. Bluetooth may be essential when buying a new car as many buyers specifically ask for it to enable the driver to hook up his mobile phone to the hands free Bluetooth system but it was found that many drivers didn’t know it was available in their cars or hadn’t found out how to use it.

Sat nav turned out to be the most popular gadget but when researchers checked cars they found only 30% had it fitted in the car although many more drivers would have liked it if the option cost wasn’t so expensive.

On the other hand some drivers preferred the hand held device or mobile phone app because of its portability. Cruise control is quite common on cars these days but it would seem that only 30% use it with many other drivers not knowing how to use it.

Dual zone climate control has been the source of a joke by comedian John Bishop suggesting that you can have a Sahara like temperature one side of the car and a North Pole temperature 2 feet away on the other side of the car – it simply isn’t going to work so what’s the point?

Possibly drivers felt the same when questioned about the system fitted in their cars who didn’t really know what it did or how to use it. Are you a gadget freak? Will you be looking out for cars fitted with the latest Wi-Fi technology etc.

Or do you feel we’ve gone too far with metal boxes with wheels that were intended to transport you from A to B? By Graham Hill

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