Not-So-Secret Car Features That Will Make Any Road Trip A Joy Ride

By Anthony K

How well do you know your car? You might spend a lot of time in it, but there are likely to be features you haven’t discovered about it yet. We admit we’re not the type of people to read the manual, so most of these features were new. Some are things that are right before your eyes, whereas others are hidden, and you have never had the chance to explore them. Many of these overlooked features can be a lifesaver while on the road and could make your trips simpler, more convenient, and more fun. This article highlights a list of some hidden features in your car that will blow your mind. Fasten your safety belt, and let’s get to it.

1. Gas Tank Locator

You have probably wondered about this while arriving at a gas station if it’s your first time filling up a car you’re unfamiliar with. It is an awkward situation having to check your side mirrors to see if you can spot the opening.

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Lucky for us, the gas tank locator is always on the fuel gauge. Whichever direction the arrow points, that’s the side of the car you will find it. It’s as easy as that. Next time you are in an unfamiliar car, just check your dashboard.

2. Drowsiness Detector

With this handy system, sensors can check if a driver is awake by scanning their face. Only once it determines the person is awake will it give over control of the wheel. The system monitors the driver’s behavior for about 15 minutes to determine a pattern of behavior.

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The system then checks those against his driving, such as lane deviation, steering wheel angle, and external factors such as pothole avoidance. If the driver is detected to be sleeping, he is alerted to wake up and directed to the nearest stop.

3. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

This electronic system was invented to monitor the air pressure inside the tires. All passenger vehicles are equipped with this system which alerts the driver with a warning light to let him know that at least one tire has lost pressure.

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New and modern systems display the pressure number on the dashboards, whereas the older systems require you to manually check each tire’s pressure. Some Nissan cars will honk the horn when the tire is at full pressure, leaving you certain you have filled it up enough.

4. Anti-Lock Braking System

Also abbreviated as ABS, the Anti- Locking Braking system helps the driver steer in emergencies by restoring traction to the tires. These sensors determine whether breaking will cause a lock-up. If it detects one, the system will limit the braking.

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Driving in wet conditions is always a risk; this braking system is activated in such situations. It is also triggered in poor conditions or if the driver causes them to lock due to slamming on their brakes. In the US, ABS is a requirement for all cars.

5. Warning on the Road Condition

Road condition indicators are a crucial feature notifying the driver on what to expect, especially when fog, rain, or ice makes roads too hazardous to drive on. It looks like a snowflake on a street. It’s controlled by a temperature gauge.

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It also warns the driver if there is a risk of the roads freezing. When you start your vehicle and notice a snowflake symbol on the dashboard, this is a warning that there is a possibility of ice on the roads.

6. Car Seat Massagers

If you like road trips or do a lot of driving, you must know of the back and shoulder tension accompanying long rides. A seat massager is a perfect feature for you. It is meant to ease muscle tension, and discomfort felt while driving.

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Your mood is also enhanced due to the release of endorphins, making you feel happier while enjoying your drive. You don’t have to sit in traffic miserably with back pain; the car seat massage will undoubtedly reduce the stress on your body.

7. Warm Steering Wheel

This may seem like an unnecessary feature for you until you enjoy a nice, warm steering wheel during winter, and you do not want to go back to a cold steering wheel. With this feature, you need not scrape snow or ice from your windscreen, numbing your fingers.

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Heated steering wheels keep your hands warm with a touch of a button. It is either on the steering wheel or near the seat heater controls. You can include a heated steering wheel from the factory when you order a car from a dealership or purchase one that can fit any vehicle.

8. Lane Centering Sensors

Lane Centering technology is designed to make the road safer and more tolerable. It checks the vehicle’s position, making adjustments to keep the car centered between the lines. If the car has moved from the lane, it automatically steers without the driver’s input to keep it parallel to the left and right lane markings.

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The feature relies on a camera that identifies where the lanes are, ensuring the driver stays in the correct one. These systems signal to the driver through an audible warning or vibration before correcting the action, keeping the car in its lane.

9. More Storage

Car manufacturers have spent years developing efficiency even for the use of space. Some of these pockets or spaces are hidden under the passenger seats. Car owners can put valuables in these secret storage spots. However, there is a risk of using these concealed parts.

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Since they are primarily in hidden places, the car owner may forget their existence, alongside the items stored inside. Check out your user manual to learn about all the hiding spots you might have in your vehicle. Also, explore your car!

10. Conversation Mirror

It can be pretty annoying holding a conversation with someone in the backseat while you are in the front seat. You might sometimes struggle to hear since you can’t see their face. This mirror makes communication between the driver and backseat passengers easier.

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Simply open the sunglasses holder all the way to use this feature. Otherwise, it remains out of sight. It also enables the driver to keep tabs on kids and pets while talking to anyone sitting behind you without losing the view ahead of the car.

11. Hands-Free Trunk

Trying to open your trunk with your hands full of groceries or bags is a big inconvenience. Just the thought of you having to put them down before opening the trunk is stressful and can cause awkwardness in the parking lot.

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With this new invention, goodbye to that hassle. The feature enables you to open your trunk simply by waving a foot under it. Some car models open when they sense that the driver is approaching. Goodbye to shifting or placing your load down before opening the trunk.

12. Enhanced Soundproof

Making a car soundproof is done by adding extra insulation layers around the engine and suspension mounts and by using noise cancellation technology. Almost every car has a soundproofing feature on walls and seats, but quite a lot of people do not know this.

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The feature helps to quiet the sound of the road a bit while also reducing the noise emitted from the engine. With this feature, you enjoy a much smoother ride. The more expensive the car, the higher quality this feature is.

13. Open Trunk

Being accidentally locked in the trunk is one big nightmare for many. Luckily, all cars made in America since 2001 must have a preventative safety feature that could save us from this situation. We encourage you to get familiar with it.

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By simply pulling the release handle, you can free yourself from a scary situation. In some vehicles, the handle glows in the dark, allowing you to locate it easily. No need to be worried about this if your car is less than 20 years old.

14. Lighting up the Floor

Have you had a moment when you parked your car, stepped out, and immediately stepped into an unexpected puddle? It can be pretty disastrous, especially if your shoes or outfit are ruined. But this could be avoided with floor lighting.

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Some cars, such as the Hyundai Genesis model, have a light feature that helps you see the floor beside your car door before you step out. We hope this becomes a trend because such a simple feature could make life much easier.

15. Magic Seat

When carrying a load that would require you to find space at the back seat, you may want to switch up your car’s interior and move things around. Some cars come with an amazing feature called Magic Seats, which enables you to push the seats forward to give you more trunk space.

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It opens up an area that can fit large items such as folding chairs, a bicycle, or large suitcases so they can be easily transported. You can even push the front seats until they are flat and enjoy a nap.

16. Set the ambiance

You can customize the brightness and interior lights to create the ambiance you want in your car. Being able to customize your car will make driving a much more exciting experience. The handles, center console, cup holders, and in some, the footwell, can all be lit up.

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Most car owners are aware of the lights in their vehicles but didn’t realize they could be adjusted. Studies have found that the lighting enhances the overall experience of using the car. We hope that other manufacturers include this feature in newer models.

17. Adjustable Mirrors

Most cars will allow you to adjust your mirrors slightly, just as you can adjust your rearview mirror. This feature is useful the bright headlights of the car behind are blinding you and obscuring your vision. Nowadays, many models allow you to adjust the side mirrors electronically.

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Be sure to check your visibility before and after adjusting to stay safe. It is important to get well acquainted with the rearview mirror and make sure it has everything in view. ONce those bright lights are out of the way, remember to readjust it.

18. Hooking It Up

Almost all cars have hooks on the headrest. They can be used to hang things up such as grocery bags, school bags, etc. SUVs have more hooks than standard cars. Bigger vehicles have more hooks as compared to standard-size models.

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You can find more hooks in the trunk, above the passenger windows, and behind headrests. Most of us don’t use them; we assume that they can make the car seem a bit untidy, especially when you hang too many things. However, they are perfect for carrying fragile items.

19. Blindspot monitoring system

Blindspots are hard to avoid and a tricky challenge. Newer cars come with a blind spot monitoring system that can make your trips safer. They use radar sensors that check for any obstacles near the vehicle. We have probably all seen this.

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If these systems find any obstacles, they use a warning light to tell you that something is there and you shouldn’t change lanes just yet. Often, the car will ding at you and indicate where the obstruction is in relation to your vehicle.

20. Smart Cars

Using a regular cellphone while driving should be avoided because it is pretty dangerous for everyone on the road. However, we cannot always avoid phone calls or other potential distractions, such as our trusted GPS systems, hence the introduction of smart cars.

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Smart cars have Android Auto and Apple Car Play, which let you use the essential parts of your vehicle while driving. The driver can access music, maps, and other apps from the comfort of the dashboard. It cuts down on distracted driving.

21. Umbrella in the door

The trunk is where many of us store an umbrella. However, what happens when it begins raining, and you have to get out of the car? It will need to be within reach. Some manufacturers have offered a clever solution.

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Rolls Royce and Skoda, for example, have designed space inside the door panel to ensure that an umbrella is within reach on rainy days. Though out of sight, it is readily accessible. You might forget once or twice, but you’ll adjust to this convenience.

22. Jeepers Creepers!

Besides being able to go off-road easily, those lucky folks with Jeeps might also have hidden surprises throughout their vehicle. The manufacturer likes to hide tiny figures and pictures all over the place. You can find spiders and many others.

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If you have one, go check out your Jeep! These cute and clever features are unique to this brand and make life a little more fun and interesting. You might find a tiny picture of an older model of Jeep.

23. Signal Change Warning

Waiting at a traffic signal can feel endless. Some drivers switch off the car or find a distraction such as scrolling through the phone, catching up with a book, or even taking time to enjoy the meal you just got. A driver could get so carried away and fail to realize when the traffic starts moving again.

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Subaru manufacturers developed a solution to this. They came up with a feature in the eyesight safety system, which advises the driver when traffic starts moving again through a slight beeping sound that warns the occupied driver before they get an angry honk from another driver.

24. Keep your car clean with a built-in hidden vacuum.

Ever wondered or calculated how much you spend at a car wash facility in a month? You might go to a carwash because of the lack of space to do it at home, or the lack of time, or maybe the lack of amenities. Hauling your vacuum cleaner outside might be too annoying for you.

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Manufacturers have seen it as a good idea to have a vacuum cleaner attached to the car. This is to enable you, as the car owner, to vacuum your vehicle and keep it clean. Some cars have one hidden inside. The range hose is long enough to reach every crusty corner.

25. Electronic Stability Control

Since 2011, vehicles have had stability control built into them. For example, there are sensors that can indicate to the driver whether the car is being maneuvered too far in one direction or not far enough. If you’re swerving, this feature will help straighten out your vehicle.

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ESC engages the brake system on the wheels o ensure you are turning smoothly and safely. The system engages during sharp turns on winding roads, or when it loses traction in rainy or snowy weather. This feature is available in every vehicle.

26. Computerized Driving Assistance

You may not have known about this feature. Some parts are subtle and activated without the driver knowing. Others, such as the parking assistance, are so convenient that it is unimaginable to think that a driver would opt to leave them out.

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Do you fancy parallel parking? Maneuvering this can be quite a challenge even for the most skilled drivers. You can allow the car to do it. Downhill assist is another option that, through automation, prevents the vehicle from high-risk acceleration while descending. Some systems can sense and detect road hazards including bicycles and pedestrians.

27. Heads-up display

To curb phone distraction while driving, many newer cars are offering a heads-up display. This feature displays essential driving information by projecting it onto the windshield in front of the driver. But of course, you are able to still see the road.

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This feature is critical since it provides the driver with information about the car’s speed and if it’s going in the right direction. It also shows the song playing and can display videos. However, always remember to focus your eyes on the road.

28. Backseat Reminders

The backseat reminders have highly been appreciated by parents who would have otherwise accidentally left their young ones in their car seat in the back of the car for hours on end. Automakers have developed systems that eliminate these mistakes.

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Once the system detects that a rear door had been opened right before or right after starting the car, the system will sound a chime and flash an alert on the dashboard. It can also detect that there is someone back there with weight sensors.

29. Fuel Saving Frames

The materials used in making a car determine the energy efficiency of the vehicle. One way to make a car more energy-efficient is to build it so that it weighs less. Automakers now use aluminum instead of steel since it is more delicate and can be forged to be strong.

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Pickup trucks are a good example. They weighed 700 pounds lighter than the previous years’ models. These new, comparatively lightweight vehicles can be up to 29% more fuel-efficient. Imagine if everyone used a third less fuel. That would lead to a significant reduction in pollution.

30. Dimming rearview Mirror

Did you know you can reduce the headlight glare? If you didn’t, you are not alone as many car owners are unaware of this feature. Below the mirror, there is a tab showing day and night settings that are easily adjusted.

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This setting enables you to choose your desired option. This rearview prevents the driver from being blinded by the headlights of cars behind them. Some manufacturers also include a feature to dim rearview mirrors automatically. This is a fairly new feature, but we expect to see it more often.

31. Fragrance Dispenser

We all like to have some kind of air freshener or device in our car which will make it smell heavenly and clean. Finding the right scent and changing the packet every now and then can be a hassle. Enter modern technology. There are mid-range cars that come with a fragrance dispenser.

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For luxury cars, you even have the choice to pick different fragrances to dispense just by pushing a button. The BMW has a new feature called “Ambient Air,” which is hidden away in the glove box. It is a built-in air freshener and has plenty of customizable features you can change based on preference.

32. Smart Sunroof

Many people tend to confuse the sunroof and the moonroof. Cars with a window that opens is a moon roof, whereas that which cannot be opened is a sunroof. The vehicles with smart electronic sunroof change the view with the push of a button.

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Teslas are an excellent example of this feature. It helps regulate the temperature inside the cab so that your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard. It also prevents you from feeling blinded when the sun reaches certain angles.

33. Cart

You can find a foldable shopping cart tucked away to the side of the trunk. This feature is available for the Picasso model by Citroen. It, however, wasn’t successful as they expected and was therefore not included in other models.

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Why do you think a shopping cart was necessary for a car? We aren’t sure either, but we imagine that some people loved it and are disappointed that it will not be available when they upgrade to a newer model.

34. Rolls Royce Champagne Cooler

When you think of Rolls Royce, you think of a luxury lifestyle. Their Phantom model comes with a built-in champaign cooler. It is located in the car’s back since it is expected to be for the passengers and not the driver. 

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This feature must have been added to make long travel journeys much easier and make the passengers feel highly glamorous. When you enter this car, feel at home and expect luxury. And with all this, be careful not to spill any drinks on those premium seats.

35. Window Control

Have you ever been in a situation where after parking your car, getting out, and locking it you realize that your windows are still down? Quite a bummer, right? You don’t have to go back to your car with the key-controlled windows.

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This is a feature added to new cars. Press down to unlock the car on your fob for about five seconds. If the vehicle has this feature, the windows will automatically roll down. Repeat this again to make them go up. It saves you quite a few seconds, right?

36. Automatic Hazards

This is a necessary feature and is installed in every vehicle. The automatic hazard lights warn people when a car is in a dangerous situation. This could be an engine failure, flat tire, or even an accident. Use these if you ever have to pull over on the highway.

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When faced with an accident, the stressful situation can cause you to forget to turn on your hazard lights. They act as a way of warning other drivers and can also be a way of asking for help. The automatic hazard lights can save your life.

37. Fuel Cap Holder

Have you dealt with a scenario when you lost the fuel cap for your car? It happens to many drivers since you have no idea where to put it while pumping gas. Holding it can get your hands dirty or leave them smelling like petroleum.

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The good news is that many cars have a holder installed. It ensures that your fuel cap is held and makes the whole process a lot easier. This is a convenience we never thought a lot about but are extremely glad exists.

38. Ice Removal

This special feature is super helpful for those who live in places with heavy snow or ice. You will find a build-in ice scraper inside the fuel door in new Skoda cars. These cars also have other valuable features for freezing conditions.

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Some of these built-in conveniences include heated windshields that remove the ice and snow without any effort on your part. That would make those freezing mornings a lot smoother and hassle-free. You can also use it to generally clean your windshield when you need to.

39. Autopilot Mode

In this day and age, self-driving cars are becoming more and more popular. Though they are not entirely safe for the road, manufacturers are developing new features in some models that will certainly help to work out the current kinks.

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The Mercedes Drive Pilot feature is the first step of the way in this technology. They are rivals with the Tesla autopilot. These cars drive themselves at least some of the way. You can’t give up control entirely just yet, but while on drive pilot, you can relax a little.

40. Color-Coding

When you open your hood, you receive a shocking welcome of all the different parts you come into contact with. It gets even worse when the car has a problem, and you have no idea where to begin. How do you know what to keep an eye on?

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Luckily, most come with color-coded parts to simplify things for you. The colors are segmented based on the parts you check regularly. There are also grey and black parts which are mainly for your mechanic. To know about the color coding for your car, refer to the manual.