Hidden features your car could have that you don’t know about – including clever buttons that could save you £100s
WITH so many models on the market, picking a car can be a daunting task.
Almost all new vehicles come with features that promise to make driving easier, cheaper and more enjoyable – but how many do you actually know about?
According to a recent poll, almost half of owners have no idea about their car’s full potential, meaning they could be losing out on useful perks.
A further 36 per cent said they were often confused about their car’s specs and have no idea what some dashboard symbols may mean.
Here, we break down some of the most useful car features and how some can even help drive down the cost of fuel or insurance.
With the cost of living crisis tightening belts, many people are looking for ways to lower their fuel consumption.
By enabling this feature, you ensure that your engine isn’t working as hard, reducing the pressure on its battery as it limits its power output.
This does mean you’re unable to accelerate as quickly as you would be able to when the function is turned off.
But, more crucially, it means you will not have to spend so much money filling up on fuel.
Estimates suggest it could boost fuel economy by 5-10 per cent – plus, it’s also environmentally friendly of course.
Adaptive Cruise Control
The Adaptive Cruise Control system is put in place to help vehicles maintain a following distance that is safe and within the speed limit.
It helps you to control your car’s speed automatically, by using a radar system at the front of the car that scans the path ahead for other vehicles.
To turn it on, you need to accelerate to your preferred speed and press the “set” button. When the car in front slows down, your car will either do the same or alert you to hit the brakes.
Adaptive Cruise Control is one of the features insurance companies often look out for and can lead to lower premiums.
Heated steering wheels
Driving in extreme wintery conditions can be incredibly difficult – especially when it feels like you could get frostbite from touching your steering wheel.
But with this feature, your steering wheels are quickly heated to give you a much better comfortable driving experience so you don’t have to wait for the whole car to warm up.
In many vehicles, you are able to control the heating to your preferred temperature.
Some cars even have automatic heating coils that jump into action the moment you enter.
Since 2014, it has been a requirement for all new vehicles to be fitted with an electronic stability control system.
This helps to stop the car from skidding out of control and rolling over when you have to apply force while steering on slippery roads.
Cars that have this feature installed are 25 per cent less likely to be involved in a fatal car crash, according to figures from the AA .
Some insurance companies also offer discounts for vehicles that have been fitted with electric stability controls.
When water appears on your windscreen, the rain sensors work to automatically trigger programmed responses.
It will mainly activate the windscreen wipers, but can also perform other actions like closing the car’s windows and sunroof to protect internal systems from the rain.
The aim of the sensors is to ensure that driving in wet conditions is as safe as possible. When it is triggered, you wouldn’t have to focus your attention on turning on your wipers or shutting your windows.
It is capable of reacting faster than a human, which is essential for cases where the driver is affected by visual distractions, according to Car Rental Getaway.
Another great feature that will help reduce fuel consumption is the start-stop feature first introduced by Ford.
There’s no point keeping your car’s engine running when you’re not moving as this wastes fuel – with this function, you don’t have to manually switch your engine on and off.
It automatically senses when the car has stopped and stops the engine completely and starts again when you release the brake.
It is especially helpful when you find yourself stuck in traffic.
You can install a tracking device to help you find your car – but the best way to prevent it from being stolen is the steering lock feature.
Many new cars that use turn-key ignitions already have this installed.
To activate it, you will need to turn your steering wheel once the key has been removed from the ignition. It will engage a locking mechanism that stops the steering from being moved without a key.
This means even if a criminal is able to get your car started, they will be unable to operate the wheel.
To move your car again, simply turn the steering wheel slightly when your key is inserted.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
According to the RAC, this feature monitors traffic and road conditions and looks out for signs that a collision might happen.
It will warn you about any dangers ahead and will automatically apply the brakes if you don’t respond on time.
AEB will often determine the brake force needed to be applied to each situation.
According to research by the University of Adelaide, the function can reduce fatal collisions by 20-25 per cent and bring down the likelihood of an injury to 25-30 per cent.
While some new standard cars come with AEB, other manufacturers offer it as an option for an additional charge. The feature can also positively impact your car insurance premium.
Blind spot detection
When another motorist is getting too close to your side and rear, blind spot detection will give a warning to alert you of their presence.
This can be in the form of either a visual or audible heads-up or a vibration.
In some vehicles, they also help to inform drivers backing out of parking spaces about other cars approaching from both sides.
As this feature is so pivotal to avoiding accidents, it can be incredible for your insurance premiums.
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