Although your vehicle may need a little help to stay in good condition, such as having a SLiPLO Scrape Guard installed for protective measures, your vehicle likely has a lot going for it that you do not even know about. Different makes and models of vehicles will have different hidden features and “Easter Eggs”, but there are some that are common among nearly all vehicles. The following are the some of the hidden features you are likely to find in your vehicle that you may not know about:
1) Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Unless you are interested in automotive mechanics, or know someone who is, you may not be aware of your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). The anti-lock braking system, usually comprising a central electronic control unit, hydraulic valves in the brakes themselves, and wheel speed sensors, helps the driver to maintain control over their vehicle by preventing the brakes from locking up.
Your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system’s wheel speed sensors and the central electronic control unit look for discrepancies between your vehicle’s speed and the rotation of each wheel individually. If a discrepancy in speed versus rotation is found, the valves will try to make up for the difference and prevent locking up.
Maintaining the traction between the surface of the street and your vehicle’s tires through anti-lock braking systems have saved many lives. In fact, anti-lock braking systems have been accredited with reducing crashes with multiple vehicles by 18% and accidents where a single vehicle runs off the road by 35%.
2) Electronic Stability Control
If your vehicle was made in 2011 or more recently, then your vehicle is also equipped with electronic stability control. This system gives a boost to your typical anti-lock braking system.
Additional components may include steering wheel angle sensors to determine which way the driver is trying to go, yaw rate sensors (or roll rate sensors which are more accurate than yaw sensors when taken in combination with other sensors), lateral acceleration sensors, and longitudinal acceleration sensors.
It is worth noting that not all newer vehicles have longitudinal acceleration sensors which detect road pitch, but they allow for more accurate readings of acceleration and speed than lateral acceleration sensors alone. One of the best ways to protect your car door from scratches is to prevent accidents and luckily, electronic stability control units allow for an even further reduction in accidents than just the anti-lock braking system.
All crashes are reduced by 35% if the vehicle has an electronic stability control unit, and fatal crashes are reduced by 43%. Impressively, single vehicle rollovers are prevented 77% to 80% of the time. The benefits are particularly attractive if you are an SUV owner. Instead of preventing only 35% of accidents in all other vehicles, electronic stability control units result in 67% fewer accidents with SUVs.
3) Garment Hooks
Everyone has different lives and has different things that they are looking for in their vehicles. If you often have suits dry cleaned, a way to hang them will not be among one of the essential car accessories to get for new cars because hooks are provided for you.
There is not much of a point getting your clothes dry cleaned if they are just going to get crumpled up and wrinkled on the way home. The good thing is you should not have to face this problem. Right next the grab handles, often above your rear windows, there should be little hooks to hang your dry cleaning on. Even if you do not get clothes dry cleaned often, it is nice to know what those little hook’s purpose is.
4) Gas Tank Locator
Have you done a favor for a friend and drive their vehicle home only to realize you need gas and not know which side the gas tank is located when you pull up to the gas station? Just about everyone has run into this problem after purchasing a new vehicle, driving a family member’s car, or when renting a vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that there is an easy way to tell which side the fuel tank is on.
The next time you are in this situation, look at your gas gauge on your dashboard. Either on the left or right side of the little picture of a gas pump, there is a small triangle arrow. Whichever way the arrow is pointing is the side of your vehicle the fuel tank is located on. This way, there will be no more trying to get a glimpse of it in the side view mirrors, trying to reach the other side of your vehicle while at the pump, or having to reposition your vehicle.
5) Emergency Interior Trunk Release
Every vehicle manufactured after September 1, 2001 has been required to have a release latch on the inside of the trunk by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) so that no one can get trapped and potentially lose their life inside of trunks. Tragically, eleven children died in the trunks of vehicles in one summer alone because they accidentally trapped themselves. This hidden feature prevents such deaths and has done an amazing job at doing so.
If your vehicle was made after September 1, 2001, you will find a tab dangling on a cable on the inside part of the trunk of your vehicle. If someone finds themselves trapped inside of your trunk, they simply need to pull on the cable towards the front of the vehicle and the trunk will pop open and allow them to get out.
As much as protective measures are important like getting the best skid drilling free skid plate, we should give credit to all of the amazing features that our vehicles have that are hidden away from our view that we take for granted. For example, anti-lock braking systems prevent running off the road by 35% and electronic stability control systems can reduce roll over crashes by up to 80%.
Some other features are not related to driving, like emergency interior trunk release levers, but still prevent unnecessary death. Finally, some hidden features are purely for convenience, like garment hooks and gas tank locators.
If you're interested in adding a new feature to your car, here's more information on the features, benefits, and pricing of skid plates, alternatively, use our interactive map to find an authorized installer near you. If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog.