Today, everything is run by computers—and cars are no different.  Gone are the days when the shade tree mechanic could repair just about everything on his car; instead, modern-day vehicles are packed full of electronic gear.

But is it all necessary?  When buying a new car, most people don’t have the full amount in cash.  They finance the purchase, which means that the more options the salesperson convinces you to purchase, the higher your auto loan payments will be.  Here are some of the options you can do without.

Automatic moisture-sensing wipers

It seems to be a no-brainer, but in reality they don’t work that well—and meteorologists say they can’t work the way they’re designed.  The wipers are either not sensitive enough which defeats the purpose, or they’re too sensitive which means they switch on at a drop of water.  The cost for one of these systems ranges between $200 to $400.

Automatically steering headlights

These types of headlights are supposed to turn the beams when the steering wheel passes a certain preset position.  In reality, the system isn’t that helpful because drivers don’t need moving headlights; they need to be able to see visual cues on the roadway, and a good set of standard bright headlamps will do just that.

Heated/cooled seats
This may be one of the more useless options available.  Yes, a car may be cold or hot when you first sit in it—but if your car has an even-passable AC/heating system, you will adjust quickly.  Many companies only include them as part of a larger package as well, so only those in extreme temperature areas (think snow or blazing heat, and lots of it) need even consider such an option.
Ambient lighting

This latest gizmo will change the color of the lighting around yours and your passengers’ feet.  The only real need for this option is if you’re attempting to impress others with how much you spent on accessories; otherwise, the interior lights that come standard will work just fine.

In-car wireless Internet

While having access to the Internet in your car may seem like a good thing, in reality it can jack up the cost of your car very quickly.  Essentially, what automakers are selling you is a portable router for around $400 that doesn’t include installation charges or a data plan.

A better alternative is to contact a cellular phone carrier and get a mobile hotspot that can link multiple devices for much cheaper than the deal carmakers will give you.  It’s also usable outside the car, so it can be taken wherever service is provided. The kids will be happy, and you will have saved some money.


Built-in navigation systems

If you have a smartphone, you already have a navigation system.  There are many apps available for both Android and iPhone smartphones, and with today’s radio systems set up for Bluetooth and voice commands for your phone, it makes no sense to install a navigation system straight from the factory.

A factory system can cost over $1,000 and you have to pay hundreds for updates, so in-dash navigation can look less and less appealing.  Today’s smartphone will do the same thing for a fraction of the cost.

The Latin phrase, “caveat emptor” in English means, “let the buyer beware”.   For those going in to purchase a new vehicle, they should know which options they want beforehand to save themselves from higher payments later.


By:  Vincent Stokes