Disappearing Car Features…that My Car Still Have

Automologist LING finally admits that her car belongs more in an automotive museum than on the road. 

It’s funny how fast technology progresses, and how within a few years, what was once deemed “cutting edge” would become redundant. Over the 10 years that I’ve driven my car, I’ve noticed how, feature by feature, my car is becoming a moving museum of automotive past.

CD Player

It’s so easy to put together a playlist in Spotify nowadays that the younger folks would never understand the sense of accomplishment from making your own mix tape. And then there was the Compact Disc (CD), which was the most popular music storage format until my twenties, which was when I bought my car, and so it came with a CD player.

No one I know owns a CD burner anymore and I wouldn’t pay 50 ringgit for a CD album when I can get music for free online. So I’ve been playing the same CDs in my glove compartment that I’d had since a couple of years back, like I’m stuck in Twilight Zone hell.

I wonder if anyone was sad when the 8-track tape was replaced by the compact cassette. image: Pinterest.

Cigarette Lighter & Ashtray

I remember car rides with my Dad when he would light up while driving, flicking the ash out the window. But as the habit has fallen out of favour, replaced by our fascination with mobile gadgets, the cigarette lighter socket has also been replaced by a 12V power outlet; some cars provide a USB port instead to charge your phones and tablets. Carmakers offer a smoker’s package now – which includes the cigarette lighter and ashtray – at an additional cost.

That’s a real commitment to tobacco. image: Lowrider

Spare Tyre & Tools

I’ve never had to use it and sometimes I forget that a tyre lies hidden in the car boot along with a bag of tools and jack. There was a time when cars would carry full-size spares so the donut that I have in mine is lightweight by comparison. Nowadays, luxury brands are offering run flat tires as standard. I predict that as technology improves and the cost comes down, run flats would come as standard for mass brands, but that could also just be me wishing it was so because, the truth is, I can’t change a tyre to save my life.

Well, that’s…inconspicuous. image: ebay


I still need an ignition key to start my car but new cars could do without a key altogether. Electronic key fobs can unlock doors as you approach the car, and allow you to start the engine at the push of a button. Of course this feature has led to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and given rise to a new type of hacker thieves. I personally would prefer fingerprint recognition or some other such security device because electronic fobs can still be misplaced.

Old (Ford) car keys look like…my house key.


The antenna on my car sticks out like Alfalfa’s hair. You would think that with cars becoming more connected (internet, entertainment, etc), car antennas would have gotten bigger. But carmakers now hide antennas by embedding wires in the windshield or rear windows, or in some other clever places. Meanwhile, mine still scrapes on low-hanging branch or ceiling that I drive under.


When you pull the handbrake, you add tension to cables that connect to the rear brakes, and the pads squeeze against the drums to hold the wheels in place. This has, in some cars, been replaced by electronic handbrakes, ie. a button, which does the same thing but…er…just not mechanically. The electronic version is not favoured, I’m sure, by those who enjoy drifting or doing donuts.

That’s complicated.


What other car features that have or are disappearing that you hate/love see go?

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