Maybe it’s been a while since you bought your car. Do you remember all of the features that inspired you to pick this particular model? If not, well, you may have forgotten something – a clever feature hidden in plain sight. Be sure to read this list and see if your vehicle has a secret trick or detail that you haven’t yet noticed. Then seek it out and put it to good use when you hit the road!
40. An anti-glare tab on your rearview mirror
If you’ve driven at night, then you’ll know what a pain it is to have someone’s bright lights hit your rearview mirror and reflect right into your eyes. Your car may have a built-in feature to prevent that, though. The website Motoring Research says that you can push the tab at the bottom of your rearview mirror to toggle between day and night modes. In the latter, it tilts ever so slightly to direct the glare away from your eyes.
39. Hidden storage for your valuables
You’re probably thinking, “Don’t you mean the glove compartment?” Sure, you can lock up your valuables there. But it’s a bit of an obvious place – one a person would likely target during a break-in. So, see if your car has any hidden under-seat or in-floor storage compartments. According to Motoring Research, the Land Rover Discovery has a secret chamber behind its climate-control panel. And the floor under the backseat of the Seat Alhambra has two hidden storage zones, too.
38. Some Hondas have extra storage space
Compact automobiles aren’t famous for their storage capabilities. And yet, Hot Cars notes that the Honda Jazz and Civic models have the company’s proprietary Magic Seat system. This allows the back seats to fold vertically – rather than horizontally – to create enough space for large, tall items that wouldn’t fit into the trunk.
37. Anti-lock brakes are standard, but they work in an incredible way
You may not know how they work, but there’s a reason why the U.S. made anti-lock brakes a mandatory feature in all cars built after September 2000. The system detects when you’re going fast enough to potentially cause your wheels to lock up if you hit the brakes. That way, if you do try to stop, a set of hydraulic valves will activate instead – slowing you down so that the wheels in peril won’t lock up. This feature is particularly useful when you have to stop quickly or when you drive in the rain so that you don’t skid or lose control of the wheel.
36. You can open your trunk without your hands
Juggling bags full of groceries is hard enough without having to put it all down to manually open your trunk. That’s why automakers invented the hands-free trunk-opening feature. According to the website Brake for It, your car may have the mechanism if it came with a smart key. You just have to wave your hand or shake your foot at the sensor with the fob in range and voila: the trunk will lift all on its own.
35. A hidden VW Beetle accessory
There’s no denying that the Volkswagen Beetle is a cute car. And one half-hidden detail on the dashboard hammers that point home. The German carmaker calls the accessory the blumenvasen, which means vase in English. Yes, there’s a vial large enough to hold a fresh flower, scented herbal sprigs… whatever piece of greenery you fancy. No one quite knows why the vase is there, but it may be a nod to the 1960s flower-power era.
34. Automatic hazards in case of an emergency
Many road accidents occur because drivers don’t see that the person in front of them has come to a sudden stop. So, car companies came up with a clever solution – a feature that may be built into your set of wheels, too. Break for It notes that some vehicles have a system that calculates how much force you applied to your brakes. This is to determine if you pressed them because of an emergency. If you meet the threshold, then your hazards come on automatically, and this warns drivers behind you as to what’s ahead.
33. A hook for your takeout
There’s nothing worse than having a bag full of delicious takeout on the floor beneath your passenger seat, taking a sharp turn and hearing it all topple over. Perhaps it was that painful experience that led Nissan’s designers to add a smart feature to the Almera in 1996. They placed a small hook down there for handbags and shopping bags so that they wouldn’t slide and fall. Since then, other car companies have followed suit. So, your car may have one, too.
32. Four levels of ambient lighting in the Jaguar
You don’t buy a Jaguar if you do not want all of the bells and whistles – their 2021 F-Style is no exception. This new model gives you the chance to tailor the lighting so that it perfectly suits your mood. There are four settings, so you can decide between a range of cool and warm glows.
31. A second mirror that serves as a nanny cam
If you drive a minivan or SUV, you may have a convex mirror that hangs just above your rearview. You can’t see the road when you look at the curved one, so you might wonder what its point is. According to Hot Cars, it’s meant to give you a view into the backseat without turning around – a great resource for parents who have little ones in tow.
30. A hidden ice scraper
What’s worse than having to scrape ice off of your car’s windshield? Well, it’s having no clue where your scraper is in the first place, of course! Skoda cars remove the latter possibility with their built-in tool. Flip open the fuel door to find this cold-weather must-have, Motoring Research says. It can push ice off of glass and can check the tread depth of tires, too.
29. A discreet rear-facing camera in the Volkswagen Passat and Golf
Rear-view cameras make backing up and parking so much easier and safer. But having a lens protruding from the trunk? It’s not a good look, according to the designers at Volkswagen. So, they apparently hid the camera in the car’s rear emblem, which tilts out when the driver flips their Passat or Golf into reverse.
28. A compartment for the iconic Rolls-Royce hood ornament
The Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is an iconic part of Rolls-Royce cars – one that owners want to preserve. Therefore, the carmaker came up with a genius way to protect it when the vehicle is parked, say, on the street. With a press of a button, the ornament apparently recedes into the grille.
27. Color-coding for easy fluid refills
Take a look under your car’s hood: you may be missing one of its secret features. Many automobile manufacturers have started color-coding the most important parts of the engine to make for easy maintenance by non-mechanics, according to Brake for It. They typically point to the washer fluid container, oil cap, dipstick and more with bright, impossible-to-miss colors.
26. That snowflake light on your dash means something, too
Let’s face it: we have all ignored random lights that have appeared on our dashboards. But the snowflake that occasionally shows up there is actually a warning you should heed. The symbol indicates that it’s cold enough outside that the roads could freeze, so proceed with caution.
25. Display tab to show your parking validation
Once you pay for parking, where do you put the ticket? Well, if you drive a Skoda, there’s a built-in place for it. The Czech automaker has a plastic tab on the lower driver’s side of the windshield, according to Brake for It.
24. Drop-top Mini Coopers keep tab on this strange statistic
Be honest: you got a Mini Cooper convertible because you love to drive with the top down. The carmakers clearly know this, because they’ve added a strange feature to their convertibles. It’s called the openometer, and it shows the amount of time that the roof has been down. We’re not quite sure why this is a thing, but it’s probably a fun talking point.
23. A Mercedes steering wheel will alert a swerving driver
You’d expect top-of-the-line features in a Mercedes, and you would be right to! The swanky vehicles match their sleekness with serious safety features. One great example is the steering wheel, which can sense if you start to swerve. When it does, the wheel begins to shake and continues to do so until you’re back in your lane, according to Hot Cars.
22. BMWs have a built-in brake-drying system
For exposed brake pads to stay clean and functional, Hots Cars notes that they have to be perfectly aligned with the rotor. This, in turn, wipes away contaminants and water. When knocked off-kilter, though, the brakes stay wet and lose their efficacy over time. That’s why BMWs have a built-in so-called Brake Drying System, which activates as soon as the windshield wipers go on. Apparently, it pushes the brake pads close to the rotors to make sure they stay clean and rain-free.
21. Neck warmers for Mercedes and BMW convertible drivers
There’s nothing like riding with the top of your convertible down – until, of course, the air gets too crisp. That’s why some Mercedes and BMWs have added this cozy feature to their seats. A neck warmer takes things one step further than a heated seat can – thus allowing you keep the roof open year-round.
20. A Jeep Renegade full of Easter Eggs
If you own a Jeep Renegade and you enjoy finding hidden clues, well, you may have purchased the perfect car. This vehicle is jam-packed with cute and clever details. The floor mats feature the outline of the original Jeep. And then, there’s an inexplicable spider saying “Ciao, baby!” hidden inside of the fuel door.
19. A helpful arrow on your fuel gauge
Imagine you’re pulling up to the gas station: do you remember which side your fuel door is on? If you answered no, well, you’re in luck. Take a look at your dash and find the fuel gauge. Next to the little image of the gas pump, there should be an arrow, and that points to the side of your car where you put the nozzle. Genius, right?
18. Electronic stability control
If you purchased your car in the U.S. after 2011 then it will have electronic stability control (ESC), according to Hot Cars. That means it has built-in sensors that can tell when you’re either turning too hard or not hard enough. The ESC then kicks in – strengthening your brakes so they control the turn. This is an ideal resource for when you hit ice or lose traction on a slick road.
17. A hook for your fuel cap
When you get out to pump gas, where do you put the fuel cap after you untwist it? Well, some cars have a solution to this constant question. Peek inside of the little door that you open to get to your fuel tank. There may be a little holder built in so that you always have a place for the top while you fill up.
16. Air freshener in the BMW 7 Series – not the kind that you hang on your mirror
If you want a fragrance wafted through your car, you normally have to buy one that hangs from the rearview mirror. That is, unless you drive a BMW 7 Series, in which case your sedan may have the so-called Ambient Air Package. According to Brake for It, this upgrade allows you to tap through your control panel, select one of eight scents and breathe deeply as they start wafting around the vehicle.
15. An umbrella at the ready
It’s raining and you don’t have an umbrella, but you have to get out of your car. What do you do? Well, if you drive a new Rolls-Royce Scala, you’re in luck. There’s actually a compartment in the driver’s door that holds an umbrella! Some Nissan models have this feature as well.
14. Play, stop and pause your Renault Twingo RS
The gas pedal makes your car go, and the brake makes it stop. If you drive stick, then the clutch can make the vehicle pause, too. The designers of the Renault Twingo RS must have had these facts in mind when they came up with their little Easter eggs for the gas, brake and clutch pedals. Apparently, they feature a play, stop and pause symbol on them respectively.
13. Tesla’s ode to a classic film
Fans of Elon Musk will know that the Tesla CEO has a pretty good sense of humor. As such, many of his car designs have Easter eggs hidden within them. There’s even one tucked into the vehicles’ sound system. The volume only goes up to 11 – a nod to the amps in the classic film This Is Spinal Tap, which go up to 11 instead of stopping at the traditional ten.
12. Internal release makes a trunk escape possible
Accidents happen, and you may be trapped in your car after a crash. Or, you might have somehow managed to lock yourself into your trunk. Either way, if your car is a 2001 model or newer and sold in the U.S., then it has an emergency release built into its rear compartment. Even if you never have to pull the tab, it’s nice to know it’s there in case of an emergency.
11. An undersea accent in Opel and Vauxhall cars
An Opel designer named Dietmar Finger had sketched an idea for a glovebox with a ribbed accent for stability. His son – perhaps inspired by the gill-like lines – said there should be a shark in the compartment, Motoring Research reports. Incredibly, the boy’s idea made it into production, and the undersea predators have been hidden in Opel and Vauxhall cars since 2004!
10. An in-car vacuum in the Honda Odyssey
Your car’s floor can accumulate a lot of stuff – from food crumbs to pet hair. And it’s a big pain to carry your vacuum out into the garage for a proper clean-up. Though according to Hot Cars, the Honda Odyssey is one vehicle to have solved that problem. In the trunk, you’ll find a built-in vacuum with an extra-long hose to get every last bit of debris in your van.
9. Open every window with the press of one button
If you leave your car to sit in the hot sun on a summer day, you know what’s going to happen when you open the door. Heat floods out, and you have to wait several seconds before you can even get in and sit down. But your key fob might actually have a built-in solution for that. Brake for It suggests pressing and holding the unlock button for five seconds. This should open all of your windows so you can release the hot air long before you reach your car.
8. Nissan cars tell you when you’ve put enough air into your tires
Tires with just the right amount of air in them will last longer, save you on fuel costs and keep you safe on the road. The only problem is, inflating them can be tough if you’re using a pressure gauge. Nissan came up with an incredible solution for that problem, though. According to Hot Cars, the Easy Fill Tire Alert will honk your horn when the tire has the perfect amount of air in it.
7. Hooks hide everywhere – even on your headrests
You may not know this, but many carmakers have installed handy hooks all over their vehicles. SUVs often have them in the cargo area. Elsewhere, you might also find hooks over the rear doors and even built into the headrests. Take scope of your backseat and trunk, and then start hanging!
6. Pre-Safe Sound in the Mercedes protects your eardrums in a crash
Among the many safety features built into newer Mercedes cars, the most incredible may just be the Pre-Safe Sound. If it senses that a crash is imminent, the automobile emits a pink noise that hits about 80 decibels, Brake for It notes. This is enough to switch on your ears’ reflexes – thus safeguarding your eardrums from the loud noise created by colliding metal vehicles.
5. At long red lights, Subarus tell you when traffic’s moving
An extra-long traffic light may inspire you to look at your phone until it turns green – meaning you miss your cue to go. Yet newer Subarus apparently have a solution for this. The EyeSight safety system emits a little sound to alert a distracted driver that they need to hit the gas.
4. The Hyundai Genesis has puddle lights
There’s nothing worse than stepping out of a car and directly into a puddle. Unfortunately, though, on a dark street, you might not be able to see water under your feet. That’s why the Hyundai Genesis has bulbs that shine under the vehicle’s front doors to highlight puddles or any other obstacles in your way, according to Business Insider.
3. The Rolls-Royce Phantom has a champagne chiller in the back seat
Clearly, the people who design Rolls-Royce cars think of every last detail. Case in point: the Phantom, which has so many enviable features. Perhaps the most quirky of them all is the champagne chiller in the backseat. Brake for It notes that it even has two settings – for vintage bottle or newer blends – so that the bubbly hits the perfect temperature.
2. Volvos can tell if the driver is dozing off
Driving at night can get monotonous, and even the most careful driver might start to doze off behind the wheel. Luckily, if you’re driving a modern Volvo, your car will be looking out for the signs that you’ve fallen asleep. It monitors your head and eye movements to make sure you’re not closing your eyes or nodding off. When you do, an alert rings out, and it wakes you right back up.
1. Teslas have a built-in holiday party
Try this trick if you have a Tesla: sit in the car and press and hold the T for 5 seconds, then get out of your car and lock it. With that, the high-tech vehicle will go into its Holiday Show. According to Brake for It, the stereo will start playing festive tunes, while the lights flash and doors open in sync!