The Big Downside To New Car Technology

Convenience or headache? New car technology moves forward at a rapid pace, but the downside of computer, digital, automatic and electric everything is how much they can cost and how hard they are to fix.

Losing your car key, for example, takes a lot more than a trip to the hardware store or local blacksmith. Electronic keys require re-programming of the car’s computer, which can be a long and expensive process. These keys work through an electronic code sent to the vehicle’s engine. Only the dealerships and a few independent “digital blacksmiths” can help you. As a result, AAA reports car lockouts as one of the most common reasons for roadside assistance calls, and unexpected hotel expenses and car rental fees.

Ever since computers and software became an integral part of cars, they were subject to the same problems as your home computer – sometimes they freeze for no apparent reason. Just think, how many times has the “check engine” light in your car inexplicably come on?

Don’t get us wrong, being able to plug your car into a computer and having it tell you what needs to be fixed is great, but technology also makes some things more complicated and costs money. Take a look at the price of some of these new gadgets:

  • Electronic Key – $152 to $335
  • Navigation System – $6,600
  • Xenon Headlights With Washers – $1,600
  • Adaptive Cruise-Control Components – $1,300 to $3,700
  • Adaptive Headlights With Washers – $2,000
  • Power-Heated Turn-Signal Side Mirrors – $443 to nearly $1,000
  • Back-Up Cameras – $4,200
  • Rear-Parking Assists – $900

In spite of the problems, a recent study by Consumer Electronics Association shows that drivers want to own the latest new car technology.

J.D. Powers and Associates, a company known for their annual vehicle quality surveys, will soon release a study dealing with problems and the reliability of new car technology. We’ll keep you posted on the news, but if you want more information, read their most recent dependability study.


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