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Outwitted by Shite

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Maybe this is more about new cars, but maybe not....

 

We all know car manufacturers have striven over the years to introduce new features to protect the dull witted driver from their own stupidity. At the same time they have introduced smarter and smarter technology as that is what they believe can differentiate their product in their target market (credit worthy trendy young estate agents/IT consultants who have no interest in cars but who understand 'brand' and are swayed but things like 'connectivity'....whatever that is!)

 

Now, back in them there old days ('bout 10 years ago)you could jump in pretty much any car and work out all the important stuff in about 30 seconds. Today its mostly the same, once you have worked out where the electronic handbrake is and stopped grabbing at thin air with your right hand.

 

But it occurs to me that I have been outwitted a few times by something 'different'

 

Examples

 

1. First time I drove a Saab 95 and parked up...impossible to get the keys out of the ignition. A few minutes to work out you have to park it in gear. Not noticed that handy feature on any other car I've ever driven.

 

2. Hired Fiat 500X (or L). Parked in an underground car park next to a pillar. Came back, just move it forward a couple of feet so Mrs Misfit can get in....electronic handbrake wont disengage. After a period involving a burning smell and grinding noises, worked it out. Obvious really...seatbelt not on. Duh! Now I guess thats what the message on the dash was telling me...but it was in Italian so it still counts.

 

3. BINI Countryman. No internal fuel filler release, but couldn't pull the fuel filler flap open either. For ****s sake. Oh right, you actually have to take the key out of the ignition first.

 

Nothing important in the great scheme of things of course, but in each case it would have been great just to avoid that 2-5 minutes of utter mouth foaming sense of loss and frustration...until the realisation of the obvious solution dawned

 

What other weird features are out there? Anything I should be looking out for??

 

Any hilarious anecdotes?

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Renault Master minibus at work. Took me a good 5 mins of looking like a clown in a petrol station in Hull before I realised you have to open the passenger door before the filler flap will open!

 

I was looking all over the inside for a fuel filler release!

That just sounds like a mistake rather than intentional. I'm sure it seemed incredibly clever in LHD markets though!

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When we first got the Meriva I went to put pez in. The central locking unlocks the drivers door with one push, then the rest of the car with another. So at the petrol station, the fuel cap wouldn't open... I got the the point of bending it quite far when I saw it was being held in at a specific point, then noticed the rear door lock pin was down. Unlock everything and bingo, fuel flap open!

 

The xantia does something like it too, but I never lock that so have never encountered it! Infact now I've noticed that alot of cars do it, but I'd never had it before!

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New Transits are the same. The catch on the old Transit filler flap used to break, sometimes in the first week, so they've come up with the cunning plan of using the passenger door to hold it shut.

I see loads of that shape transit with the fuel filler flap missing completely!

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Isuzu Piazzas have a button to press to be able to remove the ignition key.

 

For Transit filler flap, see also Citroen XM bonnet release.

 

For XM bonnet release, see also second generation Peugeot Boxer and siblings.

 

Pretty much everything about the Ford Model T confused me. This also isn't shite, but I ran a red light in a 1930s Morris Oxford Empire 6 saloon because it had feeble brakes and, unbeknown to me, a sodding freewheel!

 

Citroen Dyanes confuse anyone who is trying to get out of one for the first time, as the door handle is not actually visible. That includes me by the way...

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Keyless LR Discovery. I had to test some fancy mobile phonery that had been built in to it. I had it for a week and never worked out how to start it although I did have the plastic card thing. No driver's handbook though.

 

Latest Transits have an "auto-stall" feature which kills the engine if the ecu thinks you are going to give the dual mass flywheel a hard time, ie pulling away in second gear.

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When we first got the Meriva I went to put pez in. The central locking unlocks the drivers door with one push, then the rest of the car with another. So at the petrol station, the fuel cap wouldn't open... I got the the point of bending it quite far when I saw it was being held in at a specific point, then noticed the rear door lock pin was down. Unlock everything and bingo, fuel flap open!

 

The xantia does something like it too, but I never lock that so have never encountered it! Infact now I've noticed that alot of cars do it, but I'd never had it before!

Same as the 75. looked for ages to find fuel release, cant. All doors to be unlocked and you can then open it.

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Stop start "logic" on ex-girlfriend's newish ALdi.

 

If you stall the car, you MUST NOT try to restart it by pressing the starter button.  You MUST wait for the car to restart itself.

 

If you try to restart by pressing the start, it will force you to an ignition recycle (key out and back in - it's actually the fob in a slot) before you can start it.

 

Fine once you know I guess (and don't stall it you tool) but a bit logic-defying when I stalled at the busy lights in France.

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Oh yes - and another couple of "obvious once you know" -

 

X350 Jag electric handbrake.  You can just plant your foot to set off and it will unstick the handbrake - but  I felt that lacked mechanical sympathy, however the release doesn't work unless you have your foot on the footbrake.

 

Scooby hill hold was ace - zoom up to traffic lights/junction, "stick" it using footbrake (you don't need to keep your foot on the brake - otherwise it'd be pointless), wait for gap, zoom away, no need to use the handbrake.

Found the Fiesta I had in Ireland had hill hold - but after about 2-3 seconds it just releases without any warning - reverted to handbrake as this was worse than useless.

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Latest Transits have an "auto-stall" feature which kills the engine if the ecu thinks you are going to give the dual mass flywheel a hard time, ie pulling away in second gear.

 

So on a tight junction or a concealed exit, it will cut out and leave you swinging in the wind? Who comes up up with this! If I was at Ford and someone suggested this, I'd sack them immediately for such a fucking dumb idea.

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Latest Transits have an "auto-stall" feature which kills the engine if the ecu thinks you are going to give the dual mass flywheel a hard time, ie pulling away in second gear.

 

So on a tight junction or a concealed exit, it will cut out and leave you swinging in the wind? Who comes up up with this! If I was at Ford and someone suggested this, I'd sack them immediately for such a fucking dumb idea.

For over two years I've been thinking it was just me not using enough revs!  Let me say here and now, I've owned enough cars with an accidental "stop-start" facility, I would NEVER choose to have it!

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3. BINI Countryman. No internal fuel filler release, but couldn't pull the fuel filler flap open either. For ****s sake. Oh right, you actually have to take the key out of the ingition first.

 

 

 

Binis have an odd UFO shaped key (basically a keycard but I think it's wireless), and they key being in is the equivalent of having the key in the 'accessory' position.

When you stop and take the key out, it turns everything off and unlocks all the doors. 

Our Cooper has a plastic fuel filler flap, so when you can't open it it's a bit worrying.

 

VAG seem to like daft ones - out 9N Polo had one where you push it in and it pops out, and the A4 has one where you push the wrong end of it and it opens out the other way. Of course, this isn't obvious and the first time on both involved levering it open somehow.

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1990s Cadillac hire car in Seattle (I think it was an Eldorado Coupe).  Tired after nearly 10 hours in a 767, got asked by the hire company whether I'd like an upgrade.  I said yes, still in the mindset of FREE seat upgrades sometimes offered on aircraft.  Dumped my case in the boot (ok, trunk) but the boot lid just kept bouncing open every time I tried to close it.  An elderly lady, sympathetic to the needs of confused Englishmen wandered over, pointed inside the car, pressed a button and the trunk gently closed and latched.  I said thank you in a gritted teeth bloody stupid design sort of way.  Then I had to get the F ing thing to move.  Special silly pedal not visible from  the seat to get the parking brake off.  I wafted up to Everett and realised that it wasn't a free upgrade so changed it the next day for a cheaper and very nice to drive Intrepid.

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Binis have an odd UFO shaped key (basically a keycard but I think it's wireless), and they key being in is the equivalent of having the key in the 'accessory' position.

When you stop and take the key out, it turns everything off and unlocks all the doors. 

Our Cooper has a plastic fuel filler flap, so when you can't open it it's a bit worrying.

 

VAG seem to like daft ones - out 9N Polo had one where you push it in and it pops out, and the A4 has one where you push the wrong end of it and it opens out the other way. Of course, this isn't obvious and the first time on both involved levering it open somehow.

That BINI key is a bit spooky. Mrs M tooks her MINI to the BMW agent to see how much a service would cost ("How much money have you got?") and they inserted the key in a card reader on the desk. It told them the mileage, that the front pads would need doing in the next six months and a couple of other things, It also told them that we had a row in the car three weeks before and that there were two Maltesers rolling around under the passenger seat. Very clever, for a key!

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