Top 4 Car Techs That Didn’t Really Work Out

Technology in automobiles is meant to enhance their overall safety, comfort and usability. As time passes, many things have been added to cars and trucks, some breakthroughs that most of us cannot imagine driving without…. and then there are those that fall short of expectations.

Whether it’s a flawed concept, a limitation in design, poor execution or simply a bad idea, many automotive technologies have seen themselves slowly being left as options, still being improved upon, or simply ignored completely. We’ll admit some of these are still around, but, unlike most technologies that we consider groundbreaking, we don’t see these technologies being around for long or being mandatory anytime soon.

Here are the Top 5 Car Techs That Didn’t Really Work Out…

1. Motorized Seat belts  – At first glance you’d think this is a feature for the rich and maybe lazy. But the idea that seat belts would automatically latch on to passengers does have some safety implications. Except that it rarely worked:

The irony here is while automatic seat belts were meant to make cars safer, they instead made them into potential hazards to the very drivers that they were suppose to protect. Couple that with…

2. Interlocked seat belts and starter – and you have a recipe for disaster. Granted, interlocked seat belts and starters went the way of the Dodo after 1974. For a more concise explanation:

As to why they failed?  The answer is two-fold: It was a great idea but the technology wasn’t there yet and being required by law didn’t give auto makers time to actually test it. It annoyed people more than helped with things like Grocery bags and guard dogs triggering the no-start requirements and you would need to fasten the seatbelts first before you could start.  If people in the 1970s couldn’t take it, just imagine how people would react to such an annoyance in today’s fast-paced Twitter-filled world.

3. Collision and Lane Departure Warning – You’d think a system that helped told people that they’re in being put in a dangerous situation would work be welcomed with open arms and become a standard across all vehicles.

But in reality, that is not the case. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to address the fundamental flaw of this tech: if you need indicators to tell you you’re departing a lane, maybe you shouldn’t be driving in the first place.

4. Fake Engine Sounds – Engine tech has come along way. They’re more powerful, more efficient and quieter… so quiet in fact that this has to be done:

Say what you will about hearing your vehicle roar, but there’s something about knowing how dishonest your own car or truck is with you. But this is a thing, and while somewhat pointless, it kind of matters.

At the end of the day, fake engine sounds best represent the topic at hand, automotive technology that didn’t work out quite like the brains behind them intended. To sum it up in one sentence: It seemed like a good idea at that time. Alas, consumers aren’t easily convinced.


Think we made a mistake or factual error? Or maybe missed another glaring example of automotive technology that didn’t really work out? Let us know on the comments!



Author: JC Whitney

JC Whitney is the largest and oldest catalog and Internet direct-to-consumer auto parts and accessories retailer in America. Since 1915, JC Whitney has been filling the needs of customers by providing the right part at the best price. You can always shop with confidence at

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