Where are your “Bells and Whistles”

By January 28, 2017 Personal Insurance

Last year about this time, my husband and I (more my husband) decided to trade in our car for a new SUV with all the bells and whistles. What I consider to be “bells and whistles” aren’t so much anymore, I suppose. Everything from heated seats, back-up cameras and front impact sensors seem to be coming standard in more vehicles today. Everything except autopilot…at this point. While I wasn’t 100% on-board with the idea of having to make car payments again, I was excited to have a backup camera and bind spot warning system! What I did not think about was all the sensors that go into making these systems work and where they might be located.

Having the vehicle for two weeks and after a decent winter snowfall, I cleaned off my car and left for work. About two blocks from home my front impact warning sensor started beeping. Because the car was new to me, I had no idea what was happening, especially since there was nothing in front of me but falling snow.

I stopped, got out of the car and cleaned off the front camera, assuming this is where the senor must be located. Jumping back in my car, I drove about a mile before the beeping began again. This time, there was no safe place to pull over, so I continued. Suddenly my vehicle began braking, slowing me down, presumably because it thought I was about to have an accident. I had no choice but to stop and again clean off the front camera. Eventually, I was also able to find a button in the car to turn off my warning sensors.

After fighting with my car a total of three times on my 7 mile journey to work and a phone call to my friendly dealership, the problem had been solved. There are 4-6 sensors hidden within the front bumper and the accumulating snow was triggering false alarms. While I was cleaning off the camera I neglected the rest of the bumper.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle with “all the bells and whistles” make sure to ask questions about where they’re located in the vehicle. This way your 10 minute trip does not take you 30. Also make sure you understand what all the wonderful buttons in your cockpit do. Doing so will allow you to remain focused on the road, making your commute safer for you and others.