Cars are becoming increasingly complicated both under the hood and behind the wheel. And with more parts, more software, and more screens, there’s a higher chance something, somewhere, is going to break. Here are five common problems with car technology you’ll find in your cabin and how to fix them.
There are plenty of fancy touchscreens in new cars, often for purposes like switching radio stations or offering you in-dash navigation. The issue that many car buyers may come across is that they have to poke at the screen harder and harder to get it to react, and in some cases it just won’t react at all. Before you bring your car into the mechanic, take a moment to clean the screen according to the guidelines included in your car’s manual and see if that resolves the issue.
One of the more popular features arriving in new cars is the ability to be constantly connected to the Internet. More prosaically, you have features like GPS and satellite radio that many people rely on to get where they’re going and enjoy the trip. Sometimes, though, it takes a while to get a signal and in some cases, you simply can’t get a signal at all. To some degree, this is going to happen occasionally; even the best over-the-air network may lose contact in heavily wooded or mountainous areas. Be more concerned if you consistently can’t get a signal, even in places where your cell phone connects.
One of the odder ways our demands on carmakers have changed is that we no longer just expect them to give us a set of wheels and a motor to drive them, but also a complete map of anywhere we might ever want to go. That can be a tall order for even the best tech company, and as a result, your car might have some GPS issues that you’ll simply need to get used to until either they’re fixed or you decide to get a better GPS.
We’ve been taught by horror and science fiction movies that if a screen suddenly flickers, something bad is about to happen. Fortunately, life isn’t like the movies. If the screens in your car are flickering off and on, it’s not a sign you’re about to be pulled into a flying saucer: It’s a sign that there’s a faulty electrical connection somewhere in your cabin.
Software Won’t Install
We’ve gotten to the point with cars where they need to have their software updated just like your phone. And in many cases, just like your phone, the update is delivered “over the air;” that is, transmitted to your car using its data connection. In some cases, though, the update either won’t be delivered or won’t install. In many cases, what this boils down to for you is that you’ll get a warning on your touchscreen and possibly a code to share with your mechanic. In terms of driving, though, often these updates are cosmetic and to non-essential systems like your radio. It should be addressed, but it’s not going to affect your ability to get to work.
Cars are becoming more complex, because that’s what we as consumers demand. And that means, going forward, keeping our cars in good shape will be more complex as well. Or at least require an Internet connection.