Cars are packed with surprising features that many people don’t know about. Like a secret compartment in car doors, or perhaps a system of communication you may have missed. Honestly, there’s more to your car than you might think. Some of them are practical features that can make your life a little easier, some are literally life-saving, and others are just plain weird. Keep scrolling to see what hidden features your car probably has!
Color Codes Under the Hood
Most modern cars have color-coded engines. Essentially, the parts that need to be regularly checked, like dipsticks, are usually yellow, blue, or red. These colored parts are the things that are easy to check and maintain. Anything black or grey can be left to the experts. This makes it easy for you to know, at a glance, what you need to check under the hood.
NEXT: an internal feature that boosts fuel efficiency.
Manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency, and the frame itself is one of the best ways to do it. In modern cars, aluminum has replaced steel as the material of choice, because it’s much lighter but it’s just as strong. New methods of lightening the frame are commonly found. Some models of truck can weigh as much as 700 pounds less than the previous year’s model.
NEXT: making your car smell daisy-fresh.
Secret Compartment in Car – VW Beetle Flower Vase
Older models of the Beetle included a large flower vase. The idea was that you could fill them with fresh flowers as a sort of natural air freshener. These vases were often fine porcelain, made by respected German companies. As you can imagine, modern drivers don’t typically like the idea of an expensive porcelain vase attached to their dashboard. So, modern Beetle’s usually include the option for a three-inch acrylic vase that’s much more durable.
NEXT: how your car is warning you about road conditions.
Road Condition Indicators
If you’re driving your car on a cold winter’s day, you may notice a new light on your dashboard. It’s usually a red snowflake. This light is connected to your car’s external thermometer, and it’s triggered when the car senses that external temperatures are cold enough for ice to form on the roads, creating hazardous driving conditions.
NEXT: special seats expanding the interior of your car.
Honda Magic Seats
Oh, the magic seats. If you’re driving a Honda and you don’t know about these, you’re missing out. These seats allow you to change the internal configuration of your car to maximize space. You can lay the front seats all the way down, completely flat, for plenty of leg room. The rear seats can be flipped up to increase cargo storage, and the rear seats can fold down flat.
NEXT: keeping you safe on icy roads.
Electronic stability control is a feature of almost all modern cars. If the car’s computer detects that you’re turning too quickly, or not quickly enough, it will apply brakes on one side or the other to improve the stability of your turn. This can be especially helpful on wet or icy roads.
NEXT: how some cars improve brake performance.
BMW Brake Drying
Newer BMW models have a feature that improves brake performance in rainy conditions. When the car senses wet conditions, the brakes are retracted further into the wheel hub, protecting them from moisture. This prevents the moisture from impeding the brake functions and dramatically improves brake performance in wet conditions.
NEXT: pay close attention if this dashboard light comes on
When your brakes lock, it means that the wheel has stopped turning completely and the car is beginning to skid. This can be very dangerous, as it often leads to the driver losing control of the car. Anti lock brakes sense when this is beginning to happen and release the brakes, then pump them- applying and releasing them rapidly. This allows the brakes to continue slowing the car while maintaining control.
NEXT: the co-pilot you didn’t know you have.
Computer Driving Assistance
This can take many different forms, depending on the car, but most modern cars have some form of computer assistance. Cruise control would technically fall under this definition, as would collision warning sensors, rear-view cameras, and other features designed to minimize the risk of collisions caused by human error.
NEXT: how to know if your tires are full.
Easy-Fill Tire Alert
Most newer cars come with tire-pressure sensors that alert you when each tire needs more air. Nissan cars go one step further, though. There’s a built-in sensor in each tire that will alert you when the tire is at full pressure by honking the car’s horn. That way you always know that you’ve filled your tires properly.
NEXT: hidden compartments…
Extra storage space has become an extremely popular feature in cars. Some have a small shelf in the middle of the dashboard that can hold your phone. Many cars have storage bins underneath the passenger seats and some even have built-in coolers. Check under your seats and in your trunk- you may be surprised at what you find because it could just be a secret compartment in car.
NEXT: what to do if your neck gets cold while driving.
BMW and other high-end manufacturers put neck warmers in their seats. These are an especially popular feature in their convertibles because it makes driving with the top down bearable even in cold weather. Combined with a seat warmer, you’ll hardly even need the heater on.
NEXT: a place to hang…literally.
Most cars have them, and SUV’s tend to have the most. Located near headrests, overhead handles, and in the cargo space, hooks are meant to hold grocery bags and takeout bags. Most people don’t bother to use them, but they’re remarkably helpful. Delicate items like eggs can be hung up and out of the way so you don’t have to worry about them getting crushed.
NEXT: let your car watch for the green light.
Traffic Light Watcher
Subaru has started including a sensor in their cars that will alert you when traffic begins to move again. It’s not at all uncommon for drivers to get distracted while sitting at a traffic light, and this sensor will alert you as soon as the cars in front of you move so you’ll know to look up from your phone.
NEXT: You don’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel anymore
Drowsiness detection systems are increasingly common. Falling asleep at the wheel is incredibly dangerous, and more common than you’d think. These systems scan your head and face to ensure that your eyes are open and that you’re alert. If the system detects that you’re growing drowsy, it will alert you to the nearest rest stop. This is the type of technology you’d expect to find in the Tesla Cybertruck.
NEXT: keeping things clean has never been easier.
The Honda Odyssey includes one of the very best features parents could ask for in a vehicle. There’s a built-in vacuum in the van. This system, makes cleaning up the inside of the van easy, and it also means that you can do it anywhere. It’s a lot easier to vacuum up a mess right after it happens than to wait until you get home.
NEXT: this is in every car and no one knows about it
Gas Tank Locator
Every car has this, and too many people don’t know about it. Next to your fuel level indicator, you’ll see a gas tank symbol, with an arrow next to it. That arrow points to the side of the car with the gas cap on it. This way, you can easily determine which side of the car your gas cap is on and you’ll always pull up to the gas station on the right side.
NEXT: use your foot to pop the trunk.
This is a fantastic feature, especially when you’re grocery shopping. Cars have had trunks that could be opened with a button on the key fob for a long time, but many now include a sensor that will open the trunk if you wave a foot under it. If your hands are full, whether with grocery bags or with fussy children, you can still get the trunk open.
NEXT: this feature lets you talk face-to-face with the people in the back seat.
We’ve all experienced the difficulty of holding a conversation with someone in the back seat while we’re driving. It’s just hard to talk to someone you can’t see, and turning around to look at them is clearly dangerous. Conversation mirrors sit above the rear-view mirror, and they let you and the people in the back seat look at each other while you’re talking.
NEXT: mood lighting for your drive.
Adaptable ambient interior lighting
Jaguar, among others, has begun included ambient interior lighting in its cars. The color and brightness of the lighting can be adjusted based on personal preference. It’s definitely a cool feature that makes the inside of the car unique, and can even make it more comfortable.
NEXT: you NEED this feature in case of rain.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom comes with a bunch of incredible features (as we’ll see in this list). One of the best features is an umbrella hidden in the door. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting an umbrella again, because there will always be an extra emergency umbrella in the car door. A secret compartment in cars that you probably never knew about (check yours).
NEXT: driving would be so unpleasant without this, and you don’t even realize your car has it
You may not realize it, but your car has been soundproofed. Very few cars on the road today have no soundproofing. Sure, luxury cars have more of it and it’s more effective, but every car has some. It protects you from most of the road noise as you drive, as well as the engine noise from your own car.
NEXT: how to stop headlight glare from blinding you at night
Tilting Rearview Mirror
Have you ever been driving at night, and found yourself blinded by the glare from the headlights in the car behind you? Try tilting your rearview mirror just a bit. Many cars have mirrors that are designed to be able to tilt just enough to eliminate the headlight glare from cars behind you on the road, while still allowing you to see them clearly. Some mirrors even do this automatically.
NEXT: stay in your lane with this cool feature
These sensors can detect when you drift too close to the edge of the lane on either side, and alert you to the need to center the car. In some newer models they’ll even engage the auto-pilot and move the car into the center of the lane for you. Of course, some drivers just find them annoying. This would be particularly important on a road trip. Check out these 40 best road trip vehicles when you’re done with this list!
NEXT: stop leaving parking permits on your dashboard, use this instead.
Parking ticket holder
These are becoming very common in Europe. They’re simple plastic clips that can hold your parking permit- usually called a ticket in Europe. This makes the permit much more visible than it would be if it just sat on the dashboard, which is a very useful feature if you use parking garages and other restricted parking often.
NEXT: if you live up North, you really need this
Skoda, a Czech car company, includes an ice scraper in the fuel door of their cars. If you live in cold climates, this is an invaluable feature. The ability to easily and quickly remove ice from windows and windshields can really make cold mornings much easier to bear.
NEXT: Check your Jeep for this.
If you drive a Jeep, there may be some Easter eggs for you. Some Jeep models include silhouettes of old Jeep models on the body and tires, or the bumper. The Jeep Renegade also has a spider that says “Ciao Baby!” next to the gas cap.
NEXT: if your car has this you’ll never worry about wet shoes again.
Hyundai’s Genesis line includes puddle lights and display the brand’s logo on the ground below them. Lots of other high-end cars include puddle lights, too. The idea is that these lights illuminate the ground below the car so that, as you’re exiting the vehicle, you can see if there’s a puddle underneath you.
NEXT: sometimes you have to take your eyes off the road, that’s where this feature comes in
Eyesight driver assist
Installed on most new models of Subaru, EyeSight Driver assist is a comprehensive computer assisted driving technology. It monitors traffic around the car as well as your position with the lane. It can alter the speed of the car and move the wheels, so it optimizes cruise control and lane centering for you. It also has a pre-collision braking feature.
NEXT: ditch the gas station air fresheners with THIS.
BMW has one of the most unique features in its cars. Called ambient air, it’s basically a built-in air freshener. It comes with 8 different scents, and you can adjust them strength of the scent to suit your personal preference. The scent cartridges are installed in the glove box, so swapping scents or refilling the system is very easy.
NEXT: did you know car crashes can ruin your hearing?
The Pre-Safe sound is a neat feature found in Mercedes-Benz cars that’s designed to protect your hearing. If the car detects that a collision is unavoidable, a special noise is played over the car’s sound system at 80 decibels. It activates a reflex in your ears that will protect your eardrums from the noise of the collision, reducing the risk of hearing loss.
NEXT: most people don’t pay attention to this part of the car
Golf Gear Knob
If you drive a Volkswagen Golf, take a closer look at the gear shift. Odds are the knob on it is designed to look like a golf ball. In hindsight it’s an obvious feature, but it’s a part that most people don’t pay much attention to, so it often goes unnoticed.
NEXT: a feature that could save your life one day.
Internal Trunk Release
A safety feature mandated on all American-made cars since 2001, it’s now found in most cars made around the world. Usually, the internal release handle glows in the dark so it’s easy to find. If you can’t see it, though, you’ll still be able to feel the trunk release cable. Pull it towards the front of the car and the trunk will open.
NEXT: we can’t imagine you’ll ever need this.
Perhaps one of the strangest hidden features of any car, the Citroen Picasso came with a shopping cart included. It folded up and fit inside the trunk. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t exactly a very popular feature, since very few people find themselves in need of their own shopping cart.
NEXT: the ultimate luxury in your car.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom, home of the hidden umbrella, comes with a bunch of luxury features. One of those is a built-in champagne chiller. It’s in the backseat, naturally, because champagne is for passengers rather than drivers. What a lovely secret compartment in car seats!
NEXT: why did they even make this?
Have you wondered how far you drove with the top down in your convertible? Have you wished there was an easy way to tell exactly how many miles you spent with your convertible open to the air? Probably not, but Mini Cooper came up with a solution to this “problem” anyway. The Openometer on the Mini Cooper Convertible tracks how many miles you drive from the moment you put the top down until the moment it goes back up.
NEXT: a feature that’s probably already saved lives
Automated Hazard Lights
Hazard lights can save your life. They alert other drivers to the fact that your either driving well below the speed limit or stuck on the side of the road. In the kind of emergencies that usually require hazard lights, though, it’s easy to forget to turn them on. Some cars now have automated hazard lights that detect things such as flat tires or various engine problems and turn on the hazard lights automatically.
NEXT: let the car drive itself.
Mercedes cars now come with Drive Pilot, a proprietary autopilot system that allows the car to drive itself. It’s the only real competition for Tesla’s Autopilot system. The goal is eventually to create fully autonomous cars, although right now it’s a good idea for drivers to keep an eye on things when Drive Pilot is on.
NEXT: can your car do this?
Try this: take your key fob, and hold down the unlock button for five seconds. There’s a good chance your windows will roll down if you do. Hold the button down again for five seconds and they’ll roll up. This feature isn’t really advertised but it’s been around for a while, so even if your car is older it might work.
NEXT: Your car probably has this and you don’t realize it
Fuel cap holder
You’re at the gas station, getting ready to fuel up. You remove the gas cap, and what do you do with it? Set it on top of the car? Try looking inside the fuel door. A lot of cars have a holder for the gas cap built right in, so you don’t have to worry about where to place it (or misplace it.)