Even basic cars today come with a reasonably high level of electronic equipment – so unless you were born before 1997, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have experienced the effort of cranking a window up or down by hand.
Below are several car features from days gone by which the “youth of today” will never experience.
Manual Window Winders
Before the button that moved the window up and down was invented, drivers and passengers had to crank windows up and down with a handle.
There was nothing quite as frustrating as rolling up to a parking boom and having to quickly crank the window down to grab the ticket with a row of cars behind you.
Or worse still, to discover that the back-seat passenger has not quite fully closed their window as you’ve just merged onto a highway.
Now imagine doing that nowadays with a smartphone in hand?
Door Lock Pins
Nowadays, you listen for a sound from the car which indicates whether it’s locked or unlocked.
Before sophisticated central-locking and keyless go systems were commonplace, you had to use an earbud-shaped stalk to lock and unlock car doors.
It was also a rather practical shape to grab with a piece of bent coat hanger when the keys were locked inside.
Manual Door Locks
There was a time when you had to put a key in a hole to lock car doors from the outside.
You would also have to hold the door handle up after pressing in the door lock pin to ensure that the door remained locked after it was closed.
Manual Door Mirrors
Some entry-level cars still sport these, but there was a time when they didn’t even have an adjustment toggle inside of the car.
To adjust the passenger-side mirror, you literally had to open the window and lean across repeatedly to make slight adjustments so you could see what was behind you.
You obviously did this while parked and preferably with a helping hand standing outside the car.
If you’ve tried to manoeuvre a car without the engine running, you will know how heavy the steering really is without the power steering pump working.
Until the early 2000s, this was relatively common on entry-level vehicles.
Now, if you’re a younger driver, imagine turning into a parking garage and cranking the window down simultaneously.
When you were moving, it was not too bad, but at low speeds, the struggle was real.
Radios with CD and Tape Decks
Until a couple of years ago, Lexus still fitted tape decks to their cars.
Nowadays, 90% of the driving population have forgotten that they even existed.
Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard on almost everything, so much so that it’s strange to even see a CD player sitting proudly in the dash.
Today’s drivers will never know the meticulous planning it took to organize a playlist for a road trip by packing tapes or CDs.
Non-Intermittent Windscreen Wipers
Back in the day, windscreen wipers had three speeds: slow, fast and off.
Slow was generally too slow for anything but light drizzle, and fast was for torrential downpours. The choice was one or the other.
Sometime after, many cars were fitted with “intermittent” wipers that had a fixed two-second delay between wipes, which was all but useless.
Nowadays, cars have infinitesimal adjustments to the nanosecond and will even adjust according to the rate of rainfall.
An instant status symbol before cars got fancy shark fin aerials was an electric telescopic radio antenna.
When the radio powered up, a satisfying “whirr” sounded from the rear of the car while the aerial rose out of its home in the rear quarter panel.
Forget to switch the radio off in a carwash, and the aerial met its end.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was one of the silliest car features of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.