Car controls are just too complex

To the Editor:

I agree with Lindsay Chappell's blog about making things simpler (Jan. 6).

Having been in the auto repair business for more than 50 years and having recently retired as an automotive radio talk show host, I have heard many people express exasperation over the changes in electronics and cabin controls. Entire generations of drivers are being forced to conform to computer-controlled touch, slide, drag, voice or whatever method simply to stay warm or listen to their favorite radio stations.

It's not just people in my generation who won't buy new cars because of the vehicles' complexities. Potential new-car buyers in their 40s and 50s have asked me about finding vehicles that have knobs, levers and buttons that stay where you left them and don't require you to take your eyes off the road to adjust.

Few controls in new cars are intuitive except maybe the steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedal. Letting your spouse or a friend use the car is no longer a simple decision. By going down this path, manufacturers are missing the boat on a huge segment of the buying public.

It used to be if you wanted fancy gizmos in your new car, you paid for them. In my antique opinion, that's the way it should be.

Give us a choice. Keep your computer screen cockpit as an option and give the rest of us back the simplicity and safety of knobs and buttons.


O'Neill's Transmission Service

Grand Rapids, Mich.



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