These days, modern cars are crammed full of usable features that will make your everyday life easier. However, beside the common ones, manufacturers sometimes provide you with secret and hidden stuff you may not know about.

Fuel cap indicator

Imagine this, you’re in a new or unfamiliar vehicle for the first time. You’re at the gas station and don’t know for sure which side of your car the fuel cap is located. Left or right? In most cases, vehicles that are right hand drive have fuel caps located on the left side and those with left hand drive on the right side of the car. This makes parking near the pump and filling up fuel much easier and safer. That being said, its not always the case, for example, when a Japanese car designed to be right hand drive is sold on the left-hand drive market it retains the location of the fuel cap on the left.

How do you tell for sure where the fuel cap is located? Look at your dashboard and see the fuel gauge. In most cases, on the fuel gauge is a little icon in shape of fuel pump. Look on which side of the pump is the hose located. If it is on the right, then your car has a fuel cap on the right side of the car and vice versa. Not exactly groundbreaking, but pretty useful!

Internal trunk release

Ever seen a movie and shouted at the screen because a person is locked in the trunk of a car, aged newer than 2001? Well for the car geeks among us, I have too. If you’re the owner of a new or newer car, you may have been puzzled by that fluorescent plastic handle mounted on the inside of your trunk lid.

First introduced on American cars, this feature became mandatory on all new cars produced and sold on the US market from September 1st 2001. Pretty soon after, the feature was accepted by all other global manufacturers and it has been proven to save lives and help people since then. This feature is extremely useful when you get locked in your trunk and just by pulling the leaver you can open yours or someone elses boot to exit the vehicle. It’s not only for victims of kidnapping attempts but for people involved in car crashes to exit the vehicles thorough the trunk. Don’t try this at home, but now you know its there if you need it!

Remote window button

Basically all cars these days have power windows and keyless entry or at least a remote unlocking feature, so it makes sense for manufacturers to do some interesting stuff with the buttons on your key. The most popular is the remote windows button. You will not find it on your key since there will be just lock/unlock and trunk open buttons but if you dig deep in your user manual you might find that if you press unlock for at least 5 seconds, all of the car`s windows will start to open and the car will unlock. Also, if you hold lock for 5 seconds, all windows will roll up and the car will lock itself.

This is a pretty neat feature when you want to quickly open all the windows at once and cool down your car after a long park in the sun!

Automatic hazard lights

In the relentless quest for safety in traffic, manufacturers are constantly coming up with new passive and active features. You’ve likely heard about ABS, ESP and other electronic systems but the features don’t stop there. Car companies think of everything and automatic hazard lights are a perfect example how a small and simple feature can save lives.

Research shows that the biggest number of highway accidents happens when the driver behind you cannot see you brake due to poor weather or lack of concentration on the road. This is why most new cars have hazard lights which turn on automatically under hard braking. The computer monitors your reaction time as well as braking force and if it calculates that you perform panic braking maneuver; it turns on the hazard lights to alert drivers behind you. It proved to be helpful and the number of highway accidents has dropped slightly due to the fact that other drivers can see you hard braking from longer distance and have more time to act accordingly. Also, when you are concentrated on holding the steering wheel and braking you don’t have time to manually turn on hazard lights, so the car will do it for you.

Umbrella hidden in the door

This extremely useful feature first appeared on the prestigious Rolls-Royce Phantom but it was soon adopted by several more car companies, including economy car brands like Skoda. It’s a simple but effective feature, hiding a brolly in the rear passenger doors. This makes life a little bit simpler when you have to step outside into pouring rain. This feature is something that people often don’t know about and are surprised to find out that their car came with a pair of umbrellas. The best thing is the fact that engineers designed drainage system so when you put your umbrella back in the door, excess water will drain away from the car. Its perfectly elegant way of keeping yourself dry and your clothes presentable when you exit the car and dispose of the wet umbrella without soaking up the interior. Genius right?

Credit: Norbert Aepli CC BY 2.0