Low-tech car tech you might not know you have

Forget the touchscreens and automatic braking. There's a wealth of simple tech tricks in your car.

Driver's technology drives a big part of the new car market today, but even the most modest car has a wealth of simple technology that you may not appreciate. Use this list to look around your car and see if there are any handy low-tech features you didn't know about.

  • Extending or double sun visors can block the sun from two directions at once. 
  • One-touch express up and down windows. You don't need to keep pressing the button on some cars.
  • Pull-up power window switches, so kids and pets can accidentally stand on the button and close the window on themselves. 
Pull up power window switch

Power window switches in modern cars require you pull up to close the window, for safety.
  • Power windows should have pinch protection that reverses the window motor when it encounters much resistance. 
  • One-pull inside locks. No need to pull the handle twice or pull up the lock plunger itself to get out.
  • Door checks with multiple detents to hold your door in several different positions, not just wide open.
  • Rear glass that opens separately from the main hatch.
  • Triangular icons on the fuel gauge that indicated which side of the car the gas cap is on.
  • Fuel gauge with gas cap indicator arrow

    The little triangular icon points to the side of the car where the fuel filler is located.

    Ed Rhee/CNET
  • An automatic lane change flash invoked by pressing the turn signal lever half way and releasing it. No need to manually cancel it. 
  • Rotate your ignition key backward for accessory power without powering up other car systems like fuel injection, ABS or dashboard idiot lights. This is a much more elegant way to listen to the stereo with the car off. 
  • A negative ground stud under the hood gives you better jump starts.
  • Negative jump start stud

    Look for a body stud on a car near the battery for an optimal connection to the black clamp.

  • Move your dash brightness control all the way on and past a detent to engage all the interior lights.
  • Press and hold the lock or unlock buttons on your remote key fob to close or open all windows.
  • A steel backup key could be hidden inside your remote fob.
  • Little plastic hooks at the base of your headrest uprights are there to hang small shopping bags on the way home without things spilling out.
  • Your car may have a wiper service mode that can position the wiper arms for a convenient blade change.
  • Press and hold to save radio presets. (Yes, some people don't know this one, they use the radio so little.)
  • Height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors to give you a comfortable fit.
  • Height-adjustable power hatchbacks limit how far the lid opens and prevent it from hitting ceilings and overhead pipes.