How do you turn on the Radio ?

Auto Infotainment systems problematic for renters and automakers 


For decades, the left knob turned on the radio and the right knob changed the station. By the eighties automakers added a  power button.

Well that was so 2007.  In many cars the power button and the knobs have been replaced with touchscreens and interfaces.

You’ve Entered the Technology Zone

It’s 1 am and your flight is four hours late.  You get into your rental car and  start the engine and begin the drive to your hotel., Wanting music to relax. You soon realize you have entered a new and strange world of electronics without international symbols. To make matters worse many of the systems have incorporated the climate control  and other basic functions.

If your renting a car some of these systems pose a greater threat than texting as you have to take your eyes off the road.  Few car rental companies leave instructions for the customer unless of course they have 45 minutes to read the owners manual.

There was a time, automakers designed one system for all of its vehicles.  The systems in the Buick was identical for Chevrolet,you would find in all GM cars,not any more.

Buggy Systems Bugging Owners.

The more you spend for a car the more complicated the system.  The Cadillac Cue system doesn’t have any knobs, it requires the drive to tap or swipe the thin silver bar.  Most infotainment systems are cumbersome, some require very specific voice commands.   Some systems require you to hit a power button after using the CD.

Cadillac’s Cue

 In German cars like the Audi and BMW have an extensive interface requiring the driver to scroll through a large number of commands.

Consumer Reports magazine said, Of the 17 problem areas we ask about, the category including in-car electronics generated more beefs from owners of 2013 models than any other category.  In many cases, the touch-screen infotainment systems have been buggy,with frustrating screen freezes, touch-control lag,or a reluctance to recognize a cell pone, an MP# device ,or voice command.  

That’s an area that has plagued Ford and Lincoln models equipped with the MY-Touch systems, which has been unusually troublesome sine they arrived in 2011.  Yes, Ford has issued numerous fixes and software updates, and the survey responses complaints rates for new models have fallen by half.   but the problem rate is still high,even as Ford has been putting the systems into more of its vehicles.  

Another car with notable audio system problems is the otherwise excellent 2013 Honda Accord. Because the problem rates are higher in V6 sedans and coupes, the trouble seems to involve the up-level touch screen infotainment systems in those cars.

Infotainment Gold

The U-Connect systems in Chrysler products ( Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep) are highly rated for its response time and overall ease of use.  The user have the option to use knobs and or touchscreen.   The system has received many awards including the coveted JD Power.

Hyundai’s (Hyundai-Kia) system is highly respected..


Car Rentals

Familiarize yourself with basic controls (radio,climate controls and pairing cell phones)before driving off.   Or ask someone at the car rental to review the controls with you.

Buying a new car

If your buying a premium brand (Cadillac- Mercedes Benz) there are no options.   You can opt out of some of these cars. On Fords popular Fusion, My Touch is option on the SE,however if you want more deluxe model with more features say found on the Titanium level you cant opt out.  Infotainment systems are optional on lessor brands* (Chevy, Toyota etc)

If your considering a systems try before your by.   Pair your cell phone, become familiar with the environment.

Welcome to the new world



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