Misadventures in the new car

I mentioned on a recent Friday’s Fave Five that we got a new car at the end of the year. We were going to need to replace our van some time in the near future, and my husband went down to the dealership we were considering to see if they had any end-of-the-year sales that would make it worthwhile to go ahead and get a car. They did, and the salesman was eager enough to sell that my husband got pretty much everything he wanted. Plus, since we didn’t absolutely have to get a car right now, when the negotiations weren’t going the way my husband wanted, he could honestly and without remorse and coercion walk away. That, we discovered, was a good position to negotiate from. I’m glad he likes doing that kind of thing. I hate it – I want to know the sale price and any discounts available and be done with it. But because he likes that kind of interaction, we’ve gotten some great deals along the way.

I don’t remember how old our old van is – maybe 18 or so years? Old enough that it has a cassette tape player, and when it came out, keyless entry was the newest, coolest feature. The new one, of course, has all kinds of bells and whistles I need to get used to. Jim took me out to the car after he brought it home and showed where various things were. He set up what was needed for my phone to connect via bluetooth and play through the speakers (Yay!!) and showed me how to activate that and various other things.

I had driven the car briefly when he brought it home for a test drive, but I wanted my first solo voyage to be a very small and short excursion while I got used to it. I had to go to the post office yesterday, which provided a perfect opportunity.


The car starts with a push button, but requires that you have a “key” that connects wirelessly so that not just anyone can come start and drive your car. So I got in, got set, pushed the button — and everything came on except the engine. The windshield wipers were going full blast because it had been raining the last time we were out. I knew where the controls for it were, so I was turning everything on them that I could, but nothing was happening. I finally realized I had been fiddling with the controls for the back windshield wipers. But I couldn’t see what to do to turn off the front wipers. I accidentally moved the lever, and saw out of the corner of my eye something on the screen behind the steering wheel that said “Off, Int, Lo, Hi.” The setting moved when I moved the lever, so, voila, that’s how to turn the windshield wipers off. That sure seemed more complicated than it needed to be.


But I still had the problem of how to turn on the engine. I pushed the button again — nothing. I called my husband, but my call just went to voicemail. I got the manual out of the glove compartment, and you’d think “How to start your car” would be on the first page. But, no, I had to go searching for it and found it about halfway in. Turns out I have to have my foot on the brake pedal and then push the button, even though the car is in “park.” Success!

The car has a nifty back-up setting where it shows you what’s behind you and has little red and yellow lines to show you which way you need to go to back up. I had been looking forward to that feature, but I found it disorienting – when I turned the way I thought it was indicating, I went the opposite way. So I had to just ignore it and back out the old way, looking over my shoulder.


This car has many more warning beeps than I am used to – one for when you veer out of your line, proximity sensors on all sides so you know when you get to close to something, etc.

The actual driving was fine – except I kept stopping too suddenly. Have to get used to the feel of the new brakes.

I kept thinking this all probably looked like a scene in a sitcom. πŸ™‚

I was glad my first excursion was a short one, because I was pretty rattled when I got home. πŸ™‚

Earlier, when we were in the car together and my husband was driving, I got out the manual to flip through it, and was overwhelmed with too much information. What I probably need to do is just go sit with it in the garage and go through the manual page by page.

My kids love the learning curve with new technology. Me — not so much. I’m sure I’ll love everything once I get more familiar with it. But I hope my next drive goes more smoothy than the first.



15 thoughts on “Misadventures in the new car

  1. We bought a used car a little over a year ago that has the same keyless ignition! It doesn’t take long to get spoiled to it and then you’ll love it. We also have keyless entry where if one has the key fob, you just have to put your hand on the door handle – that really spoils one quickly. Enjoy the new wheels!

    • Right now not using a key to start the car makes me a little nervous – I’m just so used to that action of turning off the car and putting my keys in my pocket, that just pushing the button makes me panic for a second and wonder where my keys are, LOL! But I got spoiled pretty quickly by the keyless door locks, so I’m sure I will be by this and all the other new features soon. (I’ve often wished I had keyless entry for the house door, especially when bringing in groceries!) πŸ™‚

  2. We got a new car in September, so I know exactly what you mean. My husband usually drives it to work, but he still hasn’t figured out how to work the very “high tech” radio. I am sure you’ll get used to everything with a few more drives.
    Enjoy the rest of the week!

    • I’m smiling about the high tech radio. I don’t think I would have figured that all out without my husband’s help – at least. not for a very long time. πŸ™‚

  3. ha. This sounds like me when I have to drive a rental car. Getting it started can be the most confusing part! πŸ™‚ Hope you learn to love all the bells and whistles–I absolutely love having blue tooth and a backup screen. I can actually parallel park now. πŸ™‚

  4. My husband is a good negotiator also. I learned (the hard way) to keep my mouth SHUT while he is navigating a deal!!!! πŸ™‚

  5. I’m having the same issues with our new car! I tried starting the car the same way you did and had to have my husband tell me to press the brake first. The seat vibrates when you drift out of your lane and I find that sensation so disconcerting. We keep telling people the car is smarter than we are. I’m with you that trying to read through the manual is an overload of information. Hopefully we will both learn things and grow more comfortable with our nice new vehicles. It really is a blessing to have a safe new vehicle, isn’t it?

  6. Some of the new technology has me baffled. I like things cut and dried. Your car sounds great and once you get used to all its bells and whistles I’m sure you’ll love it.

  7. I still haven’t figured out how to sync my phone with the speakers in my car — that we have had for approximately three years now? Please let me know when you get it figured out with your superior technological ability. πŸ™‚ (Mine just beeps if something is in the way when you back up — but it will sometimes beep if the back of the car is low, for instance if I am parked on a slope, and it is sensing a small pile of snow/ice behind it — that just has to be gone over.)

  8. I hear you, Barbara, and I hope you’ll get lots of practice in so that you’re more comfortable.

    I’d gotten used to the keyless entry thing to the point where I’d forget that the fob was in my purse. When I pulled up to the driveway, I paused to let my friend out and, trying to be helpful, she picked up my purse to bring inside — you should’ve heard the car have a conniption fit!

  9. I can so relate. I had to drive a group of ladies to a retreat over 3 hours away and the church gave us a rental car and it had a bunch of new fangled things like that. Freaked me right out. I was so nervous the whole time. Thank God He had a arranged a lady to be in the car who understood some of that stuff and coached me along or who knows what I might have accidently turned on or off. Ha! Enjoy that new car.

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