Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Invent this


I JUST REPLACED the wiper blades on my flivver today, and that got me to thinking about some things I'd like to see auto makers make.

MOST STATE LAWS require that when visibility is reduced the car's headlights must be on. Not just the "parking" lights, but the full headlights.

It is a matter of safety that almost any fool can recognize. Apparently there must be a lot of fools out there who (a) don't know, or care about, the law or who (b) are too stupid to realize the obvious.

Which is why I see far too many vehicles on city streets,, country roads, and highways or all types, windshield wipers going back and forth as fast as the motor can drive them on cars with dark front ends - that is, the headlights are off.

One of the Top Two inventions I'd like added to my next car is a combination switch that when the wipers are activated for more than a "swish" or two (to clean the windshield), the headlights ALSO illuminate and stay on until the wipers no longer are needed.

The second of the Top Two inventions I'd like to see on my next car is a car radio receiver that detects and broadcasts sirens within, say, 100 feet of the vehicle.

So many people today drive with the radio or media player going louder than necessary to be heard over the air conditioner (or heater). With the windows up and the noise inside the car, it sometimes is hard to hear a siren.

If a siren is detected within "n" number of feet/meters, the sound would be sent through the car's audio system. A visual indicator - where to put it; idiot lights on the dash often are ignored - would be worthwhile.

My third "would someone please invent" is an automatic retractable cover to bottom-mounted wipers.

In the "olde days," many wipers were mounted at the top of the windshield; often there was a slight overhang above the wiper to protect them from snow and sun.

I replaced two sets of wipers today because of sun damage; Sol devours the "rubber" over time. Replacing wipers every year or two is SOP where I live.

If my bottom-mounted wipers had a hard cover over them, the sun would do less damage. Snow also would be kept off the blades.

The cover would be like a "hardtop convertible." When the wipers were turned on, the cover would lift out of the way and the wipers could wipe.

Better, if the wiper "well" - the covered area in which the wipers are kept when not in use - had a heating option. Iced wipers could "thaw out" in the well between use.

    There IS an alternative to a heated well.

    Sigma Automotive makes a heated wiper blade. A bit pricy for the average driver, but perhaps just the thing for a commercial or government vehicle (e.g., school bus, snow plow).

None of the above are "big ticket" items and at least the top two are safety related.

Certainly I am not the first to think of these ideas; the only question is why haven't they been implemented. Mass produced, none of the inventions would be a "budget buster."

Tommy Magliozzi, you are missed.

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