Search Autoparts/Motorage/Electrical/

The dollar and distraction costs of infotainment

We should try to remember that our homes are not our vehicles and vice versa.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 07:00
Print Article

Radio entertainment was, at one time, available only from large, stationary units that occupied a great deal of space in one’s living room. That luxury was enjoyed sparingly at first, and usually by the whole family at the same time. I imagine the same arguments about distracted driving dangers took place when cars were first fitted with radios, just as they are taking place now (for even more reasons)!

Motor Age Magazine Want more ? Enjoy a free subscription to Motor Age magazine to get the latest news in service repair. Click here to start you subscription today.

SAVE 20%

On Automotive Electric Training Videos , ASE study guides and more.


The driver is in control, able to add additional media sources or even upload directly to the system.

Pay no attention to the man behind the camera! Rear view mirrors are so much more today, often housing forward-facing cameras and other electronics.

While browsing through a huge retail store recently, the realization occurred to me how fast expensive items lose their value. Microwave ovens used to cost a few thousand dollars when they first hit the market. Some cost less than $50 these days.

Everyone has at one time or another purchased something only to realize in a short period of time that the same item isn’t worth anywhere near the price we paid for it anymore! In other words, we couldn’t sell what we bought for a “reasonable” price shortly after we paid a “premium” price.  It’s become typical for a new item to command a high purchase price when first brought to market, then in a short time we see that same item’s selling price rapidly decrease. Does the difference mean it was expensive if it now sells for much less than we paid? Does that mean what we bought has less value now?

I bring these questions to the table because at the same time that I was shopping, I started wondering if the depreciation of value could also apply to some aspects of automotive repair. It didn’t take me long to apply that concept personally. Without too much effort I can think of a few instances where I just had to have something for my car, and eventually the newness wore off (decreasing in value, to me anyway). In that short time its actual value also decreased!

Music to my ears
Here’s an example: While in the process of purchasing my first new car, I was offered a variety of audio systems with which the vehicle could be equipped. Some were factory-installed, some were not, but I chose the finest available (read: most expensive). I got the one with the most bells and whistles. In other words, it had the most features and capabilities of any of my choices and therefore, I figured those commanded a high price.  It was just expected. It had what was called something like theater surround sound, a customizable equalizer, the most wattage per zone, a huge amount of memory to store pre-set preferences and what was most important to me at the time — a six-disk CD changer! I paid a premium price for this new (at the time) luxury.

You see, music has always been important in my life. In addition to being an automotive technician, I was also an amateur musician, so having a premium sound system was important! At the time this purchase took place, I was spending a lot of time in my car traveling through areas without any radio stations (well, none I cared to listen to). So having choices of listening pleasure that were previously unavailable had great value to me. 

Article Categorization
Article Details

< Previous
Next >
blog comments powered by Disqus