Driver's Seat: Clean cars at top of readers' wish lists

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Last week I shared some ideas from my and my friends' automotive wish lists. And it looks like I got everything that I asked Santa for when readers offered their own ideas for what they'd like in their cars.

So without further ado, let's continue with A Very Driver's Seat Christmas:

Clean it up: Bonnie O'Shell still reads the Post-Gazette every day even though she's relocated to Fort Mohave, Ariz. She offers this: "I would like to add a place to put trash! Even a hook or something to hang a plastic bag from. I am tired of my car looking like a trash can because there is no place to conveniently put trash!"

I have to say I agree with Bonnie. Honda has capitalized on this with the new Odyssey minivan. They've added an onboard vacuum cleaner as an option. It has an actual ShopVac inside the wall with tools, a filter and a small bag, and plenty of suction to pick up the toughest dirt.

Why stop there? After seeing my own vehicles after some trips, I wonder if the vacuum cleaner goes far enough. I'm thinking a hose, a rubber floor and a drain might be more in keeping some families' ideas of taking it all with you.

Reader and good friend Rita Deimler of Durham, N.C., a nurse and dog rescuer, would surely like the same approach. She also suggests that automakers offer something more in tune with pet owners.

Ms. Deimler asks for "interior covering for the back of fold-down seats that is not a magnet for dog hair, and something that will hold a water dish in place without it splashing all around while driving. And when you fold down the dog hair-repelling seats, can there be an inflatable dog/people bed for the back for travel napping?"

As the keeper of Sturgis Dogs 1.0 through 3.0 and occasionally several of their playmates, I have to agree. A comfy place for a nap would certainly be nice for overnight drives when you need to stop and get a quick snooze.

Brew up something good: History teacher and friend Rich Betz of Honesdale also has an idea to help drivers bring a touch of home along for the ride.

"Why stop at cup holders?" Mr. Betz adds, and suggests adding a hot beverage maker.

EZ Pay -- and Park: Mr. Betz also wants to make paying for everything as easy as EZ Pass. He asks what about a "Bluetooth payment system? Fast food. Parking garages, tolls, squeegee guys. Tap a button -- paid."

The potential for abuse and identity theft seems high with such a system, but that's part of our modern life.

Furthermore, he sees a GPS app that locates parking spots for drivers as another bright idea. Since a great deal of gridlock involves people driving around looking for parking spaces, I'd say this is an idea whose time has come.

Mobile office: Friend Karen Buch finds herself on the road frequently in her role as a dietitian for Weis Markets. She has this idea for making the trips go a little more smoothly.

"How about a tracking system that goes beyond trip A and trip B for mileage? It could actually allow you to track your business miles, location, date, time and business purpose to create a monthly mileage report right from your dashboard."

Keep it cool: Reader John Bogaard from Braddock has a wish for a solution to a problem we won't have in Pittsburgh for a little while, but it sure would be nice nonetheless.

"My car wish is for someone to figure out how to keep a car from becoming 150 degrees in the hot sun. There hasn't been much improvement on this, ever really, even though so much has improved on cars in other ways. It seems like there should be something that could be done, such as having solar panels to power a ventilation system."

I think it's a great idea, John. Although a hot car would be a nice change of pace these days.

Freelance auto writer Scott Sturgis: mrdriversseat@gmail.com.


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