Stuff that annoys me plenty - Car Headlights

Why, when I turn off the engine of my car do the headlights not turn off automatically? To my mind the primary function of a car is transport. When I turn the engine of my car off, and the headlights are left on this drains the battery. It my car stays in this state for long enough when I return and try and start it it won’t start because the battery is required to power the starter motor which gets the main engine going.

At what point was it decided that the primary function of a car was to act as a large, mobile torch, and that the whole “transport” thing was a “nice to have”? Rather than optimizing for the common case (yes, I want to return to my car and have it function correctly) and turning off the lights when the engine is turned off, lets make sure  we leave the lights on - just in case thats what the driver wanted. I think I’ve probably wanted to leave the lights on when the engine was off only a handfull of times, but I always want my car to work properly when I come back to it. Maybe there should be a special “I want to leave my lights on and drain my battery” button, rather than assuming this is always the case. Some cars provide and audible cue to remind the driver the lights are on. I think this is silly, because it still makes the far-less-common case the default. I know some european cars behave correctly and turn off automatically - maybe I just bought the wrong make of car.


Nick Wienholt
You need to buy a Kluger - it behaves as per your wish. You never need to worry about a flat battery.
28/03/2006 6:35:00 PM
David M. Kean
I think this pretty much standard on most new cars - well at least it was on my VT Commodore.
28/03/2006 7:14:00 PM
Jim Webber
You don’t want the headlights to go off at night just because you stalled the engine at traffic lights.

The primary purpose of the modern car is safe transportation. You just can’t get away from those non-functional requirements :-)

28/03/2006 7:39:00 PM
Good point Jim, but if I’ve turned the key all the way off, taken the key out and got out of the car then there is no way the lights should stay on without me doing something really special. David - regrettably not the case - I bought a new car last year which doesn’t behave correctly wrt headlight operation.
28/03/2006 7:48:00 PM
Bill McCarthy
in the US I drove a hrie car that had automatic lights. You couldn’t turn them on/off manually if you wanted. I think they were on all the time while driving (but I really only noticed at night <g>) when you got out of the car the lights would stay on fro so many minutes (5 or 10.. maybe more as I never hung around longer than that). I suppose htye were good, but I found it a bit disconcerting.
In my car it beeps to remind me the lights are on, which I think is pretty good. yes I do think there are tiems you want to take the keys with you but leave the lights on.
now what really annoys me is the damn electric windows and sunroof, havingn to put the keys in and turn the ignition on to close them ! There should be an option on the alarm/remote locking device to close the windows !!
28/03/2006 8:15:00 PM
Rory Primrose
My Impreza does it. It has saved me at least a few hundred times :)
28/03/2006 8:21:00 PM
Dominic Cooney
My car has the ‘correct’ behavior, and also the on-day-and-night thing. However there’s a corner case, if you turn the park lights on, the headlights turn off– even if you are driving. I’ve got so used to the lights being always on that I have to be doubly and triply careful to make sure I turn the parkers off before I go anywhere!
30/03/2006 9:21:00 PM
I know what you mean. I hate having to get out of the carraige and walk all the way up the front of the horses to blow out the lantern. What a waste of time. My horses really should learn to snuff the candles on their own.
30/03/2006 9:50:00 PM