Today, almost every aspect of life is in some way influenced by the computer. Our basic tools are now computerized and our vehicles are no exception.

Buyers are now selecting their cars based in part on the electronics package that is included. Does it have Navigation? Does the in-car entertainment system work the way you want it to? These are all questions that car manufacturers are taking into consideration.

Cars are starting to include as many options as we have in our home. From satellite radio to video conferencing to Internet hot spots you have a choice of many things when you select your next car. This list of options will only increase over the coming years.


In automobiles having computer controlled everything makes the way the car functions completely different. It is designed to look and feel like what we are used to. Gone are the days that your transmission selector (gear shift) has a cable going to the transmission or a gas pedal that controls a mechanical connection to operate the throttle. The entire car is now drive by wire – that is everything is electronic and computer controlled. There are no longer mechanical connections on most of your cars controls. Everything you do when you are in your car is a switch that sends a signal to a computer which in turn executes a program to do whatever it is you want to do. This is great until you have a breakdown of the computer.

The way you do things on a car has also changed. As an example for most newer cars you should NEVER jump from the battery. The reason for this is that there are electrical components on many battery terminals. You can still jump start your car but in many cases there are separate terminals for this purpose. If you do this incorrectly you can burn out components on the battery (such as relays and fuses) which in turn would disable your own car. This will come as a shock to people who have owned older vehicles for most of their lives and expect it to function as usual.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.