Home » These Are The Most Nightmarish Car Feature Subscriptions I Could Think Of

These Are The Most Nightmarish Car Feature Subscriptions I Could Think Of

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If there’s one thing that seems to be universally hated in the automotive community, it’s car features that get unlocked via subscription payments. Nobody seems to like these. BMW was an early adopter of this shit, attempting to charge subscription fees for things like seat heaters until they got shouted down. That doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned the idea, of course, they’re just trying it on different stuff now, like dashcams and drivers’ assistance systems and traffic camera alerts. [Ed Note: Technically, I should change they’ve and they’re to it has and its, but I’m letting it go because only actual human jerks would pull this nonsense.]

Other companies are interested, too; for example, Mercedes-Benz will let you pay to make your car a second faster going from 0-60, if you want. There’s too much potential money here for carmakers to ignore, so I think we’re going to have to deal with subscription crap for a while. That’s why I figured it’d be a good idea to prepare us all for the potential grim subscription-based future by exploring what could be the worst-case subscription situations.

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This isn’t going to be fun; in fact, if you’re of a delicate constitution or pregnant or higher or drunker than normal, or all of the above, then I would suggest just skipping this article – after, of course, carefully viewing each and every ad and clicking through and making a purchase of whatever product, service, or religious donation is advertised.

We’ll use this handy diagram of a 1997 Esquimax Nomadclam Estate DX with callouts to organize these subscription possibilities, so please refer to the numbered callouts and their associated subscriptions:

Carsubnightmare Chart!

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  1. Bumper strut stiffener subscription (without it, bumpers slide in and out freely)
  2. Tire inflation indicator accuracy goes from +/- 50 psi to +/- 1 psi with subscription
  3. High beams available for $0.25 per 10 minute use
  4. Turn indicators available for $0.01/blink
  5. Subscription turns off valve that squirts red Kool-Aid from windshield washer nozzles
  6. Airbag actually inflates upon impact ($250/use)
  7. Monthly $4 subscription keeps seat moisteners off-line
  8. Seat belt tensioner won’t saw back and forth when anti-neck-chafing subscription is selected ($8/mo)
  9. Windows roll down for free; $0.25 to go back up (per use)
  10. Amber lights for turn signals instead of red ($2/month, otherwise lone bulb in red section does it all)
  11. Real-time speedometer at $8/month; otherwise speedo works on 10-minute delay
  12. Monthly $9 subscription turns of nonstop AM radio broadcast of Golden Earring’s Radar Love at top volume
  13. Annual mudflap subscription ($24) turns off extremely loud voice announcement bellowing “WARNING: MUD DETECTED” through car stereo every time mudflaps encounter mud or mud-like substances
  14. Subscriptions for cylinder activation; default setting is V-twin, can activate two more for a V4 ($25/mo), or V6 ($50/mo), or full V8 ($99/mo)
  15. Catalytic Converter Protection subscription will stop broadcasting when car is unattended to local ne’er-do-wells (taken from federal watchlists of ne’er-do-wells, urchins, and cutpurses)
  16. Trunk/cargo area has sliding blocking panel that you can pay to move back, exposing more cargo room, for $5/per every 10 inches
  17. $10 gets you burst of nitrous
  18. Anti-lock brakes paid for on-demand, $25 per use (use is maximum of 100 pulses)

Rednsudivider

This is just a taste of the nightmarish world that can come from unbridled car feature subscriptions. It is only with constant vigilance that we can ensure such a world never comes to be.

Solidarity, friends.

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Zorn Zornelius
Zorn Zornelius
2 months ago

“Too bad you’re stuck in stopped traffic inching forward every 30 seconds or so. You’d like to use those perfectly fine and empty lanes to the left, wouldn’t you? That will be $20 as soon as you cross the double line.”

HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes are already a thing here in the Pacific Northwest, and many other place, and strike me as just as insidious as the automakers’ subscription features. A punishment for people who have the audacity to not be able to afford them.

ALSO: don’t think I’ve seen algorithmic engine Stop/Start deactivation mentioned here. That is TOTALLY going to cost money per use someday. (and I hope I am dead by then)

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

I’m just gonna get a Prius Prime and have it all covered.

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
2 months ago

Tire air subscription. $5.99/mo gets you a 5 gallon pail of OEM air delivered to your house when the TPMS detects low pressure. Using gas station air triggers a constantly blinking dome light and 25mph maximum speed.

Lori Hille
Lori Hille
2 months ago

It’s like the life jackets on Fly Lo Airlines in the British show “Come Fly With Me”!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=YfQmiucLZvQ&si=z7vacIp4hjYZemnz

Gated_Grifter
Gated_Grifter
2 months ago

17a: For $20 the burst of nitrous is directed into the passenger compartment.
Also terrifying:
-Windshield opacity decreased 10% for every $10/month
-Brake light reliability lifetime guarantee for only $500
-Power steering time limit (capped at first 15 minutes) removed for $50/month

Elhigh
Elhigh
2 months ago

Considering what a new air bag costs, that’s actually a bargain. $250 per use? Cheap. And if the car is too messed up to fix, I’m not paying for a re-up anyway.

Last edited 2 months ago by Elhigh
Harmon20
Harmon20
2 months ago

4. Turn indicators available for $0.01/blink

I’m pretty sure this might already be a thing. There’s a couple new pickups around down that never use their blinkers. I had assumed they didn’t want to pay for the optional Blinkers Package when they bought the thing, but it might be they’re trying not to run up the blinker bill on the sub.

Dale Mitchell
Dale Mitchell
2 months ago
Reply to  Harmon20

Is that why BMW blinkers never seem to work?
Suddenly it is all clear to me

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
2 months ago

If I forgot to pay my fee to keep Radar Love from being blasted at me non-stop, I’d skip the airbag fee as well and aim for the nearest tree.

Last edited 2 months ago by IRegertNothing, Esq.
Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
2 months ago

Imagine a world in which minivans charged a subscription fee for cupholders…. All or nothing there too. Wanna use the 27 cupholders in the van? That’s $45/month.

Just wait until you find out how much it costs to turn on the infotainment screen, which of course, is sponsored by Xfinity.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
2 months ago

This makes me fear that our infotainment screens will soon be like gas station screens. Just Maria Menounos shouting celebrity gossip at me every morning in the drop off line. :(((((

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley
2 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Oh, for the love of whatever you hold sacred, no!

ProfessorOfUselessFacts
ProfessorOfUselessFacts
2 months ago

I can remember my uncle rented a car one time that required you to insert a coin to use the interior lights. Want to read a map? That’s $0.10.Drop something on the floor, and can’t see it? That’s another $0.10.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
2 months ago

Is the 1997 Esquimax Nomadclam Estate DX based on a real car? Is it a pastiche? Where can I obtain one?

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
2 months ago

I would pay a lot NOT to have that GAZ Volga (or is it a Morris Ital?) in your drawing 😉

OnlyFlans
OnlyFlans
2 months ago

These are a mix of subscriptions and microtransactions. Most of them seem functional, so let’s not forget the aesthetic options available via the other wonderful cosmetic pay scheme: LOOT BOXES and IN-CAR CURRENCY! Gives a whole new meaning to Mercedes MBUX

$5/100 Mercedes M-BUX, $10/250 M-BUX, or $50/750 M-BUX (*BEST DEAL!*)

50 M-BUX for ambient color loot box (one basic primary color light option, 50% chance of premium color option) *no refunds for multiple instances of the same color

100 M-BUX for your personalized infotainment avatar PREMIUM clothing

500 M-BUX for a PREMIUM custom voice of a personal in-car AI driven therapist you will need to help you through the shame of having spent your retirement nest egg unsuccessfully trying to win Amaranth in the ambient color loot box

Andy the Swede
Andy the Swede
2 months ago

I would add a strip by strip payment for the rear window heating so that the customer can select not only how much of the window that should defog, but also what parts of the window to defog, giving the customer that true feeling of uniqueness.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy the Swede

And everyone else can see how cheap you are in the winter.

Rafael
Rafael
2 months ago

The barriers between parody and serious are very thin in our world right now, as never before. Beware of what you conjure into our fragile reality.
They’re listening. And they’re oh so dumb…

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago

So buy a Chevy and all that stuff will break in a month. Problem solved!

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago

Ed note: isn’t the W in BMW “Werke” and plural?

Rafael
Rafael
2 months ago

Actually I would love to see a short article devolve into a passive aggressive fight between Ed notes and notes to Ed.
Extra funny if any of the involved are actually named Edward or Edwina.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Like the opening scene in one of the Airplane! movies where the male and female announcers bicker over the PA.

Rafael
Rafael
2 months ago

Precisely! And by acknowledging this reference I just blew my cover as a Millennial…

Martin English
Martin English
2 months ago

It’s raining here, so I’ll add
* Windscreen Wipers
* DRM controlled Windscreen Wiper Fluid

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin English

Because they wouldn’t want you to use 2nd rate washer fluid and be disappointed by the quality.

Livinglavidadidas
Livinglavidadidas
2 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

Out of magenta, cannot spray cyan windshield fluid.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

Only BMW LL-17FE+ spec oil. Not to be confused with similar spec VW508.00 or MB22.71

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
2 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

Use of 3rd party washer fluid WILL result in blinking dash light and constant beeping from an indeterminable location.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pupmeow
Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin English

DRM wiper fluid will be sold right next to HP ink cartridges and given a similar price per ml of ink.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

[Ed Note: Technically, I should change they’ve and they’re to it has and its, but I’m letting it go because only actual human jerks would pull this nonsense.]

On this subject, I’ve always thought it was weird that most publications insist on referring to companies as “it”. Yes, the company, as in the organization, the LLC, the publicly traded stock or whatever, is an inanimate object best referred to using “it”. But if the company is treated as being able to make actions, then you are acknowledging that the company is an organization of very real, human, and animate people who are definitely not referred to by “it”.

When I talk about a company, I always say “they”. As in, “they decided to make this fuel sender out of plastic, how stupid”. Because anything referred to with “it” is inanimate and cannot decide to make a fuel sender out of plastic. Because, as pointed out, only actual human jerks do that.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rust Buckets
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Another victory for Citizens United.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I thought it was a British English thing. It always seems super unnatural.

Which is really weird because it’s also really unnatural when they use singulars (“BMW have started charging to use the turn signals” instead of “BMW has started charging to use the turn signals”)

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley
2 months ago

The singular “BMW has” is the correct form, even in British English.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Bradley

I definitely wrote it out wrong (have sounds weird!). I wonder why I frequently hear “have” on top gear.

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley
2 months ago

We’re lazy when we speak, I guess. ????‍♂️

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
2 months ago

I had my anxiety under control and then I read this. Now I worry auto execs are gonna take Torch seriously.

EPGCivic
EPGCivic
2 months ago

On a more serious note if they do this , I’d have some fun hacking the firmware on my car for these features.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago

But, I like Radar Love.

Uninformed Fucknugget
Uninformed Fucknugget
2 months ago

“ $5/per every 10 inches”

Some people may feel this is a bargain.

Rafael
Rafael
2 months ago

Love your handle, you should get cotd on that alone!

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

A writing genius came up with that.

Rafael
Rafael
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

It seems I too was uninformed… Time to change names! 🙂

Uninformed Fucknugget
Uninformed Fucknugget
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Uncle Adrian penned the term, I only wear it because the shoe fits.

Is Travis
Is Travis
2 months ago

Some of these were angering and eye twitchy to read. Excellent work.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
2 months ago

Lifts on bro-dozers. $100 per inch per month. $200 per inch per month includes low-profile wheels and tires.

EPGCivic
EPGCivic
2 months ago

How much for the Carolina squat?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

That’s how they already do it…… If they stop paying the subscription the bank comes and takes the pickup back.

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