Hidden settings in cars

When modern cars are manufactured, there is a component called an Engine Control Unit (ECU) that is programmed to work with the components installed in the car.

There are hidden settings for features the car doesn’t have yet or may become standard in the future, and there are language and regional settings that allow the correct display of information. There are also settings that may become law, so they are in there just in case.

My car is a 2013 Skoda Fabia which comes without front fog lights, parking sensors or anything fancy.

In the hidden settings is support for front fog lights and daytime running lights.

Lighting

Fog lights can be set to come on when the main beam is set, disabled by default but can provide better visibility on the road.

Daytime Running Lights can be enabled to work as cornering lights, so as you indicate to turn right or left, that side is illuminated.

Coming home lighting is the effect that when you arrive at your destination, the key is removed from the ignition and the car doors locked, certain lights stay on and turn themselves off after a short delay. Normally, this only applies to the dashboard and overhead lights but the Daytime Running Lights can be programmed to do the same purpose.

Providing the car has the light sensor installed, this feature means you don’t have to touch the light switch, the can automatically adjusts the lights to road conditions and time of day.

Remote locking/unlocking

Ordinarily, you press the remote once, and the driver door unlocks, the second press unlocks the other doors.

However, this can be changed to a single click unlock.

A feature that is disabled is that the headlights flash when the car is locked or unlocked. Normally, the indicators will flash when the car is locked or unlocked.

In much the same way as flashing lights, the horn can sound.

Additionally, the horn can be set to sound when the alarm is set or unset.

Wiper action

A useful feature that is disabled is the tear wipe, which is an additional wipe of the wiper blades after a short delay to catch water droplets that may have run back down the screen.

If the car is installed with the rain sensor, the car can automatically start the windscreen wipers.

The faster you drive, the faster the wipers clear the screen. A feature that means you don’t have to touch the wiper switch when driving.

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