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3 Obsolete Auto Parts of the Future: What’s Going to Disappear from Today’s Cars Tomorrow

CD player

You probably don’t think much about obsolete auto parts. After all, it’s unlikely you’ve ever had to hand crank your own engine or change the points and condenser in your motor thanks to modern inventions like electronic starters and distributors. The march of progress means that, one day, the next generation of drivers will consider some aspects of current automobiles to be equally quaint, relegated to memory and no longer found under the hood of their vehicles.

Check out these three car parts that you won’t find on the showroom floor of the future.

1. Manual Transmissions

Shift knobSay goodbye to shifting without computerized assistance, because manual transmissions are very nearly on the obsolete auto parts list already. With fewer and fewer new car buyers opting for a clutch pedal at ordering time, manuals have already become the province of a small niche of enthusiasts who enjoy the visceral experience of rowing their own gears. Expect paddles on the steering wheel to call the shots on all mass-market automobiles within a decade.

2. CD Players

Are CD players really car parts? Yes and no. Long a staple of automotive entertainment, CD slots are largely going the way of tape decks, as more people choose to stream their music and podcasts via Bluetooth or audio-in cables, bypassing that silver disc entirely. As it stands now, there are a number of models that don’t offer CD players at all. Increasingly, it’s become an optional, not standard, component for most other vehicles.

3. 12-Volt Outlets

In a world where USB power is ubiquitous, cars are among the final products holding out on adopting these familiar little rectangular plugs. The culprit? A long-lasting love affair with the circular, 12-volt power outlet — a reliable if clunky power provider for a host of accessories. Cars are starting to move away from 12-volt electrical systems and toward more efficient 48-volt electrical setups, with the lighter gauge kept around largely to feed legacy systems and batteries. Could 12-volt outlets be far behind on the list of obsolete auto parts?

The future isn’t written in stone, but with the pace of modern automotive development, it seems likely that the cars of tomorrow will look less and less like what we currently drive.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on obsolete auto parts, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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