She recorded the accumulated trash in 200 cars that she and her family encountered while on their excursion in the summer of 2008. The book is In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile. Some of the items she discovered ranged from unused medical devices to vegetation growing in the back of a pick-up truck.
Styring used the book to identify creature comforts that occupants sorely need during trips like the one she and her family took. Most notably an “integrated trash management system” is needed to prevent all the fast food packaging and other debris from being deposited throughout the vehicle. The other need she indicated in a PR Newswire item was refrigerated space where medications or cosmetics could be stored safely away from the inhospitable heat of a closed up car or truck.
While not saying that improvements to the 2011 Honda Odyssey were a result of her research for the book, she did cite the company for “their focus on identifying and responding to consumer needs.” The newest Odyssey is equipped with a refrigerated bin and a pop-up ring that serves as trash bag holder.
The need for a trash system is something that I have strong feelings about and have mentioned in the post, Preparing for the Car Repair Visit. The point is that your car will become the work station of the technician trying to resolve your problem. So it doesn’t advance the task at hand by his being distracted by concerns over infestation brought on by discarded food items.
Over the years we have been surprised many times by what we have found not only inside the car’s passenger’s compartment but under the hood. Like the time a lady came in complaining that it sounded like a bird was under her hood, which usually meant that a belt was making noise. But this time there was starling resting up against the radiator.
Then there was the unfortunate cat that was enticed by an engine’s warmth to nestle a bit too close to a Ford Maverick’s fan blade. These are rare occurrences, of course, but one that happens quite often may serve as a cautionary tale and a bit of car advice.
Make sure that you seal bird seed and pet food containers stored in your garage because their contents can end up cradled on your intake manifold or worse. We have never caught the perpetrators but we are pretty sure they have four legs and tend to be on the lazy side since they prefer pilfering store bought food rather than gathering nuts.