Why is there no manual override for electric windows?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

Can you please tell me why cars with electric windows don't have a bypass control to open a window when the ignition is turned off? If my husband stops for gas, and happens to remove the key, I have to open a door to get some air. This seems ridiculous, since the automatic seats still operate when the key is removed. I guess some people may be able to distract themselves from sweltering in an air-tight car by playing with their seat controls, but it doesn't work for me! Why don't the windows keep working after you shut off the engine?

RAY: The reason the electric windows won't operate when the key is removed is because of kids.

TOM: Right. If you lock the little brats in there, you don't want 'em lowering the windows and getting out, do you?

RAY: That's not what I mean. If your car is unlocked, or your kids are left in it, you don't want them sticking their necks through the windows and playing "let's see how long it takes Johnny to turn blue." So it's really a safety feature.

TOM: But we've got two possible solutions, for you. A lot of newer cars have a feature that lets all of the "electricals" (fan, windows, radio) keep working until the door is opened. That way, if you turn off the engine and realize that a window is still open, you can close it without having to restart the car. So if you're trading up anytime soon, look for a car that does that.

RAY: Of course, that doesn't help you if your husband opens his door, gets out, and takes the key. So I think the solution for you, Mabel, is your own copy of the key. That way, while he's getting gas, you can change the radio station and get rid of that "24 Hour Lawrence Welk" channel he listens to.

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