Hooniverse Asks: Do you Appreciate Having a Clock in Your Car?

We once had a Jeep Grand Cherokee in our extended family and that damn thing had more clocks in it than you could shake a stick at. There was one in the console and one in the radio display… and now that I think of it, there may have even been another one in the sunroof switch panel. An excess of clocks is not generally what you might call a serious problem but the thing of it is, none of them ones in that Jeep ever kept the same time.
My present daily driver has an analog clock taking up prime real estate in the dash, and while we do live in a digital age today, I still count on that as my primary time keeping resource while in the car, having turned off the clock on my aftermarket radio. After 11 years, it still keeps accurate time.
I like having a clock in the car. Especially seeing as I gave up wearing a wristwatch once I got a cell phone, and gave up waiting on pocket watches and Flavor Flav to come back in style. What about you, do you find a clock-less car to be less than satisfying? If you do expect a time piece in your ride, what sort is your preference?
Image: frontseatdriver

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  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    I’d definitely like a clock in the car. In my Honda, the lack of a clock is one of the more annoying cost savings. I stopped wearing a wrist watch when my Skagen watch broke to pieces twice in a year. The cell phone should stay in the pocket and my 18$ radio can only display the clock when it’s not playing music; neither I nor the seller has figured out how to adjust the clock either…
    Yes, I’d definitely like one.

    1. IGoZoom Avatar

      When I was 16, I bought a new ’91 Civic DX 3-door. It didn’t have a clock, passenger side mirror, tachometer or even power steering! The clock (and passenger side mirror, as well as the center armrest and radio) were all sold as ‘Accessories’ by the Honda dealer. I bought the car with A/C as the only dealer-installed accessory and bought the clock and other items afterward and installed them myself.
      Honda had a very annoying habit of slapping plastic blanks over missing features, as if to remind you that you bought the cheap model. The space where the clock went was in the center of the dash, at the top of the center control stack and it screamed “cheap”! It’s hard to believe that there was a ‘base’ trim level below mine with even fewer features. But it was still a great car…

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Wait, 16 years old and and a new car? Whatever the trim, kudos to your boyhood financial skills!

        1. IGoZoom Avatar

          Thanks! I started working when I was 12 (with my mom cleaning offices at night) and went to work 35-40 hours per week at a grocery store when I was 14. I actually had $2500 to put down on the ’91 Civic! =) I still have the window sticker- it was a whopping $9,005 including destination charge. The dealer installed A/C was another $895, making the total $9,900. My payment was $187/month for 48 months. If only I could have a payment that low again!

  2. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    Only when I want to know the time.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Yes. Both of our Toyotas have their ubiquitous digital clock.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      The holy grail of parts sharing, the Toyota clock.

      1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

        And I’d swear it dates back to 1975.

        1. rovingardener Avatar

          And I have it in my 2008 Forester. Its everywhere.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    I have the standard clock in the radio, which is useful, as I tend to run uncomfortably prompt. It’s nice to have the reassurance I’m not late. I should really get my watch fixed for the days I bicycle to work.

  5. Alff Avatar

    I would love to have an analog clock with a second hand, for checking the accuracy of the speedometer.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Yep. Ulysse is the speedo in the Ford. They don’t make a speedo driven gear big enough to mate the AOD with the 3.90 rear and stock tires. I tried one for a Chrysler but it disintegrated after two days.

  6. Mister Sterling Avatar
    Mister Sterling

    For me, not having a clock display is a deal breaker. In today’s cars, the big information screen usually has a customizable clock. Being weird, I set it to 24 Hour time. My old man’s 1984 Corolla, 1992 Camry, 1998 Camry, and 2002 Camry all had that ubiquitous green LED Toyota clock somewhere.

    1. IGoZoom Avatar

      I have a 2002 Tacoma PreRunner (fast approaching 300k miles, btw). It has the same ‘Toyo-clock’ that you speak of. It’s hidden low on the dash, behind and below the steering column….basically at your right knee. They used it in everything at some point!

  7. dukeisduke Avatar

    My ’76 Vega GT had one of those “three minute spring” clocks. A winding spring was connected to a solenoid and a set of points. Eventually the points points burn, and the clock stops winding. I collected a couple of spare clocks (one bought new at the Chevy dealer, and another from a Cosworth being parted out), and I would rotate clocks in and out, filing the points on the “bad” one and putting it back in the rotation.

  8. GTXcellent Avatar

    Since I refuse to adapt to today’s tech world and still don’t have a cell phone, and don’t wear a watch, I absolutely not only have to have a clock, but it needs to be set to the exact time. When MiSSus GTXcellent was driving the Saab, the clock would always be set a few minutes fast to give her a time cushion. Once I took over, the second thing I did after moving the seat back was to reset the time.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Fixed the clock in my wife’s car once, wondering how she could live with a clock running a whole five minutes fast. She promptly missed her train the next day.
      Weird logic to me – why not adjust to…you know…the real time?

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        Yep, don’t understand it either – same with ‘snooze’ on an alarm clock. If you want to get up 10 minutes later, set your clock 10 minutes later.

  9. Mr. Ollivander Avatar
    Mr. Ollivander

    One analog clock is my preference. I no longer wear a watch because it duplicates a service of my phone. I want a clock in the car because it is safer than looking at the phone while driving. More than one clock in the car (or in any room) irritates me.

  10. Tanshanomi Avatar

    NO. It’s just one more clock to set correctly when Daylight Saving Time kicks in and out.

    1. kogashiwa Avatar

      The problem in this situation is not the clock.

    2. IGoZoom Avatar

      It’s crazy that car clocks can’t auto-adjust for DST….especially ones with Nav or other system that communicates with satellites!

  11. Ayreonaut Avatar

    I have one of those old grand cherokees with like three clocks and a date function with day and months and year… While that is useless and there should really only be one clock, I do find it very useful and I like having it around. I can see how late I’m running to work or how long I’ve been on a road trip for

    1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

      Wait, you have three in yours?!
      I have a 1998 5.9L, and I have only two…the radio clock and the VIC clock, which are linked.

      1. Ayreonaut Avatar

        Nope your right, only two, the one in the radio and the vic. I thought there was one in the overhead console too but maybe that was a wj thing. By the way, props on having a 5.9. One day I will have one in my dream jeep garage

        1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

          Thanks for the props.
          I drove to Missouri, from Texas, to get it, turned out to be the near-perfect 5.9L. Had a tow bar (which I very much wanted ’cause we pull it behind our motorcoach), but besides a new water pump, belts, and front rotors/pads, was untouched.
          I mean, with 162K on it and bone stock, the spark plugs were original. Had a gap of just over 1/10 of an inch. I’m somewhat shocked it ran. Thank you 1971 technology!!!
          Original plugs, wires, cap, rotor, everything. I’m put new front bushes in all but the top of the front axle (and all of the rear, though I have it all), all new ignition stuff, and it’s been remarkably solid. Ice cold A/C, the CD player doesn’t work – though the tape deck does, the VIC tells me it’s running by giving me the COOLANT SENSOR warning every time I start it, and we’ve had it pretty seriously off-road, too. Reminds me, one of these days I need to order a viscous coupler…
          You may enjoy this. I know we did…a lot:
          [video src="https://vid394.photobucket.com/albums/pp29/mckellyb/Purgatorygulch_zpswq92amj7.mp4" /]

          1. Ayreonaut Avatar

            Wow you are so lucky… Sounds like you got a great deal. I live up in central New York so I haven’t bothered to look for a 5.9, because it will be rusty or will quickly turn rusty living up here. I drove to Vermont to get my current one and it’s clean for now. Mines only a 4.0 limited…. But luckily my VIC and everything else works fine. I got it with 109000 last year. Awesome to see you use it for its intended purpose!!! How does it fair with that full time transfer case? I sure use mine offroad, maybe more than I should, hence why I bought a cheap cherokee to beat on as well

          2. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

            Yep, I scored on it, big time. A/C is cold, shifts fine (RE46, not the 42, so a 727 with a lockup converter and an overdrive thrown on it), and off-road, it’s a monster. The T-case, this gen of the NP24-whatever, locks in low, so no VC to mess with things.
            Paid, $2,775 in about October of ’13.
            I used to have a ’94 V8 Limited, Quadra-Trac, and it was a killer in the snow of the CO high country.
            “Do you have chains?”
            Why? I don’t need them. BFG A/Ts and enough sense to go just fast enough to not get stuck.

          3. Ayreonaut Avatar

            The second hardest part of buying a jeep, after finding a non rusty one, is one that hasn’t been modified.

  12. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    The Rover 825 of the ’80s could have a digital clock or a trip computer.
    When the facelifted car arrived for ’92 the computer was dropped and a bigger digital clock installed instead. When the facelift was facelifted in ’95, the digital clock was dropped and a basic analogue unit installed with absolutely nothing in common with the style of the rest of the car. Plus it’s mounted right down by the ashtray.
    I love it.

  13. marmer Avatar

    I’m old enough to remember when all car clocks were analog and none of them worked. I still marvel at the fact that my 17-year-old Audi’s analog clock still keeps time to within a minute.

    1. marmer Avatar

      My wife’s brand new Nissan Rogue has a digital clock in the dash and another at the top of the radio screen. That seems — superfluous.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      When I bought my first car and classic, a 1977 Volvo 242, the seller and I ended up sitting in the car with the engine off. Had to ask what that clickety-tickety sound was, suspecting some sort of leak. It was just the 27 year old clock doing its duty though…

      1. Batshitbox Avatar

        Yep. My 242 had the mechanical clock and you could just about hear that thing from outside the car.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          They clearly employed the same engineering principles that made the rest of the car a stayer.

  14. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    The analog clock in my 23 year old car is accurate to within about a minute per year. It’s great. Just a simple dial, moderately sized, and very easy to read.

  15. 0A5599 Avatar

    Yes. It helps me navigate by the stars.

  16. ramLlama Avatar

    I love having a clock!
    But they are implemented like we still live in the ’80s. Almost every car has GPS circuitry these days, which means that they have precise location *and* time data! We should never have to set our clocks since our cars always know when and where we are from the GPS signal.
    And yet, we still have to set clocks and do the DST dance every single time. It’s stupid.
    But I’d still rather have a 30-year-old clock than none at all.

    1. ramLlama Avatar

      I’ll admit, however, that having my car’s clock gaining about a minute a week (!) gets tiresome real fast.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        If it was slow, you could at least have said that it’s a very fast car…relativity and all.

    2. ptschett Avatar

      My Challenger’s uConnect 8.4 has a ‘set time by GPS’ toggle in the settings screen, actually; it ends up being my only car that follows DST on schedule. (In the others I observe a month less of DST, changing on Europe’s schedule instead of the US’s because I think there’s something very weird about starting DST in late winter.)

      1. ramLlama Avatar

        Oh, that’s fantastic! I hope it spreads to other cars.

  17. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

    I do, but only if it’s at least semi-accurate.
    Thankfully, both the ZJ’s clock and my wife’s RX’s clock are accurate to within a couple of minutes/year.

  18. Krautwursten Avatar

    I’ve never even bothered to find out how to set mine, it’s in the wrong time zone half the year and also running ten minutes ahead.

  19. memikeyounot Avatar

    I bought a new Scion IA in May and it has the big display, which comes from Mazda, since it’s a Mazda under the skin. It has a small time display, not really a separate clock, in the top right side of the screen. I use it occasionally, but since I’m “retired” a clock isn’t that big a part of my life anymore. If I recall, when I’m using the bluetooth to play some music, the clock goes away. I drove it for 3 days before I realized it didn’t have a CD player, which is OK since I don’t own CD’s now.

  20. mdharrell Avatar

    This set of Smiths timepieces is attached to the glovebox door of my racing SAAB 96, so yes I do appreciate such instruments. The stopwatch stopped working during its first race, but the clock is still useful for keeping track of stint durations:
    Other than that, the only clock I enjoy is the talking digital dash in my Austin Maestro VP, mostly because I can push a button to make it announce the word “time” even though it doesn’t actually say what the time is. For that one must look at the display. That’s progress for you.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      “Oil pressure low”.

      1. IGoZoom Avatar

        My best friend had an ’84 Chrysler Laser (Dodge Daytona twin) that talked. Chrysler licensed the voice for the ‘Electronic Voice Alert’ from Texas Instruments. It was the same voice used on their ‘Speak and Spell’ toy introduced in 1978. Fancy, huh? I don’t recall if it would announce the time, I just remember it saying “Engine Overheating! Engine damage may occur.” It was right on both counts! =)

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Do I see someone hitting the stopwatch repeatedly in disbelieve?

  21. Preludacris Avatar

    Having a clock in the dashboard is really nice. Tells me how dangerously I have to drive to be on time.

  22. ConstantReader Avatar

    Both of my cars are 25+ years old and both have analog clocks and both clocks keep accurate time.

  23. jeepjeff Avatar

    Nah. When I pulled the factory radio and redid it with a DIY job, I did not replace the clock. I haven’t missed it.

  24. mr smee Avatar
    mr smee

    Digital preferred, more reliable. My wife really likes the outside temperature indicator in newer cars.

    1. IGoZoom Avatar

      This is a bit off-topic, but I’ve always wondered where the actual temp sensor is located (outside of the car)? On a recent 97 degree day, the temp reading in my car was 106 degrees! It went down by a few degrees (to 102-103) after I started driving….but still a bit off.

  25. #JailTruck Avatar

    Love clocks. Every car needs one.

  26. salguod Avatar

    Yep. I rely on them. Except for the clock in the Tbird which only works sporadically and never keeps accurate time even when it does. Not that I care about the time when I’m driving it.

  27. Texlenin Avatar

    I installed one of those Russian MIG chronometers in Bessie the Wonder Z. Stem wind, stem set, 8 day
    reserve, elapsed mission time and “task duration counters” whatevah the hell that was. Also glowed
    in the dark. Damn sight better’n the dinky one Nissan offered.

  28. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    As long as it’s a Keinzle clockwork analog clock that’s wound by a built in electric motor. Even with a flat battery the clock shows the correct time for weeks. As fitted to 60/70s Volvos, Rovers, Jaguars.

  29. nanoop Avatar

    As a kid in the 80ies I used parking cars as my wrist watch substitute.
    As a student I lived in European cities from the middle age, and cycling over cobble stone roads ate my best watch. I fell back to the Modern Age’s pocket watch aka. mobile phone.
    Later my profession made wrist watches impractical (lasers).
    I am so used to finding public clocks that bad locations annoy me. In my cars they are a substantial feature, and I replaced the tired capacitors in the project car so the time is kept throughout the winter.
    I do own a pendulum master clock, btw.

  30. IGoZoom Avatar

    My mom had a ’95 Grand Cherokee with two clocks. One was in the radio and the other was just below the radio/HVAC controls in a maintenance/trip computer display. No matter how many times I reset them and tried to get them synchronized, they NEVER showed the same time either! It drove me crazy.
    I have a 2006 Mazda3 and 2012 CX-9 and I use the clocks in both. I have a freakish aversion to wearing anything that touches the underside of my wrist, so I’ve never been able to wear a watch. My cell phone is my clock when I’m out of the car. But in the car, I use the dash clock all the time.
    My only complaint is the my old Mazda3’s clock randomly loses time. Sometimes it will lose 15-30 minutes twice in the same week, then go for a year or more without losing a minute. Other times it will happen every month or two. There was a recall on it years ago, but I didn’t have it fixed because it would have deactivated the trip/fuel computer display. In 2006, only the Mazda3 s Grand Touring (I have the lowly Touring) and some/all Canadian models came with the trip computer. But all N.A. cars had the feature, it was just hidden and had to be unlocked on lesser models via a process that I found on YouTube.

  31. Infamous007 Avatar

    My xv crosstrek, the clock is in the fuel economy display in the center top of the dash. Easy to see from the drivers perspective as it is at eye level with minimal head movement needed to go from dashboard to window to clock. Easiest one to set after time changes in march and November. Seems to keep time very well

  32. IGoZoom Avatar

    I just had a flashback to my grandma’s ’77 Buick Electra. It had a huge (maybe 5″ diameter) circular clock on the passenger side of the dash….surrounded by acres of horrible fake woodgrain.

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