By on December 22, 2008

Greetings from Pennsylvania! That’s right, I’ve left the warm (enough) confines of Southern California and journeyed east to meet the fiancee’s parents. It’s going fantastic, thanks for asking. Only thing is, they aren’t exactly what I’d call “car people.” Well, my future father in law’s OK enough. 2002 Jetta with a stick. Not a GLI with the VR6 but salty. Decent. Respectable. Her stepmother, however… Picture it: downtown Philadelphia, six people in the car. Me at the wheel because, “You drive cars (hic) for a living — you drive!” And after half a mile everyone starts noticing how poorly the car is riding. “These old streets are lousy in the winter.” Then it gets worse. “Well,” I say, “The Chevy Venture is one of the reasons why GM is circling the drain.” And when I park — yup — it’s a flat tire. And it’s 26 degrees out. And windy. And it takes 20 minutes to get the jack unstuck. So now there’s a mini-spare donut on the right front corner and the dash reads “AWD Disable.” But, we make it back, no sweat. The next morning (today!) we need to be in Quakertown and it’s 14 degrees and icy and the one tire shop has a “two hour plus” wait. We need to go, so we schlep 40 frosty miles in a hobbled minivan on one pretty alright tire. We live, but not my finest automotive hour. You?

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46 Comments on “Question Of The Day: What Is The Worst Situation You’ve Been In Recently?...”


  • avatar

    This.

    http://users.myexcel.com/n7il/enlightenment/DOT_Sign.jpg

    Yeah, some of you have gotten laughs on this one before, but this photo is actually on my commute home from work (Eden Prairie, MN), and on many days the sign should say exactly that.

  • avatar
    skor

    You’ve never learned to use a cold plug to patch a tire? It never ceases to astound me how the majority of America’s putative “men” have zero practical skills these days. I know, why would any American male need to know how to do a scuzzy blue collar thing like patching a flat? All you need to do is find some Mexican and……….gee, it sure looks like the economy just collapsed, and now you don’t even have the $11.95 to pay the Mexican.

    This country is doomed.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Been holding that in for long Skor?

    “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
    frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
    words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
    respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
    [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint” (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Chained up the beater Contour last night. Sure enough, there was well over half a foot of snow on my (steep) street this morning. But the ‘tour was a no start. So I had to drive the wife’s 4wd RAV4 to work. She made sure to berate me as I was leaving for not waking her up to tell her I was taking her car to work. Even though she expressly said she wouldn’t be driving today, because she refuses to drive in the snow. Even though we bought her this 4WD car. Sheesh.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    The GM rep came by and wished us a merry xmas last friday and commented on the demo that I drive(09 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Crew, complete with squeak under rear passenger seat)

    I had to pretend to like it because we do more GM leases than all others combined.

    I’ve been whimpering and rocking in the shower since then saying unclean, unclean, unclean.

  • avatar

    On my way to the Chicago Auto Show maybe 3 or 4 years ago, I decided to stop in Ann Arbor to get some empty paper boxes so I wouldn’t have to just dump press kits and stuff in the trunk. I was driving a 90s vintage Bonneville. It was after midnight and the campus Kinkos was closed so I went to the one on the south side of town. Turning out of the drive into the parking lot I noticed all the glare ice. Almost no traction at all. So leaving, I was really careful. Apparently not careful enough because as I tried to make the turn onto the exit driveway, the Pontiac slid on a perfect vector, put one wheel over the asphalt curb and I was stuck w/ a FWD car and the right front wheel in mid air over the drainage culvert. Obviously no positraction or LSD. Definitely an oh shit moment. I went back into the Kinkos, grabbed a few volunteers. We were tossing around ideas about what to use as a rope when I realized that the ice was so bad, we could just skid the car, so we all just slid it on the ice until the free wheel was on terra firma. Put it in reverse, backed over the curb and I was on my merry way. As I drove down I-94 I kept asking myself, did that really happen?

  • avatar
    Jonathan I. Locker

    Last week we had a lot of ice on the roads here in Chicago.

    Situation one: I am driving up to a stop-light, and have slowed down to about 3 miles an hour, when I hit a patch of black ice. I start sliding forwards AND to the right at 3 miles an hour with no traction or control. Lucky for me, the car stopped with inches to spare before hitting TWO cars at the same time.

    Situation two: Same day. I am on the exit ramp from the interstate, and I am doing 15 mph, when I hit another patch of black ice. The Suburban in front of me hits it too, but has better braking than my non-anti-lock-brake Sentra. In order to avoid ramming him, I instead use the curb as a brake. Good bye alignment.

    Good times here in Chi-town.

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    Mine would be…

    Learning how to drive a stick… in a Bongo… in South Korea… in a snowy winter… stopped on mountain during an uphill drive… and getting it back into gear.

    But that was in 2003.

    For some reason, I’m having trouble posting the link to a picture of the Kia Bongo I learned on, so here it is as text.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/bb/Kia_Bongo_III.jpg/300px-Kia_Bongo_III.jpg

  • avatar
    pleiter

    1980 Ford Fiesta, manual, clutch throw-out cable snapped on the beltway. For some reason, I had picture hanging wire in the hatch, rigged it out from under the hood and around through driver’s side window. Could manually clutch and de-clutch with left hand while briefly ‘inertia steering’ to change gears. Got to a ramp and out-of-the way spot. Next mourning, effected repairs. Worked-out OK, but I had to tolerate stomping the ineffectual clutch pedal when manually (!) de-clutching because I could not undue years of subconscious activity.

  • avatar
    bolhuijo

    I got stuck yesterday in the street in front of my house in my Subaru Forester because I decided to try to drive up the unplowed side just for fun. My wife just smiled while I went back and forth, eventually freeing myself after a few minutes. I try to make my dumbest moves very close to home so that I can go get a shovel.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Yeah, it’s the freakin’ elitist California hippies like Jonny who can’t cold plug a tire that have ruined this country. Why don’t you learn a few blue-collar skills and try to be a real American man? Also, something about Mexicans and them ruining the economy or whatever.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    snow happens, carry a shovel.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Hey, easy on the self repairs, most can’t do any of any kind, its true, but mellow out. OK. I carry the $3 kit in trunk with airman sparrow. Cold plug is temporary. “Any tire repair that does not include removing tire from rim is unsafe”- Bridgestone. All tire repairs (any tire repair that tire company Corporate does not do) reduce all speed ratings to nothing. Take it in and get that plug out and do a true inside patch for integrity plus new plug to keep water out of plies.

    My worst moment was coming out of grateful dead concert in NJ, maybe Paramus or somewhere like that, around 1980, almost all the cars in the lot, many thousands, had vandalized tires, slit sidewalls, all 4 with car down on rims. We were six people in a 68 galaxie sedan, white with red vinyl roof, I think, and they did not slit our tires. We drove real slow through that crowd standing around in that parking lot and made it home before dawn.

    Accidents and near accidents, as long as no one gets hurt, are kind of fun to look back on. Especially near misses. Exhilarating. Telephone pole approaching at 60 mph across snow patch outside right passenger window in my dad’s BMW 2002. He doesn’t know I borrowed it.

  • avatar
    billc83

    Earlier today I got stuck while trying to work my way through some deep snow. Had to dig my way out with an ice scraper!

    Not as aggrivating now, but I was not happy this morning…

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    I actually drove the wrong way for about a quarter mile. And I was completely sober. I couldn’t get myself away from that place quick enough after I realized what I was doing. (Fortunately, there was close to no traffic, it was a two lane road, and the speed limit was low). Not my finest hour.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I think the head gasket on my E30 went this weekend, along with the heater/AC. Car smokes a bit and the oil is contaminated with what appears to be coolant. I sad, painful day it has been. I just happen to be doing donuts on Friday night, what with the storm here in the RI. My counselor called my move immature, I call the it premature failure on the gasket. I thought my car was more bullet prove. Man am I sad and angry and in pain. My next car might be a Corolla.

    On the positive side, I got some money to fix it, although I probably won’t. I’ll maybe give it away. Also I learned some lessons, had some fun, and can use the car for a little longer perhaps. God if your listening, help me get a great car next, something really fun, perhaps something I can install some music in.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Driving on I-65 near I-80 near Gary Indiana in December at 6 AM – it’s raining/snowing – on my way to a job interview in north Chicago suburbs. My 1983 Sunbird suddenly stops running miles from any exit – just like the engine is turned off. After parking on the side of the road, the engine would crank but not run. Plenty of fuel. A good samaritan stops and takes me to the next exit. (This is 1984 – no cell phones) The service station has a tow truck but only one person operating the station. I wait for 2 hours until another person arrives and we go out to tow the car to a Pontiac dealership. Diagnosis: timing belt lost a “cog” and slipped. Fortunately, the engine is non-interference and the engine is undamaged – the belt replacement will simply fix it. I miss the job interview (never got to talk to them again). I had complained about noises in the area of the timing belt to my dealer before. I received a recall letter from GM a few weeks later describing the noise and its consequences. I got reimbursed from dealer for towing/repair.

    Not recent but my most inconvenient auto failure.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Coming back to Humboldt State from Sacramento on CA299 at night I hit a rock on the road and tore a large hole in the side of my tire.

    So I pull off, get ready to get my gear out and start the process when I discover that the batteries in BOTH of my flashlights are dead. Using the gaps in the clouds I was able to use the 1/3 of a moon to get it done.
    The rest of the trip home was quite never racking as I did not want to loose another tire and be stuck on a remote road with no cell coverage.

    This was my 1st day of my new delivery route for South Lake Tahoe last Jan:

    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w303/RedStapler73/Jan%2008/StuckLakePkwyStatelineCA1_7_08.jpg

    I was stuck for 2 1/2 hours until the wrecker came by to wrench me out.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I-80, Wyoming, 20 below with horrific winds. AM radio constantly warning of severe wind-chill danger. With wind-chill, 80 below zero on exposed skin.

    Semi develops an oil leak. Luckily, the loose fitting was reachable but had to shut the engine down and park on the shoulder.

    No cab heat and had to remove gloves to do the work. Within a few minutes the fingers were so cold I couldn’t move them. Jump into the cab to get out of the wind and warm hands in my stinky armpits.

    In and out repeatedly, shivering with the fearsome cold despite insulated coveralls with layered clothing, winter hat with ear flaps, insulated boots, etc. That gusting wind found every minute entrance.

    Leak finally fixed and engine barely started, having cooled down close to a seemingly pert’ near absolute zero when all atomic motion stops.

    Took a couple hours to get warm again.

    Trucking sucks.

  • avatar

    I live in NYC. We usually don’t have HARSH weather like you see out in the mid west, but, last year, I was driving my Father’s Ford Expedition to get something from the store and when I made a turn onto an especially slick road, the 4WD didn’t do dick and I ended helplessly sliding the truck into a chain link fence that seperates service road from highway. When I hit the fence, the whole truck bounced off it, and the damge was an ugly scrape on the front bumper.

    That’s the only time I’ve had a sliding accident and its made me wiser about accelerating while on ice.

    The other time this happened, I was in my Chrysler 300. I came off a light too strong and the car yawed about 6 degrees to the left while sliding parrallel to the ground – so that I was basically sliding to my right. There were cars behind me which I COULD NOW SEE THE FRONT BUMPER OF COMING RIGHT AT ME. I didn’t panic – I turned into the skid…I recovered the car with no damage.

    More recently, I took my S550 to my Benz dealer for winterizing and they let me drive a Smart car (the MB in Manhattan near the tunnel). People were fkin laughing at me. :-(

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I’ve been stuck in the middle of nowhere several times. Dead battery when camping with uncle and we had one shot at a push start of the truck. Luckily it started saving one of us (the younger one, most likely) a 15 mile walk to the nearest home. I also had my alternator go out while driving down I-5 near Williams (if you know where that’s at, you probably live north of Sacramento), in a rain storm, on Thanksgiving. Luckily it died only a few hundred yards from an emergency phone box.

    But, the worst was probably in Mendicino county with my then girl friend, now wife. Luckily the people at a nearby farmhouse let us in to call AAA. Unfortunately, the AAA policy only covered up to a 10 mile tow and we were 40+ miles from the nearest town of any size. Not cheap. Then, of course we had no car for Sunday, and I had to wait around all day Monday with our stuff while the car was repaired before we could leave. Not the best weekend trip. And, I know, if I weren’t a lazy California snob I would have fixed the alternator myself with a ball point pen, coat hanger, and a pack of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum (I think I saw MacGyver do it once).

  • avatar
    capdeblu

    Last summer I was at Sam’s Club near closing time and after filling my trunk with unbagged frozen food I pulled over to the gas pumps.

    Well after I filled up the car it would not start. It wouldn’t turn over or anything so I assumed it was the battery. The gas clerk came out and said this was the third time today this had happened.

    I asked if the tire and battery department could bring me a new battery but they were closed. Another attendant came out with a portable jump start device. This didn’t work and do they ever?

    So the gas attendant said her daughter was coming to pick her up and would give me a jump start. Not only did she give me a jump start but she followed all the way home to make sure I made it.

    I gave her 60$ and at first she wouldn’t take it but I insisted.

  • avatar
    MBella

    The cold tire plugs are actually used by many dealerships and tire shops. They are different from the ones you find at Autozone though. The Autozone ones are black, and the pro ones are a light brown. They work great, and are recommended by many oems.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Here is a recent one. First week driving my newly acquired winter beater ’85 Volvo 240 wagon. About half way home I started smelling oil. At first I figured it was the car in front of me (an old beat up Grand Am). Then I saw the reflection of the leaking oil in the street lights behind me, and finally the cloud of smoke from under my hood. I get it into a nearby parking lot before the oil light comes on and started making calls. Fortunately I have a buddy who 1) lives nearby, 2) has recently purchased a car trailer and 3) is a geek for such things. He shows up, we get the car on the trailer and back to my house. Ends up being a $10 cam plug on the back of the head. Takes me 20 minutes to clean up the oil and replace the seal and rocker cover gasket. And I didn’t have to call AAA.

    I have good friends.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    @MBella
    I use those plugs on occasion. Typically in our snow tires, which seem to gather nails and whatnot from the road.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    The only time our Benz (’98 ML320) really let us down I wasn’t there. My wife was returning from Texas with the kids a few years back, and somewhere between Champaign and Kankakee, IL (middle of DFE in my book) the car suddenly starts shaking and shuddering so badly she couldn’t see. At 80 mph. When she stopped her cell phone didn’t work, weak signal and dead battery. Fortunately there was an off ramp right there. They get to the top of the ramp to find only one building at the intersection–a Lion’s Den adult book store. They were good about letting her use the phone without having the kids walk all over the store, and a tow truck got the car to Kankakee. I had to borrow a neighbor’s Suburban and come down from Michigan with the race car trailer in the middle of the night. The (Dana) driveshaft center bearing was about $100 at the dealer, and took maybe a couple hours in the garage to replace.

    The car’s got 185,000 miles on it now, got us home from O’Hare through last Tuesday’s blizzard with no problems, sure footed and comfortable. The car’s a keeper, but I’ll replace that bearing every 100,000 miles, just to be sure.

  • avatar
    skygreenleopard

    Skor – you mean a cold patch, or an actual plug? At least be specific in your Toby Keith chest-thumping. Besides, if you don’t have access to a gas station’s air pump right away, it’s not only faster to just use a spare, but it might be your only option.

    You do realize it was good ol’ rich American males running financial companies that caused the downturn and not the Mexicans, right? Yee-Haw!!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    OK — let’s see… It was 26 degrees. And at night. And I was wearing a t-shirt and a sport coat (cause we went and had an elitist ivory tower meal at a restaurant with metal silverware and corkage fees).

    Oh wait, skor means I should have waited until it was 14 degrees (and windy) the next day to cold patch the tire.

    He’s right, I’m not a man. Not even kinda.

    For the record, the Pep Boys in Quaker Town replaced the bum, sidewall damaged tire in about 20 minutes.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    Alternator died in my old Corolla just past Canmore heading west on Hwy 1.

    I made it about 450km before it was out of juice for good, used the hand brake the whole way and couldn’t use the wipers or lights/signals at all. Took me two days as I abandoned it in Rogers pass after killing it by trying to use the wipers. When I headed back in the morning it had charged itself up enough overnight that it reset the wipers back down and made it “almost” the rest of the way.

    It finally died trying to pull away from a stop light. By this time I had about 1 cm of throttle before the engine would cut out from lack of spark or something and it died for good.

    By then I was close enough I could get a ride from family the rest of the day and wait for the arrival of a new alternator. I changed the alternator out in a Credit union parking lot the next morning and jumped it.

    Me and alternators do not get along, I also had one die in a Supra in the middle of nowhere (100 mile I think). That pig quit when the battery ran down below 5v or so as all the electronics would quit, not near as die hard as the carburated Corolla. I still nursed it a suprising distance, again stopping overnight and letting the battery settle down a bit. That and driving at night without an alternator isn’t smart, or atleast much stupider than doing it during the day.

    I am about to try taking a Camaro on a trip in one of the worst winters in recent memory, so I should have another story to tell in a week or so.

    Those old Toyotas, great engines.. electrics and body? Not so much.

    This wasn’t recent, unless almost 10 years ago is recent.

  • avatar
    bobpink

    Won’t say why the car ended up where it did, but I parked it off the side of a road with a steep shoulder and got it stuck against a big snowbank. Not going anywhere. The temperature and wind chill combined on this Wisconsin winter morning were a bone-chilling -50 degrees mind you. My buddy and I, who were not at all dressed for the weather, walked to a nearby house for help. No answer. Fortunately some guys were driving around in a big 4 x 4 keeping an eye out for people like us and pulled the car out. We were frozen to the bone by that point. Got the car moving, cranked the heater on super high and made our way on down the road.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Lost the alternator on my Ford truck on a 100 degree day when I really needed to be somewhere quick. Hottest and fastest repair ever. I needed a shower when I finished.

    Welcome to the Philly area, shoot down here to Delaware for some tax free shopiing before you go, almost like duty free.

    It was 13 at my house this morning, glad I could stay in bed for a while

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    @ skor

    I know how to install a cold plug, and it is the worst way to patch a tire if you want to save the tire.

    Installing a cold plug typically requires enlarging the opening to insert the plug and adhesive. This further weakens the radial steel belts in the tire. It also unevenly adds weight to the tire and upsets the balance of the tire. Finally, cold plugs frequently leak requiring replugging.

    The proper way to repair and save a tire is to remove the tire from the wheel, hot patch the interior of the tire (and prevent further damage to the steel belts), remount and leak test the tire, then finally balance the tire.

    What is the best situation? Doing everything yourself poorly, or getting the right person for the job and doing it properly?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    picture this

    the company DTS, me with client, both dressed to the nines, going to a meeting in Manhatten. Pleasent business conversation.

    on the final approach to thne Lincoln Tunnel in Jersey.

    A flat, front right. At rush hour.

    It was like a slow motion nightmare opera at 10 degrees farenheit. and 2 miles per hour. No shoulder there. Four packed lanes of annoyed people. I was in the far right. I needed to be in the far left.

    Finally to the middle, a chorus of horns blazing, rescued by the alarming huge tow trucks snorting at the ferocious taxi cabs (it was truely operatic, or a bizzare mtorized scene from a dinosaur movie) . I felt like I had been recsued from a sure death. The client was frantically calling everyone he knew to send help, including, i am sure, the coast guard.

    The tow truck drivers did not change the tire, tho. I did. Even if help were to come, it would have taken a helicopter to get there within three hours during rush hour.

    It took forever, i was frozen, Not the way I had been planning my evening, light snacks and hopefully staying just a little less tipsy than the client, to have to advantage. Schmooze and cruise, I call it.

    I said to one of the tunnel tow truck employees, who finally took pity on me and changed the tire, after i almost killed myself with the jack – wow -i said, this is the worse place ever to get a flat.

    “No”, he said. “The worse place to get a flat druing the rush hour is IN the tunnel”

  • avatar
    DeanMTL

    New Year’s in Montreal, sometime in the mid-1990′s. It’s -40C outside (average winter temperature in Antarctica) and I leave the party at 4 AM only to find both rear tires slashed on the old Buick Century coupe.

    I get in the car and drive 10 km back home because there’s no way in hell you can find a cab or bus at that hour on New Year’s. By the time I get home, one of the tires has been shorn clear off the rim. I never bothered with the car after that – it was the best excuse I ever had to send the unholy shitebox straight to the junkyard.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Doesn’t anyone have snow & ice tires. I’ve never had a problem driving in winter conditions unless I’m in an empty parking lot trying to have some fun. But that’s a different story.

  • avatar

    Driving our 2009 GTI, that the wife and I bought about six months ago, from my parent’s house where we had just enjoyed a delicious birthday dinner for my 28th. Cruising along and at the last second I spot some sparkle on the road just ahead. I try to avoid it but here the crunch of broken glass under the tires. My wife looks at me and asks, “Think the tires can handle that?”
    I say to her, “Sure. I hope.”

    About ten miles later, as we’re just about home, the tire-pressure monitor dings.
    “Damn!” I say. Then after a moment of silence as we sit in the driveway my wife turns to me, “I guess they couldn’t handle it.”

    I get out of the car in freezing temps, in the pitch black and am readying myself to change the tire, no big deal, right? I get everything out of the trunk, and start loosening the nuts on the wheel. It’s then that I realize that there’s a wheel lock nut in one of the spots and I go to the trunk to get the adapter…”Ummmm, where is the F#$%ing adapter!?”

    Yeah, no adapter in the car. The dealer had me tow it in the next day so they could, “get it done real quick and have you on your way.” Great! Tow truck driver gives me a lift and when I get to the dealer the service advisor tells me I’ll have to wait an hour because everyone is at lunch. What? Are you kidding me?

    When someone finally arrived back at the shop they first questioned my ability to find the adapter that, “…must be there…” and then had me wait 1.5 hours while they searched for an adapter in the shop. So, 2.5 hours to get a spare tire on my car.

    Honestly, it was the dealership experience that was the worst part. Stay away from Patrick’s in Auburn, MA if you can.

  • avatar
    NickR

    obbop, having formerly lived in Winnipeg, and having been stuck in the snow on similar days, I can sympathize.

    You did say recently which limits my choices…

    The first one was on a weekend away with the wife. Driving down a 1.5 lane country road at night I briefly saw a red dot reflected in the cars headlights. I slowed down just to be cautious, but it seemed to disappear. Another 20 yards and a full grown horse wandered right into the middle of the road and stopped dead. At which point I was reminded that heart attacks in men slightly over 40 are not unheard of.

    The other recent one was a malfunction of the brakes on my C-Class, which I have chronicled elsewhere on these pages. (A 120km/h power slide on a busy four line highway, crossing all four lanes almost perpendicular to the flow of traffic…TWICE!) I used up 8 of my 9 lives. I will never, ever trust their products again.

  • avatar
    Brian Tiemann

    This last Friday. Stuck in a blizzard, in an awd car (manual) with snow tires, with unplowed snow three inches deep on the highway, at the bottom of the Hackensack River valley with every major road out of the valley so steep that none of the 2WD cars on the road can make it on their bald summer tires.

    And somewhere on the 5-hour snow-traffic-snarled commute home, my car’s alternator has died.

    I have to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, edging my way graaaadually past armies of stuck 2WD cars angled crazily up the hillsides, constantly keeping the revs above 2000 because if the engine drops to idle it will die and I won’t be able to restart it.

    I have to find an alternate route out of the trap I’m in, get off the parking-lot highway, climb out of the valley on side streets, dodge stuck cars that can’t make it up the hill no matter what route they take, and make it over the crest without letting the car drop to idle.

    I made it. I am very proud of myself.

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    Listen, California Boy.

    You’ll change that damn tire in the cold and deal with it like the rest of us!

    (I am from New Jersey, and I have no tolerance for SoCal folk.)

  • avatar
    davey49

    Worst situation period for me is being unemployed right now with no prospects.
    Worst car situation was either my car dying on the NYS thruway in the middle of an ice storm or my ball joint breaking and my wheel/axle/strut coming out from under the car. That would have been the worst if I was at speed. Luckily I was in a mall parking lot when that happened

  • avatar

    This just happened. Driving through Central Square, Cambridge, very late at night, some drunk going in the opposite direction comes right at me, totally in my lane. Luckily, there were no parked cars, and so I swerved into the parking lane. He continued down the street on the wrong side of the road.

  • avatar

    My sister’s worst moment: at age 14 she took to taking the 1970 Valiant out to visit friends in the next town (I’d taught her to drive, but cautious kid that I had been myself, when I was her age and knew how to drive I never would have dreamed of taking the car anywhere, because my parents had put the fear of lawsuits in my head, and I never dramed my sister would take the car out). She came home one day to find my parents waiting for her.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Great. I cold plugged one of the 19″ tires on my Volvo 2 weeks ago (with the brown plugs, thank you). I’ll be driving 180 mi. to Dallas tomorrow so I’ll let you know if I have any issues! You guys have me all concerned now…

  • avatar
    WildBill

    This wasn’t me but happened to some dear friends from Michigan (he’s a retired GM employee)…. They were on their way back from a convention in Virginia and their GM crap-mobile quit deep in the hills of West Virginia. One of the good ole boys happened by and gave them a lift to a nearby garage. The garage towed it to the shop and discovered it would take a few 1,000s of dollars for the parts and repair to the engine and take them a week or so to get the parts and get it done. Being a nearly-worthless-when-it-runs Buick or Chevy something he didn’t want to put the money in it and couldn’t wait anyway because they both had to be back at work (and a tow to MI would be outrageous!) so he just gave the car to the guy in exchange for the tow. They caught the bus by standing along the road in a certain place (ride provided by the garage guy) and thus began the real adventure… took two full days to get back to Pontiac, MI on the Dog. At one point they had to get off the bus at a station and the driver wouldn’t let them back on because they didn’t have any receipt for the fare they had paid because none was available from the driver. Finally convinced the guy he really had gotten off that bus and made they it home, and sent the garage the title to the vehicle. It was funny on the retelling, not so much for them at the time.

  • avatar
    WildBill

    Another given away vehicle story, different friend… she came over to our area (Central Ohio) from the Indy area for a function and had a major enging breakdown to her Buick. Repairs were much more than the car was worth and being a crap-mobile she didn’t want to put the money in it. Tried to give it to a charity or sell it to a junk yard but they couldn’t take it since is was an out of state vehicle. Had to give it to the garage. Her husband drove 4 1/2 hrs. over then back to get her home.

  • avatar
    CoffeeJones

    @Flashpoint
    More recently, I took my S550 to my Benz dealer for winterizing and they let me drive a Smart car (the MB in Manhattan near the tunnel). People were fkin laughing at me. :-(

    It’s not like it was painted bright yellow and had “Mercedes of Manhattan – Courtesy Vehicle” banners on it, right?

    Worst situation I’d been in?
    Too many times panic braking on snow. :(

    @blankfocus
    Driving our 2009 GTI … sub zero tempratures

    Ever notice how the LCD (LED?) screen doesn’t function very well in extreme cold (-10 F)?
    The time it takes for each pixel to go from on to off is a few seconds so you get nothing but a semi-visible display until things warm up.


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