By on November 21, 2012
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At some point between now and Christmas, you will have a chance to see an old movie.

If you have toddlers, it will likely be Grinch related. Adolescents and tweens will get A Christmas Story. Teenagers? You probably don’t want to know.

But as for those of us who are single, or older, or just pain sentimental, this holiday movie classic will likely feature two towns that symbolize American community.

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Bedford Falls and Potterville.

Every town has a little bit of each, and every one of us has a little bit of George Bailey and Mr. Potter.

We want everyone to live happily after. At least everyone with a good heart and healthy intentions.

But we also have to be an SOB at times. There are folks out there who may see us as a revenue source, or as a tool to manipulate for their own ends. These people hopefully come and go. Or change their ways.

In due time we’re hopefully left with those who have a giving spirit. And as car guys, we often have a unique opportunity to help many of these folks who may be clueless when it comes to cars.

Helping others is always a cool thing to do. So what have you done? What good deed this year or in times past will get you a nice visit from Ye Olde Saint Nicholas, or Hannukah Harry, or maybe even Agnostic Agatha.

What is the nicest thing you have ever done… automotive wise?

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68 Comments on “Question Of The Day: What Is The Nicest Thing You Have Ever Done… Automotive Wise?...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I watched a woman almost flip her car one day when she ran off the edge of the road and over-corrected. She ended up almost backwards in the grass median of a 4-lane highway. I stopped, checked on her, and waved traffic by for a few minutes until she had calmed down enough to get going again.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    A man stopped to help my not-so-young (and never too mechanically sound) parents change a tire. At night. In a downpour. On an unlit country road.

    Can’t beat that.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Misread the question.

      I have picked up hitchhikers and gone out of my way to get them closer, called for help if someone was stranded or if there was an accident, that sort of thing.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Back in my younger, richer (pre-kids) days, I bought my sister a car, a brand new 2000 Subaru Impreza wagon. She was struggling through a divorce with a young son, and her car was a thoroughly clapped out Mazda Protege that was unreliable and unsafe, a true sh*tcan.

    I made up a story about needing her car while mine was in the shop, went to the local Subaru store, got $500 for the trade and drove the new car to her apartment. It was a highlight of my life to see the look on her face when I surprised her with the car. She’s a fiercely proud and independent woman, so the element of surprise was absolutely necessary, otherwise she never would have let me do it!

    As a postscript, she is happily married today with two sons and she just sold the Impreza with 145,000 miles to a struggling friend who needed a car.

  • avatar
    gkhize

    Gave my low mileage ’03 Cobra convertible to my daughter and her husband. They were just getting started and only had a POS Grand Am to get around in. They used the Cobra as trade-in on a new Ford Edge. Got them into a better safer car they couldn’t afford on their own that is now being used to cart my new granddaughter around.

    Also, routinely repair relatives cars for free with parts bought on my commercial account at O’Reilly’s. Just ask them pay for the parts whenever they can, if they can. Got paid in chocolate chip cookies once!

  • avatar

    Bout six months ago late at night a guy pulled into Benton Station to get fuel. When he fired up his Expedition back up it started pouring fuel out of the injector O rings because some idiot mechanic had changed the plugs and instead of pulling the fuel rails and changing the O rings and shields for the injectors he pried on the rails and bent them to hell.

    Me and a friend of mine Jason stopped him and would not let him continue on since he was heading all the way to Tonopah NV. Jason gave him his ex sheriff ford Bronco and I just backed the fuel leaker into my shop.

    I got the parts in the next day from my local parts runner and put it back together after I grabbed a set of fuel rails off a friends very dead F150. Reset the MIL and repaired the air bag wires under the seats that had cut. Pressure washed the engine bay to get all the left over fuel out and to clean it up. I called him up and told him to come and get his SUV the next afternoon.

    I charged him only for the parts (a whopping 25 bucks if that for 8 injector O ring kits) and sent him and his two kids on there way happily. I was not so concerned for the guy, but for a single man raising two kids in Tonopah NV it was more for the kids sake. I see them once in a while and they always wave.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I gave the 80 year old neighbor lady a return ride home as she was having her 300ZX Twin Turbo worked on, in my C5 Corvette. She was impressed with the Corvette power.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Took a drunk girl’s car keys and gave her a ride home. She returned the favor in her own special way before getting out of my car. Win, win!

  • avatar
    jaydez

    When I was in college I was walking to a friend’s dorm room to drop off something for a class. I walked by 3 guys standing next to a 95 Taurus with coolant all over the ground. They had no clue what was wrong so I stopped and asked if they needed help. The owner said he was up there visiting his friend for the weekend (he lived 3 hours away in eastern Long Island) and his car overheated. I told him I could take a look. Since I was done with class for the day i had time to kill and it was a nice day out.

    I looked all over and found out the radiator fan was siezed up. I pulled the fan out and tried to spin it… no dice, it was siezed up tight. The owener and I got in my truck and went to the pick-and-pull 20 minutes from campus where I found him a taurus with a brand new fan in it (date stamp was 3 months prior). He paid $15 for it and we went on our way. I installed the new fan and topped off his coolant with a 50/50 mix I kept behind my seat.

    The whole ordeal took about 3 hours of my time, but i didn’t mind. I never saw the kid again after that.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I always make a point to signal whenever possible, unlike a lot of people on the road.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    A woman (distracted) lost control of her car in front of me and rolled it a couple of times and ended up on its driver’s side about 100′ off the road in deep snow. I stopped (along with others) to help out until the emergency crews got there. While everyone else was trying to open up the sunroof or doors to get at her, I just opened the hatch (it was an Accent) and started clearing out the back of the car.

    I guess no one else thought of that one.

    She turned out to be ok, with just some minor injuries. I don’t understand why some people just kept driving by, though.

  • avatar

    called a client to say hello. she had a 16 yr old Century. the power seat had quit working. went and picked it up, fixed it, and returned it to her at no charge. needless to say she loves me.

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    Twice in my life I have been the first on the scene at auto accidents and knew enough to reach in and turn off the engine and stay with the injured in the car until medics arrived. Both times I had afterthoughts about what if the car had exploded while I approached it.

    Sadly on one occasion the driver was DOA at emergency and the police later told me that they suspected suicide. The other occasion I watched the car flip end over end three or four times as I was approaching the scene. Apparently the occupants of that car were just fine despite the horrendous ride.

    In both cases I feel the cars could have exploded if the engine kept running.

  • avatar
    Micah

    I gave my first car, a 1987 Mercedes 190D, to my mother’s coworker who was in dire need of a vehicle.

    It was also the stupidest thing I’ve done. He totaled it within a week. I saw it at the wrecking yard and almost cried.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    One Saturday every month I participate in a free-labor auto clinic where we do repairs for those who can’t afford to pay for them (they pay only the wholesale parts cost). It’s fun because the shop we use has two lifts, and after working on cars outdoors in my driveway the rest of the time, it’s a treat to be indoors inside a heated shop where I can stand straight up and work on the vehicle at an optimum height.

    We do any jobs that we can get done in one day – brakes, exhaust repairs, tune-ups, cooling hoses and radiator changes, CV axles and suspension components, engine mounts, window regulators, check engine/antilock light diagnoses/repairs, and all fluid changes of course.

    We had our last clinic for this calendar year this past Saturday, and I look forward to it every month.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      This is very cool. Couple of questions though: who sponsors this? A repair shop, a non-profit? And how do you determine need? It would be interesting to start something like this here in MA.

      • 0 avatar
        econobiker

        We did the same type of thing as college students in a student church group by offering to change the oil /filter for other students who would be traveling back home at the end of the school year.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        (rant – this is the FOURTH time I’ve tried to post this)

        It’s at a non-profit repair shop that is operated by a church. The shop offers a tiered labor rate structure during its normal weekly business hours, depending upon one’s ability to pay (and that is decided by the church financial office – I don’t know specifics on this as I just turn wrenches). All shop ‘profits’ are used to provide the lower rates for those in need.

        For the Saturday clinics, I’m not sure that they check for needs as closely, but in the seven years that I have been volunteering, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anybody game the system (you can tell that somebody’s not well-off financially when they are still driving a 1988 Cavalier with 247K miles on it that is miraculously still running).

        Google ‘mechanics ministry’ and you can read more about it – there are several churches around the country that have similar programs.

  • avatar
    ezeolla

    I pulled 3 old ladies (I like to think they were nuns to make me feel better about the outcome) in a Forester out of the sand in the Outer Banks in NC using my Jeep. They gave me $20.

    A week later (and thankfully after I had made the trip home), I had to replace my clutch and pressure plate to the tune of $1200 because when I couldn’t get them out and should have stopped and said sorry, I can’t help you, I started riding the clutch to get the RPMs up higher for more power. I am an idiot, I know.

  • avatar
    mikey

    One of the skills I learned in my ten years as a production group leader in the final assembly area GM, was how to unlock ,locked cars. I had several custom made “slim jims”. I also know how to open a hood if the hood release cable is missing/broke or not hooked up. Were talking mid seventies to mid late eighties cars and trucks.

    I’ve lost track of how many people I let into thier vehicles without breaking something.

    The best? A father and young son ice fishing on the frozen lake. Brand new early eighties GMC long box. The engine is running,keys in the ignition,heater on. Doors locked. Its freezing the young fella is upset. I tried and couldnt get it. I was a car plant man,and trucks were a whole different ball game.

    So I spot a couple of truck plant guys on the ice. These guys got the rear slider,open without any damage. We put the kid through the open space in the window.
    The dad was so happy,he offered us money, we refused So there you go, UAW/CAW do have some usefull purpose eh?

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I talked my mother out of buying a Caliber.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Had I know she was about to buy one for my Brother, I could have claimed this one too. I did talk her into buying a Prius-V for herself though.

      I did just replace the control arms on kid Brother’s turd of a Caliber a week or two ago though. Have also done many a repair for friends and family in need. And I am the car lender of choice for my friends as I usually have something loanable.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Muttonchops, you win! Hahahahahaa

  • avatar

    About ten years ago on a very hot day I drove by a very heavyset woman and her dilapidated late 80′s Escort with a flat tire, and kept right on driving.
    Then it occurred to me I probably drove on because of (inadvertently)judging her and the car by their appearance, and it was obvious she was there for a quite a while.
    So I turned around and changed her tire.
    The spare was in a small pool of rusty water barely holding air, the lug nuts were hard as hell to take off, and the traffic whizzing by was disconcerting, but she was grateful so that was cool.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    About 10 years ago, during a snowstorm in Alberta I was driving around 80-90km/h on the highway (speed limit 100) while yahoo pickup driver behind me tailgates, honks, and flashes headlights. I wouldn’t pull onto the shoulder in my small car with 4-6 inches of snow.

    Guy finally sees a gap in oncoming traffic, pulls out, passes me at maybe 120-130km/h, then pulls back in front of me… and continues straight into the ditch. Seeing the snow splash was pretty cool.

    I actually slowed down, found an intersection, carefully turned around, and west back to see if he was ok or needed a lift (not everyone had cell phones then). When I got there he was already on his phone, standing by the truck in 2 feet of snow. Upon seeing me he hangs up the phone, starts yelling at me that it’s my fault and I have to pay for the tow truck.

    I drove off.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I got a beater Pontiac on a trade. Ended up selling it to some woman going through a bad divorce (as if there are GOOD divorces). She came and looked with her dad in tow. Dad had a voltmeter, anti-freeze tester, stethoscope,and air pressure gauge. Dad liked the car and told me it looked like crap but it was sound and said they’d be back. They came back and she he had her kids with her too. Sold it for $200 less than I asked. Kids were excited that mom was getting a “new” car. Did I get conned? I like to think I gave a struggling person a break.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    Nicest thing I’ve ever done Automotive wise?

    Hmm. I remember one time I was driving to the autoparts store about 10 minutes from me. It was absolutely freezing outside during a mid-New York winter a few years ago. My friend had recently purchased a 1987 Toyota MR2 and it was fresh on my mind. Coincidentally I noticed a newer Red MR2 on the side of the road, not far from the auto parts store. I drove passed and didn’t think much of it. I proceeded to get the parts I needed, grabbed some wendy’s across the street and then started my drive back. At least an hour had passed and I noticed, that the MR2 was still in the same spot on the side of the road. The hood open, the hazards on, and the owner standing over the engine bay shaking his head. I drove passed and thought better of it, and turned around. I pulled up behind him and got out of my car, asking what was wrong. Long story short the car would start fine, but then cut out, and absolutely refused to run for more than 5 seconds. I offered him a ride to the same parts store that I was just visiting and he was absolutely stunned that someone would be so nice. I took him to the store, he bought some part (I forget what it was) and I drove him back. He was actually a pretty cool guy after talking to him for a while, and I soon found out that the guy lived a few houses down from me and I had no idea. He and I got the car running in a few minutes after arriving back to his MR2.

    Either that, or when I noticed a fellow Cavalier owner under the back end of his car on the side of the road down the street from my house. I didn’t bother to care until I went out to get the mail almost 3 hours later, and the poor guy was still under his car, and his buddy was standing outside on his cellphone. I hopped in my car and drove over to them and asked them what the problem was. The guy responded with something like “idk bro, it won’t run right, i think it’s the fuel filter”. I laughed for a second, putting a rather worried face on the guy I was talking to. I walked over to my trunk and remembered that I had recently purchased a brand new Fuel Filter for my Cavalier and it was still in my trunk. I reached in, grabbed the autozone bag and handed it to him. I told him “You’re not gonna believe this, but I have a brand new one just lying around”. He laughed, shook my hand, and gave me $5 that I refused several times. I drove off and went back home. I walked outside about 30 minutes later to notice that the cavalier had presumably been repaired and was back on the road :D

  • avatar
    segfault

    Gave a random stranger a jump start the other day.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Snowmageddon in DC. I lived in apt building. Shoveled out parking spots for me, GF, the two handicap spots, and 2 granny ladies who live in the building. Left a nice six inch berm of snow around my CUV. Some guy came up to me and said “man, when you pull out I can’t get my car (fill in make you hate to make the story better) in there”. I just grinned and said “I know, that’s my intention”. I figured five good deeds let me get away with one bad one.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Transported a load of stranded rally fans umpteen miles down a muddy logging trail to somewhere with cell phone coverage after their Imprezza and Focus grounded on a particularly rutty bit of track – in my battered Ford Fiesta no less (it had high ground clearance).
    I’ve also helped flip over or push numerous buggered or stalled rally cars to the end of stages so that the team doesn’t have to retire.
    I once gave all my spare engine oil (when I drove a beater, I kept a gallon or so spare in the boot) to a stranded Porker 911 team who’d managed to nearly knock the sump off on a speed bump.
    Actually on the road… helped several people change their flat tires – usually pretty young things :) – and assisted others with mechanical issues (again, driving beaters, I always kept a decent tool kit in the car!)
    Fortunately I have never had to help out at any major accidents and see some of the messy aftermath. I know friends and family who have, and those that have seen dead people have been quite affected by what they saw.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Oh, and probably the nicest thing someone did for me car wise was that the above mentioned Ford Fiesta was given to my by my father in law (he was just my girlfriends Dad at the time) after my ride at University gave up the ghost. I repaid the kindness 4 years later by giving him my Ford Escort when I emigrated to Canada.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Many years ago, way before cell phones are as common as they are today, I was driving on I-495 in Massachusetts and came across a disabled vehicle with a large family.

    Their van had broken down, and the father asked if we could give him a ride to his house in Lowell to pick up his other car so he can get his family off the side of the road. We were headed to Lowell so it wasn’t out of our way and we agreed.

    Nice guy – very nice family.

    They lived on Adams Street. Adams Street in Lowell at that time (and could be today for all I know) was one of the toughest, meanest, crime ridden streets in America. It was clear to all of us that this family lived here because this was what they could afford (or put on one heck of a front).

    The man insisted on paying us for our troubles, which we refused – I’ve always felt the best payment anyone can do is “pay it forward” and help someone else out later. As he got out and started to close the door, he lightly tossed a $20 bill onto the passenger seat. I knew that any further argument would just be insulting to him. I’ve been well off for most of my life, and although I worked my way through college, I wasn’t starving. That $20 was a lot of money to him.

    Sad the world we live in today – I would be afraid to stop for someone on the side of the highway broken down in 2013.

  • avatar
    Pan

    About 5 years ago I was gassing up my ’74 TR6, when a new Porsche 911 at the next pump refused to start (dead battery). One of us had jumper cables and my peasant TR6 started the 911.
    Positive outcome: I was so ashamed at my grubby engine compartment that I’ve since had it detailed and it now looks like a million, but so far, no Porsche needing a jump start.

  • avatar
    iantm

    Wife wanted a New Beetle cabrio customized just for her. It had to be aquarius blue. Eight hours of haggling netted a purchase price of $4k less than what the dealer was asking. I sometimes get teased when I drive it, but it was a labor of love. Did custom paint work inside and under the hood (center portion of dash, steering wheel spokes, and engine cover painted body color. Put eyelashes on it, and finished off with a set of Daisy Wheels from the Tire Rack. She adores this little car. Doesn’t drive it much, but it’s always there for her.

    http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f175/iantm15145/IMG_0050.jpg

  • avatar
    iantm

    My little sister turned 18 and graduated high school this year. She also got her driver’s license. I decided to give her a present to celebrate these three rites of passage and provide her something to get around in for college. Since I wanted her to enjoy cars as much as I do, I decided that I had to get her something fun, quirky, reliable, and a little distressed. So, I picked up a battered 1993 Acura Integra for $300. The interior and underbody were cherry, the exterior, well, it came from New York City… Spent the next six months sorting out the mechanical gremlins on it, and drove it around to make sure it was safe. Here’s a picture of her behind the wheel of her first car.

    [IMG]http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f175/iantm15145/IMG_0386.jpg[/IMG]

  • avatar
    mopar-is-subpar

    About 20 years ago I was a hundred yards or so from an “accident” that just looked accidently on purpose. Old lady in a old 242 that has a plate holder from my Volvo guy gets t-boned as she pulls out after the light turned green. The t-boner starts screaming at her and she’s dazed, disoriented and in another world.

    No doubt she’s a good customer too, so I need to go out of my way and I try to calm things down. Cops arrive and he claims she ran a red light. I say, “Not so.” and give a statement then hand her my card and say, “If you need a witness, call me.”

    She had 20th Century Insurance. I have a friend who was head of fraud at 20th Century Insurance. I call Larry and tell him it just looked suspicious. He says thanks. A few weeks later he says, “Nope, just a straight up he said she said.” They believe her because of my statement and the police report. A few months later Larry calls and asks me how may people were in the t-boner’s car. I say, “One, why?” Well they have an injury and disability claim from 4 people who say they were in the car.

    Took a while, but they went to jail…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    When I’d see a vehicle where the owner had left the lights on, I’d check if the driver’s door was open and, if it was, I’d turn their lights off for them.

    With the advent of delay headlights, though, I’ve since stopped doing it.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I witnessed a single car wreck behind me out in the boonies where there was little traffic (and before the days that everyone had cell phones). I stopped and backed up. The woman was pretty shaken up. While this was going on, what looked like a serious bad dude pulled in front of my car to “check things out.” In looking over the woman’s car, I figured she could drive it to the next town and I told her to take off and I’d follow her there. That dude was not there to help out and I’m glad I saw the wreck and stopped or else she would have had to deal with him. I had a bad feeling about him. I then got a concealed carry permit and now I carry when traveling…

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    Gave a guy a car. I was just learning heat & cool and one of the old boys showed up at the shop one day walking in from the street. He’d taken a bus ’cause he’d given his old van to a son just out of jail.

    An imperturbably friendly, pot-smoking galoot from Missouri with children from different mothers in several different states. Had a jillion things wrong with him, could barely see, couldn’t climb or carry but taught me more about big chiller systems than any tech school could.

    He’d never complain…. I had to tweeze the story out of him. He was so worried about not having wheels to help out his diabetic girlfriend that I gave him my ’84 Stanza. It was worth maybe $1200 at the time. But the feeling from helping Rich out was golden. What the hell, I still had a motorcycle and a bank account.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    Last weekend a Toyota Corolla stalled at a light in front us. Wouldn’t restart. Got out and pushed him solo into the parking lot off to the side of the road. Turns out it was a Papa Johns driver, didn’t get a free pizza though…

    Oh, and I changed the oil in the wifey’s Taurus today!

  • avatar
    DrunkenDonuts

    My sister had been driving my parent’s old 1990 Pontiac Grand Am and one day it finally died. I gave her my car, which was a 2000 Olds Intrigue. In return my parents gave me their 2004 Monte Carlo SS. It was later destroyed when a tornado hit my apartment complex.

    In college I was just getting home from a long day of work when some drunken students were walking home from a football game with all of their tailgating stuff. I guess they didn’t have a DD because they were trying to haul a grill, chairs, and a cooler around with just 4 people. I’m thankful they chose not to drive, though!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Years ago, some people had a habit of leaving their headlights on but the car unlocked. I’d always try to open the door and shut the lights off. Nothing worse than retuning to your car with a newly-dead battery.

    Recently, a couple of girls near my house were pulled over to the side of the street due to a low tire. My house was three houses away, so I had them pull in my driveway where I got my compressor and filled the tire, only to find the tire bead was seriously leaking, so as they lived about 15 houses away, I told her to get the car home before the tire was ruined and have dad change it. She did and she was on her merry way very soon.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    well I was on the good karma end a few years ago my saab got totaled, I was out of work and a friends parents gave me their 2000 volvo xc wagon with 120 k on it for nothing, they put about 7 grand in it the last two years and said every ten years they buy a new car, When they were young and starting out someone gave them a car when they needed one and they were paying it forward. I drove it about 2 years and 80 k and it will not be my daughters car after she pays for it the same way I did, we donated cash to Heifer international in their name ( so I got a car for a goat!) she will also buy a goat to get the keys to the Volvo. My wife just kept saying I can not believe someone just gave us a car. I will pay it forward always

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I’m spending this holiday with some friends in a neighboring state, and seeing how their ’95 Tarus SHO is holding up. When their aged Pontiac Grand Prix gave up the ghost early last year, I cut a deal with the towing yard and car dealer down the street for the aforementioned Taurus, and with the help of a friend performed some basic cleanup work on the car including a fresh transmission pan gasket, filter and fluid, oil and filter change, new plugs (JFC, it’s hard to find plugs for that Yamaha engine), refreshed battery clamps and hold-downs and a full complement of fresh brake calipers, rotors and pads along with a replacement exhaust system. The worn out tires were replaced with Michelin’s HydroEdge models – and damnit, I don’t even treat my cars that well. The shakedown run along 500 miles of I-70 and SR 6 in UT was a joy and may well be the hardest miles it ever sees from here on out. It’s fun being the passenger now: almost as fun as signing the title over to them 18 month ago and telling them I’d be taking the train home that time.

  • avatar
    BillySeward

    I have pushed and pulled a few people out of snowbanks, once a friend and I even attempted to get a pickup out of a snowbank with my SVX to no avail. I have changed a few tires (People need to learn to do that on their own) and once helped a guy shovel out his car hoping he would help me do the same. That was a mistake but the nicest and most frustrating ever was at night in the middle of winter in new Hampshire. I was on my way to the store on a Friday to get dinner and some beer. On the way there I see a Dodge Caravan with its hazards on pulled oover on a busy road but going in the opposite direction. It had just snowed/sleeted the day before so the roads were not great so I took note. On the way back it was still there so I pull over to see if I can help. Its an older lady with her kids and her mom in the car. It had to be an 96-2000 Caravan and it was in rough shape from what I could tell in the dark. Turns out the right rear tire is punctured and flat. They had no jack so I go and get mine knowing that it might be pushing the weight limit. I use my tools to loosen all the bolts start to jack up the car. Because NH has terrible roads and the weight was probably too much for the jack the jack begins to bend and warp. I have to lower the van back down. I then remember I have a bottle jack in my car rated to 4 tons. Kicking myself for not using that I go and get it and jack the car back up. This was all while sitting in the snow in dress pants with no jacket because I thought I was on a five trip to the store. Well the wheel was rusted to the hub. I tried a pry bar, I tried lowering the jack quickly hoping that might break it loose, I tried hammering it with my lug wrench to no avail. Finally I just sit down in the snow again and start kicking the darn wheel as hard as I can. The whole van was shaking and my feet were killing me. For twenty minutes this went on as I tried to break the damn thing lose. I failed though, The lady told me her husband and a tow truck were on the way so I tried for a few more minutes then gave up. I offered to stay until the tow truck or her husband arrived but she was nice and told me to get out of there. Within the next week I went out and got a big rubber mallet in case I ever had that happen again. I have always hated Caravan’s and that cold night just made me hate them that much more.

  • avatar
    majo8

    I’ve donated two cars to charity — ’95 Lumina and a ’94 Caravan.

    It’s a win win…..

  • avatar

    I bought my father’s 1965 E-type Jaguar from him to save my parent’s marriage.

  • avatar
    SqueakyVue

    Gave rides to a few strangers in distress. Picked up two or three hitchhikers. Gave away two different beaters to friends for various reasons. Most recently though I filled the coolant and added stop leak to a 99 impala for nice older lady with an empty radiator at autozone (no obvious leaks).

  • avatar
    chrystlubitshi

    I have given rides to a number of people stranded (sometimes hitchhikers, sometimes abandoned (now-ex) significant others left stranded). I did this mostly for free and fed my passengers if they needed. If they had money, I accepted fuel cost, no more– my VW was pulling 55-60 mpg (diesel) and had a 15 gallon safe-cell fuel tank. Furthest I’ve done was meeting a woman who was stranded on the side of the road, winter, eastern (east of Lincoln)Nebraska. The car was a beater that she expected to die at some point, but not 250 miles in to her trip. I had a four day weekend and this was Thursday night after work, no plans, girl seemed nice enough.. so I drove her to northern wyoming, where her mother lived. I made this trip on partial payment of fuel costs and provided meals for her. Made it back home Monday afternoon with a new friend in Wyoming that I can call any time.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I replaced 2 exhaust valves in my then future DIL’s well worn CRV. It was either that or junk the car , it wasn’t worth paying to have the job done right. I loaned them the Borman 6 whilst I took apart a completely unknown engine And lapped in 2 new #4 exhaust valves ,in an improvised windbreak. It was a PITA job mostly because I was unfamiliar with the engine. I’m just like a real mechanic,only slower and less refined. What I lack in technique, I make up for with dogged determination (stubbornness) 4 yrs later, the CRV is still putting along through the Berkshires. My repair was about 300$ in parts. And over 40 hours of plodding through a manual that covered every 4 wheel Honda from ’67 to 2015.

  • avatar
    lakeuser2002

    25yrs ago just after college I was driving back from Atlanta to Michigan after visiting my GF. Just after I got on I75 saw a kid hitch hiking with a hand written sign “Michigan”. Never before or after have I picked up a someone on the road but decided to stop (thought having a passenger would help keep me awake). Turns out he lived 5 miles from my home and he was in HS going between divorced parents. I dropped him off hat his home… never asked for help on gas. He probably couldn’t afford it.

  • avatar
    afuller

    A couple of months ago I read about a girl from Tasmania who was on a motorcycle trip through America and had broken down a couple of hundred miles into Mexico.

    I contacted a friend who was within an hour of where she was stranded and we coordinated for him to go pick her and her motorcycle up and bring her to his hotel in a small Mexican village. In the meantime we worked on troubleshooting what could be wrong with the motorcycle and then I went to Tucson and picked up the parts we thought we’d need at the local BMW dealership.

    Once I got the parts I headed South and worked into the late hours (and then early afternoon the next day) to get her back on the road.

    No money changed hands and by now she’s through Mexico and continuing on South.


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