QOTD: What's the Worst "Pain" Inflicted on You by Your Car?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
qotd what s the worst pain inflicted on you by your car

I love cars. And motorcycles. And pretty much anything with an engine or motor that’ll allow be to catch a half a thrill. But, this hobby… this interest… sure comes with a lot of pain.

The thing that sucks about pain is that it hurts. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Of course, it hurts. It’s pain.” But, what is pain? What is hurt?

In the above photo is my middle finger after being slammed between a sliding glass door and its door jam. This isn’t an automotive injury — this time. I wasn’t wrenching away on some heap in the garage or driveway to earn this badge of manliness, but it did get me thinking about the pain we grin and bear for our love of the automobile. I’ve collected a number of little injuries over the years while working on my own and others’ vehicles.

When I moved back from the U.S., I didn’t have much in the way of money. Over the previous year, I lived the highlife, but I did so paycheck-to-paycheck even though I was making nearly $100k a year in a state that doesn’t tax its citizens’ income. Before moving back to Canada, I sold my Bronco and many other larger-than-new-life things I could no longer afford and, upon my arrival home, I was car-less and in need of cheap wheels. My father took pity on me and bestowed upon me a well-used Suzuki Vitara.

The Suzuki was a basketcase. The driver’s seat belt didn’t really work. My father had affixed a clothespin to the belt because if it went into the retractor it wasn’t going to be coming out again. The clothespin was a stopper of sorts. The retractor failed because the spot where it is mounted, way down in the B-pillar, had rusted out and the resulting iron oxide particles had gummed up the works. Other than the seat belt, the air conditioning no longer worked, a couple of the windows wouldn’t roll down, and only two of four brake calipers were still doing the jobs they were designed to do. This all added up to a painful daily commute to my new job.

I needed to do something about those incredibly questionable brakes, so I spent the day on the garage floor wrenching, hammering, and eventually angle grinding the calipers free of the brackets. During this DIY dance of sorts, I pulled what I thought was a muscle in my back. To this day, my back hasn’t been the same.

Sometimes we make questionable financial decisions that inflict monetary pain or maybe we buy a vehicle that’s a bit more than our skills can muster back into shape. Or maybe we can muster it, but the path to success is riddled with landmines. It all hurts. It’s all pain, just in a different forms.

What’s the worst pain your car/truck/vehicle has inflicted on you? We all have our war stories. Let’s hear them, B&B.

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2 of 81 comments
  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Aug 13, 2015

    Worst pain of all from a vehicle was when I was impaled by the thick piano wire manual choke cable on my 1977 Dodge Power Wagon. It went in on the bottom of my thumb and it came out about 4+1/2" inches up my arm, scraping the bone the entire way. To make it worse, I had just sprayed carb cleaner on it, so that burn added to it. It took about 4 weeks for the weird purple line I had to disappear, and it hurt 3 months later if I pushed on my thumb just below the "insertion point". A very close second was when I was looking at a friend's sickly green Ford Torino, and without thinking, I grabbed the CB antenna just as he keyed up his radio, and he had the 400 watt linear turned on, and my left index finger smoked and sizzled. My finger had about an 1/8" deep groove burned into the joint. It only hurt a couple of hours, but being an RF burn, it took a long time to heal up, and it seemed to bleed a lot. The most common thing I had happen that hurt a lot was my dog Gus had a habit of going ballistic when he saw two things, a skinny guy in a light colored shirt with a baseball cap on, and if he saw horses. Either of them would send him into a rage. We always thought that some guy dressed like that had hurt him when he was a young pup, but the horse thing was a mystery. Either thing would cause him to attempt to go through the windshield, regardless of what was in front of him. Usually, it was my right arm. He would smash his head into the back of it, and this would either bend my wrist way more than it normally wanted to bend, if I was holding the wheel, or it would slam my hand into the dash if I wasn't. 75 pounds propelled by the huge back thighs he had would leave my hand bleeding if it hit the dash, and it would turn purple a couple of hours later. If it got bent, I would yell, and wonder how my wrist wasn't broken. He would barely blink when he hit, as he didn't seem to feel much pain at all. One time, I had the passenger seat reclined because I had something sitting there previously, and he was in the back. A horse appeared and he launched himself and slammed himself into the dash, breaking the glove box door as well as if it was hit with a hammer. I yelled, "Hey!" and he was very upset, because I yelled at him, he didn't seem to care that his nose was bleeding, and his lip was cut by his teeth. Pits do all kinds of damage to themselves, and they don't seem to care. He would get upset when he hurt me, and he hurt me a lot. I was lucky, I found that door in a junkyard for a few bucks, the dealer wanted like $56 for it! I really miss that dog, gone almost 18 years now..

  • Lee Lee on Aug 26, 2015

    This is what happens when you get your thumb in a wheel too far while trying to spin it listening for a wheel bearing noise, and it gets jammed between the wheel and the brake caliper. Took it 3/4th's the way off from the beginning of the nail. http://imgur.com/cyBnXl7

  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
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