Piston Slap: Raging Bull, Immortal Highlander

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap raging bull immortal highlander

Jeff writes:

All righty, Mr. Sajeev, I have four vehicles in the driveway: 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium (wife’s ride), 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (teenage son’s ride), 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4X4 (my POV) and 2015 Ford Police Interceptor Utility (my company car). Three weeks ago, I arose at my normal 6 am, let the pups out and started a pot of coffee. Shortly after, the dogs are going nuts, so I open front door to investigate. I’m greeted by my neighbor’s 1000 pound steer literally on the front porch. No big deal. We live in a very rural area and I was raised with big animals. I grab a handy dog leash and smack the big boy across the nose fully expecting him to turn and run so I could herd him the 1/4 mile back to the neighbors.

No such luck.

He instead backs off porch, lowers his head and, as I am coming out the door, he charges. Again, not afraid of big animals, I side step him and go in the driveway amongst my cars where he proceeds to play ‘chase the redneck’ with me for a few minutes. Unfortunately, he can’t make the tight turns I can, being that he’s 800-plus pounds heavier, so he is clipping the corners of the vehicles with his horns as he chases me. The wife is now standing on the porch in shock, dialing 911. I run to the front door with him on my heels, manage to close the door before he gets to it, and he butts the front of the house while I am grabbing a shotgun.

I go back to the door to find him playing whack-a-mole with the two Toyotas (proud American beef, I guess). I go out and blast a few rounds off right over his head and literally a couple right across his face (in the air, not at him) with zero results. By now Bully is accustomed to me so he isn’t trying to stab me with his horns, but it takes my constant attention to keep him off the cars. I hop on my golf cart and rush him. He proceeds to put his horns under front bumper and tries to flip the thing but only manages to get it a foot or so off the ground before giving up.

A deputy finally arrives at end of my long driveway. Bully decides the shiny black Charger looks like more fun and takes off at a full run. The deputy is a new guy from the Atlanta area and has never encountered a frisky steer, throws car in reverse and starts backing up the dirt road. He finally tries to scare the steer with its siren. Turns out that is a mistake as the steer charges the Charger, resulting in the deputy unloading a full clip in his face. (Interlude here, when attempting to kill a large bovine it is best to aim for the brain or heart. 9mm slugs thru the sinuses really only make them annoyed.) The steer decides chasing the redneck around the cars was more fun and less painful so he comes back towards me. The deputy finally gets close enough to put another clip in his skull and our wild morning slows back down. The county road crew shows up with small crane and trailer, and the deceased bovine is transported to local Sheriff’s Boy’s Ranch for slaughter.

True story. (OMFG SON! – SM)

Now to the question: The 2006 Highlander Hybrid is in great shape before this — 130K and kid loves it — but he is insisting we leave the damage so he has “cool stories with proof” to wow the girls with when school starts back in a few weeks. Does it make sense to make my neighbor pay for the damage on an 8-year-old car when kid doesn’t want it fixed? Estimate was a little over $1,200 for each car and neighbor is already angry he lost the beef but he’s willing to pay. Obviously the wife’s ride gets fixed but I’m leaning towards leaving the kid’s as is. Thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

Come on Son, along with the damage to your property you’re also saying the bull went mad for a Charger? Olé!

How ’bout we add to the story with another deputy called in for backup…and he showed up in a red Taurus!

So about the trashed Highlander: provided it’s still street legal and safe on the highway, I would not fix it, as per your son’s wishes. Should you ask for repair money anyway? It depends on your relationship with your neighbor. You will take a big hit (sorry) when it’s time to sell or trade in the Highlander, so it’s not all fun and games. Maybe your neighbor was wrong for letting the bull leave his property. It sounds like you don’t care, so I reckon it was an honest mistake.

Is it worth making the neighbor pay for it? I assume he/she is a decent person, and letting this slide is the right move. That’s just being a good neighbor.

[Image: Shutterstock user KRONA]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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