By on January 18, 2017

Hyundai Sonata Rental with broken rear window, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

I closed the driver’s door and the back window of the 2017 Hyundai Sonata simply fell into the passenger compartment, a thousand little pieces sprinkled over my luggage, my spare pair of shoes, my son’s child seat. It was about 10:45 on a Saturday night. Danger Girl, my son, and I were nearly 400 miles away from home. It was 26 degrees outside. And we were about 40 miles from the nearest town with more than one stoplight.

Did I mention that the car in question was a rental?

Twenty-three years ago, I went on an interview with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It’d put an ad in the paper saying they wanted recent college graduates to staff their locations. As a recent college graduate myself, one without any particular direction in life, or what they call “career velocity” nowadays, I thought perhaps I’d be a good fit for the company.

Boy, was I wrong. The ad had specified “entrepreneurial nature a MUST!” so I’d arrived chock-full of tales from the mail-order bike shop I’d opened at the age of 19 and run for more than a year before being torpedoed by a poor choice of business partners on my part. I envisioned myself managing the hell out of an Enterprise car location the same way I’d run my bike shop race team with the proverbial iron fist.

After waiting in a hotel lobby with a bunch of dudes who looked just like every Sigma Chi at my school but who lacked the happy-go-lucky cheer of those fellows, I was ushered into a dingy little conference-room-slash-interview-chamber. A rather sour-looking fellow with cheap shoes asked me, “Did you play any sports in college?” I was perhaps 90 seconds into a recapitulation of my pro BMX career that, in my opinion, was both forthright about my lack of success while also providing adequate context for the difficulties of trying to get a degree and travel to races at the same time when he waved his hand, cut me off, asked three or four questions that were clearly answered by the résumé in front of him, then brought the interview to a firm and unfriendly halt. So much for my rental-car dreams.

In the years since, I’ve rented more than a hundred cars from various Enterprise outlets and I’ve come to realize it hires a very specific sort of male “manager.” They’re all flat-faced, profoundly incurious young men with backgrounds in junior-college football, considerable ability to cast a shadow, Chinese “wingtips,” and a manner of speaking that’s alternately cocky and feckless. They read from a script that’s been drilled into them.

Part of that script: “How did you want to handle the coverage on the automobile?” I can imagine that phrase being focus-grouped to death. I find it infuriating, because I always gave them the same response and I always get the same answer.

Flat-Faced Linebacker for Kent State: How did you want to handle the coverage on the automobile?

Me, in a hurry to get on the road: I reserved the car on my Amex Platinum. I expect them to cover it.

FFLfKS: What’s going to happen is that we’ll have to make a claim against your insurance and then you can go to the credit card company afterwards and make a secondary claim and …

… at which point I’ve either zoned out or the dude has stopped talking, or maybe both. Every once in a while I will have a particularly bright bulb, who says, “Your credit card won’t cover the damage,” to which I respond, “For $450 a year, they had better.” But since I’ve never damaged a rental car in any particularly noticeable fashion, I’ve never put much more thought into it than that.

Which is why you could have knocked me down with a feather this past Saturday night when my back window imploded. The scenario was this: We’d taken this rental Sonata to Camp Woodward, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country, so my son could ride his new BMX bike at the Lot 8 skatepark. I’d just run into the nearest town to get Danger Girl some lasagna.

“Where’s the fork?” she inquired, upon seeing the lasagna.

“Uh, I guess I’d better get one,” I replied, and I went back out to the Sonata. The windows had fogged over and I was worried about backing over one of the children on bikes and scooters who were zipping all over the place, so I clicked on the rear defroster. Instead of clearing, the back window appeared to fog more. So I rolled down my window, looked behind me, backed up, and went to get a fork from the on-premises lodge/hotel. When I got there, I opened my driver’s door, got out, and closed it again, at which point the spider-webbed window fell into the back seat.

At this point, I had some non-trivial concerns. I wasn’t all that worried about “how I was going to handle the coverage”; a back window can only cost so much, and I’d refer the bill to Amex anyway. I was more concerned about how I was going to get my son back home in sub-freezing conditions. Even if I covered the back window with a trash bag and drove with the side mirrors like a Lamborghini Countach owner, how could I be certain that every single bit of shattered glass was out of the car? What if the bag ripped out and a little tornado full of glass pieces blew up into my son’s face?

So I called Enterprise. It was a surprisingly painless process. The lackey on the other end said Enterprise had a car at the National office in State College, about 40 miles from Woodward. They said I could send my wife in the morning to get it. Which is what I did. By the time Danger Girl brought us back our new car — a Chrysler 200 — the skatepark was closed for the weekend and it was time to go.

To my surprise and delight, there was no drama about “one way rentals” or “substitution fees” or any of the other drama I’ve heard over the years from fellow travelers (as opposed to fellow-travelers, which means something else entirely) about problems they’ve had with rental cars. Back home, the flat-faced six-foot-four fellow in the cheap wingtips did a condition report on the Chrysler, noted that I’d filled the tank, and brought the rental to a satisfactory close.

Speaking honestly, I don’t think I could have done any better of a job were I managing an Enterprise location, so maybe the fellow who sent my résumé to the circular file way back in ’93 knew what he was doing after all. I will say that I’m slightly freaked-out about the potential durability of Hyundai’s heated glass after this episode. But these things happen, I suppose. In the end, I have no complaints.

Not that I can say the same for Danger Girl. “I hated this car the moment I saw it,” she griped as we loaded up the trunk with bags and helmets. “How is a Chrysler a replacement for a Hyundai?”

“You know,” I replied, “people were asking that same question 30 years ago, with a different emphasis.”

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

95 Comments on “Shattered! When Rental Cars Go (Sort Of) Wild...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “You know,” I replied, “people were asking that same question 30 years ago, with a different emphasis.”

    Yup…

    That is a strange dang failure you just had of the rear glass. Perhaps a materials scientist (if there’s one in the B&B) could chime in with a theory or two.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Out of curiosity, I googled it. Apparently, this sort of thing is fairy common.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Side windows, moonroofs and backlites are made from tempered (toughened) glass, which is under an enormous amount of internal stress. A latent manufacturing flaw can cause spontaneous shattering, especially if it undergoes a rapid pressure or temperature change.

    • 0 avatar
      bobdod04

      My wife’s mini cooper did something like this, though in much more dramatic fashion and circumstance. The front passenger window shattered into the car as she was driving down the highway at 70mph. Luckily no one was in the car with her and she managed not to freak out enough to cause a crash. Apparently this is not terribly uncommon.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Y’all are over thinking this. The previous renter clearly broke it and concealed it.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        My wife had a Mini Cooper for about 30k miles. She loved it. When we traded it in it needed its 5th windshield. They would break very easily. Sometimes just break with no impact. You could hear that car fall apart in the driveway, hence it getting traded in.

      • 0 avatar
        MTD

        Several years ago, when I was a garbageman, I emptied the dumpster behind a Mini dealership. Compared to the Ford, Mercedes and Kia dealerships nearby, there was always an large selection of broken automotive glass to dispose of, to the point where sometimes the glass overflowed out of the dumpster. Never understood if this was due to a design flaw, recall, or what. Maybe your wife’s MiniCooper was affected by the same issue?
        After emptying the dumpster, cycling that overloaded compactor was fun – pull down the lever and take cover from flying lacerating glass! It was almost as exciting as disposing of a dumpster full of old florescent light fixtures.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          @MTD:
          .
          Actually you were a “Sanitation Engineer” .
          .
          The PC/Thought Police / Participation Award Selection Committee wanted me to tell you that .
          .
          I hope you weren’t stuck with the same nasty rigs I was .
          .
          -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      look on YouTube for videos of “Prince Rupert’s drops.” basically you drop a blob of molten glass into water, and let it fully cool. The drop is tempered glass; you can hit it with a hammer, squeeze it with pliers, and it won’t break. but take a pair of side cutters and snip the “tail” of the drop, and the whole thing explodes.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      IIRC it was a big problem with first-gen Scion xB’s windshield.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      All windows (windshield, side windows, back window) in passenger vehicles are tempered to make it much more difficult for glass breakage to happen.

      Tempered glass is actually surprisingly strong. Police and firefighters often have to whack automotive glass many times and with more force than they would have surmised in order to actually break that glass, even using metal, heavy objects (though very heavy, pointy metal objects like the back of a fire fighter’s axe head will do the job more easily than a dull or flat, heavy surfaced object like a baton or even hammer).

      “Toughened or tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering puts the outer surfaces into compression and the inner surfaces into tension.” (Source – Quick wiki)

      The tempering process is likely to blame for this incident, which is not that uncommon, because the quick introduction of heat via the imbedded filament elements in the rear glass, when Jack turned on the rear defroster, coupled with the frosty 27° Fahrenheit air outside, with and outer glass tension that was much higher – even more so with the warmer interior-air, now quickly heated inside of the glass, meant that the whole of the rear window could not handle the final assault of instant swoosh of air pressure when the door was slammed shut, which pushed the cabin air forcefully onto all surfaces of interior glass, given what must be good air/acoustic seals that Hyundai used on the doors, a very stiff, strong tempered glass with massive tension on its exterior, and boom.

      This was perfect mixture of temperature, timing, rear defroster imbedded element activated, warm interior, cold exterior, and air pressure with a quickly slammed door,

      Additionally, the front windshield would not have as easily completely imploded into the car, as it is actually a sandwich of two tempered panes of glass with a clear plastic vinyl-plastic layered between them (to act as a sort of webbing and prevent pieces of glass from entering passenger compartment in the event of an accident, something hitting the windshield at, say highway speeds).

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        when I was working at Chrysler (JTE, Plymouth Rd. in Detroit,) one morning as I was crossing the street there was a t-boned Tempo left abandoned at the curb because Detroit. The window on the side door had a *very* pronounced curvature which wasn’t supposed to be there; it must have been on the verge of popping.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “Tempering puts the outer surfaces into compression and the inner surfaces into tension.” (Source – Quick wiki)

        Given above, relevant, crucial sentence that I quoted above, I should have stated warmer air in interior, where INSIDE of glass was under high level of TENSION, and colder, denser air outside, where EXTERIOR of rear window glass was under much higher COMPRESSION…”

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Given above, relevant, crucial sentence that I quoted above, I should have stated warmer air in interior, where INSIDE of glass was under high level of TENSION, and colder, denser air outside, where EXTERIOR of rear window glass was under much higher COMPRESSION…”

          You misunderstand what that wiki article means by “outer” and “inner”. It has nothing to do with the inside or outside of the vehicle.

          In tempered glass, the *entire* outside surface of the piece of glass is under compression. So both the surface facing the outdoors and the surface facing the interior of the car are under compression.

          The interior (meaning the part that you can’t touch with your hands from either side) of the glass panel is in tension.

          Who taught you about auto glass?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I am diagramming a molecular model.

            The outer layers of tempered glass have molecules that are stretched apart, while the core of the glass panes have molecules that are spaced closely with each other, grasping each other in a tight embrace.

            I have a Ph.D in particle physics from Oxford.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Amazing! My degree in English is from MIT!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Laminated safety glass is not tempered that is why you will see cracks and those cracks will travel often due to temp changes.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I’m shocked.

          I just assumed front windshield was also tempered, but you’re correct that it’s not (I did know that it was safety glass with vinyl layer in between two glass halves).

          So, the side and rear window glass panes are tempered, but not the front windshield.

          http://www.aplusglasspro.com/windshield-101/whats-the-difference-between-my-windshield-and-the-other-glass-in-my-car/

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            If it was tempered glass on either side of the layer of vinyl then that rock chip would not be a chip. It would release that pent up stress in the glass from the tempering process and at least the entire outer piece would fracture into thousands of pieces severely limiting your visibility.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Police and firefighters often have to whack automotive glass many times and with more force than they would have surmised in order to actually break that glass, even using metal, heavy objects (though very heavy, pointy metal objects like the back of a fire fighter’s axe head will do the job more easily than a dull or flat, heavy surfaced object like a baton or even hammer).”

        Side windows can be broken by snapping off the aerial and bending it back and letting the “balled” tip strike a corner of the glass. A centre punch will also easily break side and rear window glass. Break and enter types like to use a bit of porcelain off a spark plug. That shatters glass rather easily with minimal noise. Very little force is needed as long as it is sharp and focused. I used to take part in “extrication from vehicle” exercises while training paramedic students. We used to play around with it all of the time since the vehicles were “write off’s” donated to the training program.

        Old glass on the other hand can be a huge pain in the azz to break. Years of heat and cold cycles changes the temper making it hard to break. That is the only time I’ve ever had to use anything more than a punch or a light tap with an ax.
        (addendum)
        A front windshield needs to be “cut” out. The movies show that it is easy to kick out. Reality is quite different. An ax can easily cut out a windshield. You need to put on N95’s including occupants of the vehicle since “cutting” it out sends a fine glass dust through the air. It isn’t very good for the lungs.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Worth noting–this explanation came to me from a mechanic, albeit a good one, and not an engineer–is that automakers are in effect asking more of glass than they did in the mid-20th century. Traditionally, front or rear glass was mounted in rubber. There was a degree of flexibility in the set-up. Nowadays, front and rear glass is bonded directly to the unibody and, as a secondary function, contributes to the rigidity of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yes the front and rear glass is usually bonded to the vehicle in modern cars and becomes a structural component, particularly the windshield which is often a reactionary surface for the passenger side air bag.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’ve been noticing much more cracking of windshields than say 10 or 20 years ago. My assumption has been that glass is getting thinner and thinner as the automakers try to chase down every last ounce in pursuit of fuel economy.

        (Best CSI Miami imitation) You might say things are reaching a “breaking point.”

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Agree completely. I think the Mini Cooper is all held together by the windshield. That’s why whenever the body flexes in the least, the windshield cracks.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I had the rear window shatter on a Subaru Impreza around 2003. It had been left alone in sub-freezing temperatures for a few days and when I got in and closed the door it just crashed right in. It hadn’t even been started let alone have the defroster on. The car was only three years old.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        Years ago my wife locked our Gran Torino and left our infant son inside while parked in our driveway. She called me at work and was in total panic. I said go in the house and get a hammer to break a window. Since the car was a two door with small rear quarter windows I said break one of those. She started wailing hammer blows but to no effect. Finally a neighbor lady looked out and came over. She calmed my wife down and opened the door with a coat hangar. When I got home I examined the glass and couldn’t find so much as a scratch.

    • 0 avatar
      grinchsmate

      In cars windscreens are laminated float glass and all other glass is single pane toughened.

      Float glass will easily break into shards that can cut an unsuspecting motorist. Laminating two sheets of glass with a polyvinyl butyral interlayer will keep all these shards in one piece preventing decapitation. Toughened glass is much harder to break but when it does it will shatter into a million little pieces. This glass is safe as no single piece is heavy enough to cut you. You can also get laminated toughened glass but I don’t think any car maker wants to spend the money.

      Toughened glass is a temperamental material. If flawless it is uncannily tough. You can literally beat the face of it with a hammer and all it will do is deafen you. However the orientation of the internal stresses in the glass mean that you can tap the side with much less force and it will shatter. This is the reason for the chrome trimm around side windows on older cars.

      You can also break toughend glass by creating a small surface defect. The test standard for certifying toughen glass calls for a point break with carbide tip or similar. I have seen a 12mm panel of toughend glass that could easily withstand a hammer blow shattered by a flying shard of porcelain after a waitress dropped a plate near it.

      This case sounds like one of thermal stress. This usually happens as a result of nickle sulfide inclusions in the glass. In such a case rapid or uneven temperature changes can break the glass. In light of this architectural standards call for any toughened glass installed where it can possibly fall on people to be heat soaked. Heat soaking involves heating glass for long enough that any nickel sulfide that can break the panel does break the panel. Any glass that goes through the process without breaking won’t break under normal conditions.

      Nickel sulfide is very expensive to eliminate and heat soaking is an expensive way to eliminate affected glass. I’m guessing replacing a rear window now and then is cheaper.

      ASIO, the Australian internal spy agency recently built a new fortress of solitude. Instead of paying me to supply quality glass they bought cheap Chinese stuff that obviously wasn’t heat soaked. They have had glass falling off the front of their building ever since.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Jack your Amex Platinum can include Primary rental car insurance but you have to opt in through Amex and pay extra. This list is a bit outdated since the Chase Sapphire Reserve debuted (and it would be on there), but it does the cards that offer primary rental insurance:

    http://thepointsguy.com/2015/07/credit-cards-that-offer-primary-car-rental-coverage/

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ve actually moved over to Sapphire Reserve for most of my charges… when I think my FICO can stand it I’ll shut off at least 2 of my 3 Amexes.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Tangentially, why does a FICO score go DOWN when someone cancels unused credit cards and reduces their overall access to unsecured debt? What a racket that is. I expect lawsuits over that aspect of credit reporting someday.

        I had observed the exact same window shatter issue with a Volvo wagon. For some reason, closing the door firmly caused enough of a change in pressure that along with the rear defroster caused the entire rear window to shatter…

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Part of the problem is that there is the system doesn’t recognize why the account was closed, just that it was closed. So it could be that the issuer closed it due to a problem with the customer.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @SSJeep:

          It has to do with utilization, which is one of the criteria that goes into your score. Basically, it measures how much of your available credit is actually being used. A low percentage is better.

          If you have four credit cards, with a total credit limit of $1,000 between them (low, but let’s use it for illustration), and a total balance of $100, your utilization is 10%.

          If you close three cards, and end up with a total credit limit of $200, then your utilization percentage is now 50%, even though your total debt is still $100.

          Bizarre, but that’s how it works.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Because the algorithm places favorability on people with more accounts, and less utilization. The more accounts you have (that are in good standing), the better your FICO looks.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          I have noticed that on my Volvo wagon, the rear window defroster works faster than on any other car that I have owned. Most likely it’s due to the severe winters that these cars are designed for. No problems with the glass shattering, Hyundai or Mini style, at least in my experience.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Jack if you have a Reserve, it probably would be worthwhile to put the rental cars on there. You’ll have complementary primary insurance and I think it would fall under your $300 travel credit (and get you your 3x points). As far as credit score and closing accounts, there’s a way to help avoid the hit. Either see about downgrading the card to one that has no annual fee (so it costs you nothing to keep it and the account open) or transfer the available credit to a remaining Amex card. That way, your score won’t take a hit from your useage/available credit ratio getting worse. Most card issuers should be happy to do it. I cancelled my Chase United and Southwest cards earlier and they were able to easily move the credit from those accounts to my remaining Chase cards.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Appreciate it — I’m so sick of my Amexes, the Platinum in particular. Was cool to have when I was younger but as an old man I don’t really care.

          Sapphire Reserve has been a big deal for me. Already got almost $1600 in statement credits. And it’s metal! shiny!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Been using my double cash back card lately for pretty much everything…nothin’ like free money from a bank.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            You’re welcome. Chase unfortunately shut me out of getting a Reserve thanks to the stupid 5/24 rule, so I’m gonna miss out on the big sign up bonus. I’ve had a Sapphire Preferred for a few years now, so I’ve been able to enjoy some of the benefits (including the metal card), although not all. Chase cards are really great values. Have you looked into the transfer partners for your points as well?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yep, I remember applying to Enterprise too. I wasn’t into athletics, so that was it for my potential employment there. No big loss…the company has a major sweatshop rep. HUGE turnover. They hire lots of kids straight out of college, work them like farm animals, and then hire more to replace the ones who leave.

    And I did a little checking…apparently a fair number of rear windows end up scuttled when the defroster is turned on. Things you learn…

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      what gets me about Enterprise is they make their staff wear formal business attire (suit & tie) yet the offices themselves are nearly always filthy.

    • 0 avatar
      3XC

      I went to big state university with a party school reputation. Two of my college friends ended up working in some store management position for Enterprise. Both lovely young women. Both of average intelligence. I don’t think either one particularly enjoyed the job.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I had a couple phone interviews with ERAC a couple years back. It seemed like a bit of a warning sign when the HR rep made it very clear (and unprompted) that beards were absolutely not allowed under corporate policy. I pretty much checked out when she admitted there was basically no career progression in the role I was interviewing for (they saw it as a role you “grew within”). Not too broken up about missing out on that opportunity.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Although I also use my Amex when renting, I rent often enough that I have a rider on my personal auto insurance that covers any rentals that do not have a commercial plate.

    And the Hyundai v Chrysler observation is indeed indicative of what happened to the D3.

    I am old enough to remember when the Chrysler nameplate meant at least entry level luxury. When we got one of the very first Cordobas sold in Canada, it still had a cache that placed it above competing PLC’s from Chev, Pontiac, Ford et al. And the imports from Japan, Audi and Saab were not even close to having the same image/prestige.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “And the Hyundai v Chrysler observation is indeed indicative of what happened to the D3.”

      True, but by the time Hyundai entered the U.S. market (late ’80s), Chrysler wasn’t exactly a desirable nameplate either. They sold nothing but the Fifth Avenue, minivans, and a bunch of K-car based tin cans.

      What’s truly telling is that Hyundai used the last 25-odd years to make themselves legit. Chrysler had a shot the last few years, and blew it. They better hope Jeeps keep selling.

  • avatar
    ajla

    No snark intended, but I think your family should avoid Sonatas from now on.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      BUT THAT WAS WHY I WAS SO STOKED

      At one point, there was a bunch of ice on the freeway and there was, I kid you not, a Town Car next to us.

      I said to DG, “The nail… becomes the hammer.”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    When I worked for Progressive, and hated every minute of it, I still reserved some capacity to feel bad for the suckers who worked for Enterprise.

    I currently work with a few escapees from ERAC, and the stories they tell make me glad I suffered through car insurance for a couple years instead.

  • avatar

    Could this be a bad aftermarket replacement window, or bad previous repair job?

  • avatar
    FOG

    So I don’t see a recall on these vehicles. Sincere question, Why not?

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Because the issue is probably not Sonata-specific. Hyundai gets their glass from the same US suppliers as everyone else. No reason to believe that their failure rate is higher than other brands that use the same suppliers, unless there is something seriously wrong with the way they install it on the line.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I too interviewed at Enterprise. Once I realized it was a sleazy sales job like the one I had just left, I basically ended the interview myself. I didn’t feel the need to be pressured into convincing people they needed to pay extra for gas, GPS, insurance, satellite radio, etc.

    My Capital One card includes rental coverage, as well. It always makes me slightly happy to decline the coverage they offer me at Enterprise, but then of course I cringe when they launch into their spiel over it.

    And the Hyundai’s window, that sucks. I’m glad it didn’t happen when your son was riding back there!

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    A story about Enterprise Rent-A-Car that doesn’t include a mention of bukakke? Have they cleaned up their act?

  • avatar
    bunkie

    The funny thing is, that Enterprise has always treated me very well, so I always go to them first.

    I’m reminded of the scenario described in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy about the planet whose elite decided that one-third of the population (who did the jobs like telephone sanitizing and sales) were, essentially useless and made up a story of imminent disaster (something about a star-goat eating their sun) and sent all those folks off in a giant space ark, promising to “be right behind them”. Not long after celebrating their clever ruse, they all died of a virulent plague contracted from an un-sanitized telephone.

    The space ark, of course, contained our human ancestors.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Same thing happened to a glass shower door in a house we were renting. Wife was at home, doing whatever she was doing (not showering, thank goodness) and out of nowhere the glass in the door just shattered. And I’ve heard of tempered glass doing that.

    Of course they charged us for it, even though it was 25 years old. I could’ve fought it but just wanted out of that house so he kept the whole measly $400 deposit. Maybe he bought his kid a pizza with the money, but I doubt it.

    As for windshields, they are, as someone said, laminates. The side windows are not built the same way, nor are the rear windows in many cases. When a windshield pops, it doesn’t fall into your lap. Something has to hit it hard for that to happen, and in that case you have other things to worry about anyway.

    Aircraft side windows (this is mostly turbine-powered aircraft) have heated side windows. Those are prone to the same kind of failure, even as well as they’re built. They have to withstand high temperature differentials along with cabin pressurization so it’s no wonder. Man has not invented the best of everything yet.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    This prompted me to re-read the policy on my plebe-grade Amex Preferred and Skymiles card.

    It turns out that some, but not all, of the co-branded Amex Platinum cards have the same rental car coverage policy as any other Amex (preferred, green, etc).

    For those Platinum cards with a separate policy, it has the same coverage terms as the others (secondary insurance), but adds an accidental death/dismemberment rider. The call in number is also the same.

    I hate to break it to you, Jack, but regardless of policy, all GMC Vanduras, Chevy Sportvans, Plymouth Prowlers, and Cadillac Allantes are specifically excluded.

    http://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/card-benefits/car-rental-loss-and-damage-insurance-terms.html

  • avatar
    MLS

    There was a similarly-shattered Sonata with government plates parked in my garage for a couple of months. The backlight looked nearly identical to Jack’s. I just assumed that someone had taken a bat to it, but maybe the self-destruction is a common(ish) defect. Didn’t Hyundai recently recall some vehicles for spontaneously shattering sunrooves?

    As for Chrysler vs. Hyundai, I’d love to see a study about brand perceptions among the general public. Of course Hyundai’s vehicles have improved tremendously and all, but doesn’t the brand still carry some stigma? By comparison, I’d expect the perception of the Chrysler brand to be similar to that of Buick, i.e., cars for old people.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Difference being, there is an actual Buick brand. Two sedans, three CUVs.

      Chrysler consists of the (aging) 300 and the Pacifica. It’s not really a brand anymore, and I doubt FCA knows what to do about it, aside from selling the living hell out of Jeeps until they won’t sell anymore.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Deep-fried lasagna-on-a-stick could have prevented this tragedy.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I’m curious as to what’s so objectionable about the 200 that it seems like a downgrade from the Sonata. I have no seat time with the Chrysler, but the Hyundai seems like the most average, anodyne midsize sedan that will ever exist. I drove one for 6+ hours a month back, and remember pretty much nothing except a complete absence of feedback from the front wheels (not ideal in a blizzard).

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    I thought I was the only one who kept getting the same guy you described no matter what Enterprise I go to. There are females who also have the personality of a toaster. Reciting their well practiced lines.

    The last time I rented, I had dropped a vehicle for service, and the dealership called Enterprise. Despite my objection, they put me in a crew cab base model Chevy 1500.

    I requested the Ford Edge I saw amongst the Corollas and Lancers, but “we are experiencing a low supply of available vehicles at this time, are you okay with the truck?”
    :eye roll: um, yes, obviously, since I just asked for something else, I really wanted to keep this gas guzzling truck to drive 40 miles home in and 40 miles back.

    The dealership said they would cover the fuel, but it wasn’t full when I left in it. I didn’t put fuel in it because I honestly didn’t have the money, which is why I drove it nowhere all weekend.

    Not that an Edge is a Honda Fit, lol, but better than a V-8 pickup I would hope, and I did not want some small little rattle trap.

    I returned the truck with just above the E left, and it was the female version of the Enterprise Drone this time. “Would you like to go and top it off before we return it?” I was like “no thanks”. “Okay, great”. LMAO

    It was like trying to talk to an automated phone answering system.

    I should’ve tried to confuse it, ask some oddball question.
    “I am sorry. This unit is not programmed with that information. Please ask a different question.”

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I had a great conversation one day with a female Enterprise Drone where she refused to mark down a scratch on the car because “it’s below our scratch limits”.

      In the end, I made her pose for a photo where she was pointing at the scratch.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Enterprise Vanna White.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          I was concerned about a pretty big door dent which existed on this Challenger I was renting, that didn’t have anything marked on the report.

          “Oh that’s smaller than a golf ball, so we aren’t worried about it.”

          I just stood there and thought how guilty I’d feel if I put a huge dent in someone else’s car, rental company or no.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Guilt over a door ding? I can recall it…once.

            I’m not sure, but upon coming back to my car at the mall and finding something like two feet between the right side of the car next to mine and my driver’s door, and a gaping, four-foot hole between his driver’s door and the next car over, I *could have well* opened my door *con brio*, leaving a *most unfortunate* ding on his car.

            Actually, maybe I wasn’t feeling all that guilty.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I have so much guilt, you’d think I was Catholic. But no!

            Lol, was his a sh!t car he parked so close to you?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That’d be a negative, Ghost Rider.

            Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.

  • avatar
    BlythBros

    Woodward isn’t deep in the heart of PA Amish country. That would be Lancaster, PA. Centre County, home of Woodward, is pretty Quaker though.

  • avatar
    Funky

    The Elk Creek Cafe (http://www.elkcreekcafe.com) is a decent place to eat which is not too far from the Woodward Camp. You’ve (Jack) probably already tried it and are aware of it. If not, it’s a worthwhile try. Occasionally, when visiting state parks in that region of Pennsylvania, I visit this restaurant.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The biggest fight I’ve ever gotten in with a rental car company was with Enterprise (as parent company of National) over a windshield in a 2007 Impala SS that spontaneously cracked while parked overnight on a Seattle street.

    They tried to bill me for the “damage,” and I refused to pay because it was a defect in their car. It escalated to several angry letters to their collection agency and a minor hit on my FICO. I never paid and eventually they stopped pursuing it.

    Oddly, only a few months earlier they didn’t blink an eye or charge me a penny when I brought them back a LaCrosse with a badly cracked front bumper and a dangling fog light that was at least arguably my fault (metal in roadway at night, not seen until too late to avoid).

  • avatar
    hifi

    OMG… I just dealt with this same type of problem with Enterprise.

    I had rented a minivan, but what I ended up with was a Dodge cargo van. It didn’t really matter that it was a cargo van, I just needed hauling space. So I took it. I drove it to our family weekend house, went to the nursery and got some flowers for the yard, loaded them into the rear of the van and then went home. When I went to unload the stuff I’d bought, some of the flowers and mulch bags had been pushed deeper into the van, so I went around to the side to use the sliding door. And the fucking door fell off completely. It slipped off the track and was hanging completely off on one side. I couldn’t open it fully or shut it at all.

    So, to the folks at Enterprise, the way to infuriate your customers is to give them a shit car that literally falls apart, not have a replacement available immediately, put a $500 charge on my CC while the damage was being “investigated,” then charge me a $150 fee because the car that was eventually provided as a replacement after three days was considered a “one way” drop off. If you want to turn a loyal “platinum” customer into a raging lunatic, that’s how to do it.

    I’ve rented countless cars since then, and Enterprise has redeemed themselves. They have the best service by far. But that particular instance was not handled properly, so this story hits home.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • myllis: Fastest SD1, named Vitesse was called Saab Turbo and BMW killer in Germans autobahns. The Rover SD1 saw...
  • DenverMike: Pretending? Forget the medical benefits for a second. How about we don’t pretend the entire MJ...
  • mcs: @stuki: “And if you are racing, there are plenty of dragsters faster than 2sec to 60….” Yeah, but...
  • Inside Looking Out: The Fisrt Russian Revolution was actually January 22 not January 6 1905. That’s how it...
  • rolando: so say we all!

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber