QOTD: Have It Back by Close?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd have it back by close

The other day, we posed the question of whether you’ve ever regretted lending your vehicle to another individual. Not hard to see how something could go wrong in a hurry in that situation; God knows we’re a flawed species. Hopefully the memories weren’t too painful.

Perhaps less soul-destroying is what we’ve come here today to ask. While this has everything to do with the loaning of personal property to another, the situation is reversed. And the “friend” element is, for the most part, gone.

We’ve all dropped our ride off at the dealer or the local mechanic for necessary surgery (or BS servicing required to keep the warranty intact), and not all of us had a friend, spouse, or bus waiting to take us back home or to work that morning. Instead, we were handed the key to a wholly unfamiliar car.

The loaner. Often as mysterious and broken as the loner in that Neil Young song, the drive-it-for-half-a-day ride that sometimes becomes our companion for a week or more can be as varied as the psychological makeup of a hitchhiker.

As temperamental, too.

Once upon a time, my mechanic saddled me with one of those three-door, egg-shaped Hyundai Accents for a day. A car where my forehead comes awfully close to the windshield/headliner divide. Never mind the discomfort — what happens to my beautiful, beautiful scalp and neighboring face if I roll this thing?

I’ve always harbored an intense hatred for that particular Accent, despite its ability to run terribly forever. A friend’s mom owned one. A threadbare rental agency once left me piloting one of these things, prompting a sense of emasculation when I picked up a certain someone in it, rather than in my spacious and praiseworthy Camry.

Of course, a month-long loaner also led me to the realization that I can be happy in a crossover. And not on a temporary basis, either. With the right engine and transmission and a comfortable seat, I’m perfectly content to ply the roadways of North America in a two-box blandmobile — even one with a remarkably low-rent interior. Do you remember the model?

Tell us your stories of vehicular hate or enlightenment that arose after a dealer or mechanic handed you someone else’s keys.

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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4 of 21 comments
  • Millerluke Millerluke on Jun 10, 2020

    I had a 2019 Camry that lunched it's transmission at 200km (not 200,000, just 200, it was brand spanking new.) While they were replacing the tranny (under warranty, and remarkably quickly, as they should) I had a 2016 Corolla 'C' meaning 'base as crap.' Sure it was reliable, I guess more so than my new Camry, but it was slow, graphics were from 1990's video games, and the only option it had was a CVT, which didn't improve anything. I always dread driving a Corolla now, for fear it will be as terrible as that loaner. Course, I always dread my Camry's tranny will die again, too. Toyota reliability? Not so much in my experience.

    • See 1 previous
    • JimC2 JimC2 on Jun 13, 2020

      @sgeffe "and not check it again at PDI?" There's an internet meme with Kayode Ewumi pointing to his head and tapping it with his finger. You don't have to waste time topping off the fluids if you don't waste time on a predelivery inspection.

  • -Nate -Nate on Jun 11, 2020

    In the early 1970's a gas station I worked at had a loaner 1956 Buick two door coupe (no B pillar) that was all original with close to peeling paint and only 7 working cylinders plus the driver's side door didn't like to open unless you'd spent some time yanking on the door handle, then after you'd gotten in on the passenger side like we told you, it'd swing open randomly on a right hand turn scaring the crap out of the hapless customer.... No seat belts of course . Then all through the 1960's and 1970's were those myriad indie VW shops that had seriously clapped out Beetles, many were the then worthless mid 1950's ones with the smaller oval shaped rear window, always ratty, no heater, horn, headliner, radio etc..... -Nate

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