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(Car Talk)   Mechanics share their most memorable stupid acts. Share yours   ( divider line
    More: Amusing  
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36592 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Dec 2004 at 3:21 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-12-20 03:23:11 AM  
not my farkup, but I saw a guy testriding a bike plow into a row of brand new ones, dominoing 3 of them over
2004-12-20 03:24:36 AM  
Click and Clack > pretty much anything on the radio. I love this show, and it's one of the few reason I'm looking forward to going home for christmas.
2004-12-20 03:28:23 AM  
Until NPR screwed up by firing Bob Edwards, I was a pretty dedicated fan of "Car Talk". Sure wish they'd move to satellite.
2004-12-20 03:34:20 AM  
one time I ran out of transmission fluid so I just used water. fark it, I hate that POS anyways
2004-12-20 03:35:58 AM  
Seeing how fast my car would go in first gear
2004-12-20 03:38:58 AM  
Trying to switch distributor cables while the car was running so I could figure the proper arrangement. Yeah.
2004-12-20 03:41:13 AM  
I tried to cyphine gas out of my neighbors truck one time. Didn't get any gas...but I did succeed in tripping balls and waging war against my brain cells.
2004-12-20 03:42:38 AM  
Girl I knew. Her dad bot her a brand new focus and she was going to take it to california or somthing (im in washinton) so a few day before she left he told her to check the oil. So she took of the cap and looked in. Couldent see any oil, thot is was empty. Proceeded to add like 18 quarts of oil until it came up to where the cap is. Needless to say it didn't make more then a mile down the road. They gave her a new one since it was under warranty tho. Girls are stupid.
2004-12-20 03:45:12 AM  
Was changing the fuel filter under my 1979 VW bus...

unfortunately, the pencil I'd brought didn't quite plug the fuel line. I had nobody else with me, was working in the common garage of a massive condo complex with loads of traffic, and had no way to stem the rapid stream of gas that was running from my bus, thru the parking lot, and down the street. Several gallons worth, at least.

furthermore, I'd managed to soak myself in gasoline while attempting to plug the fuel line with my finger. I was working by feel, couldn't see what I was doing, and was trapped under that damn bus for a terrifying 15 mintues before I could get the whole situation sorted, all the while PRAYING that nobody on the block tossed a cigarette butt out their window ....

That's why I'm a computer guy, not a mechanic.
2004-12-20 03:47:48 AM  
This isn't exactly a stupid act in a mechanical sense. This pretty much falls into that wonderful "just plain goddamn stupid" zone that most of my actions inhabit.

I got my first car when I was 18 years old. A fully loaded 1985 Ford Tempo. Essentially, fully Loaded = still running.
I was so used to being a passenger and always having someone else in the car with me, that I was nervous as hell the first time I had to drive to work. When I got in the car, I was breathing so hard and nervous that I neglected to see that the parking brake was still on. I backed out of the driveway, and immediately I noticed that the car pretty much drove like shiat. I didn't think much of it because like I said, it was a damn Ford Tempo. The entire way to my job, the car is leaving a tail of smoke and the acrid stench of burning rubber surrounds me. I was pressing the pedal to the damn floor, and I couldn't clear 35mph. Obviously, something was amiss. I was too embarrassed by my POS car to pull over and take a look, so I figured that I would see what the problem was when I got to my job. When I finally got there, I cut the car off and out of habit reached over the set the parking brake. Thats when I noticed that the damn thing had been up the entire time.
2004-12-20 03:47:56 AM  
I nearly had my car towed because it wouldn't start.Then i saw it was still in drive
2004-12-20 03:50:14 AM  
I bought an '85 Mitsubishi Galant, used. That pretty much sums it up.
2004-12-20 03:50:30 AM  
I bought my first vehicle at age 18 from my uncle Billy, an '88 Chevy 4-wheel-drive pickup with big hilbilly tires. Badass!

One day after a rather nasty ice storm I rushed outside and excitedly brushed the snow and ice off the truck, eager to impress those mortals in their cars with my badass 4x4. I took off quickly down my street, which was on a rather steep hill. I confidently grabbed the transfer case's floor shifter and slammed it into 4HI... and immediately skidded into a goddamned snowbank. Red-faced, I hit reverse and gave the gas pedal a mighty stomp. No luck. My badass 4x4 was stuck in that goddamned snowbank. I got out and scooped some snow away from the front bumper and stood there looking at it like a moron for a few minutes. Then I got back into the truck and tried to back out again, and again failed.

At this point I decided my best-- no, only option was to get out, kick one of those big hillbilly tires and make my way slowly back up the icy hill on foot to get my father, who was able to get my badass 4x4 unstuck and heading home again in about twenty seconds. He dryly informed me that my transfer case was most likely trashed.

I now drive a GMC Sonoma with a nifty "4x4" button on the dashboard. I ended up selling my badass 4x4 to my father, who drives it to this day. To my knowledge, he has yet to get it stuck in any goddamned snowbanks.
2004-12-20 03:50:41 AM  

Girl I knew. Her dad bot her a brand new focus and she was going to take it to california or somthing (im in washinton) so a few day before she left he told her to check the oil. So she took of the cap and looked in. Couldent see any oil, thot is was empty. Proceeded to add like 18 quarts of oil until it came up to where the cap is. Needless to say it didn't make more then a mile down the road. They gave her a new one since it was under warranty tho. Girls are stupid.

that reminds me of a story....

the father of a girl I work with was a heavy machinery mechanic. he was checking the deisel in a plow he was working on. he looked in the tank but couldn't see anything. so what does he do? he lights his lighter to look in to be fair diesel isn't very flammable in certain instances, but when the tank's empty there's a hell of a lot of vapor in the tank. so yea you can safely say Darwin kicked in.

this story is true, I talked to her mother and she brought it up. and yes I know there's propably a similar story on the darwin awards website
2004-12-20 03:55:33 AM  
Then there was the time I was showing a friend from out of state the wonderful city of San Francisco in a 68 VW bug I had. We were flying down one of the steepest streets in the city when I realized there was no way in hell that I'd be able to stop at the stop sign midway down the hill.

We managed to slow down to about 45 as we crossed the momentarily flat intersection before flying over the next steep drop... we launched. And flew. Literally.

I had enough time to grab the steering wheel tight with both hands, take the bug out of gear, slam on the brakes, look over at my passenger, and yell "OH SHIIIIIIII..." before we landed- HARD. We were fishtailing downhill madly, finally coming to a stop. After collecting our wits, we drove back around and up the street... we'd flown a full 9 body lengths before the skid marks started in that bug, or about 50 feet!

Good thing we had some good strong smoke with us...
2004-12-20 03:59:36 AM  

Until NPR screwed up by firing Bob Edwards, I was a pretty dedicated fan of "Car Talk". Sure wish they'd move to satellite.

You can get them on satellite. Sirius has three seperate streams of various NPR programmig, and they seem to play Car Talk every 5 hours on at least one of them.
2004-12-20 04:00:02 AM  

Je confusee.. Diesel fumes don't ignite/explode like gasoline. They only ignite under forced compression. In fact, diesel engines don't even have spark plugs to ignite the diesel. Instead they use a "glow plug" that just helps get it over flash point under pressure. So I tend to doubt it was diesel. Perhaps it was kerosene, which would have acted in that manner, and is sometimes used in heavy equipment?

I once watched friends of mine in school try in vain for over two hours to light some diesel gas in the schoolyard where the nice workmen left it while they were digging out the foundation for the library expansion. Steven had the brilliant idea that he was going to light a trail of the stuff up to the barrelful against the wall and blow out the library. Note, it was a weekend, so had diesel actually been flammable in the manner he thought, it wouldn't have harmed anyone.
2004-12-20 04:01:58 AM  
Oh, and stupid car stories? I bought a Triumph TR7 as a student with no money. Downside, I learned how British cars came by their reputation. Upside, I learned to fix British cars (and by extension most other cars too).

I am now on my third TR7. It's like a disease or something.
2004-12-20 04:03:49 AM  

Perhaps it was kerosene, which would have acted in that manner, and is sometimes used in heavy equipment?

yup I'm pretty sure you're right...
2004-12-20 04:04:58 AM  
A friend sold her car because it would not start. The new owners added gas and drove it home.
2004-12-20 04:08:32 AM  
I avoid such horror by walking to work and getting my girlfriend to drive me around.
2004-12-20 04:11:49 AM  
What this thread has taught me is that people that make stupid decisions about car repairs also weren't the finalists in their school spelling bees.
2004-12-20 04:14:46 AM  
I dunno, my dad's been an ASE certified auto technician since before I was born, so I think it's impossible for me to do something stupid with a car. =_=
2004-12-20 04:21:46 AM  
This happened to me, by a mechanic. I went in to get an oil change for my car. Before I got there I wriggled my hand in between the wires, cables, and components of the engine and scratched up the paint on the oil filter with one of my keys. I don't know why I did this I just did.

I had a coupon for a place so my mother and I drove out there to get the oil changed. Well 30 minutes later they brought the car back out. I told him that before I would pay anything I had to check something in my car. All of us walked out there and I opened the hood to my car. You should have seen the mans face when I bent down to look at the oil filter. IT WAS STILL THERE. The same one that I had scratched with my key.

I told him that if he didn't go back in and change the filter and give me fresh oil that I would call the police and the BBB. He snapped to it and did everything himself to make sure it was done. I of course checked everything again, after I watched him do his job. Eyeing everything, vulturing him until he was done. Crystal clean oil and I didn't have to pay. Go intuition.
2004-12-20 04:22:23 AM  
When pulling out of parking in Tokyo, I couldn't figure out for four seconds why a large truck was driving toward me.
2004-12-20 04:25:39 AM  
Opening the radcap of an overheated '77 Granada, thinking it had cooled down after half an hour. Watching the safety release blow off through clenched eyes. Walking around with tiger-striped face of burned flesh. Good times.
2004-12-20 04:25:41 AM  
2004-12-20 04:31:25 AM  
Citroen CX 25 Turbo 2 (one of the last) goes into Citroen garage for service. Mechanics drive it onto ramp, leave it in neutral with handbrake off and lift it. Mechanic goes to undo sump plug with ratchet, causing car to roll backwards of ramp and fall 6' onto floor, snapping chassis.

Citroen can't get replacement, so give my dad a brand new XM, which subsequently spends the entirity of its 8 year life constantly under warranty with various issues.
2004-12-20 04:33:37 AM  
Dropped the oil pan plug into the hot bucket of drained oil.

/about 100 times
2004-12-20 04:34:53 AM  
SatchmoR: helioquake

He was driving on the wrong side of the road.
2004-12-20 04:38:00 AM  
SatchmoR: Huh?

...a moment later I realized that I was driving on the wrong side of the road. Not a mechanical problem; definitely an operator problem.

Got to go to bed now.
2004-12-20 04:39:42 AM  
My POS 77 Celica overheated on the freeway due to a broken fan belt so I got off as soon as I could (which wasn't soon enough). I had a brain fart and thought that it'd be a good idea to open the radiator cap. Fountain of coolant ensued a la NHL commercial. I am amazed that I didn't get scalded, I guess what I lacked in good sense at the time was made up for by quick reflexes as I did move pretty fast at that moment.

/Used cars suck ass.
2004-12-20 04:42:25 AM  

When pulling out of parking in Tokyo, I couldn't figure out for four seconds why a large truck was driving toward me.

Almost dd the same thing in London
2004-12-20 04:43:59 AM  
Further to my "Great Triumph Adventures in Maintenance":

The first time I replaced the brake pads on the front discs, I forgot to put them metal antivibration shims back in. Then I lost them completely, making sure they'd never get put back in. For the remainder of my ownership of that TR7, I drove around with front brakes that you could hear squeal 2 blocks away. Always an upside: I was delivering pizza with that car for about a year with the brakes doing that, and would frequently get large tips from people advising me to "get some new brakes".
2004-12-20 04:48:15 AM  
My most recent stupid car act happened tonight. I was coming back from a movie at the theater (A Series of Unfortunate Events, good show), and I had to cross a set of railroad tracks. Me, not having been in the town for 4 months and not having driven in this part of the town for at least 7 months, forgot how steep they made the tracks.

Anyway, I go about 55mph over them instead of the ideal 25, causing my car to jump the track and scrape the front bumper against the road. What makes this worse is that I'm not driving my car, I'm driving my mom's car. The car she got less than 2 weeks ago. WTF am I thinking a few seconds before I do this?

"Man, this car drives well! Sure has a nice handling!"

I pull into the nearest well-lit area to inspect the front bumper and such to make sure its not scratched, and it looks like I get to live.

2004-12-20 04:49:11 AM  
I bought a '74 AMC Hornet for ten dollars. It had sat out in the sun and snow since '74, so it was this wonderful filthy rusty yellow beige color. Every piece of rubber in the thing was rotten. I grabbed by cat Bob (who loved to ride in the car) and we drove down to one of those high-pressure brushless car washes. I put in the quarters and rolled in. Bob and I then sat huddled in the center of the car as we were sprayed with soap, hot water, and wax for the entirety of the cycle. I had managed to blow out what was left of any weatherstripping and damn near drown Bob. He wouldn't look at me for a week.
2004-12-20 04:49:27 AM  
In my seven years of driving (since age 17), I've only done only two really stupid things with my car. (1) Trying to park backwards in a particular spot at my workplace's parking lot. The night before, I was at my senior prom with my then girlfriend and I hadn't returned home until about 3:45am (wink wink), and I had to be at work the next day at 8:00am. Needless to say, I hadn't gotten enough sleep. And while backing up into that spot, in an empty parking lot on a Sunday morning, I hit a goddamn lightpost that left a nice big indentation in my rear bumper.

(2) Three years ago: making an illegal U-turn between two concrete islands on a curved street. I was on my way to pick up this girl that I was going to go salsa dancing with. Nervous as I was, in an unfamiliar part of town at night, I passed the street I was supposed to turn on. Because I was running late, I decided to make a U-turn between two concrete islands, those with a grass hill and trees. I hadn't seen any cars coming in the opposite direction, so I thought it would be safe to do it. As I careened between them, I saw a wave of cars coming right at me--I hadn't seen them because of the curve. So rather than crash right into the wave of cars, I rode up onto the island, onto the hill, with the trees only a few inches from my left side. Many of the cars on the road stopped, pulled to the side, having seen me crash onto the island. It took me a few seconds to snap out of the daze, and then I drove off the island, clunked back onto the street, and sped off towards the girl's house. Amazingly, after hitting and hopping the curb, the only damage (as assessed by the mechanics at the dealership) was a few scratches under the car, but no tweaked parts of misalignments...

/that's all
//off to bed
2004-12-20 04:53:16 AM  
Through some feat of miscommunication the lady next door had to leave for a job interview while her boyfriend was in the middle of an oil change. He was in the house when she left with all the oil drained out of the engine. The poor VW Beetle made it through the stop light and down the hill, then onto the freeway in the canyon. And then, for some reason it stopped working!
Total loss.
2004-12-20 04:55:13 AM  

You took a CAT to a car wash? Even in a fully weatherproofed car I wouldn't do that. Er, again. When I was a kid we went through a car wash with our cat Sam. She thought the world was ending, and went absolutely berserk, spitting and clawing anyone within reach.
2004-12-20 04:55:31 AM  
My 1982 Chevy Caprice.. This stupid wire kept coming off the starter. Actually it kept coming off that solenoid thing on the starter. Anyway, I get under the car to solder the damn wire to the solenoid. As I'm laying on my back touching the hot poker to a piece of that solder wire crap, one drop of that molten shiat landed right on my forehead and started sizzling into my freaking skull. Good god that hurt. Glad it didn't leave a bad scar.
2004-12-20 04:56:41 AM  
Good feelings about this thread, actually. Last good Fark survey was the Thanksgiving story thread.
2004-12-20 04:57:46 AM  
Shadalator - I know what your talking about

Out camping in the middle of nowhere a few years ago and ran out of gas. Me and two of my buddies took turns for about 20 mins. before we figured out that the truck we were sucking from had two tanks. The one we were sucking from was empty. We were so farking loaded that after we got done puking we tried to drive home and couldn't...
2004-12-20 04:59:46 AM  

Bob was one of those cats that never lost his cool. I took him to see what he'd think of it. Dumb, I know. The water bothered him more than anything. And the soap and the wax and my swearing at the top of my lungs.
2004-12-20 05:08:06 AM  
Ah. I've got a stupid-thing-by-someone-else story, a stupid-thing-by-me story and a lucky-farking-recovery story.

By someone else: I used to live in a semi rural area. A woman who lived nearby was having problems with her tractor, a small little job that my father just happened to own an identical model to. Being experienced in the care and feeding of that model, the woman called for my father's help when the thing failed to start--and I was summoned to go along and provide muscle.
All right, thing won't start. Hm. Well, can we see the maintenance record? record. Ah, ok, a real by-the-cuff person. All right, when was the last time you changed the oil and filters?
Uh, no. "You're supposed to do that?" is not a good answer. All right, we'll hop to it. Break out the tool kit and the spare parts.
Naturally, the oil filter is stuck tight. Oil filter wrench, not happening. Finally, Dad decides he's had enough toying with the filter wrench and elects to cut the filter off with a cold chisel and finish the extraction with a pair of pliers. Sounds like a plan, they put the filter right where you can get to it on this model.

So, I hold the chisel, and Dad winds up for a mighty whack.

WHAM! Right on target. I wrench out the chisel for another go. (oh, you thought the "screwup" was going to be "he missed", did you? No way!)

One would expect a flow of used oil at this point, having just punched a hole in the oil filter.

Nope. Dribble, dribble, of tar-black goop...and plugged.

Our prognosis: oil has turned to sludge. Engine's probably shot. Sorry, lady, this'll take a factory overhaul to fix, not a couple of shadetree mechanics.

By me: Pulling out of a parking lot, I THOUGHT I was pulling onto a two-lane ONE-WAY street, with the intention of turning left at the end. No, blind eye, that's an ordinary two way street.

Fortunately for me, there was a bunch of schoolboys hanging out in the area that pointed and hollered at me, and I promptly figured it out before getting into a head-on.

Lucky recovery: I was driving with my window half rolled down, on a road with a steep drop on both sides. Of course, I'm wearing shorts. Suddenly, a sharp pain near my crotch! What the fu--a bee had managed to get smacked in such a way that it had caromed off the half-open window, right into the car and between my legs, where it reflexively stung the first thing near it.

Somehow, I managed to come to a halt without going off the drop!
2004-12-20 05:09:30 AM  
My first car was a 1977 VW camper bus. Burned oil like mad, and the power distributor (think that's what they called the alternator) was so weak I had to hook the battery to a charger every night. Forgot to add oil one day and the engine seized.
2004-12-20 05:17:52 AM  
Oh, and barc0001,

I understand your love for difficult cars. I loved that damn ugly Hornet. When I got it, its brakes were completely shot. I saved up the cash and replaced the entire brake system...except for the drums (too expensive at the time and rather hard to find). The drums were horribly scored, and no machine shop would turn them for me. Anyway, I load the thing up with brake fluid, bleed it, stick my (open) toolbox in the back seat, and take it for a test run. I pull out of the driveway, get up to about 35, and then begin braking. All four wheels immediately locked (new pads + scored drums = sudden stop) and as I slammed into the steering wheel I was treated to a rather pleasant shower of wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, and oily rags. I then carefully drove home (i.e. very slowly) and parked it until I could afford new drums.
2004-12-20 05:20:14 AM  
I used to drive my parent's Jeep Liberty while I was in high school. The Jeep Liberty has a lever that switches the car from 4-wheel-drive to 2-wheel-drive and vice versa, and supposedly works even as the car is running - but apparently, the switch doesn't work so well if you're driving the car backwards.

So I back halfway out of my garage, and notice that the Jeep is in 4-wheel-drive, and since the weather is fine, I decide to switch the car back to 2-wheel-drive to save gas. So I do so, and start backing up again. The Jeep stops dead six feet from where I started, and refuses to go back any further. So I get out, leaving the Jeep in gear, and take a long look under the wheel.

I don't notice anything that'd prevent the Jeep from backing up behind its wheels, so I get back into the Jeep, and give it some gas. It backs up another four feet, and then stops dead yet again. Leaving the Jeep in gear, I get out, and look under the wheel again. I'd just finished determining that there wasn't, in fact, anything in back of the wheels again, when the Jeep rockets backward, dragging me towards my mother's expensive shrubberies.

I manage to grab onto the gear shift and shift into park while simultaneously pressing the brake - I'm not sure how, but I managed to survive that incident without any injuries, although they most assuredly would have been deserved.

2004-12-20 05:24:53 AM  
this thread needed voting enabled.
2004-12-20 05:44:16 AM  
Pulled off a water hose while the water was still very hot...and my face was in the path of the stream.
2004-12-20 05:47:15 AM  
ME: once drove the Tempo about 15 miles on a highway in 3rd (I do believe it's a 4 speed, I could be wrong) thinking the whole "man, the engine is working pretty hard for how fast I'm going."

Freind: freind's dad buys a beater with a manual tansmission. My friend wants to learn to drive it. I've been driving stick for about 3 months, so, obviously, I'm the one who should teach him. He manages to get to my house (2 blocks away), I get in, notice a light on his dash, think nothing of it, and off we go. He's doing pretty good, not jerking or anything, I figure it's cause he knows how to ride a bike. Then, a bad smell and smoke...lots of smoke. Keeps getting worse. Finally, I turn and look and notice his parking brake is up and the light I saw but didn't notice was his parking brake warning light. I feel like an ass cause since I jsut learned to drive a stick and use the parking brake, I still was checking it every time I got into my car. anyway, he takes it off, hits the gas, swerves around the road, adn almost hits a parked car. I'm an awesome teacher!
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