Journal: Does Your Car Have Any Embarrassing Features?

Does Your Car Have Any Embarrassing Features?

By Josh Clason
February 21, 2013
62 comments

My 1974 BMW 2002 has a few features that I sometimes get embarrassed about.  There is a spot on the car (not telling where!) that needs to be welded and then probably painted over again.  Whenever I see the spot it always gets to me, and I want to change it.  The other embarrassing thing that rears its head from time to time is an oil leak.  There is nothing worse than pulling away from where you have been parked to see a fresh oil stain on the ground.  The embarrassment only occurs depending on where I am or who I am around.  At work, I am surrounded by Alfas all day, so I don’t feel too bad about leaking oil (I kid, I kid).

– – –

Now we’d love to hear from you! Does your car have any embarrassing features?

Join the Conversation
Related
0 0 votes
Article Rating
62 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Allan Ascencio
Allan Ascencio
3 years ago

My BMW 320i ’81 has a weird thing when the car is idle, the fuel indicator and the tachometer start to move crazily, I always tell to everyone they’re dancing.

Mark Xion
Mark Xion
3 years ago

The seats of my Volkswagen Golf MK3 are wielded to the reclining rails so they can’t move. I have perfect distance but not for others who want to drive it

Alex Benedek
Alex Benedek
3 years ago

Heater is on, all the time , the valve control wire is broken and i drove it all the (Israeli) summer like that … i just pray winter will never be over …

Ken_in_Setubal
Ken_in_Setubal
3 years ago

Had an early 70’s era Chevy half-ton pickup. Three on the tree and a clutch so stiff you had to weigh at least 150 pounds to push it in without lifting yourself off the seat. The shift linkage was “a bit loose” and would often hang up midway between first and second. This, of course, only happened in the middle of busy intersections, and required jumping out of the truck, popping the hood, jiggling the linkage , slamming the hood and slinking away, all to a symphony of honking horns.

Joe Allison
Joe Allison
3 years ago

Sure do. Know every inch of my TT I feel like. Only spots I can see. Try to think of them as personality but sometimes it drives me nuts!

Gary Sodoski
Gary Sodoski
4 years ago

The driver’s side window on my ’93Volvo binds on the way down and they stops unless pushed by hand.
Always have to explain it’s an old car when I go through tolls or customs.

Melvin
Melvin
4 years ago

My mechanic informed me that the ‘clunking’ noise coming from underneath my citroen was due to the the front subframe mounts being made of rust… and the whole front assembly was moving about… still miss that old car…

Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton
4 years ago

My current Fiat spider’s top leaks in the rain, but that’s to be expected, I had BWM 2002 that was a driving restoration project. (I finally sold it to someone would do a proper restoration on it) It’s windshield gasket would leak in the rain. I would strap a tarp over the windshield whenever I parked it and it looked like it might rain. My Fiat X1/9, well it was the rust that kept popping up everywhere, then there was my spitfire, I bought it from a guy that lowered it so low it would scrape bottom going over any speed bump, and was undriveable with a passenger that weighed in at over 150 pounds. There is a theme here. Budget vintage cars, and not enough funding to do a proper restoration.

Horacio Romeo
Horacio Romeo
4 years ago

My 307 SW, which is ohhh very good shape has a non functional horn, hard to find the multiple cable that goes inside the steering wheel here. And, I’m proud of an alteration I made. I adapted a Peugeot Partner cage for the spare wheel, so I don’t need to worry about the steel cable anymore.

Alan Pavicic
Alan Pavicic
8 years ago

Embarrassing features about my car? Let me think…
Is it the warning lights and sounds in my underground parking turning on after 30 seconds idle run, urging me to leave the place or risk intoxication? Is it the airboxes’ screaming for mercy every time I push the pedal to hard which makes me think of Guernica? Is it the sun shade tending to fall onto my lap every now and then, preferably at high speeds? You did mention oil stains already, only recently my fountain solution container started leaking as well. The slow motion wipers or warning lights maybe, like raindrops or any other car were at least 3 miles away? The fuel cap, which I happen to forget on the fuel dispenser every second time I fill up my car? The faulty carburettors, which once left me blocking the very left lane on a 6-lane autobahn, the police showing up with helicopters and stopping the traffic on all those lanes?
No, I think it’s the horn which I use every time when overtaking a slower car on the outskirts sounding like a 3-year-old using a toy-trumpet.
Which car am I talking about? Actually, it is a ’66 BMW 1600-2, your own car’s older brother.

cardyjones
cardyjones
9 years ago

growing up in Ithaca, NY, rust and dents (and dirt) were cool badges
yeah i still sometimes get a bit sensitive about my land cruiser’s patina

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo
9 years ago

Stacey – How true. I owned a 72 1800 ES and no one could get in gracefully. Once in you can stretch your legs out without bending your knees and it was pretty roomy. People would also bang their heads getting in Getting out is an entirely different story. My uncle needed a ride one afternoon and almost became a permanent fixture in the back seat. We were all laughing as we tried to figure out how to get him out. I miss that car.

Anthony Swanborough
Anthony Swanborough
9 years ago

I’m reduced to driving a peugeot 206 diesel, everything about this car is an embarrassing feature, and if you saw the ad, it does look like an elephant sat on it….

LandcruiserGuy
LandcruiserGuy
9 years ago

My winter car is a Chevy Cobalt. Nothing wrong with it(other than the normal rattles) but embarrassing nevertheless…

Nate Turnage
Nate Turnage
9 years ago

I used to own a 1995 bottom-of-the-line Camaro whose windows did not roll down. The window motors were burnt out and I hated the car too much to attempt a fix. It was quite embarrassing to order through the drive-thru with that car.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel
9 years ago

My Triumph GT6 mk2 has non-standard rear fog lights fitted by a previous owner, tastefully fitted at the rear of the car, but the switch on the dash is a modern bright blue thing totally out of character with the rest of the original period switches, when people ask what its for I tell them to make sure they are strapped in, if they engage it I will not be responsible for there safety.

Luc Bonachera
Luc Bonachera
9 years ago

I drive a 91 Mazda Miata with the original top, and guess what? It leaks… Nothing detectable until you pull out of your parking spot and the water accumulated in the side seal drips onto the passenger’s lap. :p
The power windows are so slow that it always looks like they’re gonna just stop halfway up.

Easily fixable stuff, but well…

I had an 85 SAAB 900i with the heater stuck on. And of course the sagging roof liner that would rest on the passengers’ heads, that came standard with this model.

I also had a 77 Citroën GS 1220 Club when I was a student that was an embarassment in itself. I’ve never liked the design of this car but the handling was great and I’m sure it saved my back a couple of times.

One car I should have been embarassed about but really loved was my 1989 Honda Civic with huge rust patches and a T-shirt as a seat cover.

Stacey Stemach
Stacey Stemach
9 years ago

I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a feature, but its a designed in thing:
All Volvo 1800’s have a deceptively roomy front seats. Its actually quite roomy and comfortable once you’re in the car, but getting there can be somewhat awkward. Although the car has fairly good proportions, it seems that some of them are off enough to throw people (particularly those who aren’t used to older cars). The one in this instance is that the doors open quite a bit further back than you expect, but not so that you notice. The result is that a stranger opens the door and goes to get in normally and gets stuck halfway in with their shin wedged between the floor and the dashboard. They aren’t down low enough to sit yet, so they are left leaning heavily on the door or the roof of the car. Then they try the reverse sit, putting their butt on the seat and attempting to swing their legs into the car, only to find there’s not enough room between the front of the seat and the open door. At this point I’m usually trying to determine if it will be rude to explain to someone how to get into the car (as if the person had never seen an automobile before).

And for my personal car (a 1973 Volvo 1800ES), the exhaust pipe’s rear axle crossover tube is sitting such that when I have a certain amount of weight in the car, it rattles on the right rear shock absorber, making a very nicely restored car sound like a complete bucket of bolts to everyone within earshot…

(Oh, and we have a 2011 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI with a manual. The car has a 700 rpm engine cutout, so if you get the revs too low, the ECU turns the engine off. And apparently, VWs have long since made their owners turn the key completely off before being able to restart the engine again, leaving you frantically scrabbling at the ignition when you just popped the clutch wrong when the green light turns…)

Alan van Bergen
Alan van Bergen
9 years ago

Please do an article on the beemer featured in the header. Or at least more pictures. Absolutely love the car!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
9 years ago

“We close our eyes in this reality & open them in another.”

(Aptly expresses how one might feel when your car won’t start while on a date.)
Fortunately, chicks dig it when you can hot wire a car.

Hans Efde
Hans Efde
9 years ago

I am embarrassed by the interior of my Midas Gold Convertible. Outside is good enough for shows, but the inside consists of worn carpets and badly glued grey vinyl. I am saving money for a new interior in black alcantara with blue stitching, but just spend a lot of money on an engine overhaul, new subframe and suspension mods. It’s a sort of roadgoing project.

Eddy Rocket
Eddy Rocket
9 years ago

My X308 XJR has blue smoke trails when I floor it at the lights leaving everybody behind me in a cloud of burnt oil. It sort of takes away the inconspicuous character of the car. Other motorists probably think “look at that twat abusing his 15 yr old living room on wheels”. Also, the car is stunning to look at but underneath there are more holes in it than swiss cheese.

Thomas Falkiner
Thomas Falkiner
9 years ago

Last year I purchased a tidy and stock-standard Toyota MR2 Spyder. It’s cheap to own and actually a lot of fun to drive – especially at the occasional track-day. I’ve spliced in a few tasteful chassis tweaks and there are some more to follow. Anyway, I only recently discovered that the previous owner replaced the front parking lights with tiny LED units. Absolutely awful. I can’t believe that I’ve been driving around with them for the last 12-months. Super embarrassing!

Niclas Dahlgren
Niclas Dahlgren
9 years ago

My 1998 Soon-to-be-a-trackday Alfa 156 V6 has a large rodent that decided to die over the terminals on the alternator. When not driving the car, the battery has to be disconnected or it will discharge, when driving, the rodent is being fried which creates a thick smell and odour not so pleasant to the nose. Needs fixing, ASAP. (the car was traded against a case of cheep beer, so what to expect?)

Simon Lockie
Simon Lockie
9 years ago

My ’56 Maico Maicoletta scooter has a great feature (in common with most Maicolettas right from new). The electric starter almost never works. Not a problem you’d think, just use the kick starter. Aha, in the infinite German engineering wisdom of the time they evidently concluded that a kick starter would not be needed as there was an electric starter. So even though the engine was derived directly from a Motorcycle that had a kick starter, they removed the mechanism, and then mounted the engine in such a way that a retro fit was not possible.
So the key embarrassing feature is being seen ‘push starting’ your scooter pretty much any time you need to start it. One learns quickly, never to park at the bottom of a hill. 😉

Adam Holter
Adam Holter
9 years ago

Love my ’68 Dodge Dart, hate my glovebox latch! From ’63-’66, the A-body Mopars (Valiant, ‘Cuda, Dart) used a flip-down glovebox–no latch. From ’67-’69, the A’s had this ridiculous push button latch, but no handle with which to pull the glovebox open. Most drivers resorted to wedging their fingers up under the trim, which in time stripped the threads of the screws holding the trim causing the trim to fall off. And the push-button wasn’t that well-built anyways, it’s just stamped sheet metal. I’ve already replaced the latch once, took me months to find a working one at a junkyard. Fortunately, I’ve improvised a little and made my own finger hook out of 14 ga. wire, so I don’t mess up the trim any worse. This a great car, but in my opinion, Dodge missed the ball on that detail.

Th other big embarrassment is my choke. The PO swapped in a Holley 390cfm 4 barrel to replace the old Carter 1bbl. It’s great, makes a lot more power, but startup has always been a pain, and I’m the only person I know who can start Lucy. The choke started out as electric; it’s party trick was to stick WOT in the middle of traffic, without any warning whatsoever. Had enough of that, swapped the electric for a manual choke, which is better, but makes starting a pain. My starting process is as follows:

1. pull choke out 25\%
2. pump gas twice
3. crank
4. After 5 seconds of cranking, mash the throttle to dump fuel into the intake

Starts every time. 😉

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam Holter

Oh that sounds like a slant six alright. My first car was (and still is) a ’72 Duster, all kinds of fun little tricks to get down the road in that thing.

Mat smith
Mat smith
9 years ago

I have a lovely 1990 Mercedes 300CE W124 pillarless coupe. The embarrassing feature is the drivers side window regulator has worn and no longer lowers the window. When I arrive at car parks and need to collect a ticket from the barrier I have to carefully position it so I can open the door and reach across, this can take a bit longer than normal much to the irritation of the drivers behind. Makes paying at toll booths tricky too.

I also have a 2003 911 turbo, its little party trick is the occasional puff of blue smoke from its lovely Metzger engine when you start from cold. Normal on a flat six I am assured but amuses my friends!!

Omar Romandia
Omar Romandia
9 years ago

I own a 1990 BMW E30 Convertible. A fantastic little car with lots of history and is an absolute joy to drive. Until not too long ago, when I finally spotted the problem, I had the most difficult time starting the car. I would have to press on the gas just enough and rev the engine for a few seconds after starting the car to avoid it shutting off. In all honestly, I could never let anyone else drive the car because only I knew how to adequately get it to start. You can imagine how embarrassing it was taking the E30 to the car wash and having the attendant tell you the employees can’t start the car… awkward. Finally, after reading through what felt like a million forums, I read about a guy who also had problems starting his E30. He replaced his fuel pump regulator and the problem was fixed. I decided to take a chance and replace the fuel pump regulator on my E30… and voila! The problem was finally gone! The car still has many other embarrassing quirks, such as the hood being a slightly different shade of red as the rest of the car. However, it’s only noticeable at night…

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
9 years ago

Of course Ludie’s popping hood was very embarrassing to say the least!

http://petrolicious.com/an-alfa-summer-affair-teaser

Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton
4 years ago
Reply to  Afshin Behnia

I got a good laugh out that one. My Fiat spider had the exact same problem when I first bought it. I did finally manage to get the hood latch adjusted correctly though.

J Pennington
J Pennington
9 years ago

Oh, duh, 74 2002. Maybe I should try reading the articles. :p

J Pennington
J Pennington
9 years ago

Thats such a killer BMW. What model is it?

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer
9 years ago

My ’87 Carrera: The previous owner added red piping to the seats when he reupholstered them. Some people like it but I think it makes the seats look like they belong in a ski boat. Also, it has a few thin spots in the paint from the previous owner getting a little aggro with the buffer.

Adam Kellar
Adam Kellar
9 years ago

Well, I’m currently in a transitional phase and just sold my car. But the most embarrassing thing that’s been on any car I’ve owned was the 94 Accord’s paint.
My sister got the front bumper stripped off my mom’s Dodge Magnum so I was taking her to the shop. On our return trip we’re going up a hill on a 5 lane here in Atlanta and the clear coat chips start sliding up the windshield.
“Is that the paint?”
*hangs head*

Adam Kellar
Adam Kellar
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam Kellar

And btw, that 2002 is definitely a cool looking car 🙂

Peter Kambic
Peter Kambic
9 years ago

How about the leaking rear window on my 72 Mach I. I know they all leaked from new but its a really embarrassing problem. This also explains why the rear floors all rotted out.

Derek Scott
Derek Scott
9 years ago

The power seat of my E28 being stuck in lowrider position is definitely one of them.

Also, my 240Z had such colossal oil consumption when I got it that the fumes inside the car when driving on the highway with the windows open was unbearable. So the windows had to be closed, which meant driving that car in Southern California only at night. And stopping to add oil every 50 miles. So I had a terrific road trip up to the Bay Area to have the motor rebuilt by Dave Rebello, in the middle of the night with a lot of oil stops and a carbon monoxide detector attached, you guessed it, to the top of the case of oil that I brought with me.

Samuel Wicki
Samuel Wicki
9 years ago

My Alfa GTV6 had the feature of turning fresh swiss mountain air into blue smoke on every descending road.
(And in Switzerland there are quite a few of these roads.)
But since that is fixed it stinks colorless.

Rutger Smeenk
Rutger Smeenk
9 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Wicki

Not so embarrassing is the sound my 33 makes when it runs on LPG:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YvzLWeAvVw

Rutger Smeenk
Rutger Smeenk
9 years ago
Reply to  Rutger Smeenk

That was ment as a reply to my own message earlyer… confusing…

Samuel Wicki
Samuel Wicki
9 years ago
Reply to  Rutger Smeenk

No problem, I got it. 🙂
And the sound is beautiful.

Keith Illg
Keith Illg
9 years ago

Wheels. I am the second owner of my CTS-V and they must have been professional curb hunters. I feel like I need a disclaimer on the car at all times that I am not the one responsible for damage to the beautiful wheels. I really need to get them cleaned up.

Mads Henriksen
Mads Henriksen
9 years ago

Being the owner of several Citroën CXes, I haven’t got a shred of clue where to start. Citroën CXes are very intelligent cars. Their design oozes intelligence and French raison d’Etre. They are sort of like living creatures. They seem to know when they are driven by whom. Our daily driver, a 1991 TGD Turbodiesel Break (Break = Wagon, google CX or CXA Wagon if You haven’t got s**t for clues on what I’m on about) seems to have some sort of knowledge abt. who is driving it. Clearly, it does not want to be driven by my girlfriend.

This afternoon, the cruise controle would only allow the car to settle at 2200 RPMs – my girlfriend drove it home with a constant 2200 RPM idle – which is where the turbo kicks in heavily, leaving a healthy 320 Newton Metres of Tourque as idle. Not fair.

As the car returned on the driveway, it settled to its usual 900 RPM idle, and everything worked again.

The CX was proving some sort of point, I guess.

Sky Lund
Sky Lund
9 years ago

When I was young and too cheap to make repairs, my brake master cylinder would leak brake fluid into the booster. It would pool undetected until I took a sharp left turn. As a result, the fluid would slosh up and get sucked into the intake, leaving a HUGE billowing white cloud of smoke behind me. This James-Bond-like smokescreen was so effective that traffic was literally invisible across two lanes in my rear view. I have since fixed the problem, but I feel a little less prepared in the event of a hot pursuit.

Rutger Smeenk
Rutger Smeenk
9 years ago

My previous Alfa Romeo 33 1.7 8V had this thing where, sometimes, when I indicated to the right the windscreen wipers went on… Kinda embarrassing on a sunny day…

Thankfully my new(er) Alfa 33 1.7 16 QV doesn’t have that problem (it has others…..) 😀

Bob R Kenyon
Bob R Kenyon
9 years ago

Nope, on my TT, all those parts fell off.

Terrence Dorsey
Terrence Dorsey
9 years ago

Rust. Lots of rust. Did I mention the rust?

Also, valve cover gaskets that leak oil onto the headers, sending smoke up into the heater. That may be more embarrassing than the rust, actually.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago

Firstly that 2002 looks super cool Josh.

The Daytona drops oil too, not too much but it comes from a seal at the back of the engine and the whole motor has to come out to fix. As I may have said before the most embarrassing thing is the smell of petrol and oil the car leaves on your clothes after a long drive.

Nicholas Little
Nicholas Little
9 years ago

Sure does. Ignoring the lack of a front bumper (I have one, just haven’t put it on) or the fact that the last owner of my car spray-painted the poor thing black, I’m currently using a piece of cardboard ziptied to the radiator to substitute as a thermostat. It helps the car warm up, and if it gets too hot I can just cut it off.

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar
9 years ago

Very nice looking 2002!

David
David
9 years ago

My ratty 84 VW gti had a loose/ripped headliner. So much so that when I had occupants I would give them some push pins to keep from the headliner from falling in front of their faces. I miss that damn car 🙁

Christian G Miller
Christian G Miller
9 years ago

I had this absolute beater BMW 325IX when i first moved to California that had so many needed repairs that it would deteriorate before passengers eyes. By far the best was the passenger seatbelt which had broke and nobody wanted to sit there. Cue giving a ride to one person and they sit behind the driver seat like a taxi.

Jonathon Glazebrook
Jonathon Glazebrook
9 years ago

95 Audi Ur-S6 Avant…the tailgate, oh the tailgate! The damn thing squeaks and groans over every bump and expansion joint in the road. Can it be fixed? Sure. Is it worth taking the whole thing off and replacing the hinges? Not 100\% sure about that.

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
9 years ago

Plenty. Very stupidly I dinged the side against a metal pillar on a too-tight driveway a couple of years back. Scraped all down the rear door and dented the wheelarch. I’ve repaired the wheelarch myself, and replaced the door, but the new door is ever-so-slightly darker than the rest of the car. Not enough to be noticeable, unless you’re me and you know it’s there.

Then we get to the Jag which has quite a few blemishes, principle among which is the headliner which had sagged and is now held up with drawing pins.

Actually, I’m rather proud of that one. I rather like the juxtaposition of a big luxury Jag with a bit of ghetto engineering holding it together. No expense spared on the mechanicals though.

Eduard Vampire
Eduard Vampire
9 years ago

My 633CSi had so so many.
Broken sunroof that leaked water
High beams that didn’t work
Headlights that sporadically went off and on again
Oil leaks
non functioning turn signals
Window seals that let in lots of air and noise on the highway
dent right in the “sharknose,” the best looking part of the car
US bumpers