CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Hey Buddy, Did you lose something? (Strange findings on the road)

While riding my bicycle yesterday, going relatively much slower than cars and with a better view downward toward the pavement, I saw 2 disconcerting car parts on the ground.

While crossing at intersection cross-walks I observed a shed (apparently intact) serpentine belt in one location and a lug nut in another. It got me thinking as I was pedaling along…

How many drivers seldom/never check their cars for being road worthy?

Was there any warning the driver ignored before the belt left their vehicle to fall to ground? Did the driver heed the “battery light” or possible rising engine temperature or A/C failure after the incident?

That lug nut… properly fastened they shouldn’t fall off… Are some/all of the others loose on that vehicle?

Scary stuff!
I’m curious. What’s the most startling or alarming car part you’ve seen left behind on a roadway?

CSA
:palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

The most alarming was the car bumper cover on my street, that was hiding in the snow drift left by the plow until I found it with the snowblower. The shear pin failed to live up to its name, and it’s a beast of a snowblower, so it just kept going, and the rapid, loud banging sound and the machine bucking up and down like crazy was extremely startling! :smiley:

Mostly I find tools. Screwdrivers, pliers, etc. I have found knives, even big ones, which is a little weird. Lots of bumper covers on the side of freeways because it seems like tow truck drivers don’t take them when they haul off wrecks. My best find was a Milwaukee cordless impact driver.

People treat cars like they treat refrigerators or washers or furnaces. Buy them, use them until they break and then complain they are no good, sometimes after years and years of complete neglect.

2 Likes

kid left an old ski pole in our yard and i store blower in shed so i drive a path too the shed and of course i found the ski pole. after it had wrapped itself around the auger shaft so it looked like a 5 loop coil. ever try to unwind an alum tube from your auger? or cut it into chunks with a hack saw? without bleeding to death?

I found 6-foot-long pry bar on Ocean Park Blvd in Santa Monica when I was out running. People kept driving over it. If they hit the pry end just right, it would pop up a foot or 2. Instead of waiting for a heavy-enough vehicle to hit it right and bust a window, I waited for a break in traffic, ran out, picked it up, took it home. Then I had to find somebody who wanted a pry bar.

There is no way to tell whether the belt came off the engine or fell of the back of a truck. The same goes for the lug nut.

I found a nice crow bar. After car wrecks we try to get as much debris off the road as we can, the tow driver is ultimately responsible for the clean up, but sometimes the car is a mess and we sweep parts onto a shovel and dump it on the bed of the tow truck. I could see all manner of strange parts falling off as they head to the yard.

1 Like

I don’t remember much car debris except on the side of the road, but have seen shovels, mattresses, a roll off dumpster, couch etc. One time there was a rocking chair in the middle of the road but fortunately Grandpa was not in it when we hit it. School was out for the summer but the choir had to stay until Sunday. So we got the bright idea of driving 200 miles overnight to my house just for the fun of it. About 4:00 a.m. that rocking chair appeared on the two lane road. We thought maybe we were seeing things but no, parts got scattered. We were bored but drinking wasn’t part of our entertainment so we did a road trip instead. Poor Grandpa, lost his rocker.

The most common thing I find from vehicles is wheel weights. After that lug nuts. Tools, once in a while, but a definite 3rd. My best tool-find was a pair of slip joint pliers. Just the ordinary variety that you can purchase at Walmart for 3 dollars. But these were not ordinary, made by Snap On, and I have to say they are really a pleasure to use. Why they are easier to use than others, don’t know. I find a lot of weird stuff on my walk-abouts, a sex toy probably the most weird.

If you’ll allow a digression, years ago I was on a run in Venice Beach, and came upon a radar unit, a traffic safety gadget, which displayed the speed of every car going by. I got curious how fast I was running, so I ran past it this way and that way but nothing registered. I noticed some trash cans were out on the curb at one house, and two of them had metal lids. So thinking I need something metal to reflect the radar, I grab the two lids and run back and forth again. A young girl walking on the sidewalk asked what I was doing, so after I told her she found two garbage can lids and was joining in. It was quite a sight. Then the homeowner came outside, thought we were stealing her garbage can lids, and threatened to call the police … lol …

Ha, ha… I can picture that! :grin: And you’re lucky you weren’t busted for theft AND child molestation!

I own a hand held RADAR gun and will pick up the speed of a vehicle or a pedestrian or whatever, no problem.
CSA
:palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

Trucks (and cars) haul things. Things fall off. I once found a fully loaded S&W .38 special revolver. I turned it in and a couple of months later I was called to pick it up as it was not stolen and not claimed.

Not me, but a story I heard at “The Moth” show here in town a few months ago - I guy told how he found a motorcycle in his front yard, clearly someone was riding, lost control and it skidded onto the yard. He called the police and reported it, and pushed it so it was leaning against his house. No response. Days later he called the police again and they said they had no reports of a stolen bike like what he had. He asked how to get rid of it. They wouldn’t send a tow because it wasn’t in the street and they threatened to fine him if he pushed it there. He called the towing company the police use and the fee would be $200. They told him to call a paralegal they use to get liens on titles so they can sell towaways. He did, and she told him how to deal with DMV, so he pushed the bike into his back yard and started the process. The DMV eventually gave him permission to auction it off, the paralegal told him he could auction it in his backyard and how to put a notice in the paper. On the day he set no one showed up so he sold it to himself, fixed it and ended up with what he described as a pretty nice motorcycle.

Not too related but my 2 stage snowblower found a pop can, it locked up the blade, as it turned into a solid chunk of aluminum. Looking at it I had no clue, but after pulling it out with needle nose pliers bit by bit it became apparent! I found a few tools, nuts, bolts and a roofing nail stuck in the sidewall of a tire with 8k miles, that sucked!