Living with a car's oddities, peculiarities, and anomalies

Sometimes people drive cars that have less than normal functionality. People will sometimes tolerate a car’s “minor” problems because they can’t afford to repair them, the problem isn’t really that intolerable, or the problem is just too difficult to remedy easily.

My wife and I were given a 1976 Oldsmobile Toronado, by my wife’s father, shortly after we were married, a looong time ago. The car was a 2-door beast, weighing over 2 tons.

The doors were huge, very long and heavy. The excessive weight of the doors caused the door hinges to wear out prematurely and the doors drooped a bit. I thought about replacing the hinges, but it kept going to the bottom of “things to do” list. So, we lived with that while we owned it. We would have to slam the doors pretty hard to close them, as a result, but we just lived with it.

Then there’s our Dodge Caravan that I purchased new well over 2 decades ago. For the last couple of decades, beginning shortly after the warranty ended, it’s had an issue. Once, about every couple of months, it will give the windshield one swipe with the windshield wipers and then they’ll park themselves properly. It decides when it feels like doing this and doesn’t need any input from us.

It could be a relay, BCM (body control module), clock spring or wiring, whatever. Whatever it is I am leaving it alone. It’s never been a big problem (startling, maybe) except I’d prefer not running the wipers over a dusty or dirty windshield because scratches could result. I just try and keep the windshield relatively clean, which is prudent anyhow and we live with it.

Have you an anecdote? I’d like to hear some stories.

What vehicle strangeness have you lived with or are currently living with at this time?

Why did you not fix it or why are you currently not fixing the issue?
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

I had a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon with the 4-4-2 trim package and the 260 V-8 engine. From the time I bought the car new and sold it 33 years and 240,000 miles later, if the temperature was between 30 and 50.degrees, after driving a mile, the car would stumble on acceleration for a half mile and then all would be fine. When the temperature was below 30 or above 50 fegrees, the engine ran perfectly. I am sure it had something to do with the automatic choke or choke pull off. I reasoned that it was easier to live with the idiosyncrasy than try to adjust the choke and risk making things worse.

I had an 87 Plymouth Caravelle -same as Dodge 600.

It was doing the same thing as your Oldsmobile. I found out later it was carb. icing because the heat tube to the carb had rotted off. I had a 70 something Plymouth Duster That I had paid $200 for and one day the clutch pedal just fell to the floor. The clutch would engage if U pulled it up with my toe.

I tied a leaky bicycle inner tube around the steering column and brake pedal . it worked fine. Why didn’t I do a proper repair? You don’t go spending money on a car that will die soon anyway.

At one time I drove a 1993 Chevrolet Corsica. It was the first car I owned with ABS. When you first started it there would be some noises that I thought of as “priming the pump.” And until it was finished you had no brakes! I just assumed it was normal for that car and I would start the car and then put on my seatbelt (something I still do), which allowed it time to “do its thing.” My wife tried driving it and of course put it in Reverse immediately and declared it “dangerous.” I had to tell her how to start the car.

The 1990 Mazda protoge that mom owned for 19yrs developed a hard starting problem are almost exactly 1/7 of a tank. Always started and filling the tank solved the problem, never got worse so she just kept a closer eye on the gas gauge

Last few gallons of gas in 2003 trailblazer on slow or it would burp gas. Not so bad but made terrible fumes in the cabin. Probably went 12 years no cel.

I had an old 1964 Dodge one ton work truck the driver’s door handle was gone when I got it and I could not find one any where so I rigged up barn door latch to work it was not pretty but it got the job done.

I owned a 5 year old '84 Corvette. If putting up with a car includes fixing a stream of early failures that should not have happened… the yes, I had one!

The car was like a pretty woman with a huge sense of entitlement. I wanna new steering rack, I wanna new cat, I don’t like this alternator so boom, it’s gone! No play until I get what I WANT… I’m so pretty and so fun to drive, you HAVE to spend more money.

It was fun to drive. Very pretty red car. Made a good grand touring car with softer 1985 springs and custom shocks. Got 26 mpg and was fast for the day with 205 hp. Did autocrosses, dragstrip tune and test nights and a few track days. And it handled great.

But I just couldn’t put up with it repairing it anymore…

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If I’m not mistaken, 1984 was the first model year for that generation of Corvette . . .

If so, then you’ve kind of verified that getting the 1st of a new series is rolling the dice :game_die:

On one of my cars, the engine sometimes won’t “catch” the first try. It’s NOT the starter or any of the sensors. Once it’s running, it doesn’t stall

There was a bulletin a long time ago, addressing the exact issue . . . you’re supposed to remove the starter, apply a verify specific grease to the starter teeth, and then reinstall. Needless to say, the grease is available only at the dealer, and you can’t buy just a small cheap tube of it

So I live with it . . . it’s always started, just not always on the first try

When it’s time for a new or remanned starter, that’s when I’ll remove the starter . . .

Back in 1986 we bought my grandparents 1973 Volvo 144 for the cost of the RoRo shipping back from Hawaii to Seattle. During the 10 or so years on the Island of Oahu the car had required so many improvised fixes (Grandpa was a retired engineer) that a one page single spaced list arrived in the mail while the car was on it’s way that detailed all the little quirks of the car. The rubber piece holding the trip odometer reset button to make the odometer work was one of the highlights.

Turned out that the Volvo dealer that grandpa thought was nearby was on another Island so their mechanics were ordiering parts from the dealer in Tacoma and having them mailed to Hawaii.

Oh, yes it was! A huge technical step forward from the C3 Corvettes. And it was sooo obvious! So yes, I rolled the dice!

So much of the C4s changed in subsequent years. The 82 and 84s had 2 throttle body injectors and 85 up had port injection. 85’s also got the stronger Dana 44 diff for the manual cars. 86 was the first convertible for the C4. 88s revised the suspension front and rear. 89s got the ZF 6 speed.

Typical GM for the era.

After about 12 years, the gas gauge stopped functioning on our Silhouette. I offered to get it fixed, but the wife said no, she would just monitor trip mileage between fill ups. That always worked, except for once. She ran out of gas on the highway. Fortunately, it was close to home, and our daughter brought gas in a can for her.

I liked the exterior look of the early C4s better than the later ones . . . the early C4s looked “cleaner” to me

But I was never a fan of the interior . . .

You are clearly in the majority with that!

Lots of complaints about the Tokyo By Night digital dash. I grew to like like it. Digital displays for things that don’t change very fast, speed, temp, oil temp, bar-graph tach for things that did change fast. I still had to get it repaired though. It created a parasitic draw. Cost me $350 to have it fixed. Better than the $3500 parts cost.

All the plastic in the C4’s squeaked, looked a bit tacky. Black duct tape under the plastic seams and lap joints cleaned up the noise.

Folks have been complaining about the interiors from the C4 on up to the C7. C5s are particularly hated. Jury is still out on the C8 but the materials they used are much nicer.

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Back in the 80s when I used to commute 160 miles a day round trip to work in OK City I had a chance to buy a 78 Subaru FWD with an engine problem on the cheap. Fixed it during lunch hours and by staying late an hour each day for a week. Turned out to be a great little gas mileage getter and something I did not mind beating the wheels off of …except.

Those cars had a pre-heat tube that ran from the right side of the exhaust and fed warm air to the carburetor. The air cleaner had a SUMMER/WiNTER lever which one flipped for the appropriate season. The carb also had hot coolant in the intake under the carb base to prevent throttle icing.

The carb would ice up no matter what. Forty miles down the road on a cold damp morning and the engine would start sputtering and near quit. Pop the top off of the air cleaner and chisel ice out of the throttle bore which at times would be 80% plugged up. Motor on until it happened again. Never could sort it out and Subaru of America had no answers either. It had to do with temp and humidity being just right.

At 30 degrees or below; no problem. At 35 degrees and above; no problem. It was only from 31 ro 34 degrees that this would occur.

My 1976 Honda Civic CVCC had what I now understand to be the same problem. My car knowledge was not up to diagnosing it back then. After 10 minutes or so on the side of the road the engine would start up and run OK again. I think that 10 minutes sitting with a warm engine melted whatever ice had formed. The shutdowns happened within a narrow range of above freezing temperature and maybe somewhat high humidity.

It would be fun to have that car back and fix it now. I’d also be learning how to replace valve guides. And fix finicky dual carburetors.

I had a 1997 GMC pickup truck. After we bought it (used), I noticed the fuel gauge was all over the place. Turns out the sending unit was in the fuel tank as part of the fuel pump. So I just learned to fill up the truck every 300 miles or so. This lasted 2-3 years.

As these things happen, one day the fuel pump died on me without warning when I was trying to leave for work. We had the fuel pump replaced, and the fuel gauge miraculously started working.

It’s thirty years late, but i learned one way to make those carbs happier was to remove the idle mixture screw and spray carb cleaner in with the skinny straw, to flush crud out of the idle and low speed passages.

I had a 1975 CVCC, bright orange, nicknamed Honda Citrus.
My mother objected to me getting a motorcycle, so that was as close as I could get.

I wish I’d known that and more back then. I seem to recall turning the big screws that adjusted float height - after breaking them loose from the adhesive that covered them. A rubber mallet was also sometimes in the arsenal addressing those carbs, as I recall.

Those float screws were a smart idea.
Back it out until it floods, then turn back in 3/4 turn.
I suppose their motorcycle carbs were the same way, along with ignition points and manual choke.
And the speedometer with dots for max speed in each gear instead of a tach.