Mr. Incredible destroys car Mother-in-Law furious

HELP! Please help me convince my mom that my husband and friend do not posses super human strength and have not deliberately set out to destroy her car!

My mom owns a 2000 Toyota Camry. A couple of months ago, a good friend of my husband and I, had car trouble (Dodge Caravan, whatcha going to do) and needed a loaner car for a few days. My mom graciously agreed to let her borrow the car. When Wendela (we?ll call my friend Wendela) stopped to pick up my husband to car pool to their part time job together, my husband reached for the passanger door handle, lifted up on the handle and the handle broke. It now swings freely and does not engage the mechanism to open the door. My dad and I took a look at the car (okay I did the manual work and dad just visually checked) that metal fatigue was the culpret and to fix it was beyond our simple means so the car should be taken to someone who can repair the handle. Not us.

When Mom found out she was furious. How could they break her car? Handles don?t just break like that. Did Wendela and my husband not treat her precious delicate baby with kid gloves? Don?t they know how to open a door correctly? No matter how we tried to convince her that it was old age and metal fatigue my mom is convinced that my husband and Wendela were just deliquant kids who can?t be trusted. (Doesn?t matter that they?re 38 and 40yrs old!). We argued for days on this subject but she still doesn?t believe us.

Fast forward to today. Passanger door handle still hasn?t been fixed. Wendela?s car has suffered yet another issue needing repair work and thus she needed to borrow a car again. Foolishly we asked Mom if she could borrow the car again. This is where it gets hazardous to our health. After work my husband and Wendela pull up at my mom?s house (this is at 11:45 at night). Wendela goes up to my mom?s car, inserts key, turns key and tries to open the driver side door. Nothing. After watching for a few minutes my husband goes up and tries. The second his hand touches the door handle his heart sinks. Yup, you guessed it. Same thing as on the other side. Wendela had to open the door by climbing through the back seats!

My husband comes home, wakes me up and tells me what happened. Needless to say I didn?t sleep all night. In the morning I call my dad. ?Um? about mom?s car?? He replies, ?I don?t want to hear this do I?? After I tell him the story he tells me that he?s going to pretend he never heard from me and will be moving to an unnamed state before mom gets home from work today.

HELP! Please help us convince my mom that while freaky that it?s happened to both doors it does happen and that my husband and friend are not related to Mr. Incredible and have destroyed her car with a mere touch!

Thank you, feeling like I?m 16 and just wreaked the car ?

Mr. Incredible?s wife.

While borrowing it, drop by a place to have the handles replaced

Contact an auto body shop and have them obtain the parts and do any extra work. They may need to examine the car first, to make sure all the parts needed show up.

I just had the driver’s door handle on my 2001 MPV give way and break about three weeks ago. It was some not so obvious door handle fatigue and really no one’s fault. It happened to me, and I pay the freight. Suggest you do the same, for peace in the family. Get it done as soon as possible.

There is probably no changing Mom’s mind, so get it fixed and move on. Hopefully time will take care of the remaining family issues associated with this.

Yes, regardless of how it happened and who may or may not be at fault, that sounds like the only way out of this dog house.

You should have had the car repaired immediately when the first door handle broke.

Take the car to a mechanic ASAP and have the handles replaced. It’s not rocket science. Pay for the repair.

In the future borrow a vehicle from someone else or rent a car.

I was in the position your mother was in when I was about 12 years old. I had been riding my bicycle rather roughly–we had set up daredevil ramps after seeing an autombile thrill show. My friend who lived just down the street was just learning to ride a bicycle and he was riding my bike. The front fork snapped and the wheel went one direction and my friend the other. He wasn’t hurt but was very upset that he had broken my bicycle. I told him not to worry about it. I knew it wasn’t his fault. Well, he ran home and got his mother. They came over and tried to pay for the bicycle. My parents knew what had happened and would not accept the money. In fact, my dad reamed me out for the way I had been riding the bicycle.

I think you should fix the door handle whether or not it was your husband’s fault.

Don’t tell me. Let me guess. In this mother-in-law’s world there is no such thing as “stuff happens.” No matter what it is, if she doesn’t like it its somebody’s fault. (I have a m-i-l just like this).

Tell her to shut up and take better care of her car so that when somebody borrows it it is in working order and they don’t have to get blamed for her inattention to problems.

(Of course, in this case, there is nothing she could have done to avoid this, but somebody’s got to get her to shush about it).

Well not to muddy the waters but in my 45 years or so of driving new and old vehicles, I’ve never yet broken a door handle or broken a key off. At any rate, take the car to the shop and have it fixed and rent a car. There is a legal principle that makes people legally responsible for damage done to borrowed property so no question what has to be done legally and morally.

Well, in your mother’s defense, she managed NOT to have this happen and …exclusively, the only others to use it conspicuously did.

We own two jeeps. There are little “pulls” that allow the front seats to slide WAY forward to ease access to the rear. My wife’s is a 99 and both pulls are fully intact. Mine is a 2002 and both are gone. Why is that? My daughter doesn’t drive a stick and used my auto for a good bit of the time before she got her first beater. Her and her life long friend (they “school pooled” )never knew the term “pull” and only knew YANK.

Find the money to buy the handles …find the time/develop the skill to fix them.

Well, odds are the handles are made of genuine pot metal (based on your metal fatigue comment) and pot metal is subject to falling apart at any time. It’s possible this could have been caused by yanking the handles a bit too aggressively or that it’s 10 years old and it just happened.
Pot metal and plastic can and does break just like that all of the time.

You do know what’s going to happen now don’t you? In the future (week, year, or decade) any time that car has any kind of hiccup at all you will be blamed for it whether you’re guilty or not.
If you doubt me, get the betting pool going.

Tell your mom that you looked it up on the Internet, and that broken door handles are a common problem on the '98 to ''02 Camry’s, and that hers was just unlucky to have both fail recently.

Tell her the problem is so common, that people posted videos on youTube to show you how to repair the car after they break.


I used to own a Plymouth Horizon and the door handles broke just as you described. I did some online searching (I was on computer networks back in the 1980s) and found that it was a fairly common failure for that car. Seriously, the broken handle is probably not that expensive to replace. Maybe you’ll want a junk yard part, but I’d replace them both just to keep the peace. It’s not worth the $100 or so to keep hearing about it.

If, for some reason, these handles are ridiculously expensive, I actually repaired my Horizon door handles by gluing them back together and reinforcing the pieces with some thin spring metal plates across the break.

This appears to be so popular, that handles can be had for $5 (google Camry door handles).

Tell you mom to go take a Calgon bath and chill out. She’s been yanking on this handle for 10 years and now it broke. Handles break, it’s part of vehicle ownership and part of life, it’s not a perfect world.