I lent my manual transmission 1998 RAV4 to a friend, who parked it in his sister’s driveway. After 12 hours parked in the driveway, the car rolled down the driveway, across the street, down another hill, and hit a wall, thereby becoming a total loss for insurance purposes. My friend swears the car was in first gear and the parking brake was on before and after the rollaway. The car actually didn’t look that bad, and the guy who towed it back up the hill actually drove it for a while and said it was fine (except for body damage). Judging by the hill, I would have expected a lot more damage, and the friend is, frankly, believable. Intuitively, you feel that something was slowing the car down.
Any theories? The car was routinely driven in San Francisco, and I was always really careful about curbing the wheels when parking, to the extent of letting the car coast into the curb to make sure the curb alone could hold the car. So, if something were wrong, I may not have noticed it, but that is unlikely. It also went to the dealer every 5000 miles and had its clutch replaced about 35,000 miles ago. I got 90,000 miles out of the first clutch. I used the parking brake occassionally to hold the car when starting out in first, but not often.
I sort of leaning towards driver error more than anything as the cause of this, but the 12 hour delay puzzles me. He said he was packing the car the shut the tailgate right before the accident.