Totally Oblivious

I had lunch at a fast food joint today. The setup at this place is a pair of glass doors opening into a vestibule, and then another pair of doors to walk into the restaurant proper. As I was approaching the inner set of doors to leave the restaurant, I heard a terrible noise from outside.
When I stepped into the vestibule, I could tell the noise was a timing chain in great distress. When I stepped through the outer doors into the parking lot I could hear that the noise was coming from a mini-van idling next to my car. I think it was a Chrysler or Dodge of fairly recent vintage. There was a woman sitting in the drivers seat and I was tempted to tell her that the awful racket from her car indicated that if she didn’t deal with it soon, she would need another engine. My wife told me to keep my good advice to myself and just get in the car. She was right(this IS New Jersey after all, my intrusion might have been met with hostility). How do people drive around like this?? It’s not like she couldn’t hear it, and it was the loudest timing chain I’ve ever heard.

Regardless of the location, all-too-many people nowadays don’t like to be confronted with reality.
In my case, I attempted to help a woman whose right front tire was severely underinflated, as well as having a huge amount of its sidewall “gouged-off” from curb strikes and other driver errors.

When I pointed out the glaringly-obvious problem to her, she asked me…
Why do you think that the tire is almost flat? :thinking:
My response was… It could be the result of a nail or a screw in the tread area, or it could be the result of a lot of curb strikes.

She responded by screaming, “I’ve never hit a curb! How dare you accuse me of hitting a curb!”
I quickly exited from the scene after urging that crazy woman to… Have a nice day.
And, thus ended my attempts to help people with their blatantly obvious car problems.


Years ago I lived on a busy 2 lane street. I would sit on my porch and listen to the worn brakes, loose hubcaps, rod knocks, exhaust leaks and a whole lotta other stuff I could not beleive people would just live with. It annoyed me from 30 feet away. They had to listen to it every second they drove.

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I hear where you are coming from. A couple of weeks ago in northern MN, I pulled up next to a car, she had evidently run over an empty beer bottle, broken bottle half a bottle shards behind her front wheel. I was thinking about picking the stuff up, but was not in my regular good Samaritan mood. I knocked on her window, as she was talking on her cell, the fright on her face was like she expected me to pull a gun on her and hijack the car, no not a race thing, she did not even roll down her window after I knocked on it to get her attention. I said there is a broken beer bottle behind your tire, and wanted to make you aware of it so you don’t get a flat. Coming back out instead of the broken glass being thrown into the grass, or 100 feet away into a garbage can, it was thrown into the parking lot out of the way of her exit. Felt happy about helping someone avoid trouble and sad she was such an idiot to not care about others.

A lot of people may be in the “run her till she blows” camp, where the cost of the repair is creeping close to the value of the vehicle. This wouldn’t explain bad brakes, wheel bearings, etc. But might explain a rod knock, a loose timing chain noise, or (in my case) a transmission that sometimes slips in a 14 year old car with 168k miles…

If you rode with me and said, “Hey, your trans is shifting goofy.” I’d probably say, “Yeah…it does that.” “Meh, I don’t want to drive it forever”. :grin:

I think one of the basic tenants of Curb Your Enthusiasm is ‘there’s no worse punishment than the punishment you get in return for trying to help others’ … lol … I discovered this along the way as well, but still offer up unsolicited advice from time to time. For something like the loud timing chain I probably wouldn’t say anything b/c I’d assume the driver already knew something was wrong. But if I notice somebody’s brake light is out as they drive through the parking lot I’ll usually tell them if I see them later in the store. I wouldn’t normally walk up to their car while they were still in it with that comment though.

On the other side of the coin I can think of a few situations where people have tried to offer “helpful” car advice to me that were in actuality more annoying than helpful. I have a neighbor who seems really, really overly concerned whenever they see me working on my car. I may not hear a word from them in months, then I change the oil, or replace the brake shoes, they’re immediately over in my driveway asking me what’s wrong, what am I doing, etc.

You were right in leaving that woman to her own fate . . .

She would have claimed you were harassing you :smirk:

Several years ago, I was driving next to a car with a wobbling wheel, probably due to loose lug nuts

At the next stop light, I signaled the driver to roll down his window. He did and I told him his wheel is wobbling, and that he should pull over and check the lug nuts before he loses the rim. He told me to stop harassing him and said he’d contact the police if I didn’t leave him alone. At that point, I just rolled up my window and actually HOPED the guy would lose his rim . . .


The ones that drive me bonkers are the folks who have something dragging–and have apparently had something dragging for a while–and just keep driving. If I hear a noise, I pull over at the first opportunity and look under the car. If it can be fixed there and then, fine; if not, I slow down and fix it first chance I get.

I was behind a car and watched as billows of steam and a steady wet line of coolant came out from underneath. At a traffic light I rode up beside the driver on my motorcycle and waved at her to roll down the window. She did, I told her she had a broken hose and her car was overheating. She stared at me and said, "So? " and at the same time let the car roll back about 6 feet until it smashed into the car behind her. At that point I left.


Yesterday I was standing in front of a store when a woman drove by in what could have been a Chrysler Intrepid but I am not sure. There was a very loud howl coming from the car. The only other times I have heard that sound is when someone is blending a “smoothie”! She was only going 10mph so I don’t think it was the transmission or differential. Alternator bearing? Perhaps she had a blender, a 120V AC inverter, and was actually making a “smoothie”. Any ideas?

I would agree with you that it was something driven off the accessory drive belt, but how does someone drive around like this? They should have the car towed to a shop.

I wouldn’t drive around like that, and you wouldn’t either, but a whole lot of people have the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” attitude. When something finally does “break”–despite abundant warnings–these are the people who will blame the vehicle’s manufacturer, and will refer to their aged vehicle as a “lemon”.


It is things like this that make me fear for the future of the USA.


I guess I can’t really recall advising someone but I do have to bite my tongue at the gas station when people click, click, click, click, trying to get the very last drop in the tank. I might say something depending on who it is. A young kid maybe because that’s how we learned.

Pssst though, we have had the discussion before about pre-emptive repairs and some don’t believe in that and wait for something to break. I like replacing stuff before it breaks but realize it’s like chasing your tail sometimes with no end in stuff to fix.

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I think a lot depends on what equipment is needing PM. I’ve had cars, computers, tools, or other equipment that I disliked so much that I neglected maintaining in the hopes of speeding up total failure so I could buy a new one.

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I do replace things before they fail, but mostly because when they do fail it’s such a PITA dealing with it. I’d rather pick the day and time when I do the job.

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For some reason, most people seem to envision mechanical breakdowns taking place in their driveway or in some other convenient place. In reality, those breakdowns are much more likely to take place on the highway, or at a time when you have to get to an important event or appointment, or when driving through a dodgy area.

Like you, I would prefer to be able to pick the place and the time for repairs to be done.

People get set in their ways and they just won’t listen. Those are the kind of people I deplore. No matter what age you are - you can always learn. I’ve seen too many educated people who think they know everything and refuse to learn anything new. When it interferes with their job - it becomes more then just their problem.

When my state instituted a HS graduation requirement of passing 2 years of foreign language courses, a number of parents phoned me to complain… despite the fact that I neither instituted that requirement, nor did I have the ability to change it.

When I tried to point out that this was consistent with college entrance requirements, and that–even if their child didn’t opt to attend college–this would likely make them more employable, I was met with the following “logic”…
Everyone should be required to speak English

When I explained that The US does not have an official language, and that it would be impossible to mandate that everyone in this country spoke English, one mother’s response was…
No, I mean everyone around the world. They should all have to speak English so my kid don’t need to learn no furrin’ langwidges.

As a comedian likes to say…
You can’t fix stupid.

I feel compelled to respond, I am so old I thought we should learn other languages rather than sitting in an Ivory tower saying you should learn English. I am really tired of the idiots that think the world should conform to their point of view.