You guys are waaaaaay too nice!

Couple days ago somebody asked a question about a possibly ruined engine in a minivan. The OP asked about an engine replacement or junking the van. What struck me is how nicely everyone replied to the OP even with the information about “a used and abused” car.
If somebody chooses to abuse and neglect their engine that is their own decision, but I would like to know if this person had the same attitude towards everything else on this car. I am worried this person might be driving on bald tires, with malfunctioning brakes, with only one functioning headlight, and no brake lights or blinkers. I am not worried about the OP’s choice to mistreat this car but I am worried about my loved ones out on the road next to somebody like that.
I know this is not politically correct to point out, but when your decisions affect my life then I will certainly let you know…

You talkin about my car? Kidding of course. Many people just believe in the use it till it breaks, Sometimes that is a good alternative. How long it stays broken is another question.

Nothing against being safe but no sense taking it to extreme. I thought they should leave that poor guy alone in Northern Minnesota that was driving the Pinto with the gas can in back and the orange crate for a seat. He was broke and wasn’t hurting anyone and total population in that rural county was probably 50. Some people are just trying to survive and still on step one of the Maslow Hierchy.

There’s often enough friction on this board anyway so a bit of civility is often used to prevent it from going overboard.

The majority of cars are abused/neglected to one degree or the other although many of the owners may not see it that way.

The state of Oklahoma used to have a safety inspection program some years ago before disbanding it and while I don’t remember the exact percentage, it seems to me that the DPS in random surveys stated that about 20% of all cars entering the facility for an inspection should fail for one or more reasons.

Most of us regulars that post on this board maintain our vehicles. However, there are some maintenance chores around the house that slip my mind such as cleaning the condenser coils on the refrigerator, cleaning the dryer vent, replacing the hoses periodically to the washing machine, etc. I can see where someone who thinks of a car as a maintenance free machine like a refrigerator could get into trouble. I have the owner’s manual for my household appliances but I rarely look at them.

When some of us have been overly critical of those who abused their cars, many of us were told that we were being too judgmental, or too harsh with our comments. As a result, I have softened my responses to people who have been clearly negligent with their car maintenance.

But…I’m curious about another type of abuse.
If I was to point out to you that the title of your post should have contained the word, “too”, rather than, “to”…would you think that I was being a “grammar extremist”, or would you think that I was responding appropriately?

If I didn’t comment on your abuse of the English language, would I be accused of being “way too nice”?

Remember the old saying:
It all depends on whose ox is being gored.


Edited to add
More than 24 later, the title of the OP’s thread has been corrected, so my comments above may not seem to make sense at this point. However, if nothing else results from this exchange of thoughts, perhaps the OP will internalize the concept behind the old saying that I quoted above. Or, perhaps not.

Those who drop in here with automobile problems range from the experts who enjoy bouncing ideas out to the world out of curiosity to desperate mothers on their way to pick up their kids from day school. With regard to safety, I am compelled to say that the regulars here tend to err to the safe side and often get somewhat curt in their recommendations to call a wrecker rather than continue to drive in a vehicle that has a questionable safety issue. But no one jumps to the conclusion that a car that has been driven 15,000 miles since the last oil change would likely have brakes that were metal to metal and a ball joint that was one pot hole away from dropping out. Maybe most of the regulars are "highly focused’ mentally. That’s gonna be my excuse.

1999 Honda Odyssey ? Was This The Discussion ?

Which comment was your’s ? I don’t see it. The last comment was Jackie Kims’ on April 17.
Why come on here and rip us about not commenting on safety ?

Why not just tell Jackie Kim to her/his face, yourself ?
Click the link above, bring up the discussion, and add your 2-cents !
That way you can put your money where your mouth is.

If I’ve got the wrong discussion then please correct tell me and tell me which discussion you are referring to as you have failed to provide enough information to be sure of what you’re talking about.


I think it depends on who asks the question. If a woman makes comments as Jackie Kim did, then I think we let her slide. If an obviously male OP asks the same question, we aren’t nearly as kind.

@ VDCdriver, thank you for pointing out my mistake. It was a typo that escaped me.
@ CSA I did not leave comment on that post because I used it as a jumping point to start a discussion. That post was just the last one in the long line of posts about ruined engines, lack of oil et cetera.

On the other hand in the past commenters got lectured about starting a new post if their comments are not 100% on the money in the existing line of replies.

The last comment by the owner of that Odyssey brought up the issue of engine noises and that may steer any recommendation about valve adjusment into a legitimate need for a different engine seeing as how the noises were not mentioned previously; only a lack of compression on one cylinder. Maybe the noise is a dead cylinder struggling or backfiring but without a description of that noise…

Regarding that Odyssey and safety, where does one start lecturing when the OP asked about an engine fault? A small tome could be generated very quickly when factoring in everything that could be unsafe.

Used and abused. Let me ask again: if somebody abused the engine would it be out of question to ask what else got neglected and abused?

if somebody abused the engine would it be out of question to ask what else got neglected and abused?

No, I don’t think so, I get your point. But it would be pretty much off topic if the OP was asking for advice about the engine. Don’t you think?

I’ve seen some touchy responses, but not to people who fessed up right away to having neglected their cars and asked politely for helped. They already feel bad about their ruined cars. Who would want to make them feel even worse, unless it’s clear they’re behaving dangerously? A broken-down minivan is not a hazard to anyone.

if somebody abused the engine would it be out of question to ask what else got neglected and abused?

Doing that nourishes one of the weaknesses of this forum, which is to lecture or admonish someone for not maintaining their vehicle the way the person replying thinks it should be maintained.

Although well meaning, we’ve all done it. It’s easy to cross the fine line of providing technical guidance. And yet it drives many away.

It doesn’t matter if a person has fully functional lights and blinkers… if they’re too comatose to use them properly.

There’s probably not much point in over chastising people for not changing or checking oil and running their cars into the ground out of ignorance. If they can’t be educated by explaining the problem and motivated by the mega hit to their wallet and the sinking feeling that they were responsible for a preventable problem, then no amount of brow beating is going to help. Ignorance truly is bliss I guess…