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Jalopnik: What's Your Biggest Personal Automotive Fail? [Question Of The Day]

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Ford_Fusion_Smash.jpgIt's hard to top ex-Ford PR maven Whitney Drake, now doing press for the Chevy Camaro, put that NASCAR Ford Fusion up there into the wall at a Ford event, but what's your biggest personal automotive fail?

Our own Ray Wert takes the cake with his Saab Turbo X adventure. For those who don't remember, Ray was invited out to drive what was then the only Saab Turbo X in North America. It was a proper manual. Rather than just enjoying the car and gingerly tossing it around the Gingerman Raceway he decided to test out the new "heel-and-toe" technique he was familiarizing himself with. Two laps later there was a distinct burning smell. That's right. He toasted the only clutch in the only Saab Turbo X on the continent. FAIL! Being a better sport than he is driver, he was nice enough to let us share this story again.

So what's yours?

(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of The Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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I'll bite.

I was approaching a toll booth before I had EZ Pass, and went and grabbed some cash to pay the toll... When I looked up I was approaching an old Ford van that had stopped. I slammed the brakes but still scraped the guy's bumper. And the bumper on my dad's Grand Prix, as well. :wacko:

My biggest near-fail was I decided to try to learn how to shift a stick CTS without stalling... Parked in a tightly packed dealership showroom. Fortunately I couldn't pull it off, which I suppose is a fail in and of itself :P (but to be fair to myself, I was trying very hard not to move the car).

Edited by aaaantoine
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Really stupid moment at a stoplight once. Sitting there with the light red, for some reason I just thought it had turned green, so I went. It hadn't. I was really fortunate that there was no traffic or police around, so it was without incident, but scary that I could be so out of it.

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This was not my fail (really haven't had any accidents where I wasn't rear-ended (knock on wood)) but I was there for it.

I was driving the transit bus in Davis. It was near Christmas time and it was the last run of the night before our holiday party. I had 5 screaming high school girls on my bus and I took them to their stop. The next stop there was a passenger and I pulled in and turned on my flashers (co. procedure). As soon as I opened my doors, i hear this faint thud. I ask the guy waiting to get on if somebody hit me and he looks and goes yes.

This VW jetta was so screwed up after making a right turn into my bumper that it was almost too much to be driven away, but they did drive it away. If they didn't I would of had a mandatory DOT drug and alcohol test and it would have ruined my night. Even though their car was basically totaled, they were good sports about it. I said "hey, when the big red bus has its lights flashing, it's not moving." The guy told me he wasnt even looking when he turned.

The best part, the bus had a slight smudge on the bumper that was the only damage.

20,000 lb bus pwn 2,400 lb jetta.

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I've never had any accidents (knock on wood), but I have had a couple times of stupidity on my part at stoplights. Both times it happened in places where there were a row of stoplights at every intersection, and the lights were synced together. All were green in the distance except the one I was approaching and I had a moment of stupid and drove through it. No close calls or anything, but I did get honked at by one of them who was making a turn into the lane next to mine. I felt like a big idiot after that.

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I had my car's finish completed and installed newly chromed bumpers. It was all shined up and perty lookin'. I was looking to back out of my parking space in the lot at the highschool after a night of volleyball. It was dark and rainy, forcing me to take a good look around before I even got into my car. All the vehicles, including mine, were kind of hemmed in a semi-circle of parked cars. I noticed one solitary spot in the circle where I could back into just so I didn't have to back all the way out past a dozen or so cars. My buddy was with me and as I did everything right to watch where I was going, our heads snapped back the very instant a loud BANG sounded. I feared I'd hit another vehicle, but there was absolutely nothing behind me. I then realized why the spot was unoccupied as I shined my flashlight on the flat-black pole mast of the outdoor basketball standard. My perfect bumper had a nice concave dent in the middle, the only blemish I just couldn't bring myself to pay to fix.

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Mine would be putting the Camaro in the ditch. I was driving beyond my limit.

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Tuesday.

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First:

A good friend from my mom's work was leaving to go back east and left her car with my mom...it was a white 88 celica with a manual...really clean too. I had vaguely driven a manual before...let alone a car. Didn't have my license quite yet. My buddy and I got in the car and started to back out. Not being used to the steering I quickly turned the wheel to straighten the car out on the driveway, but I misjudged the accelerator as well and backed the car into an old chevy van that was being used to hold supplies the painters were using on our house at the time. It caused no damage to the van of course, but it creamed the rear right quarter panel of the celica. I decided to park the car back in the garage. It wasn't used much and it was pinned against the far right 3rd car garage so the damage couldn't be seen. I got in the trunk and took hammers and mallets and tried to push the dent back out...kind of made it worse though. THe paint was kind of messed up, but I had some glossy white spray paint which I used to clean it up a bit. :P

My mom used it to go shopping one day. When she came back to the car she noticed the damage. SHe was really upset because she thought somebody had sideswiped her. I eventually came clean.

Second time:

It was the first weekend I had the bimmer. I felt like a baller and was cocky as hell. I stopped by a gas station where there were a bunch of cheerleaders doing a carwash. Filled up, and as I was leaving I decided to lay down some rubber...problem was, the tires were already bald, and me not being used to the car, and the torque got myself in to trouble real quick. As I was exiting the driveway I gunned it...I kind of had the wheel turned as well, and at the time the abs module was in the process of being repaired, so no abs/traction control. The engine roared...the tires spun...I started to spin. I hit the brakes. That made it worse. I slid and ended up perpendicular in the middle of the main road of town. Traffic just kind of paused around me. I heard gasps from the gas station...people were staring. No honking, or anybody yelling...just staring coming from all around me. Worst feeling in the world.

I have some others unfortunately... :rolleyes:

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I have had one claim against me, a year and a half ago on the 405 @ Santa Monica Bl...erratic stop and go traffic, and I just couldn't stop in time.

Possible FAIL: After getting some Banh Mi in Garden Grove at one of the 24/7 places (great deal...3 for $5) earlier tonight, I'm slowing down to a photo-enforced red light, and I guess I stopped past the stop line? I didn't "run" the light (I was stopped...just maybe a little forward?), but the camera went off, so we shall see how this plays out. I doubt anything will come of it, though.

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I spotted a '56 Buick Super Riviera 4-dr hardtop at a decrepit, long-closed down gas station in Baltimore. Worn, but all there w/ 69K IIRC. Contacted the owner and made a deal to buy it for $500. A few day pass, I meet up with him, he gives me paperwork, but there's no title. Still trusting in human nature (I was 19), I handed over the cash and got a signed bill of sale. Car had been moved to a large empty lot nearby. Go there, and it's gone. City was getting lot ready for a fair/carnival, and impounded it. I never saw it again, and the guy would not give me back my $500. I believe it was auctioned off, but I don't know if it still lives.

I burned over this for 10 years, easy.

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