Opinion

What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment With A Car?

Illustration for article titled What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment With A Car?

Photo: Mercedes Streeter

The days of a car enthusiast are a mixture of joy, pain and maybe even some embarrassment. Sometimes things go so wrong that you just want to hide under a blanket. What was your most embarrassing moment with a car?

My embarrassing moments tend to come when I’m selling a vehicle. A car may treat me right through thousands of miles, only to seemingly fall apart during a test drive for a prospective buyer. It seems like my vehicles just don’t want me to get rid of them. Most recently, my school bus decided to fail in a spectacularly dangerous manner right before a sale, but that’s no even my worst moment.

No, my most embarrassing moment comes from selling a Nissan Xterra.

I picked up the quirky 4×4 for the princely sum of $500. It smoked a bit under hard acceleration and consumed oil, but I figured those were no big deal to fix.

It seemed that the smoking and oil consumption was caused by a clogged up PCV valve. I cleaned it out and almost like magic, the smoke was gone. It stopped drinking oil and its check engine light extinguished itself. The Xterra then became a reliable daily.

Eventually, I grew bored of it and listed it for sale. At around the same time, the check engine light came back, it started smoking like an old diesel truck and it misfired. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and apologized as buyers bailed left and right.

I sold it to a mechanic for less than half of my asking price. His theory was that the smoking and misfiring was caused by the distributor going bad at a very inopportune time. Well, inopportune for me, anyway.

What was your most embarrassing moment with a car? Ever have a sale just go completely to crap?


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