Hooniverse Asks – What Automotive Ad Typo Makes You Cringe the Most?


Look, we all do a lot of writing in our lives, especially those of us on this side of the screen, and it’s inevitable that we’ll make a mistake every now and again. As a matter of fact I once read a statistic that the New York Times contains, on average, 20 typos an edition. When you’re pouring out words and sentences like water from a hose, it’s just going to be a matter of course. However, when you are crafting an ad with the intent of making the most money from a sale of a car, well that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

I’ve been scrounging car ads for years now, and there are a few things that frequently stand out – things like the seller noting how rare the vehicle in question is – ignoring the fact that its rarity derives from nobody wanting the model when it was new, and that hasn’t changed much now. Then there’s the dancing around the reason for the car having a salvage title, which is always because the car hit a Cicada and the insurance company totaled it even though there wasn’t any real damage. I hate salvage titles!

But the most egregious mistake a seller can make in their ad is the typographical error, or misspelling of words that are just too common not to know. Breaks, axels, routers, it drives me nuts, and I’ll bet it does you as well. If that’s the case, which is your particular fav faux pas? What auto ad typo makes you cringe the most?

Image source: [extrememech]


          1. I just fed "how to pronounce Peugeot" in Google. I was surprised to see that this question gets 111.000 hits…

          2. There was a Renault/AMC commercial, back when they were building the Alliance, in which they actually said "The French pronounce it 'REN-oh,' but you can call us 'ren-ALT'!"

      1. EXACTLY!!! How difficult can it be…
        You are putting an ad on the INTERNET!!!
        And you have the vehicle AT HOME!!!

        1. In the bike ads I often see "Honda Magnum" (Magna), "Yamaha Virgo" (Virago) and "Yamaha Maxum" or even "Maximum" (Maxim). Then there's the totally ludicrous stuff — "Honda Shadow Sportster" and the like. I even saw a stock-appearing Yamaha listed as having a "Suzuki style motor" …whatever that is.

  1. Swee't ta'p-dancin'g Jesu's, tho'se typo's driv'e m'e nut's. T'he on'e tha't pisse's m'e of'f th'e wor'st i's th'e mispla'ced com'ma.

    1. Has big-block 383 stroker and make's 850 horsepower. Moter rebuild cost over 10000$. Only has 40K on moter. bRAND NEW!

        1. I clipped that Subaru advert out and sent it to Autoweek. They ran on the BWTM page.
          I thought of Robocop too.

  2. I think you've made a mistake in thinking that these people are actually making "typos". It would be more accurate to say that the people in most of these advertisements lack a real ability string the most basic words into a simple sentence, let alone have a grasp of spelling.

  3. Minty
    For Sell
    And there is no excuse for misspelling the make and/or model in the text of the ad, especially when the badge is clearly visible in the photos, showing the correct spelling.
    I tend to forgive Manuel transmission, simply because if the car has a manual trans, I’m more willing to overlook the seller’s shortcomings. (but please stop listing “5-speed automatic with manual mode”. It makes my searches so much more difficult.)

  4. Not so much a typo as ignorance, but I hate when ads state an inline-4 equipped vehicle has a V4. Unless it's an old Saab or British Ford, of course.

          1. Well, to get really technical the early XJs had GM V6s. But good luck finding one of those that's still around.

          2. Yes, but they were crap. You get to avoid minivan engines, too. And non-Hemi Commanders. Win all around.

        1. It gets entertaining on Wrangler forums when someone calls a 4.0 a V6 in a post. No one likes that.

  5. "Needs rebuilt" always bugs me. I can see how it might have been cost effective when cars were typically sold in classified ads that charged by the word or the line and omitting "to be" might have saved a couple of bucks, but Ebay and Craigslist aren't going to break your budget if you add a few extra bytes to your ad (A/K/A "add") for clarity.
    As far as typos that have no character economy, I pick "enthusiest". If I am buying someone's special-interest car, I would think that would be a sign they are less enthusi than me, and when we conduct the transaction, I would be the enthusiest person in the garage.

    1. "Needs ____ed" isn't a typo. It's an ignorant speech pattern that people also use routinely in spoken conversation, too. I never once heard it growing up in Buffalo. I think it's a midwesternism, and after 36 years it's still like fingernails down a chalkboard to me. (The other one is "anymore" used in a positive statement: "They do that a lot anymore." Um, no. Either they don't do that a lot anymore, or they do that a lot nowadays.)

      1. My old boss is from Ohio. He ran down a to do list for a car in the shop as: Needs cleaned, fluids need filled, brakes need bled, needs painted…

      2. The worst is "I didn't do nothing"
        I will always reply: "So what did you do?"
        The answer always is: "I just told you, I didn't do nothing!"

        1. That's a different issue. English has two double negatives. The logical double negative (turns into a positive), and the emphatic double negative (more negative). Most of the time when I do it, it's the former. Occasionally I'll use the latter, but it does lend an ignorant edge to my meaning (so I only do it when I want that dash of stupid). "I didn't do nothing" is one that even grates on me, though.

      3. I'd never heard or seen it before I worked with a woman from Indiana. Does that count as the midwest? (As I grew up in Vermont, pretty much everything west of PA seemed like the midwest to me.)
        For the record, she was a incredibly sharp, very good engineer, and rarely did I ever see any other typos or misspellings in communications from her.

          1. That depends on who you ask. Some "Hoosiers" say that they live in the South. While I get that they might be making a statement on where their head is at as opposed to geographical location; I also doubt that they are putting that much thought in to the statement. I, as someone living in Indiana that grew up 12 hours drive west, (in the "mid-west") have a problem thinking of anything East of the Mississippi as 'mid-west'. It looks very strange when you apply the literal terms to a physical map– picture east coast states, midwest, and west coast (oh yeah, draw "the south" on there too). it seems as though there should be at least "central" if not "mid-east" in there…
            /I don't know where this soapbox came from or why I'm standing on it, please, take it away.

          2. Seeing as Indiana is only across the river from Louisville, I could see how some may think they live in "The South".

  6. Not so much a typo, but any time a craigslist add ends like this:
    tags: camero mustang corvette civic supra celica honda vtec bmw toyota suzuki rx-7 gti f150 eclipse sti 350z kawasaki yamaha ninja
    I kid you not, someone was looking to trade an aftermarket motorcycle exhaust and tagged "fishtank" in the add.

    1. Christ on a cracker, that's awful. Sounds almost exactly like my neighbor with his tow-yard full of half-dead vehicles. If the CL map didn't peg it in the northeast, I'd swear it was him.
      (and no, the the bit about being a single mom with 3 daughters wouldn't be beyond his capacity for douchebaggery. he's a lying bastard that lowers everyone's property values in an already lower-middle-class neighborhood.)

  7. Situation A: Your price is $1. And someone searching with a limited budget in mind will be so blown away by your magnificent ad that they'll joyfully exceed it by 500%.
    Situation B: Your price is not listed. You will maximize your price with your incredible negotiation and people skills while wasting everyone's time with cryptic phone calls.
    Whatever you're putting in your coffee, it's not yanking you out of dreamland.

  8. "runs grate"
    (Also, It would be fantastic if Craigslist could automatically change 'Camero' with the correct spelling, 'Camaro', because no one is ever intentionally going to write the word as Camero)

    1. I do page layout for a living, used to teach middle school computer classes, and grew up around a grandfather who was a vo-tech printing teacher, so I am horribly pedantic about punctuation, type styles and written grammar. My wife has forbidden me to point out such things in everyday life, so I have learned to suffer in silence.

  9. Not so much a typo, but definitely my biggest pet peeve on all of craigslist:
    TIRES FOR SALE, but the tire size ISN'T LISTED ANYWHERE IN THE AD. One blurry picture of a set of tires covered in snow, too.
    Surely you're aware of the fact that tires come in dozens of different sizes, right?
    Also, the lugnut count does not a bolt pattern make.

    1. It's always either:
      15" tires, 4 lug
      4×100 tires
      Both of which are patently annoying when you're looking for, say, 205/50r15 tires in good condition mounted on 4×100 wheels 7" wide with an offset of +35mm.

    2. On Craigslist, it seems that ATV owners are oblivious to the fact that they are listing their ad in the motorcycle category. 90% of the time when I click on an ad with a totally vague title such as "Honda 250" or "Yamaha 400," it is for a stinkin' 4-wheeler.

    1. Ditto Jeeps of a certain vintage, or most classic cars from the 60s and older.
      On that note, why did the US ever get away from I6es? Six-in-a-row-means-go, you guys!

      1. The last US vehicle to come off the assembly line was the TrailBlazer (or one of the other brand GMT 360s) with the Atlas I-6. I'm really surprised GM didn't keep the Atlas I-6 around for trucks or SOMETHING.

        1. Yes! It boggles my mind that the ancient cam-in-block 4.3L V6 lives on while the DOHC 4.2L Atlas has been relegated to junkyard status. Meanwhile, the one- and two-less cylinder versions of the Atlas live on
          Was it simply too expensive? Was it unreliable? I'll admit to not knowing a whole lot about that engine, since GM seems to want us to forget it ever happened.

          1. I think GM MIGHT be FINALLY replacing the old 4.3L V-6 in the 2014 full size pick-ups, at least they are claiming a "all new 4.3L V-6" on their website. My 2011 still has it. Since it has electric fans, I can stand between the radiator and the engine!
            My wife's 2004 Trailblazer has the Atlas I-6. It has been pretty reliable. It needed a water pump and fan at about 90k miles and then a alternator, thermostat, and temperature sensor at 120k

  10. Being the resident AMC nut, here's a few AMC specific ones.
    1. Someone selling a very nice, high end AMX or Javelin, then saying it's numbers matching. There is no such thing as numbers matching for an AMC- they didn't label their parts with the same level of detail as the other manufacturers, there is absolutely no way to know that the engine in an AMC is the exact engine it left the factory with.
    2. Someone selling a "big block" AMC 401. The 401 is not a big block- it is the same block as a 390, 360, and 304. No quicker way to tell everyone you have no idea whay you're selling.

  11. Not so much a typo as a gap in logic. When did every POS that's been sitting in the pasture since Grandpa died become a "Rat Rod"?

  12. I have noticed several basic syntax bollocks-ups creeping through from colloquial speech, just as "could have" or "could've" routinely get written or spoken as "could of", which grates somewhat. But the most recent I've found has been "the car as new tyres. It as been serviced recently. It as rich corinthian leather" etc.

    1. I think that is a uniquely British problem, since we here in 'Merica know how to pronounce the letter h, so even the uneducated people who type by pronunciation get the h in there. We have plenty of other words that get screwed up, though.

      1. Could of, should of, and would of are not uniquely British. I see those frequently enough that they have surpassed their and you're to become my greatest grammatical peeve.

        1. True. I was referencing dropping the h from the front of has. I should have (of?) been more specific.

  13. Mostly happens on the Bay and Autotrader. When the seller hits the "Manual Transmission" option and it isn't. I don't want to know how many times I've been let down by that one or thought, "Somebody swapped a stick into a ____!"

  14. I think the best I've seen was in last week's Craigslist Crapshoot, with the Great Heather and Anti-Brake System. I've also been most annoyed with the rather lax approach to punctuation most ads take.
    Finally, and this isn't technically a typo, I hate it when people use more than one exclamation points in a row!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. "…I thought to myself, don't get an erection, don't get an erection… but she did."

    1. Read the last line of your post, scrolled up from the bottom, building excitement, then was sorrily disappointed at the finish line 🙁

  15. "New Breaks!" always makes me giggle, especially on ratty cars.
    I see it so often on eBay and Craigslist that I don't think it makes me cringe anymore.
    The only time it kills me now is when it is in an ad for a mechanic, "Break special, $99/axel" was one I saw last week on a sign.

  16. For Sell:

    1. Yeah, that's a good one, too. "I know what I got" usually translates to "I have no idea what the going rate is for this item, so I'm charging too much and you should feel priviledged to be buying it from me, so I'm also not going to negotiate on the price."

      1. I know a guy who doesn't negotiate and prices his stuff high, but it's entirely because he actually doesn't want to sell it that much and but is advertising it to humor his wife.

  17. Not really a typo, but it's annoying when a car is listed as having a manual transmission, then you look at the pictures and there is a distinct lack of clutch pedal. An automatic with a manual mode is not the same as an actual manual transmission.
    Edit: Also, this is what I think of when a car is advertised as having a custom "grill" instead of grille.
    <img src="http://www.bangitout.com/uploads/61frontgate.jpg"&gt;
    (not my photoshop)

  18. A 76' AMC Matador is one that is 76 feet long. Interesting if true, but I suspect it's probably instead a '76 Matador, which is to say from the 1976 model year. That just isn't the same.

    1. If you're buying a car in Southie, there's a decent chance you could be buying from a Dooley.
      It's also likely that you could buy some speakers or other good stuff that "fell off a truck" from those nice Irish boys.

    2. Dual exhaust, unless your car and another car are back-firing at each other. Then it's a duel exhaust

  19. Another one isn't really a typo, but simply incorrect information.
    Not long ago I heard an ad on the radio advertising brand-new, 2013 "Dodge Rams." You'd think a dealer selling brand new stock would know that Dodge Ram no longer exists.

    1. I would cut them some slack on that one. Spinning Ram into its own brand was a stupid corporate decision. The customers still call the trucks Dodge Rams regardless of what the marketing guys say. The dealer is just tailoring his ads to be effective in reaching his target audience. I'm sure it is deliberate and that the dealer knows what he's doing.

        1. I think what they didn't learn from is the not-Chrysler Imperial (by Chrysler), and the Chrysler Maserati TC for Maserati by Chrysler.
          They didn't learn from the Lincoln? Continental either.

    1. Even when they spell it correctly, it bugs me. Really, you MUST sell? Is someone holding a gun to your head? And by when—2025?
      I especially like seeing "must sell" in the same ad as "price firm." What if you don't get your price? If you really MUST sell, you'll need to take the best offer that comes along before the arrival of whatever personal cataclysm is forcing the sale.
      I once saw an ad for a bike that read "$1000 OBO…bike MUST be gone THIS WEEKEND!!!!" I called him and offered $650, which he immediately rejected with great indignation. Three or four weeks later, the very same ad appeared, minus the last sentence. Yea, that sale wasn't so crucial after all, was it?

    1. An internal-combustion engine is a type of motor, so I don't see the problem. Just ask Ford Motor Company or General Motors. It would be confusing to find a siege engine described that way, although I suppose technically that's a motor, too.

          1. I'll have to do some research on that one. What Internet search motor should I use?

      1. First thought: "Wouldn't an 'enginecyclist' be one who discriminates against Otto in favor of Diesel, or vice-versa?"
        Second thought: "Nah, an enginecyclist would probably discriminate against Otto AND Diesel in favor of Carnot, or maybe something unusual like Miller."
        Third thought: "…I should probably go to bed."

  20. Another one that just came to me (see this with relatively high frequency):
    "only 90,000k miles"
    So your car has 90,000,000 miles on it, then? Pretty good run you got there, but KBB puts the value of your car at $42. I'll give you $40.

  21. Anyone who touts a diesel car or truck's "great gas mileage" is technically correct, if only due to the fact IT DOESN'T USE ANY GAS.

    1. Oh, that's not true at all. Fill one with gas and it will use it, just not very much of it. It won't go far, either, so the mileage is terrible.

    2. It's gasoline, not gas. Also in Polish gasoline implies it has benzine in it, grrrr…. It's the accelerator not gas pedal too!
      Oh a serious one, lots of cars sold with over drivers instead of OD.

      1. The problem is twofold: First, benzene, benzine, and benzyne are all real terms for three (at least three) different things with varying degrees of association with gasoline. Second, the spelling of those terms can vary between languages, introducing further ambiguity. It's a mess.

          1. I thought it had come up before. There are also problems with the definitions of "naphtha" and "paraffin" in various contexts. Oh, and "mineral oil." It's enough to make me appreciate the standardization efforts of IUPAC, which is not an easy thing for a mineralogist to admit.

  22. "Camero". It's fucking written on the car, asshole, do you fucking see an "E" in there?
    Back in the day I worked for a Camaro restoration parts supplier, and one day this guy calls up complaining we sent him badges with the wrong letters – which is impossible unless someone somehow made dies… but i digress- He insisted we'd sent him a capital "E". It was a fourth gen Camaro. I politely informed him, "Sir, that is the letter M, you are holding it sideways. You have the correct letters to spell Camaro. Check it against the imprint on your bumper." He sheepishly got off the phone after that.

  23. On top of the other obvious misspellings, "Infinity" when not referring to the speakers is just a sign of laziness; it's on the friggin car for crying out loud. The most headscratching one I've seen so far is "Jaquar". WTF?

  24. As a Dutchman living in Brazil and involved with several languages, among them Portuguese, Dutch, German, English, Spanish and French, I do feel lucky to express myself even knowing that I'll get some of my orthography screwed up. So who am I to judge other people on their skills of mastering the words?

    1. Your English is fantastic. Were it not for your own admission (and the hint in your nickname), I might not have been able to tell.
      But one of the joys in being mono-lingual in English is being able to sneer at people who cannot properly learn your crazy language, even though you've never been able to learn theirs… Although, I try to keep my glaring to people who are obviously native speakers (it can be easy to spot; non-native speakers make a different set of mistakes from native speakers).

  25. I dislike all typos but the one that sticks my mind is the local classified paper in the 80s whose typist always fitted every 4×4 with a wench instead of a winch.

      1. While the idea that it was "like a pirate" is very funny, the reality is that it was the Pennysaver in Westchester and Putnam counties in NY and it predated the WWW.

  26. Not an automotive specific example, but 'walla'.
    As in 'jest put in a new starter moter and walla!'
    (stab stab stab)

    1. I had to read that with several different inflections before I was able to discern that “walla” was the pseudo-phonetic spelling of voilà. I had never seen “walla” in print, but Google bears out that it is, in fact, a common, if incorrect, spelling of the bastardized pronunciation of voilà. Yikes!

  27. Use of the word "rims": seller is likely a teenaged, in-car fast food consuming, maintenance deferring miscreant.
    2 or more lines about the sound system: see above.

  28. This is too easy . . .
    "Overtow Package"? http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3533404219.htm
    A VW "Beatle": http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3591666976.htm
    This truck needs a "tail gait": http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3599325773.htm
    It's "turnt up a lil"; I can't even figure out what he means: http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3596740577.htm
    a pair of "vechile" ramps: http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3595639563.htm
    This seller wants "$8,000 or BOB" — Hey Bob, come here a minute . . . http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3549020963.htm

    1. Oh, and this one has a common typo, about how the windows will "role" down when put back on track, but that's not the best part. The best part is "Must Sell Because I'm Going Into The Military And Need To Get Two Tats Removed ": http://savannah.craigslist.org/cto/3569015384.htm
      How did this dude end up with a Grand Marquis, official car of the AARP. . . .

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