Hooniverse Asks: What stereotypical stuff have you experienced with your car?

This morning I buckled my daughter into her seat. I set her backpack on the front passenger seat. Then I climbed into the driver’s seat of my old Jag and turned the key. BRZ-BRZ-BRZ-BRZ-CLK-CLK-CLK-CLK. It wouldn’t start. I believe the alternator needs a swap as the voltmeter in the car typically reads a touch low when I’m driving. And now that finally caught up to me.

We quickly swapped to the Montero, which fired up right away as its clattery V6 awoke with a far-too-cheerful for the morning sort of attitude. Almost as if to tell the Jag to get its shit together.

It’s not surprising that an old Jaguar wouldn’t fire up after I made it sleep outside all night. In fact, it’s almost an expected behavior for a car like this. What are other stereotypical car behaviors you’ve experienced with your own vehicles.?


  1. After 6 years owning the same e39 m5, I’ve checked off most of the items on the ‘if you own it, it will break’ list, including:

    Dead pixels on the dash
    Dead pixels on the Navi screen
    Headlight adjusters
    Seat twist
    Non retractable rear quarter sunshades

    Not bad, really, for a car that is old enough to vote.

    1. Still a must-own-someday car for me … Got to drive one once for 15 minutes and it was everything I hoped it would be.

      1. It might be for sale in the near future. I’m strongly considering moving on from it, for a variety of reasons.

  2. Nothing, that’s why I buy mostly new cars.

    lol j/k my stupid over-engineered but delicate power-folding hardtop is definitely going to break.

  3. Mostly, my Mazda2 still looks pretty decent after 7 years (I mean, a handful of rockchips and such), but the covers for the rear drums look like they were pulled from the bottom of the ocean, so I haven’t totally avoided Mazda rust (it’s also very noisy).

  4. Hillman Imp – have done a head gasket, but after accidentally slotting reverse when I meant to change down to 2nd, so I assume the massive compression lockup had something to do with it.

    1. So far I’ve avoided most of the Imp stereotypes – after 30 years driving it I must be doing something right! The exception is water pumps. It’s eaten a few in that time and now the current one seems to be on the way out.

      1. Had one develop a big leak when I drove it after it had been sitting for too long.

        Actually on a brighter note the other stereotypical thing was I experienced the swing axle jacking effect. For those of you reading along at home the Imp has swing axles on the front, not the rear, and my car is lowered so has negative camber. I was running in an autocross when the front of the car lifted up dramatically, like driving up a ramp. I thought “aha I’ve read about that”, and eased the steering slightly and it came back down again. Apparently the inside front wheel was a long way up in the air, but unfortunately nobody got a photo!

  5. 944: People telling me that there’s a VW engine in it. Yes, there are hundreds of VW part numbers in the vehicle, but hardly any in the engine. People telling me that that’s half a 928 engine. Luckily no, but they shared a lot of tools under production/assembly.

    Renault electronics: Airbag idiot lamp turns on every fall and takes 1kUSD to fix; this year’s episode is ongoing and will pop up in some News section soon.
    GM cost management: interior is poor, some solutions are so uncommon that I have to tell the independent workshop (washer pump in reverse, plus a valve, will squirt on the rear windows, so please un-fix your fix so it will wet the rears again…)
    Nissan longevity: yes, it’s acting up and looking shabby, but it will march on.

  6. It’s funny to see people on YouTube who find a malaise era GM V8 car or truck in a field, and revive it to everyone’s amazement. How could a running, driving vehicle get put out to pasture? My friends and I drove some of those cars when they were 10-15 years old. It was too burdensome to keep one as a DD. At some point, you got tired of owning a car that was poorly designed, basically worth nothing because of the GM depreciation cliff, and dealing with it falling apart around a worn out engine that refused to die. “A GM car will run poorly longer than many cars will run.” RWAR-RWAR-RWAR(x10)-SPUTTER-ROAR.

  7. I watch the temp needle on my Firebird with high anxiety. Sitting in summer traffic and listening for the electric fans that I wired up myself (and thus can never trust). It’s better since the aluminum heads went on the 428, but it still shoots up to 3/4 of the gauge too fast for my paranoia.

  8. spun an SW20 MR2 doing exactly what you’re not supposed to do – I went in too hot and lifted. fortunately I was at an autocross and not on the street. I did get pretty twitchy on the street once or twice with it but corrected in time. my butthole puckered so severely each time that I’m still finding the blue fabric upholstery in my turds.

  9. I’ve had Mazda rust in 2 vehicles, 3 if you count the Mazda adjacent Escort. My 3 was terrible and my daughter’s Protege is heading that way. The other Protege seems to have escaped it.

    I’ve experienced many BMW maladies. Control arms, window regulators, valve cover gasket, oil filter housing gasket, vanos seals, CCV replacement. Thankfully both BMWs I’ve owned had The fragile cooling system bits replaced shortly before I bought them.

    I had the second generation Prius broken hatch handle and the second generation Odyssey finicky power doors. My Tundra got a new frame before I bought it and currently has a bad 4WD solenoid, a typical failure.

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