- As it turns out, the damage was a lot worse than first imagined.

What's the worst luck you've had with cars?

Here's a short story about one of my most comically tragic weeks yet

7w ago
27.8K

To anyone who drives, or at least for those that have done so for a considerable amount of time, breaking down shouldn't be something that's out of the ordinary. Cars are machines, after all, so there's only so much that their components can handle - though, the durability of each car will vary.

I got my license just over 14 months ago, and for the most part, I felt invincible. As though no harm or tension could ever be bestowed upon me whilst I go about my favourite hobby: driving. I genuinely remember thinking to myself, ''am I a driving god, or am I just too lucky for my own good?'', a few months ago when I was doing a long road-trip. Sadly for me it was the second one, because when it rains, it certainly pours.

Out in Bellingham.

Out in Bellingham.

Anyways, on with the story. In the last week of November, I was returning from a small getaway with my significant other in my 2007 Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.25. It's a lovely little motor, and I've solemnly cherished it since the first day that I got it. I look after it as though it's my pet, and treat it with more respect than it probably merits, but you know, the relationship between you and your first car is supposed to be like a love story, isn't it?

Well, by love story, I mean that my Fiesta has been defecated on and in by both my dog and my cat (please don't ask), had one of its fog lights nicked, been reversed into a lamp post (many, many times), often driven at a higher rev-range than it was probably designed for, and regularly carries 3-4 quite generously proportioned people around. But that to me means that it's being utilized to its absolute maximum, and what better way is there to show love to your car? Albeit, tough love.

So as I was saying, I was on my way back and I decided to stop just outside of London for a quick bite before I reached home. When I got back to my car to complete the final leg of my 290 mile journey, the car refused to start. I was flummoxed, all the dials were fine before I parked up, it had plenty of fuel, I had topped up all the necessary fluids just a few days earlier .. what sorcery had grabbed hold of my little Ford?

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A quite biblical sound.

It turns out there was a monumental engine oil leakage in one of the gaskets. ''Okay, no problem'', I thought. I mean, your luck can only last so long right? Little did I know, that one breakdown would be the start of a truly disastrous couple of days. With my Fiesta now at my local garage, I thought that now at least I could make use of the 17-year-old Jaguar S-Type 2.5 that I had lying around.

It's a quite wonderful car to drive, but being a university student, I can't really afford to drive it every single day, considering it drinks petrol quicker than Thanos can beat up the Hulk. After a couple of warm up drives, and a quick check from my mechanic, the old girl showed promise. She still had that villainous presence you get from Jaaaaags of old, and made me feel instantly cool every time I got in.

The Jaaaaaaaag.

The Jaaaaaaaag.

Precisely two days after the Fiesta fiasco, I got into the S-Type, beaming with happiness that I could enjoy its wonderful 2.5-litre V6, safe in the knowledge that my father had agreed to reimburse the petrol costs until my Fiesta was fixed. I think you can see where this is going ..

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Well now that's just rotten.

Now I got suspicious .. I've been driving for over a year, and haven't had a single breakdown, but suddenly, I've done two cars in two days? Surely not, something more divine was at work here. Well no, there was no intervention from the god of driving, in fact, the starter motor was toasted, and the battery had also gone flat. There was also a quite terrible smell emanating from beneath the hood .. I daren't look. I just gave it to my mechanic, who must've been wondering, ''two cars in two days? What's wrong with this guy?''.

''It happens I guess'', I thought to myself. So now I was completely car-less, and did not fancy driving any time soon, seeing as I was so down on luck. But then, at the worst possible moment, I was asked to drive up to Newcastle (280 miles away), and details aside, I couldn't really say no. So, with fear coursing through every vein in my body, I borrowed my brother in law's 2009 Ford Focus, and set about completing the 560 mile roundtrip.

The journey that lay ahead.

The journey that lay ahead.

My nerves quickly eased, as I realised how smooth and sensible that car was. It was a Focus after all, one of the most reliable motors around. I reached Newcastle with no issues at all, and I was feeling quite smug that I'd done it without breaking the car. I stayed the night in a hotel, and set off early the next day, the journey would take me around six hours with a couple of stops included.

It was all going well, until about 100 miles into my journey, when the temperature gauge decided that it's time to rocket into the red section, to which my stomach responded by .. you can guess. I coasted it for a few miles until I reached the next service station, and called my brother in law. And then, after all the issues I'd had with the two cars over the last few days, he told me that the Focus had an issue with the water tank lid.

It would've been a five pound fix the day before if he had told me, which he claims he did, but proceeded to use my then-drunken state to deflect the blame back on to me. After a few minutes of bickering, I decided that the problem couldn't be that bad, and a simple water tank refill should keep me going for the remaining 160 miles.

A truly terrifying experience.

A truly terrifying experience.

Wrong. After another 10 minutes on the road, the temperature gauge shot up once more, but there was a big problem this time: there wasn't another town or service station to pull into for another 30 odd miles. That was simply too far to risk, so, once more, I coasted it for a few more miles until a suitable stretch of hard shoulder came up, and duly pulled over.

By this point, the car was billowing smoke. It's also worth noting that this was the first time I'd ever pulled up on the hard shoulder, it was dark, well below 10 degrees, and the lane right next to me had an awful lot of lorry drivers driving past - and if you've never broken down on the hard shoulder, let me tell you, 60mph looks a lot faster (and scarier) when you're stood stationary by the side of the road.

My knight in shining armour had finally arrived.

My knight in shining armour had finally arrived.

It was a full two hours before I was recovered and towed to the nearest service station, after which I had to wait a further SIX hours before I could get the car back to my brother in law's house. As for the car, the engine was pretty much completely blown - the estimated cost was just over a grand. Remember, this could've all been fixed with a five pound water tank lid, regardless of who was at fault. Yeah right, what a colossal cheapskate!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my worst ever week of motoring. Three cars broken in four days, and as a result, I would fear getting behind the wheel of another one for nearly a month. Next time, I'll think twice before I ask myself if ''I'm a driving god, or if I'm lucky'', because ushering that statement really was the beginning of my demise. I'd sincerely discourage you from saying it too.

So, what's the worst luck you've had with motoring? I'd love to know

Comment your experiences and stories down below!

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Comments (32)

  • Passed my driving test, next day my dad gave me the keys to his car and said i could drive to work. 20 muinets i was driving, wasn't even doing anything stupid when a scrap metal lorry came around the corner and jackknifed into me, The lorry took out the right hand side of the car while also pushing me into a stone wall which took out the left hand side of the car, and the stone wall was the perimeter wall to somebodys front garden. I couldn't even open the doors and had to climb out the window. To make things even more intresting i had no licance to show the police officer who turned up as i had posted everything off to the DSA and although i was 17 i was small for my age and didn't look 17. This was in 1992, pre mobile phone so i was unable to warn my dad and even when the police tryed to ring him nobody answered the house phone as he was doing some jobs in the garden at the time. I will never forget the look on his face as the recovery truck pulled up at the bottom of the driveway with his smashed up Volvo on the back with myself turning up in the back of a police car just behind that. And if that wasn't bad enough the insurance sent him a rental car and you needed to be 21 to drive it, so i passed my test drove for 20 muinets and was back off the road again. On the plus side it wasn't my fault and my dad got a new car out of it. Yes he did forgive me once he found out what had happened. His car i was driving was also a Volvo estate so although i was shook up i walked away from it without even a scratch which is amazing seeing as the lorry was a 44 ton artic. I also went on to become a driving instructor so it was a good story to tell my learners. However thats not where the bad luck ends, As a around a month later my dad had the money to buy a new car which he did. I then get asked to go pick up my sister from a party hosted by a radio station in Wrexham and as i couldn't wait to drive again i said yes. Got to the party no problems, only while waiting outside i was approached by some not very nice people who were twice my size and many of them. They then beat the crap out of me then stole the car. My dad aswered the phone when the police rang him this time to tell him i was in hospital and his car had been stolen, they found the car the next morning down a country lane and they had set fire to it. I've never driven my dads car again as i've deamed it unlucky, bad things always seam to happen to me in my dads car. I've never written off my own car but i've driven my dads car for nearly 40 muinets and i'd gone through two of them. Thanks but no thanks, i'll stick to my own car in the future.

      1 month ago
    • Wow, that's very unlucky

        1 month ago
    • Thank you, I also forgot to mention they never found the people who beat the crap out of me and stole the car. I went back the the place after i recovered enough and then found out that althouth the carpark the assault and theft happened was...

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        1 month ago
  • Not me but my dad, hadn’t been in a car accident for 11 years (and had never been in one that was his fault) then he crashed his VW Passat on Thursday (5/12/19), then Saturday morning (7/12/19) he picked up a brand new Ford Focus hire car, Saturday evening, a truck had reversed into the focus, cutting through the rear quarter panel. He then bought his new car a week later (Friday the 13th) and a few days later, someone scraped it overnight. Thankfully my dad hasn’t had any car trouble since.

      1 month ago
  • Other people have hit my car (3 different cars over the last 25 years) damaging my pride and joy. Fu**ing idiots!

    I’ve never had any accidents of my causing but others just don’t seem to know how to drive. Having had this situation, I drive with a greater awareness of others which everyone should. Always assume others can’t drive... or park.

      1 month ago
  • I think I've got a good unlucky car story for you. See what you think:

    This happened in the height of summer this year, when me and my dad picked up our brand new toy of a Ferrari 360. It was glorious, and we went on a massive road trip visiting relatives from far away areas and hooning around with my dad's mate, who owns a Porsche 996 Turbo. The VERY NEXT DAY, we noticed that the air con was equally as blazingly hot no matter what temperature it was set at. We sent the car back to place we bought it from, and they said the car needed a full air con rebuild, and would've charged us around £2500 to change it if it wasn't for the warranty. Then, after they fixed that for three weeks, one of the suspension components went, which locked the suspension in sports mode - which was very uncomfortable. We tried replacing what seemed like the faulty part ourselves, which only ended up disabling the traction control for a while, which nearly made us spin off the road. We then sent the car back into the shop for two weeks... and nothing changed. It was only upon sending the car to the garage AGAIN that they fixed what turned out to be the suspension ECU.

    I'm starting to question the quality of the 'specialised Ferrari dealer' we bought it from, seeing as the knew beforehand that both these issues existed, and did the bare minimum of saying "put some miles on it" to fix them.

      1 month ago
  • 1 June. Wife and I are preparing for a mini-break 600km away, using her car. Left mine parked on the road while we loaded hers - were just finishing packing when I get a knock on the door - neighbour across the street had reversed out of her driveway and right into my left rear door! $2700 damage.

    FF to 6 November (my birthday). Getting ready to go out with wife and kids for dinner, my car parked on the road, so my wife can pull in the driveway when she arrives home. KNOCK KNOCK. Same neighbour. SAME &@$€£ing crash!!!! She did it again, same way, but this time took out BOTH left doors. Body estimate is $4700 this time.

    FF five days, while I’m waiting to get into the body shop to have the work done from the second crash. At the signals right before my daughter’s school, dropping her off, waiting on a red light. It’s cold. It’s icy. But it’s manageable with proper tires and reduced speed. BANG! New teacher, first day of work, at my daughter’s school, was looking at the building and yard, and not paying attention to the ice or the medium sized Toyota in front. Physics won that one, as you can see in my profile pic. Ever wondered what happens when a Versa hits a solid steel Class 3 trailer hitch? Me neither, but there you go. Repair estimate for that one was $2000... right on the verge of insurance writing it off, but I got it fixed (kinda - body shop was crap, still sorting that out!). Now my vehicle history report shows over $10,700 in repairs to a vehicle worth about that, in the span of 5 months. Resale value ~$0. Guess it’s a good thing it’s a Toyota, as I have to keep this forever!

      1 month ago
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