Home » It’s Wrenching Wednesday! What Car Problems Are Not Worth Fixing?

It’s Wrenching Wednesday! What Car Problems Are Not Worth Fixing?

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Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 months ago

I’ve got a black 98’ Ranger that I wash and wax on the regular.
It’s body is well worn with dings and dents, like a work truck should be. Still looks great on a cloudy day though.

Got a forest green 99’ Prizm that gets the same treatment. Though, as a city street parked daily, probably doesn’t deserve it.

I can’t be bothered to deal with the inevitable bumper rash of either.

Like a scarred urban coyote, I accept the bumper dings and flaking paint on the belt line of my vehicles as an obvious consequence of a hard life.

One of my fondest memories of my mostly absent father was him buying the first new car our family ever had.
He parked it in the driveway, got out and purposefully scratched the door with the key.

“So I don’t have to worry about it getting scratched.”

That’s always stuck with me.
Wash it, wax it, maintain it.

But don’t for a second worry about it like it’s as important as life itself.

Dings and dents happen. Just don’t let them turn to rust!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

That’s the way to be.

I used to be paranoid about that stuff, esp. when I got my first new car. But now, after years of living in cities, parking on streets/in crowded garages, I just don’t worry anymore. Like you say, maintain, but don’t stress.

In fact, I enjoy my imperfect repair efforts. Last year, I mostly removed a parking lot dent from my Focus’ door…there’s still a small crease I couldn’t get out, but it’s just part of who she is now. What it reminds me of is how much worse it looked when it happened, and that I put in a lot of effort to get her looking as good as she does. Makes me happy.

Besides, a big part of what makes Boba Fett so cool is that his armor isn’t shiny and new, it’s dented and scratched. He’s not just sitting around.

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago

I admit I’m a little on the anal side when it comes to my car, but I live in suburbia where city parking bumps and scrapes don’t apply. My car was hail damaged a few years ago, and the guy was nice enough to pull all the door dings on the Sportwagen. So now I always park at the back of parking lots. That said, it was a NYC car before I got it so there’s some scuffs and touch ups on the bumpers. Honestly, I’m not mad about that…like you said, a little bit of imperfection takes some of the stress out.

Robert Stanley McLaughlin
Robert Stanley McLaughlin
2 months ago

I had to give up on German cars. I absolutely love them but they are utter junk before you even pay it off.

Echo Stellar
Echo Stellar
2 months ago

This is a great answer to the question. No German car is worth fixing.

Vanagons4Eva
Vanagons4Eva
2 months ago

Electrical trunk pull-down on my 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood. This is a dumb feature in every car that has it and I was happy when it broke. Same for the “soft close” passenger door on my 2002 Mercedes S430. People like slamming doors and trunks!!! Why have an electrical thing that might break to move a door 1/99th of the way closed??????

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago

Wife’s G37 has some background LEDs out in the instrument cluster. After a Google search there’s no way I’m taking that thing out and desoldering tiny LEDs on a delicate circuit board. I told her to memorize where everything is during the day.

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
2 months ago

My Ranger has no door switches, so, no interior lights and the “door ajar” light on the dash is always on. On this body style, they’re inside the door, not worth fixing on a 280k mile, 26 yr old truck… Most of the dash lights work, and my phone has a flashlight.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
2 months ago

The odometer and speedometer on my ’91 F350 stopped working. Consulting Prf Google reveals it to be a wire buried that also affects the interior light. Getting to it was one challenge and figuring out where the actual problem would be even more challenging. I ignored it for months. It started working again with zero intervention on my part. If it happens again, I’ll do the same. Ignore it.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

Two pretty trivial admissions for me.

I never reset the clock when switching between daylight savings and standard. Somehow a little mental math once in a while is easier that reaching for that button. Beside, when I use carplay, the correct time shows up there anyway.

More egregious. When I switch between winter rubber and summer, I never (used to) bother to reset the TPMS. I guess I never really believed in it’s effectiveness. I do a walk around at least once a week and pull my gauge out when I fill up and have simply trusted that. (yeah I’m fun at parties). I have just always left it in winter mode since rapid temperature fluctuation more commonly causes pressure loss.

Last spring I put the summers on and left the little icon glowing on the dash. Why waste my time stabbing the touchscreen like three times? What am I a slave to this car? I had the car in for it’s regular service and when I got it back, I noticed the mechanic had updated it. Nice and it wasn’t even a line item on the invoice. A few weeks later I noticed the light come on. False flag? Might as well check. Sure enough one tire was losing air and it had a hunk of metal sticking out. Huh! I really does work.

What surprised me was that I didn’t feel a thing driving the car. I guess everything is so isolated from the road these days.

Ben
Ben
2 months ago

What surprised me was that I didn’t feel a thing driving the car. I guess everything is so isolated from the road these days.

Tire technology has changed a lot these days too. That’s why a visual inspection isn’t really good enough either. A tire could be at half its intended pressure and still look okay. I had this happen to me when I bought a used car a couple years ago – tires looked right and it drove just fine, but when I actually pulled out the gauge one tire was in the teens.

Fortunately I caught it before I did any significant driving, but it was yet another reason I’m a fan of TPMS in spite of its occasional drawbacks.

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
2 months ago

My last car had two of four working door handles by the time I got rid of it. I loved that car, but I couldn’t be bothered to do anything more than keep it driving.

It treated me accordingly.

Parsko
Parsko
2 months ago

In the case of my wife’s 06 530 XiT, everything.

4 straight years and about 70,000 miles of neglect. I’m now paying dearly for it. I’ve realized just how good the BMW’s are because of this.

Last edited 2 months ago by Parsko
Ham On Five
Ham On Five
2 months ago

TPMS. So needy …

RKranc
RKranc
2 months ago

The fickle power tailgate actuator on my MKX’s hatch. Realized that it’s quicker to lift the hatch by hand than wait for the lifter to do its thing and more reliable too. Fortunately, it’s a separate part from the gas struts and only took about 5 minutes to remove.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
2 months ago

A piece of C pillar brightwork on my Cruze detached itself years ago. I tried getting a replacement from a junkyard car. Nah, that juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Taking off the turbo and $100 worth of gaskets and other parts to fix a $20 leaky oil cooler gasket was totally worth it. No more oil smell.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
2 months ago

Minor paint/bodywork stuff. I guess I get why some people obsess over every little ding and scratch, but I am not capable of being one of those people.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Absolutely this. For a while when I had my first Saab 9-3 (newest car I’ve ever had, got it at 2yrs and 20k miles) I tried to be meticulous, but a neighbors dog jumping up on the side to day hi to my dogs in the back seat put an end to that. Now I just embrace the beater aesthetic… It helps to not have a car with great paint or that you paid more than $5k for etc in the first place

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I try to get a ding ASAP to get the trauma over with and then as the car ages and gets more and more Uncle Bucky, I just weave more in my lane on the freeway. LOL
And no, I don’t drive an Altima.

Last edited 2 months ago by Andy Individual
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

A lot of people hate this hat…

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I started cutting holes in my van (like, on purpose!) within days of bringing it home.

I think that provided a solid protective aura to it, as the surviving bodywork is immaculate-ish, considering it’s lucky to go through a self-service wash about quarterly.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
2 months ago

That whole thing is a complex equation of vehicle value, the condition of the rest of it, how much it affects enjoyment, and how much you like the vehicle.
I will likely never fix the cracked windshield on my DD Subaru before it gets crushed but the same problem in my CUCV would get fixed immediately.

AssMatt
AssMatt
2 months ago
Reply to  notoriousDUG

…Not to mention time spent in the car; I will probably never bother to get the stereo working in the fun car (convertible, mid-engine), but a day’s commute (not to mention a road trip) without tunes in the DD is a fate worse than death.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

Old girlfriend’s ’90s VW Cabrio had a power top whose hydraulic line fittings eventually sheered off.

I tried to recrimp (?) them, but wouldn’t hold for long. By that point, new lines were pretty much unobtainable and I couldn’t find anyone in the area who seemingly could fix the existing ones…so I drained the system and we’d raise and lower it by hand. Since they’re small cars, it worked fine.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I never realized those were power operated. I mean they were freakin’ Golfs. How complicated do they have to be? Oh wait, VW. I see.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

Hers was the uplevel (had leather b/c she had dogs) model, so maybe the lower ones weren’t. But I kinda expect you nailed it. I hated working on that engine.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
2 months ago

Pretty much any German make with a minor oil leak. Not worth it.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
2 months ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

And as an aside, why is this? What is it about the failure to consider correctly engineering gaskets and seals? It’s truly baffling.

Ben
Ben
2 months ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

Goes for my truck too. There’s a seal somewhere that is seeping, but when I got it looked at they quoted something like $4000 to fix it because it’s a cab-off procedure. I put an old door mat under it so it doesn’t sully my garage floor and it’s been good enough for years.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
2 months ago

I don’t have anything like that right now, but back with my first car (1970 Maverick back around 1979) it was the gas gauge and oil consumption.

The fuel gage I got around by putting in gas every couple of days. The oil – I just kept a case of the cheapest stuff I could find in the trunk and put in a quart a week. It never got any worse, and the car eventually was passed on to my sister after a couple of years. She drove it for a couple of years too.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

My father loved to tell a story about a friend of his who, back in the ’70s, bought an older used Ferrari – he kept a drum of 50 weight oil in his garage.

MtnCamantalope
MtnCamantalope
2 months ago

It’s a Land Rover, so the magnitude of problem that can be ignored is increased I think. It has some sort of air bubble in the heater core, causing it to sound like a waterfall in the passenger footwear under acceleration. This also means the heat really only works when you hit the gas. It does NOT, however, overheat. Good enough.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
2 months ago

Unless the car is undriveable and going to be traded it, everything gets fixed.

GizmonicLoadingBay
GizmonicLoadingBay
2 months ago

VAG Panoramic Roof. A series of cables and corners, bound to conspire, and leading to horrible failure. Seal, pull fuse, and ignore the fact that the shade also failed.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago

I completely agree, and I feel the same way about any sunroof on older/high mileage cars.

Sunroofs (in general) are so overrated… if it’s not the motor/mechanism it’s leaks that cause lots of other problems.

Pull the fuse, move on with life.

The only car I’ve ever had that had a sunroof with zero issues after lots of miles/age was a 1999 Honda Civic (of course). Lived in very cold and very hot climates (both very dry and very humid). Never leaked, never stopped working, even 20 years later.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bizness Comma Nunya
Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

I will say tearing apart the entire interior of the Z4 to pull out the center console to fix the 1-in-200 chance it pulls past the last ratchet is unappealing.

The AC is dead and I need it desperately, but for four years now I’ve not swallowed enough pride to take it to a shop to have them recover the refrigerant in the system. It’s a powerful greenhouse gas and should never be bled into the air. I think the compressor is dead but I haven’t done the right toggling and listening dance to be sure.

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago

My Sportwagen says it’s low on washer fluid any time the temp drops below 40 degrees. I suppose I could see if trying different brands of washer fluid will fix it…but I’ll probably just use my VCDS tool and turn off the whole damn “low washer fluid” MFD message and warning light in the instrument cluster. Or just ignore it till it gets warm again.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Probably just shrinkage. It happens to some of us.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
2 months ago

Surprised you didn’t say:
“The washer fluid is NOT fine!”

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
2 months ago

I currently have two issues on my 20 year old Lexus I can’t be bothered to fix, though one may be getting close to being worth tackling:
1) A drive line clunk after coming to a stop, which can sometimes be resolved by grease, but if that doesn’t fix it then a new, redesigned driveshaft is the cure. The grease doesn’t work anymore, but the clunk isn’t bad enough to buy the new driveshaft.
2) The dreaded 2UZ exhaust manifold crack. The crack started about four years ago and, until recently, only ticks for a few minutes until the exhaust manifold gets some heat in it and expands to stop the noise. Recently, however, it started ticking all the time, albeit quieter when hot. Despite being neither cheap nor easy to replace, it might be time to install new manifolds before the crack gets bad enough to start causing check engine lights (or driving me completely insane with the ticking sound).

A. Barth
A. Barth
2 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

(or driving me completely insane with the ticking sound)

Ah, yes – the telltale part.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
2 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I’m actually not sure which will drive me insane first – the ticking sound, or my kids mockingly asking me why the car sounds like “a ‘ticking’ time bomb” (they are young, so they love all the corny dad jokes I refuse to tell).

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been, and am…

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike Harrell
Sklooner
Sklooner
2 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Nevermore

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
2 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Make sure you’re using moly fortified grease. My GX had a really bad clunk when I bought it two years ago, and after greasing it with about 5 pumps on two occasions a couple of months apart, it’s 100% completely cured, even in the single digit temps we’ve had lately. It has to be a moly grease to work though.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
2 months ago

I’ll double-check the grease I’ve been using, but it’s the grease that Toyota and all the forums recommend using. It’s actually been doing better in the cold than in summer.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago

I just need a respray as the clearcoat is gone. I just can’t find the time to get quotes. New engine/transmission/front hub assemblies are keeping me in the car for now. My last wrenching on it was replacing the headlight assembly as the plugs inside melted. They were pretty hazy too

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
2 months ago

My car thinks there is an unbuckled person in the front passenger seat if I put anything on it, even my lunch bag. I keep it empty so I don’t have the car beeping at me all the time. No effs given.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
2 months ago

I’d just leave that seatbelt buckled all the time.

JumboG
JumboG
2 months ago

Is it a Toyota? I had a RAV4 that was like that. Luckily I discovered you could code the sensitivity back to a normal level and reducing the beeping.

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