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Old 19th May 2024, 13:45   #16
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

2014 Atlanta

I went for a grocery purchase at an Indian store after work (~ 20 km away). It was within a few days of taking my rental VW Beetle. On the way back, it was getting dark and reached the steering stalk to switch on the headlamp. Left side of wheel, no, not there... right side, not there either. Searched center console, door pads, and could not locate there either. I started sweating even with the AC on. I did not have any other option and pulled over to an empty office parking lot and started frantically searching for a headlamp switch. It took me a few minutes to locate the rotary lamp switch on the left side of the steering on the dashboard. I was driving a VW car for the first time. Right when I was about to leave the parking lot, I see a cop car behind me with the roof lights ON! I sat there with my hands on the steering wheel, cop came out after few seconds, and asked me to roll down the window. I calmly explained the whole situation. He was really kind and we chatted for a few minutes and had a good laugh!

Last edited by Latheesh : 19th May 2024 at 13:57.
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Old 19th May 2024, 14:15   #17
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Got two, both with spanking new cars.

2010: Had parked our 1 day old shiny new Indigo on a level ground, wasn't in a habit of applying the handbrake then. Unknown to me, my friend sitting shotgun had put on the handbrake (almost halfway in) as we were alighting. Next morning just got in and drove to a petrol bunk about a km away, opened the door & the front brakes were a-smokin'!! The bunk attendant was quick with a smirk & consolation - koi baat nahin, nayi nayi gaadi seekhne walon ke saath aksar aisa ho jata hai. (it's OK, happens often with greenhorns).

Forward to 2023. With a great sense of achievement, drove our XUV700 straight from the showroom to the fuel station, full family in tow. And for the love of my life I can't find the confounded fuel cap release lever/button!

After fumbling around for a few long minutes, the amused attendant just pressed the fuel lid from outside and it popped open. Thankfully no smirk or patronizing advice this time

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th May 2024 at 17:29.
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Old 19th May 2024, 14:26   #18
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Interesting thread and good stories to read!

Mine is about 12 years old, when I was a newbie. I was managing a K turn in a parking lot and while doing so I kissed the edge of a bumper of Bolero. The touch was so gentle and low impact that the driver sleeping in it didn't even bat an eye. I didn't get down thinking that it's probably nothing. Drove 60-70 kms back to home (we were out of city to some temple) and to my surprise I saw a huge scratch right in the middle of my bumper and grille. The paint had chipped off and the black plastic was visible on the surface. The car looked like it got its "tika" from the temple. It was right in the centre. Boleros are real tough and crude.

-NA.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th May 2024 at 17:43. Reason: Deleting 2nd incident. (No high speed references please). Thank you.
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Old 19th May 2024, 14:59   #19
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

A couple of years into driving, I considered myself to be a newbie pro. One day it was slightly drizzling and we were attending a function at a mandap near our place. My father got out of our Maruti 800 and asked me to park the car in a big open space in front. 2/3 of the space was covered in grass and one open corner had what appeared like hard soil. I found a good spot in the grass area and thought of turning the car around before parking.

I rev the car, steering into that soil corner and brake hard to show my control. And the car sank into the ground! It seems it was low lying area and had been recently filled with mud and construction debris. Due to the rains, the soil was soft and my hard brake did the rest. And my momentum meant I had pushed the whole car right to the middle of the slush.

A lot of people were around and some smiled some frowned. Tried reversing but the car was already bottomed with the wheels spinning away. My father came, saw and said nothing. Then he got into the car and asked me to push. A couple of other guys pitched in and we were able to push the car out and park it safely. I walked to the nearby tubewell to wash my slushed sandal and pants. And I got quite a few stares in that function that day.

Later in the day 3 other cars made the mistake but they never pushed it far into the mud. I helped push all of them out, returning the favour. And warmed few other drivers not to come this way.

Till today, if I see mud anywhere (or so much as puddle), I step out of the car, look for a stick and start poking the ground to avoid making the same mistake.

Somewhere to a secluded beach in Goa
Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!-img_3716.jpeg

Last edited by ashis89 : 19th May 2024 at 15:08.
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Old 19th May 2024, 17:20   #20
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

More than 30 years ago, I was driving my Mahindra CJ 4A jeep on a road connecting the place I was stationed in, to the nearest town. It was a 17 km drive and I was doing 70 to 80 kmph. The straight road was clear, as could be sighted and hence the speed was maintainable.

But all of a sudden, I saw a vulture starting to fly at a very low height from very near on the front. I instantly slowed down, but unintentionally hit the vulture. A loud "thud" sound emanated. The vulture continued its onward flight even after getting hit. I stopped and had a look at the jeep. The front facade that houses the grille and lights was slightly bent and there was about 100 gms of bird excreta stuck on the grille. I opened the bonnet and found that the straight, horizontal bar running from one end of the bonnet to the other (front to back), that holds the facade in its position was also slightly bent. A bent part of the bar (about 0.75cm in diameter) was just touching the OHV engine's black tappet cover. After straightening it manually ( did not need much effort), the front facade came back to its original position. I closed the bonnet and with the bird excreta drove on. It was cleaned only after I returned.

When I had parked the jeep after the bird hit, foul smell was emanating from the roadside. I saw an old carcass of a dead cow/bull. The vulture was feeding upon it and the approaching jeep's engine noise could have triggered its fateful flight. But I was happy that the vulture was not much hurt, as it flew on. Vultures way back then, were not an endangered species and sometimes many could be sighted feeding on animal carcasses.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 19th May 2024 at 17:33.
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Old 19th May 2024, 17:23   #21
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I had to think hard for this one, way back in 2001-2002, I had inherited Dad's Tata Sierra, he had moved onto a Safari, car had already done 100,000 plus kms by the time. Was driving down Surajkund-Badkhal road (no street lights at the time, single road on both sides separated by a divider). The Sierra's lights were hopeless (internal reflective coating had glazed over) and I never drove on full-beam (dad had taught me to drive and honking and full-beam were a strict no-no). A car crossed over from the median and stopped mid-way on the winding road while making a U-turn!!!

I did not know it had stopped on the road, head lights were really pathetic, and tried to make my way around the car assuming it had stopped on the wide expanse of rough (it was a beautiful scrub forest back then with sambar, hyenas, foxes and may be even leopards) and crashed or actually climbed on to the divider!! (the break in the median where the car had just made the U turn from) at about 60-70 kmph (no brakes, nothing, did not see it coming untill after I had climbed it)

The vehicle stalled, luckily all OK, started it, put it in reverse and drove off after a minute or so.

regards kaps
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Old 19th May 2024, 18:15   #22
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Back in 2019, our family car Alto K10 was about 5 years old (purchased in 2014). I was not aware that the factory OEM batteries usually do not last more than 3 or 4 years. Surprisingly this one lasted 5 years but started to give trouble when cranking the engine. I didn't understand the signs or was not paying attention to the car for about 2 weeks. It had been requiring multiple cranks and was pausing mid-crank. All these were clear signs of a battery about to go kaput (in hindsight).

During my return journey to home from office I stopped at a signal in peak Hyderabad Gachibowli junction traiffic. (This signal usually had 5 to 8 minutes of wait time and I was in the habit of turning the engine off). I was stopped at the front of the queue. The lights go green and I'm cranking the key and the car does absolutely nothing and I started to panic with the honking traffic behind. I realised the battery was dead. Thankfully the traffic cop and a generous auto driver helped push the car to the side to allow traffic to follow. And subsequently a few others offered to jump start it after looking at my panicked face I guess. I was quite embarrassed and profusely sweating and thanking them after they jumpstarted it by pushing the car in 1st gear.

Huge lesson learnt that day - Replace the battery at the first sign of trouble. Just a few months back I realised the battery was about to go and I immediately went to a battery dealer and got it changed. I now know and recognise the signs of a battery about to go dead.

For automatic cars, jump starting with a push is not an option. I need to invest in battery jump starter kits for my Nissan Magnite CVT.
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Old 19th May 2024, 18:25   #23
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Very interesting topic. I have a couple of 'foot in the mouth' incidences (as I call them) in the 43 years that I have been driving. Yes, some of them got me red faced / scolding from my father / some of them I realized I had goofed up royally, but end of the day, thinking back, its all a part of the learning curve.
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Old 19th May 2024, 18:28   #24
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Incident no 1:

I was a newbie car owner and was out on my first ever road trip to Konkan ( have a thread on same ) in my Padmini. i was confident that i had got it checked for everything from the mechanic. First signs of trouble were in lonavla ghat where fully loaded padmini was not climbing the slight ghat section in usual gear, after reaching kolhapur realised that all shops were closed due to Ganapati festival.

My village was another 55 kms and downhill so took a risk and reached my village that day. On return journey the clutch was so weak that i had to put everyone in a commander and i alone did the return drive to kolhapur where we finally got replacement clutch.

For your first road trip this sure was a downer and an embarrasing moment.

Incident no 2:

Nano was quite new, one day at a friends function I was trying to show off how small and nimble it was by reversing through a narrow gate and BAM!!!

I had somehow misjudged the width and had a big dent on rear right door.
I gave a sheepish smile and off we went inside again for the function.I was already a driver with 6+ years of experience and was considered a good one with few highway trips under belt. But this was just being overconfident with reversing skills

Last edited by silverado : 19th May 2024 at 18:40.
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Old 19th May 2024, 19:00   #25
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I learned to drive in my Innova, which, being a diesel, had great torque at the lower rev range. You could easily pickup from speeds less than 10 kmph on 2nd gear from a speed-breaker without pressing the accelerator.

So here comes the embarrassing moment. Mind you, I had driven a petrol car very briefly, and when I went for the driving test, they had a Maruti Celerio. The car turned off just as soon as I took my foot off the clutch. I was given a stare by the Driving Inspector and also a warning: if this happens again, you have to reappear! Gathered all my leg strength and gradually lifted the clutch without stalling, and then thankfully passed.

This above incident was important to share because now is the most embarrassing moment. I had gone to take delivery of my Hyryder in June last year. This being a petrol car too, I was never used to such a clutch. I first stalled it right when I was taking a U-turn near the dealership, and to make matters worse, I didn’t realise the ignition was off because of how silent this car was. My NVH level bar was very high with the Innova. After this U-turn, I had to drive around 15 km on the Mumbai-Surat Highway to home, and the rain gods weren’t kind that day. I must have stalled the car multiple times while getting stares from every single driver. They must have thought about why this person is driving and hasn’t put an L sticker on. I had taken the biggest ‘L’ that day.

Reminds me of another silly one: my first highway drive was from Mumbai to Mangaon, and throughout the way I drove well until we reached our building to park it. Parking the Innova in the narrow spot meant taking reverse very cautiously, which I was doing until the car bumped into a pipe that cracked. Thankfully, there was no damage to the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Another one was in 2009 or so, when I had my Swift …one random guy picks it and pokes somewhere which creates a spark and the noise. Was furious as the guy..
Now we know how the username originated.
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Old 19th May 2024, 19:52   #26
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

This happened back in 2003 or whereabouts. We had our new Santro, and I went to drop off my relative at a place near my home. After reaching the place, she got down; and I also stepped out for a moment with the driver's door open and the car started rolling forward. I realized that it was in neutral and a small slope caused this, so I had to jump in and stamp on the brake. Thankfully it stopped without much melodrama after which I pulled the handbrake and put it in the first gear. Whenever I pass through the lane, I remember this funny embarrassing moment and laugh heartily at it.

For us (men in particular), the embarrassing part is not the whole goof-up, but the fact that it happens in front of a female relative!! That embarrassing feeling is indescribable, but if you know, you know!
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Old 19th May 2024, 20:02   #27
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

This one happened not to me but my colleague in my presence.
Location: Chicago suburbs, circa 2000.
My colleague and flatmate had just purchased a pre-owned small sedan, some nondescript GM model for dirt cheap. He had gotten his license but was still getting accustomed to the car. I went with him for a drive around our suburb one evening while he was getting his hands-on with the car. Meanwhile in one small lane, we were flagged by a cop and he came behind us, lights flashing. We were puzzled as to why he had flagged us as we were doing speeds below the typical 35mph suburban road limit. However we pulled over near a driveway, hands on wheel, waiting nervously. The cop tapped the driver window and asked my friend the basics and said" do you know why you are pulled over". My friend said he had no idea. He said, "you guys are driving with your headlights on full beam". So my friend hastily said ok and attempted to set this right.However he couldn't figure out how to do this, kept on muttering in Hindi, he tried all the switches and levers but simply couldn't get the light to low beam. The cop watched this struggle, then just put his hand at the light stalk and pulled it back. He gave us a long look and then said, " learn how to operate the car first ".
Thankfully he left after that snipe. Needless to say, we were absolutely embarrassed at this blooper, that too in a foreign country, and right in front of the cop at that!!
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Old 19th May 2024, 20:38   #28
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Nice thread.

A couple of truly bottom tier embarrassing moments. I cringe so bad even recollecting and writing these now, especially here in this forum (Mods - please don't kick me out after reading this).

1) In the US for work, had zero clue nor interest about cars. I never knew about cars because there was no one in family, friends, or extended family who had owned cars in India when growing up. My only time even getting on cars was in hired cars for summer trips every 3-4 years. I 'learnt' driving on a 2-3 weeks crash course before catching the plane to the US. I enrolled again for a driving course in the US and passed the test to get license which was my first driving license ever. After getting the license, first thing I did was to buy a beater car to drive it around for weekend grocery shopping trips as I commuted by bus to the office. One fine day after few months, while driving my car somewhere, the engine starts making a whining noise but I perplexingly didn't bother to do anything about it for weeks. The noise eventually became loud after a few weeks that one day I pull into one of those mechanic shops attached to a gas station, and explain the sound to the mechanic. He pops the hood, pulls out the engine oil measuring stick and looked at me, I drew a blank. Asked me when I changed oil last, I had no idea, I just assumed cars are like electronic appliances and will run without maintenance . The oil had completely run out and he poured a can of oil and the noise instantly disappears. The mechanic gives me a dress down and asks me to change oil every 5000 miles and puts a 'Next Oil Change' sticker on the windshield.

2) Same beater car, just a few weeks from the above incident. I was on an interstate and the steering was shaking a bit harder than it used to which I always had accounted to the car being old. I take an exit, park in a coffee shop lot to see the front passenger tyre is half shredded. A nice gentleman parks besides me, sees the situation, and asks me why I'm on a donut and if I have another spare wheel. After 1.5 years of buying the car, I'm just now noticing for the first time that this wheel looks different from the other 3 wheels!! I bought the car from a friend of a friend and I had been driving around with the smaller spare wheel it came with for 1.5 years!! He asks me to check the trunk, I find the full size wheel but in partly deflated state. He helps me to jack up the car, remove the wheel, and replace with the new wheel. And he guided me to a nearby gas station with an air pump to fill air and back on my way again. Realized later how stupid I was and how dangerous the situation was to me and the traffic around me, I could have been dead or killed someone if that tyre had burst on the interstate.

These embarrassing moments is what made me to begin learning about cars, maintenance obsessively and eventually become an enthusiast and find my way to Team-BHP.

Last edited by Yieldway17 : 19th May 2024 at 20:48.
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Old 19th May 2024, 20:45   #29
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Obviously being an old (male) got the number of car related embarrassing moments are monumental.

I will just mention one. When we moved to our current home it meant at long last I had my own garage. Big garage but difficult to get my cars into it.

So I managed to hit my Alfa Romeo Spider with my Jaguar. Try and explain that to the insurance company. Thousands of Euros worth of damage, in my own garage, driving my own cars, caused by me, driving the Jaguar into the Spider.

There was a bit of an issue as the insurance company needs to have any accident reported by both parties. I told them I could do so, but filling out two forms did not make much sense to me.

Jeroen
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Old 19th May 2024, 21:43   #30
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Aah this takes me back to Christmas of 2018 when I had just got my driving license. So we were visiting a relative’s apartment and our Etios was parked with a pillar behind its left tail light, while returning I got on the drivers seat put on some punjabi music and in the dense fog confidently reversed straight back smashing the tail light and bumper of the car. No wonder I turned down the music by a bit and it was an unusually silent drive back home.
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