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Old 18th May 2024, 21:20   #1
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Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

At some time in our lives, we've all had those cringe-worthy moments behind the wheel that we wish we (and others) could forget about.

While there are the typical run-of-the-mill oops moments many of us have gone through (not enough knowledge of car functions, garage/home door dents/crashes, GPS leading us astray), this thread attempts to look at other embarrassing car situations.

To start with myself -
  • Teenager me reversing the jeep out of the garage. Once out, I stomped really hard (kind of a violent kick) on clutch pedal (no reason, just for fun), and it just gave in. Took me a few seconds to realize that I've broken it. With everyone ready to go to a function, lets see it wasn't a proud moment for me..!!
  • Me trying to reverse the jeep in a straight line on our farm's single lane dirt road (speed was on a higher side). The rear wheel slid off the track and into the field (about 2 feet lower). After many attempts to get it back, did a controlled reverse in the field, and then get it back on the track. Bit of collateral damage happened (messed up a portion of the newly sown crop). Well, questioning eyes followed me at home the next day.!!

These stories remind us that driving isn't always smooth sailing. Please share your embarrassing car moments here, lets see what embarrassment combinations others went through ..!!

@Mods: Please merge if any similar thread exists, looked but couldn't find any suitable place to park this in.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th May 2024 at 08:10. Reason: Minor clean up edits.
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Old 18th May 2024, 23:13   #2
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Interesting thread!

In our extended family, we had a petrol Honda City that had been converted to run on CNG, which we would occasionally borrow. Just another day, we took it for a quick city run, intending to fill up the CNG as usual - unaware that the CNG kit had been removed after an accident . Lost in conversation, we didn't notice the absence of the kit.

So we were at the CNG pump and requested for a fill and this is where the embarrassing events started to unfold. The pump attendant opened the hood and couldn't find the CNG plug. He asked us whether the car had a plug somewhere else. We were sure it was at the "right corner" of the engine bay. We sounded so confident that he looked for it again, but in vain. Now he called another attendant but instead of one, two more came and the big treasure hunt started. One was looking at the boot, one at the engine bay and the other one was under the car - all this because we were 100% sure that car had a CNG kit. In our defence though, the car still had the CNG switch which was somehow not removed. Looking at this circus, couple of more joined and started looking for the magically missing CNG kit.

Eventually, only after a full blown comical drama that went in for a good couple of minutes, we called the owner of the car who unapologetically admitted to have forgotten to inform us about the CNG being removed from the car.

Needless to say, we never returned to that pump, despite its proximity to our residence.
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Old 19th May 2024, 01:31   #3
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I used to drive down to Chennai in my manual Verna, but in Chennai I park and cover it up since I use my Dad's auto Jazz. A few years back was in Chennai for about 10 days and was extensively using the Jazz. Finally the time came to return to Bangalore, and I found my Verna just wasnt starting.

Puzzled I thought may be I left some interior light on and the battery drained and I called a battery guy for a jump start. The battery guy came and he asked me try once again and that's when the muscle memory finally returned and I realised all this while I was just depressing the brake and trying to start the car like the auto Jazz and had completely forgotten about needing to depress the clutch.

Initially was a bit concerned about how I would drive back to Bangalore so drove a couple of kms around which eased all fears and we all had a good laugh about this very embarrassing moment.
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Old 19th May 2024, 10:19   #4
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I take a lot of pride in starting a car off an incline without rollback - a skill I put extra effort to learn to avoid getting into trouble at busy traffic signals with incline. The down ramp to my garage is usually vacant but once I parked my Honda city AT on the ramp. The car was parked with its rear very close to the garage shutter and I can’t afford it to roll back but I was very confident of my skills to prevent a rollback. Next day I got into the car, fired up the engine and tried to get the car off the ramp. No matter how much I modulated the accelerator, brake and hand brake, the car was not budging forward and rollback looked like a certainty. I thought a Honda torque converter AT gearbox can’t be falling this prematurely and sat there wondering how to get the car off the ramp. That’s when my absent minded professor brain figured out that I put the AT in reverse gear and was trying to move the vehicle forward! To this day, I am very proud of my skills to prevent a rollback even in reverse gear

Last edited by androdev : 19th May 2024 at 10:48.
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Old 19th May 2024, 10:36   #5
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Oh this thread takes me to the memory lane. Bought my first car in 2013 just after being engaged. Fresh out of driving school and high on adrenaline wanted to take car out for a spin along with fiancťe. The car was parked too close to pillar in basement parking lot and while reversing the poor bonnet got scratches. First day of driving and such a setback. Ego was hurt further with the giggle of fiancťe(now wife). Determined to be a better driver never did the same mistake again.
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Old 19th May 2024, 10:39   #6
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The story is from early year 2010s. I was 19, just got my driving license and I thought I was a very good driver by then. So me and my entire family were returning from my dadiís village and I was the one behind wheels of our 2009 Zen Estilo VXI. So there was a rough patch and I was very over confident of the ground clearance of our estilo, I saw a big ditch and I could have swerved the car and avoid but I decided to drive through it. The next thing was we heard a loud bang and I still didnít stop to check. 800m later I saw the dreaded check engine light and I immediately stopped to have a look, what I saw there was that thereís a big hole, literally a hole so big that I could a stick inside the oil chamber. The entire engine oil was drained and I was just moments away from catastrophic engine failure.

Now imagine this, we were in dense forest of Naxal hit Kanker district and it was already 6 PM. Our home, Raipur was some 250kms away, there was no phone network. The nearest civilisation was a small town called Antagarh, so we asked my mom and younger brother to board a bus and reach Antagarh. Asked my elder brother to arrange a big rope from a village nearby and me & dad stayed with the car and start asking for help from passer-by. Mom reached Antagarh safely, bro got the rope from someoneís well, these villagers I tell you are very helpful and friendly. Finally we managed to stop a Tata 207 who agreed to tow our car for Rs 500. I asked him to be careful and slow with the towing, he was anything but slow. I suspect the driver was drunk because he was driving as if he is driving an auto, without giving any care that a car is being towed behind. In the process the rope broke twice and our bumper also came out. It was such a frustrating sight and I felt like crying, just because of my careless attitude, our then priced possession, 2 year old Estilo was seeing such abuse. Finally, we managed to reach Antagarh and luckily we had some relatives there, so we parked our car there and we stayed there while my dad left for Raipur in bus as he had some meeting the next day. Meanwhile, we called the Maruti Roadside assistance and explained them our situation.

The next day two guys from Maruti Kanker showroom showed up in a Splendor and they brought all the parts like oil chamber, oil, seals etc. they started the work by 11 AM and by 2 PM our car was back on the road. Hail Maruti, they are the market leader for a reason, they repaired the car at our relatives home itself. We allowed the seal to dry till 5PM as suggested by the mechanics and then left for Raipur. The total damage to pocket was 4 K. It was a great learning experience for me and my family and definitely I became a better and mature driver after that experience and I respect the machines more, I donít abuse my cars anymore. In all these conundrums, I must appreciate the patience of my parents that they never showed anger on me or tried blaming me, they said itís just a mistake, donít think too much about. Their thought process was that if they scold me there then I would loose confidence in driving in the long run and they let me learn from mistakes. Thanks Mom & Dad for letting me be young & stupid and making me a better driver & person now.

I remember clicking pictures that day but couldn't locate them now. Here's a picture of my car and young me-
Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!-16102009282.jpg

Finally found the photos of the day, you may see the trail of engine oil leak

Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!-estilo-lxi0003.jpg

Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!-estilo-lxi0004.jpg

Last edited by Sheel : 19th May 2024 at 11:28. Reason: As requested.
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Old 19th May 2024, 11:02   #7
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

First drive on a wide road for me in our Swift Dzire. About to overtake a Motorcycle but needed to upshift. So I make the fastest 3rd to 4th gear switch ever, feeling proud, but the transmission made a loud grinding noise. I am confused about it for a few moments but then I realize that IMTs haven't been introduced in India at that point of time and certainly not in our 2013 Dzire. Yup, I forgot to press the clutch.

On the other hand, Suzuki's gearbox are more robust than their whole car.
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Old 19th May 2024, 11:16   #8
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Still a teen here.
My dad started driving at 15, and yet he didn't let me drive until I turned 18, just recently. Apparently, if I ever got caught it would be him ending up in prison so it was a strict no, regardless of how well he taught me. I was allowed a scooty though, as long as I always wore a helmet and followed traffic rules. I'd say I've got a pretty good grasp on the flow of traffic, the intricacies of driving etc. now.

Meanwhile my cousin sis had begun driving a Tesla Model 3 in the US (at 16!) and many of my friends had started driving too. So I was getting fed up and in 2022, while visiting my grandparents in Bhubaneswar, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Well one fine afternoon while my grandparents were taking a nap, I decided to sneak out and take my grandfather's WagonR AMT for a spin. So I channeled my inner Clarkson, thought to myself 'how hard can it be' and started up the car, reversed out like I'd seen him do so many times, and somehow steered my way to the society gate. The guards gave me a questioning look for my odd way of steering but opened the gate nonetheless, assuming the best since I was just visiting.

It took about 2 minutes to get used to steering the car, after which the incessant tire squealing stopped and I was able to cruise around for a bit. Stayed below 50kph, and just cruised around the empty roads for about 5kms or so, even going as far as believing I was driving better (safer) than many people I've seen.

Now here's the embarrassing part. The parking slot in my grandfather's society is quite challenging to get into. I've witnessed experienced drivers struggling, since without a certain step/trick, it's really not possible to park. I however, overestimated my abilities, took one look at it, and turned into it as though I'd done it a thousand times. Cue a horrible scraping noise of metal against concrete, and 2 guards running over to see what I'd done. A massive scratch on the passenger side is what I'd done, along with a load of paint and damage to my confidence.
I got out of the car apologetically and tried explaining in Oriya that I drove regularly in Delhi and just overestimated my parking skills here. They saw through the BS and threatened to tell my grandfather. I tried negotiating with them so that I could at least try to cover up the evidence. I respectfully shooed them away and got to work, trying to remove the paint and scratches with an old cloth.
15 minutes later I'd barely made any progress and a kindly driver, who was sitting nearby having lunch while all this unfolded came to me and started making small talk. Sensing amiability I explained my situation to him in a half-joking way and he said he could relate and decided to help me. Asked me to open up the bonnet, drenched the cloth in brake fluid and told me to get to work with him.
Miraculously most of the scratches weren't deep and we were able to cover up the results of my idiocy. I thanked him profusely, bought him a coke and sneaked back home.

My grandfather is still oblivious to it to this day, perhaps he doesn't check the passenger side often . Nobody apart from the driver knows, and I don't plan to tell either. Won't be pulling such stunts with my dad's cars though, don't have a death wish.

Just an experience that happened before I began "really" driving. Am much better now. There's a difference between operating a car and driving it safely on the roads which I feel many of my friends don't realize.

Last edited by sh3lby : 19th May 2024 at 11:24.
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Old 19th May 2024, 11:59   #9
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Aaah, here she goes.

Back when I had just got my driver’s licence, I was only allowed to drive my Honda City by myself. (You’ll see how this was a very good thing soon). On a very rainy and very early July morning, my dad who was all ready to go to the airport remembered that the chauffeur was on leave. Incidentally, the only car at home at that time was a BMW 3 series and I was tossed the keys to it to drop him off. Drove the entire way to the airport in Eco-pro, dropped off dad and started to make my way back home. Feeling a bit cheeky, I decided to try out comfort and then sports. By the time BKC came, I was pretty confident I got what it takes to make the car dance. Popped it into sports + and booted it in front of the IOCL petrol station. The torque kicked in and I almost spun the thing around. All of this in front of a cop who was standing right there.

On the brighter side, I now know very well not to mix RWD, rain and Sports Plus mode.
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Old 19th May 2024, 12:03   #10
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

Incidents or rather conversations about my cars. Not quite incidents linked to driving.

So here goes.....

7 years back when I purchased a Lexus ES300h - a hybrid car - my driver told my mother, "Burri Mumma, is gadhi mein dou engine hain, matlab ki driver ko double kaam karna padhata hai" {Elder Mother, this car has two engines which means the driver has to do twice the amount of wok}. A worthy albeit unsuccessful attempt to get a raise out of turn.

Around that time my mother and her sister trooped off to see yet a third sister in Delhi-NCR. I had briefed my mother that our new car is a Lexus. To try and explain it in words she would relate to I said this is something like a Mercedes Benz from Japan. At the 3rd sisters home a young male relative with an eye for cars congratulated her on her new car. My mother said, " haan beta yeh Mercedes Benz hai" {yes son this is a Mercedes Benz.} The young man corrected her that it was a Lexus. To which she replied, "Haan Mercedes Benz waali Lexus hogi " {Yes this must be a Mercedes Benz Lexus.} Kiichiro Toyoda must be turning in his grave.
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Old 19th May 2024, 12:19   #11
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I was 15, driving on a learners licence in Atlanta. I was sitting at a red light with my mom in our jetta 2.5 SE when I decided to floor it on green and the car just flew forward, our heads pushed back into the seat and I was grinning from ear to ear but mom got so mad that she wouldn't let me drive thereafter
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Old 19th May 2024, 12:29   #12
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Re: Embarrassing car moments..!!

I relocated from Chennai to Mumbai for a job and drove down my Palio 1.6 GTX from Kerala to Mumbai to use it there. I instantly became a "car hero" among my colleagues because it was an adventure according to them.

A few months later, a good friend and colleague wanted me to help him take his car from his parents place to his residence - he was too new to driving and his residence was in a very narrow lane with a tight 90 degree turn.

I offered to help and both of us went to his parents place. He had bought a pre-owned mint condition Hyundai Santro and his dad got the car from parking to the compound so I can drive it out. I get in while my friend was talking to his dad, adjusted the seat and mirror and crank - a loud creeaakkkk noise followed! I was stunned while both my friend and his dad were staring at me.

It took me 2-3 seconds to realise that his dad left the car ON and I double cranked it! Freak - I was stunned at the refinement of the Santro Zip as there was absolutely no hint of the engine running - even more that it was a few years old and pre-owned car.

When my friend & I started the return, I told him what happened and apologized, but he was chill. He mentioned a few mins later that his dad asked my friend whether he was sure I knew to drive and it's a good idea to give the car to me .

Anyway, rest of the journey was cool and though the narrow alley and the 90 degree turn really was a testament of my driving skills, landed the car safely at his residence. Was easily among the "face-palm" moment I can think of.

Well, just remembered 2 more.

In 2003, we had a Maruti 800. It was my sister's wedding day and the event was over at the hall and we wanted to load all the gifts into the boot. I was asked to reverse the car into the entrance of the hall. Did it a little fast and I hit something - wasn't paying attention to the RVM inside and there was a pole erected to decorate the walk way and I run into it. The boot was dented in a "V" shape but parents didn't tell me anything. It was embarrassing that a few guests who was still around came and.was looking at the dent and was giving me stupid stares.

Another one was in 2009 or so, when I had my Swift and a friend and I went to Wayanad for a trip from Bangalore. A couple of days prior to the trip, I noticed that my headlight will turn on when I press the clutch and was confused. So, the previous night of the trip, I went for a quick TD on the night to check and the headlight was working proper and not cutting off while pressing the clutch.

Next morning we drove down and it was all fun etc - every now and then I got a faint burning smell inside the car (I always drive with AC ON) but ignored it. Close to Wayanad, the burnt smell hot stronger and I saw light smoke coming from under the driver dash. Was worried so much and quickly parked at a junction with few shops. Opened the bonnet to check if there was any smoke and there was none. Was frantically running around to ask if there are any mechanics around or they could give me a screwdriver to remove the battery connection. All these started getting a small crowd around my car and people asking what was the issue. The shop guy was kind enough to hand over a screwdriver and I kept it in the bonnet while talking some someone and one random guy picks it and pokes somewhere which creates a spark and the noise. Was furious as the guy was giggling and he had no idea what he was doing. Grabbed the screwdriver back and a gentleman mentioned about an electrician close by and suggested I drive over there, which was hardly a few 100 metres.

Went there and told him and I was really stressed. He was cool and asked me few details - told him about the clutch and headlight issue. He bent down and checked the driver foot area and showed me a wire dangling and touching the clutch pedal when pressed. This was one of the connection wires for the custom audio I did from Eco (Bangalore). The mechanic cut down the extra length and rejoined the wire + insulation taped it. Told me it should be fine and didn't take any money.

I was worried the whole day if my car will go up in flames and ruined the first day of the trip in that thought. It was all good from there and returned to Bangalore after the trip and went to Evo the next day and showed the technician who worked on my car and immediate response was he never did the wiring and I almost raised my voice and he checked it and made some adjustments.

Thankfully the car run fines and no more issues so far after about 14 years since the incident.

Last edited by swiftnfurious : 19th May 2024 at 12:55.
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Old 19th May 2024, 13:18   #13
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

My most embarassing car moment came 6 months after getting my license. I was already overconfident at this point and considered myself the best driver in the world, a sentiment I expressed every chance I got. My house has a very complicated driveway that requires considerable skill to navigate. The family was going out to see my uncle (who was taking a flight) off. Said uncle was coming with us to the airport, a fact which would further complicate proceedings later. My family was helping my uncle pack so I volunteered to get the car turned around in the meantime.

With an air of confidence, I start my turning around manoeuvre. Turning the car around in my driveway required precision movements from the outset. About halfway through the incident I had a feeling I had messed up the approach (very hard to explain this without a diagram). But I kept at it, not wanting to tell my father I couldn't turn the car around and get laughed at. To this day I cannot explain how I managed what came next, nor have I been able to recreate the incident. I found myself parked lengthwise across the gate (perpendicular to how one normally drives through a gate).

The car was not scratched or damaged during this exercise. There was no more wiggle room anymore. I couldn't move more than 10cm forward or backward without hitting the gate posts. At this point, my family came out, ready to leave, my uncle already late for his flight. Their look of disbelief and shock upon seeing what had unfolded was worthy of an Oscar winning movie. My father tried extricating the car from this mess, and failed miserably. If my uncle should have any hope of catching the flight, we had to leave immediately. So my dad had to intentionally scratch the car on one side to get it out in time. I got the shouting of a lifetime afterwards and to this day, whenever I start feeling a little overconfident behind the wheel, I am reminded of this incident.
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Old 19th May 2024, 13:36   #14
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

This happened recently. Got an oil warning light come up on the Golf. Ran fine for a bit. Next day got a much sterner warning on the MID that there was an error with the oil pressure sensor and it required an immediate stop. Check the dip stick and it's empty. Buy the requisite engine oil. Here's the mistake: I absent mindedly pour about twice the engine oil in before thinking to check what the max limit must've been. Error 2: I forget about it over a weekend and then a few days later, fire up the old banger and set off. Folks, you'd think a new pope had been elected, the amount of white smoke billowing out the exhaust. Inside the cab, the smell of burning oil is immediate and worrying. To my embarrassment, have to pull up on a thankfully wide pavement by a roundabout on an arterial road at 6pm while I waited for the recovery van to tow me to a nearby garage. This being right before Easter, said garage didn't have a free slot for weeks so the car had to sit there for ages before I got billed for what was simply draining the excess engine oil I'd drowned the sump in and a new oil filter.

Suffice to say I'm still quite embarrassed about it. The old Golf meanwhile is running fine once again. I now know what the engine oil limit is..
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Old 19th May 2024, 13:44   #15
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re: Embarrassing, cringe-worthy car moments!

I guess everyone must have experienced the stalling of your manual car (during learning phase) during red lights and the rolling back during climbs and not being able to control properly while everyone behind you is honking.
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