It’s summer time, and that means increased risk for overheating, transmission failure, and other headaches. Though catastrophe can strike during any season, the increased travel and rising temperatures of upcoming months bring its potential more into focus. While those of us driving newer cars (all things being relative, let’s say those built in the past twenty years) generally have benefited from a higher standard of reliability than in decades past, more than a few of us have experienced the joy of breaking down on a hot summer day.
In a rather classic nightmare scenario, my father had the unenviable task of driving a rented, full-size U-Haul over 1,800 miles and six states, only to experience overheating and breakdown at some point near the start of my family’s August 1985 relocation from Dallas to far upstate New York. That meant switching trucks–and transferring all our belongings–at some remote point in the middle of northeast Texas. Not fun.
But as dramatic as an engine breakdown can be, there are more spectacular sources of mechanical failure, like brakes catching fire on an overloaded trailer. And while it’s always scary when it happens, it can be fun to share stories after the fact (such as when my father recounted the story of his Nova’s engine dying on a steep downhill incline, quickly exhausting his brakes of power assist).
I know I can count on our readers to out-do the brief stories I’ve shared, of course. Which of you has the scariest and/or zaniest tale of good cars gone bad to regale us with?