Where to begin? I’ve had a love hate relationship with cars over the years. I lost my virginity in the back of a car, and I have nearly lost my life in a car. My current Ford Territory has definitely been the one of the worst purchases of my life. The unethical dickwad at the Ford dealership that sold me the piece of crap damn well knew it was a barely road worthy piece of junk. Have you ever heard of a car brace that snaps in half forcing the driver’s side front wheel to literally fall completely off the car with nothing holding it in place? Well this is just one of the many delightful faults these cars have, not considered “big enough” to recall the vehicles. Yep, wheels falling off are just “small” technical issues. That's not even the best part. A year ago, I drove over a speed bump in a car park at 10km/hr and the muffler detached itself from the front converter. I was driving slower than an old lady walks with a walking frame and that proved too much for a 4WD to cope with.
But that's not where this story begins. This story begins with the Nissan Maxima I purchased off my mother at the ripe age of 19.
The Nissan Maxima was long and sleek, and a gorgeous shiny champagne colour. It was a good car. My mother was a careful driver and had looked after it well. It was in tip top shape and had never been in any accidents. Boy did that change when it became mine. That poor car never had a chance once I became its owner. But I have fond memories of that car. It was my first taste of freedom, and it was where I lost my virginity. So many good moments were had in that car.
The first accident occurred during a small getaway with the old Uni group. We went to Eden’s Aunties holiday house in Woy Woy. We spent most of the time drinking or playing games with all our mattresses bundled up in the living room. The other half of the time we spent at Erina Affair. A big shopping centre where we spent our days chasing a woman who we liked to call the Dolly copycat. This old dried up shell of a woman looked like a tree that had become leather and then started to weep. It was like she had made a skin suit out of old shoes, then poured herself into clothes whose sole purpose was to only just keep her from being arrested for public nudity. A slightly chubby two-year-old would have felt a bit over exposed in the shorts she paraded around in. She obviously got her make-up tips from drag queens, and if ‘the higher the hair the closer to heaven’ thing is true then any day now we are going to read about her being canonised alongside mother Theresa. We spent happy days trying to photobomb her into as many pictures of us as we could. In hindsight we were nasty little bitches, but in my defence most 20-year old’s are. But it was all meant to be in a fun spirit of the holiday away. We left my car in the shopping car park all day while we had our fun. One day on our return to the car, I had noticed a huge dent in the driver’s side, just under the headlights. Someone had hit me, and hadn't even left a message to apologise, or left their details so I could claim it on my insurance. From that moment on I knew Erina was the scum of the earth and Woy Woy was forever more written off the map, well for me anyway.
The second battle wound to my poor Maximilian was definitely my fault. I had been shopping with Charles at Towers when we had decided to leave. On the right of me was a cement pole which was lower than the car door and was not very visible. I had totally forgotten that the pole was there, and somehow reversed in a way that left the back of the car mounted half way up the pole. Being an inexperienced driver, my instinct was to accelerate more to fix the problem. Needless to say, it didn’t fix the problem. There was a huge bang followed by a scraping sound. Charles and I got out to assess the situation. It was not good. I had basically pulled the rear bumper clean off. The next question was whether to keep reversing, or to drive forward again. Either way I was screwed, but I was trying to minimise how much further damage I inflicted on Max. Charles and I discussed it at length and came to a mutual decision that driving forward was the best option. Charles was going to watch as I drove forward, to make sure things ran smoothly during operation Save Maximillian. With a thud and a sickening crunch, poor Max was released from his impalement. He was looking sadly worse for ware, his second experience with poles going places they don’t usually go had not ended as well as the first. To be fair he was not the one being poled the first time, I was, and he was basically just an observer in the situation. Max looked bad and it took several roles of masking tape to make him capable of struggling home where my parents could again shake their heads at my stupidity and fix the problem for me, the demise of Maximilian was tragic. He was in my life briefly, only three years, but I drove his arse so hard he was eventually unable to recover and was sent to the great car wreckers in the sky. Vale Maximilian Vale. It still hurts to talk about our last day together, but I feel Max’s story needs to be told. I had partied pretty hard for 4 days straight with some work colleagues from the cinemas. On the Monday I was rostered for a day shift. I didn’t call in fake sick because I figured since it was usually pretty quiet during the weekdays, I could easily get some sleep during the sessions. However, I obviously didn’t get enough sleep at work and on my way home I went into a micro-sleep. I was texting some friends while I was driving, because we were going out again that night, when I went into the micro-sleep. In bumper to bumper traffic, only 2km from home, I fell asleep. Instead of hitting the break I slammed my foot down onto the accelerator. I slammed so hard into the car in front of me I set off a domino effect. It was a hardcore threesome that no one had asked for and not one anyone wanted to be involved in.
My airbag deployed and ripped all the hairs off my arms. I was hit in the face hard enough to break my nose and gave myself nasty whiplash. My phone flew from my hand and hit the windscreen, making it obvious as fuck that I had been texting and driving. The first thing I did was jump out of the car, and ran to see if the people in the car I had hit were ok. Luckily, they were ok. I was clearly at fault, and could have been charged with negligent driving for having my phone in my hand. At that moment the shock started to sink in. I lost balance and started to walk into the middle of the road. Luckily a bystander grabbed me and sat me down on the grass on the sidewalk. It was at this point that I saw the damage to Max. It was all too much; Max had been brutalised and it was all my fault. The car I hit had a tow-bar, and it had rammed so far into my car the radiator had been pushed out of the bonnet. Max was leaking big green tears of radiator fluid onto the road. His windscreen was cracked, his radiator dislodged, he was ruined beyond repair.
Luckily for me the driver at the front front was on heavy heart medication and was not supposed to be driving. He politely asked us not to call the police, and suggested that we could all settle the matter with the insurance companies without bringing the police into it. We all agreed and I got out of a heavy duty fine and got to keep my license. Poor Max however had to be towed home, where he sat on our lawn for two weeks until we sold him to some wreckers for $1000.
My next car was a Mazda Tribute. I’m pretty sure the Tribute holds some kind of record for the greatest number of flat tires on a single car. I had 7 flat tires on that car in the space of 12 months. It became ridiculous. However, I did become pretty expert at changing tires, if the whole pathology thing doesn’t work out, I could always work in a pit crew at Bathurst. To be fair this all happened during the Cafe Fig Tree/Chef Poophead period, it’s not like the flat tyres were a design fault of Mazda’s. I also ran the Tribute into a pole at the service station, after a 3-day music festival at Byron Bay. The Tribute suffered a few more bumps and bruises along the way, mostly from me parking in stupid places. It all came to an end for my beloved Mazda when another driver decided to slam straight into me.
I had just finished up at Cafe Fig Tree and was going to visit my parents for dinner. I was only 1km from home and I was driving up to an intersection where the lights were green. I indicated and was changing lanes from right to left. At the intersection, there was turn left with care bay. This allowed people to enter the road I was on at any time, but WITH CARE. The other driver obviously assumed I was turning into the street they were pulling out of and decided to merge without realising that I wasn't turning at all. At full take off speed they drove straight into my passenger side. The force pushed my car and a convertible in the next lane right over the median strip and into oncoming traffic. The front passenger side of my car was ripped off all the way from the wheel to half way down the bonnet. The car was completely and utterly totalled. Lucky for me I still had full comprehensive insurance. It was due to be renewed in 3 days and my cover was going to be lowered from $11,000 down to $8,000. In the ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ kind of way, if I was going to be in an accident of write off my car proportions, this was the perfect time. I got the full $11,000 from my insurance company. This is when everything started to go downhill. With my insurance money I purchased the Ford Territory 2006 model from a Ford Dealership for $13,000. Not being much of a car guy, I consulted my father before I bought the car and he encouraged me to buy it. 1 day after the 1 Year warranty expired, I put the car in for a service and rego check. It didn’t just fail the rego check; it was deemed un-roadworthy. To get it to minimum roadworthy standards it was going to cost me upwards of $5,000.
If I could go back in time, I would drive it off a cliff. No one should have such a piece of shit car in their lives. The number of things that went wrong with that car is insane. Apparently, Ford Territory’s have a fault in the model that causes the engine brace to crack every 4-5 years. What that means in non-mechanic speak is that every 4-5 years the engine just falls out of the car. Obviously just a minor fault, nothing recall worthy about a car engine falling out every couple of years. I wonder what the fuck would have to happen to cause a recall?
The best one was when I decided to do a U-Turn in my street. I was backing out of my driveway, and I was turning around when I heard a large thud. The right-hand side of my car dropped a good foot. The car stopped moving backwards, so naturally I accelerated assuming I had got lodged on a bump of some sort. Accelerating didn’t help so I got out to investigate. Not sure what I planned to do, I’m not particularly mechanically minded, but I was horizontally across the road blocking traffic in both directions, so I had to look like I was doing something. Even to my untrained eye, it was apparent that wheels shouldn’t be sticking out horizontally. It turns out that the wheel brace, the part that attaches the wheel to the car, had snapped in half. I had just driven home from work also so I’m lucky it didn't happen while I was doing 60km along the road. Apparently, wheel braces snapping and engines dropping out are minor mechanical issues, not genuine dangers. I’m no physicist, but I think if either of these things happened at even 60km/ph. you had better hope you had paid extra for an ejector seat and parachute. Both happening at the same time would have made for an interesting ride, but somehow this still doesn't necessitate a recall. Car companies really do like to play fast and loose with people’s lives. After much macho posturing, realising that the car was going nowhere with one horizontal wheel. So, at 5pm on a Friday night, I was calling tow truck companies trying to get my car towed at least far enough that it wasn’t completely blocking a residential street. As you can imagine I wasn't having much luck. Now is probably the time to mention that while the street was residential, it is also the main thoroughfare to Dee Why Beach. On a summer evening, as it was at the time, I was actually causing a fairly major traffic jam. The traffic started to bank up from both sides and people started to shout profanities at me. Some tradies tried to help, but nothing could be done. I stood on the side of the road angry crying while an old lady called me scum and told me to fuck off. I had caused such a major traffic incident that the Police came to re-direct traffic until a tow truck could be found. Eventually a driver decided it was taking too long and he was going to fix my burdensome issue, not for my sake mind you, but none the less he decided to “help”.
He said: ‘Mate, why don't you just move the car, I’ll help you push it’.
I replied: ‘The wheel isn't attached I can’t move it. The car is being held up by the wheel that has detached.’
He replied: ‘Ah fuck off mate, as if you can't move it’. (Australian men are known for their gentlemanly ways)
At this point everything had gone to the shit, and everyone had lost all sense. I did what any man would do. I went to my boot and pulled out a huge soup paddle. I raised it over my head in a threatening manner and politely told him to fuck off. That is how my father found me. Red faced and crying, whilst waving a soup spoon about and threatening to paddle strangers, in the middle of a major traffic incident caused by me, that required Police to re-direct Friday night traffic on a major thoroughfare. My father being the stoic man he is, and with many years’ experience in my mildly melodramatic way, managed to calm me down. Soon after the Police arrived and managed to redirect traffic so the tow truck could get to me and order was restored to the streets of Dee Why. It isn’t often that my father gets to witness me in a somewhat masculine state, so my violent antics impressed him to no end. If nothing else good came from that incident, and it didn’t, I still got the chance to see my father look at me with manly respect. Less than a week after having the wheel brace repaired, the fucking muffler decided to detach itself from the front converter. As I write this, the fuck face Ford loiters uselessly on the street (parallel not horizontally this time). I have emptied it of all my personal belongings, I refuse to make eye/headlight contact as I pass it. Goodbye fuck face Ford. May you rot in hell with Satan and all his faux Gucci minions, I won’t miss you.