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Stupidly obvious things we've missed

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Advice from a friend many years ago: "When you buy a new car get them to disconnect the bonnet release before delivery that way you won't be able to fuck anything up".

My rookie mistake when I was about 18 years old and decided to change the oil in my Ford Corsair, I learned the hard way how to properly tighten an oil filter after I left a trail of oil on the A12. Fortunately engine wasn't damaged as I noticed the cloud of smoke in the rear view mirror and shut the engine off pronto. The nice RAC man showed me how to do the job properly when he brought more oil.

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The 13 year old me that decided to give his grandfather’s Vauxhall Chevette a Redex treatment. I took the plugs out, poured in some Redex per the instructions. 
Mistake 1: For reasons unknown I decided not to just cover the plug holes but to screw up rags and plug them.

Mistake 2: I did this in front of my parents red sandstone bungalow. Quite close in fact.

After the prescribed time I cranked it over and unsurprisingly it built a little pressure and blew its ‘rag’ plugs and Redex across the front of my parent house. 

Eventually cleaned that off the engine bay and house. 

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17 hours ago, adw1977 said:

I also left the oil filler cap sitting on top of the engine after topping up once.  Drove it around like that for a few days (not far, fortunately) then next time I opened the bonnet was greeted with the inevitable mess.

Now I also used a rag to plug the filler hole and I did consider driving it to the garage like that to collect the replacement cap.  Fortunately I thought better of it and waited until the next day when I could get a lift, otherwise that tale of woe could have been me.

Checked the oil in my daughter’s Tdi Octavia, this morning . Oil cap off, found it next to the washer bottle. A bit of oil around and only about half way on the dipstick. When asked when she last topped it up , she replied “ Louises’ boyfriend checked it before Christmas” 

Loiuses’ boyfriend is a BMW main dealer mechanic!! FFS!

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My Uni mate's Lada Samara - usually a paragon of virtue - broke down on his way home one day.

He had no breakdown cover, so he rang me.

He said it would turn over but not start. 

He said he'd opened the bonnet and looked inside.

He said he didn't hear any bad noises at any point.


I rocked up armed with tools, opened the bonnet...

"See that conrod? That's supposed to have a piston on the end of it, that is. And it definitely shouldn't be poking through the front of the engine."

"Right...." [After a moment's thought] "Is that bad?"

"Yeah, it's quite bad."


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I dropped the oil from my Daihatsu Move Automatic, refilled with about the correct amount and checked the dipstick. It looked a bit high, but ignored it and started it up, in case it needed to flow round. Engine felt weird and it was a bit smoky. Quickly turned it off to figure out what was wrong. 

A few minutes later I realised I had actually drained the automatic transmission fluid and the engine currently had twice the oil it should in. 

Once I'd drained all of the oil and replaced it and the transmission fluid I restarted, but the engine sounded a bit tappy. 

Gearbox felt smoother mind. Got rid soon after. 

Whole thing would have never happened if I'd changed the oil filter ffs. 

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The one they'll never let me forget at work was the time I changed the rear pads on a Luton van.  Once I'd finished I tested it and there was still a bit of noise so I loosened off the osf wheel bolts ready to check the front pads.  At that point the boss returned and told me not to put any more parts on a van we were getting rid of.  The wheel inevitably fell off 3 days later just after I'd said "best stop the van so I can see what that noise is".

Another memorable cock up was starting up the 405 I'd just reassembled on my drive and surrounding Dodgy Tom with a pool of oil as I'd needed to remove the oil filter to reattach the air con compressor and forgot to replace it.

I lost both locking wheel nut keys for my Megane although the next door neighbour did find one of them the day after I spent £50 getting my tame tyre fitters to remove them all.

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7 hours ago, Dan the van said:

Ha!,did that with an automatic Mini with no brakes once.My size elevens did an impromptu heal and toe and we sailed off the end.No damage thankfully.

That reminds me, I had a 205 up on ramps once, while I was replacing the front brake hoses. My mate came round for me to weld up the exhaust on his 309, so I told him to jump in the 205 and move it out of the way. Neglecting to mention what I'd actually been doing...
First he knew is when he'd come off the ramps, and his foot went straight to the floor, ending up with him shooting down the drive, through the open gates and across the road before he could grab the handbrake.

As for things I've missed, spot the mistake!


Also BX and spanner related, a few years ago I was selling a BX and on my 'one last drive' noticed a knocking from one of the front drop links, the evening before the buyer was due to collect. I had a spare, so decided to put it on (I'd advertised it with no knocks or rattles so felt obliged to keep my word). Trying to save time I decided to change it without  removing the wheel, just reached round behind the tyre and popped a ring spanner over the nut. Access was tight so got back in the car and turned the steering wheel (it would soon become clear turning it the wrong way). It was a bit stiff so started the engine, turned the wheel again and HISSSSSS! I'd only gone and pierced the tyre with the open end of the ring spanner! Cue a trip to get a new tyre the following morning :-(
As an aside, on the last drive in it I'd come across an elderly chap out on the mountain road, who was riding his bicycle back home after doing his weekly shop. It was out of mobile signal, dark, and he'd snapped a spoke so I offered him a lift back home. He was very grateful and offered me a bottle of whisky from his shopping, which I declined. Only to find he'd slipped it into the back seat while I wasn't looking!

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A guy I work with bought a VW T5 camper van and decided he wanted it “slammed” on 19s. He bought the wheels and suspension parts himself loaded them into his van and took it all to a local VW T5 expert who carried out the work. 
A week later he brings the van into work (we all have company cars so this is a bit unusual) to show it to everyone, he then sheepishly asks if I can have a look underneath as he keeps hearing a funny noise on full lock.

I jacked the van up removed the front passenger side wheel and found a pair of vice grips clamped to the anti roll bar drop link which had been hitting the rim on full lock🙄

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On 11/01/2021 at 13:00, Mr Pastry said:

The stupid mistake we all made was to start working on cars in the first place.

Far better for you to stay out of it and keep your hands clean.  Then you can have a social life, get a nice job in an office, meet a better class of people, go the right parties, crawl up the right backsides, get a better job in a better office, get a bigger more expensive house, have more complicated relationships with more difficult wives/mistresses/insert preference, get a new Audi every year, and generally treat everybody else like shit.  It's not rocket science.

Where's the double laugh icon?  That's cheered me up no end!

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