Question of the Week: What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve made working on your car?


Back around 1974, not being able to afford the needed automatic transmission rebuild in my 1967 Ford 289 station wagon, but having the strong back and average brain of an 18 year old, I made a $100 deal + my transmission with a local wrecker for a known good tranny, as long as I pulled it myself. Along with a friend, pair of jacks, and two big tree trunk sections for jackstands, it only took the entire afternoon to get it out with no damage to ourselves or the trans. Setting it carefully next to the one we’d pulled from mine the day before, there was a really long silence. Guess a little research would have shown that due to a changeover, the '67 model year used both aluminum AND cast iron cases, and driveshafts, and other things. Oh well, I got my $100 back, and the yard got a tranny lovingly pulled for free :frowning:


I was 16, just got my license & since it was Feb in Buffalo Ny it was freezing!

I ran out of windshield washer fluid so I figured I’d throw some water mixed with antifreeze until I could get to the store & buy more.

Well the 1st time I hit “Spray” it squirted a mixture of a slimy substance all over the windshield that only got worse as the wipers smeared it all over & totally blocked any view out the windshield.
It took forever for me to drain & clear the pump & lines from the antifreeze but at least my reservoir never froze up!


I put a new serpentine belt on a 64 Corvair engine and must have gotten the adjustment too tight. About a month later the engine started knocking bad, like I was throwing a rod. I was. The tension on the belt must have caused the outer pulley of the crankshaft vibration damper to separate from the inner, and the outer walked back into the oil filter and wore a hole through it, all the oil came out and that was the end of that Corvair for me. It was a $300 car in 1971, and I was 200 miles from home. Hitchhiking home was a lesson in humility.