You see this gasket? I have no confidence in this gasket.
One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld is the one with “Tony the mechanic” as he berates Jerry over the lack of maintenance of his car and utters the unforgettable “You see this gasket? I have no confidence in this gasket!”
It’s a tee-shirt worthy quote. If only more mechanics had the passion to talk to some car owners like this who have no business owning a car. It would be a better world…sigh.
You Barely Know Your Car - Seinfeld (The Bottle Deposit)
Real World Car Abuse
Unfortunately, in the real world, car abuse happens all of the time. And the most likely reason why is due to a “Fear of anything mechanical.” Which is understandable. Not everyone is hardwired to be a mechanic. If you were not raised in a home with garage tools used as often as the dinner table fork and spoon, this fear is a natural response to the unknown.
However, another part of the problem is the misconception perpetuated by car makers that cars are nearly maintenance free with the exception of oil and filter changes every 10,000 miles or more; and worse yet, transmissions guaranteed to last the lifetime of a car without ever needing a transmission fluid change or flush.
Which begs the question “Just how much can you abuse or neglect a car and get away with it?"
In most cases, the best answer is “Whatever the time and mileage warranty period is for your particular car.” And you know why, so let’s not belabor the truthiness of automotive manufacturer conspiracy theories concerning the lifetime of a car.
The Most Reliable Car That You Can Abuse
The genesis of this topic was motivated by a recent Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel episode where the host has a visitor walking in with a paper coffee cup containing approximately 8 ounces of motor oil from a car that during its 200,000-plus miles has never had an oil change…and still runs.
The neglected vehicle is a 9th generation Toyota Corolla, from somewhere between the 2003 to 2008 models that would probably earn a “The Most Reliable Car That You Can Abuse” award...if such a thing existed.
Follow along with the host as he discusses the vehicle’s running condition and the wow factor of how after its first oil change the car still runs remarkably well all thanks to the build quality Toyota puts into many of its models.
The Most Reliable Cars Ever Built - TOYOTA
If you want a good dose of some of the worst car abuse imaginable, here are a few articles with video clips of the “Just Rolled In” YouTube channel series that are remarkable to say the least:
- Just Rolled In Customer Heats Car with Lit Propane Burner…and More!
- Car Customer Fails That Just Rolled In
- Just Rolled In Homer Simpson Edition
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
Image source: Deposit Photos