Spring is here, which means driving fun time, unless your vehicle is a garbage truck or there’s a guy in the back seat with a gun who demands that you take him to an Eagles reunion concert. How do you keep your car in tip-top shape? Ask Mr. Car Person!
Dear Mr. Car Person:
My wife and I decided to get our daughter a new car as a surprise graduation gift. I went down to the Toyota dealer after work to take care of it since it was my wife’s bowling night. I called her up after I signed the papers (my wife, not my daughter–that would have ruined the surprise) and told her I got the Toyota Highlander, not the Sport model just the basic one without leather seats. My wife started screaming and said don’t you know that if you drive around in a Highlander with the back windows down and the front windows up your head will explode, she heard it on the Today Show or 60 Minutes, she couldn’t remember which.
Mr. Car Person, now I am worried that my daughter will forget about the back window problem some night and her head will explode and she will be permanently disfigured, which will hurt her marriage prospects as she already looks like my mother-in-law. Any suggestions?
Durnell Holman, Knob Noster MO
Relax! While the Highlander did indeed suffer from the exploding head defect from the time it was first introduced in 2001 until 2011, Toyota has added a dashboard light after the 2012 model year that gives drivers ample warning before they lose consciousness. Bonus safety feature–if only one rear window is rolled down damage is limited to internal organs.
Mr. Car Person–
Last night I let my son Wayne borrow my 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88 to take his girlfriend Sue Ellen to the Dairy Freeze, we were out of ice cream. They didn’t get home until like 12:30, and this morning I noticed there’s a big spot on the back seat. I asked Wayne how it got there and he says “Dad, with a front engine/rear-wheel drive layout you often get transmission fluid leaking into the back seat cushion, don’t get all bent out of shape.” Do you think Wayne is lying?
Oren Embree, Paducah, Kentucky
Our children represent the future, and we must trust them if they are ever going to mature into irresponsible adults such as us. Because the Delta 88 featured the patented “Tilt-Away” steering wheel, there would be no need for teenagers to crawl into the backseat to “do what comes naturally.” You are apparently projecting your unfulfilled sexual needs onto your son, and your time would be better spent trolling the internet.
Dear Mr. Car Person–
There is this girl at school who I will call “Tina” because that is her name. She is nice to me whenever I drive to school but if I have to walk she ignores me and just hangs out with the Pep Squad. I tried out for the Pep Squad but didn’t make it because my stupid mother put my pom-poms in the washer the night before and they came out looking like overcooked spaghetti. How can I tell if “Tina” likes me for who I am or is just “along for the ride.”
Linda Lou Holcomb, Hoxie, Arkansas
Dear Linda Lou–
You should not hold a grudge against your mother as she apparently allows you to drive to school sometimes, which is more than a lot of kids get. I have referred your question to the Teen Beat columnist, who will answer it if space permits.
Hey Car Person–
I have been told if your radiator overheats you can use soda to cool it down until you get to a gas station. Last night I asked this girl Lurleen who I was on a first date with if I could pour her Diet Dr. Pepper into my six-cylinder Honda as the needle was inching up into the “red zone,” and she says “Don’t you know anything? Diet soda only works in four cylinder engines.” When I got to the Sunoco station out on South 65 the guy says your cylinders are scored, you need to get them sleeved quick or else you’ll have to buy a whole new engine block. I told Lurleen she had to walk home, I wasn’t going to risk any more damage, and now she’s gone and told everybody I’m not a gentleman. The way I see it, she should pay my repair bill. What do you think?
Mike Dalton, Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa
The answer to your question depends on the “ground rules” you set before Lurleen ever got into your car. Unless you agreed to go “Dutch treat,” your date has no liability for engine damage even if you paid for her soda, according to Dewayne Norman, a divorce lawyer who has written extensively on pre-marital dating claims. You can get a good styrofoam cooler for $1.99 at any Kwik-Trip convenience store, and I suggest that next time you come prepared for an emergency with extra cans of soda. The Honda owner’s manual recommends Mountain Dew.
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