Sputtering around

Hanging around in Yahoo! Answers has given me new insights into America’s car smarts, or the lack thereof. I mean, it’s damned near 2013 and people are still whining about a bad tank of gas?

Why, yes, they are:

On the most recent edition of MotorWeek, Pat Goss warned about the dangers of bad fuel. What danger? The last time I encountered a problem with subpar pump gas was almost fifty years ago.

In his best scary, boogeyman’s-gonna-get-ya voice, Goss warned that “problems” can occur when patronizing “low-volume gas stations.” Huh? No such animals exist around here. So many stations have closed over the past 20 years that only the volume guys remain.

But people will cling to this belief, simply because it’s a whole lot easier to swallow than “Some emissions-related thingumabob went out and it’s gonna cost you $300 to fix.” Somewhere in this country, some time this weekend, some poor shlub is going to hear his transmission grenading at 70 mph, and is going to spend the next half hour looking for the fuse box because hey, fuses!

In point of fact, though:

[I]f your car breaks down these days, the only “tools” you need in your vehicle are a charged cell phone, a valid AAA membership and a bottle of wine with a screw top — to consume while you’re waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

And people like this will drive you to drink: “Will a 5 lug spare fit my ford escort 4lug?” I was tempted to tell him that he had to change the lug fuse.



  1. Jeffro »

    22 November 2012 · 8:26 pm

    I don’t see how you can stand to go there and read stupid questions like that – my tolerance for outright stupidity has apparently evaporated over the years, even when I do it myself.

    We do find ourselves changing fuel filters on occasion because of dirty diesel – it’s happened often enough that some of our guys have stopped buying fuel from certain places. Never happened to me – yet.

    We carry extras for just that occasion, btw.

  2. CGHill »

    22 November 2012 · 9:09 pm

    From what little I know about diesels, they require more stringent filtering as a matter of course.

    Disclaimer: I have only a few hundred miles of seat time, most of that in a circa-1980 Oldsmobile, which was sensitive to everything up to and including the relative humidity. The rest came in a test drive of a Mercedes-Benz 240D, which was a bit more tractable, but acceleration was theoretical at best.

  3. Bayou Renaissance Man »

    25 November 2012 · 12:51 am

    Around the blogs…

    Dustbury links to a particularly stupid car question on the Internet. The fun part is the responses by other readers…

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