The Worst Car I’ve Ever Worked On

In my over eight years of working on cars as a mechanic, I’ve seen a lot of cars in bad shape. Rusty, neglected, dirty, all kinds of problems. But when a car has so many problems you don’t know where to start, and multiple people say it’s the worst car they’ve seen in the shop, that means it really is one of the worst.

This Honda Accord came into the shop for a new key. I don’t know if it was towed in, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I went outside to pull the car in, and the key broke apart when I tried to turn the ignition. Figuring I would just program the new key out in the lot where it sat, I brought out a laptop, and found that the car’s battery was dead. With no choice, I gathered some other techs to help push the car into the shop. Did I mention it had at least two flat tires? That didn’t make pushing it in any easier.

Once in the shop, I opened the hood to hook up my battery charger so I could program the key, and found their hack job of a fuse box cover. I guess if it keeps water off it then it’s better than nothing. I programmed the key, and replaced one of the airbags that was under recall, and found that the airbag system warning light was on. It had a code for failure of the SRS unit, which is an expensive thing to replace, and with the condition of the car, it’s not worth it.

As you can tell by all the dirt and leaves on the car, it’s definitely been sitting for a while. The flat tires and dead battery are also a good indication of that. It wasn’t immediately obvious, but the car wasn’t originally white. It got painted at some point, and there was overspray everywhere, including over the VIN label on the driver’s door jamb, so it was a very lazy job, whoever did it.

I could tell that there had been an aftermarket audio system at one point. There was a gaping hole in the dashboard where the unit probably was, and the door panels were all hacked up where speakers had been installed. The rear shelf behind the rear seats was completely gone.

With the overall condition of the car, when I had finished with the key and airbag, I just drove it out of the shop, because trying to list and price out everything wrong with the car would be too much, and the car wasn’t worth putting any money into. But then it turned out the customer wanted it looked over anyway, and another tech was given the car later that week to do so. When he tried to get into the car, the battery was dead again, and the key wouldn’t go into the lock cylinder on the driver’s door, so there was no way to get into the car besides the trunk, so he ended up having to crawl in through the trunk to pop the hood, and then the only door he could manually unlock was the passenger rear.

I’ve worked on cars that were rustier than this one, dirtier cars, worse tires, brakes, or suspension, but what I saw, felt, and heard while just driving this car in and out of the shop was enough for me to decide that this was the worst car I’ve had to work on. I hope the owner took my advice to scrap it, it’s not worth putting any work into.

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