Go Back   EcoModder Forum > EcoModding > Off-Topic Tech
Register Now
 Register Now

Reply  Post New Thread
Submit Tools LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-29-2016, 09:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Ecky's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,495

Gaptooth (retired) - '00 Honda Insight
Team Honda
Gen-1 Insights
90 day: 54.26 mpg (US)

Such Fit - '07 Honda Fit Sport
90 day: 41.27 mpg (US)

Connect - '15 Ford Transit Connect XL
90 day: 23.93 mpg (US)

K-sight - '00 Honda K-sight
90 day: 40.97 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,285
Thanked 1,427 Times in 906 Posts
Wife wrecked my Insight - help me find a beater

Saturday night, I got a phone call - my wife had run off the road. She said she had a large bruise on her face, and she thought both of the headlights were smashed.

I arrived to find her dazed and giddy, sitting in an ambulance, with no bruise on her head. We rushed her to the ER anyway, where they pronounced that she should take some Advil and sleep it off.

After making sure she was safe and (mostly) unharmed, I cried over the car.

Apparently, she was driving along at ~35mph, when the weather got bad and she began to fishtail. She took her hands off the steering wheel and feet off the pedals, covered her upper body, and let the car go where it was going to go - which happened to be a pretty deep ditch. I might've recommended braking, but I wasn't there and that might be a bit presumptuous of me.

Right now it's at a towing yard. The owner is a crook, wanted to charge me $700 to get my car back. I cursed him down to $500, which is still highway robbery, but I'll have it back tomorrow morning.

A brief inspection revealed the headlights are not actually smashed, but the front plastic bumper cover is pretty thoroughly destroyed. The airbags did not deploy. The frame around the radiator is bent in a little, and the radiator itself appears to have the slightest bend. I didn't see any fluids leaking. The driver wheel is at a bizarre angle. At a glance I was able to see that it will, at the very least, need a driver tie rod assembly and lower arm assembly, and probably a bunch of other bits that belong in that area. Passenger side looks alright at a glance.

For various reasons, we've decided not to involve the insurance company. Over the next few days I'm going to give it a thorough inspection and see if it's worth saving. I'm leaning toward yes, but it's not going to be back on the road any time soon.

In the mean time, I'm looking for a beater to drive while I work on it, something preferably no more than $1500, with <1k being ideal. I can probably travel up to 4 hours away from ~Enosburg/Richford VT, which puts most of NH, upstate NY and possibly northern MA within my area of search. Closer is better. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated:

Local craigslist: https://burlington.craigslist.org/search/cta

^ Civic Hybrid. Owner is feeling things out. Says it needs nothing, but not sure if selling yet.

^ Echo. Not fond of automatic transmissions, not really the car I want, and the price is a bit higher than I want, but it looks clean and reliable.

^ Good looking old Corolla

^ Cheap Civic, might've been abused though.

There are a few clean Civic Hybrids in the ~$3500 range that are tempting me, but I really don't have the funding for that right now. Not ruled out entirely, but it would be tough, given that I just paid for a bunch of classes. I might be tempted to spend a little more for a good VX/HF/HX, too, or a clean Echo or Corolla 5MT. I'm wary of automatic transmissons with more than ~150k.

EDIT: https://burlington.craigslist.org/cto/5437777074.html
^ Claims it "knocks sometimes when idling". The valves on Honda's hybrids can be pretty loud, especially if they've drifted out of spec. I might go and give this one a listen.

Last edited by Ecky; 02-29-2016 at 10:32 PM..
  Reply With Quote
Alt Today
Popular topics

Other popular topics in this forum...

Old 02-29-2016, 10:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
Furry Furfag
Baltothewolf's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Apple Valley
Posts: 2,084

Winsight - '00 Honda Insight
90 day: 56.69 mpg (US)

Miaderp - '95 Mazda Miata
90 day: 28.53 mpg (US)
Thanks: 67
Thanked 404 Times in 310 Posts
Wow, that really sucks man... Sorry to hear that, at least the wife is ok!

Anyway, that hybrid civic for 1200 is a steal if it passes inspection/runs/drives ok.

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2016, 10:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
EcoModding Newb
redpoint5's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,283

Acura TSX - '06 Acura TSX
90 day: 28.39 mpg (US)

Lafawnda - '01 Honda CBR600 F4i
90 day: 47.32 mpg (US)

Big Yeller - '98 Dodge Ram 2500 base
90 day: 21.82 mpg (US)

Prius Plug-in - '12 Toyota Prius Plug-in
90 day: 57.64 mpg (US)

Mazda CX-5 - '17 Mazda CX-5 Touring
90 day: 28.88 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,093
Thanked 2,304 Times in 1,695 Posts
Happy to hear the wife is in good condition, sorry to hear about the car.

In reduced traction situations, I usually opt to steer than to brake. The decision is based on whether or not there is a safe path I can take given the low amount of traction. It all depends on how much room you have ahead of the object you are trying to avoid. Just a slight deflection in heading, well in advance of the object to avoid, often results in missing it. If collision or running off the road is unavoidable, braking is advised. There is almost never a situation where both braking and steering is the correct decision.

Think of it in this oversimplified way. You have 100% of whatever tire grip is available to you, no matter how little that amount happens to be. There is a choice to be made about spending that 100% of traction to slow the vehicle down, or to spend 100% of that traction to alter course. The alternative is to do both at the same time, resulting in 50% available to alter course, and 50% to slow down (or some other proportion equal to 100%).

A couple years ago, I was driving the truck down a snowy mountain after harvesting a Christmas tree with my wife, and the tail end lost traction. There was several seconds before a right-hand corner, with an extremely steep and unguarded drop off to the left side if I didn't make it. Immediately I let off what little brake pedal I was using, but the tail was still not compliant and I was counter-steering like mad to regain control. I realized that even the small engine braking on the rear wheels was causing the loss of traction, so I shifted to neutral. Just moments before disaster, the tail hooked up, and I restrained steering effort to the absolute least amount required to make the turn. I swear I used a few invisible extra inches of road to make the corner, but I'm still here. Braking would have sent me over the cliff. Turning too sharp would have blown the corner. Failing to regain rear end compliance would have been the end.

We're not always so fortunate to have a few seconds to sort out a rapidly deteriorating situation though.

Out of curiosity, how did the car arrive at the tow yard instead of anywhere else in the world? I'd rather have it delivered to Felony Flats than let the crooks at the tow yard get their filthy hands on it. Just about the only way that happens is when a vehicle is impounded.
Gas and Electric Vehicle Cost of Ownership Calculator

Give me absolute safety, or give me death!

Last edited by redpoint5; 02-29-2016 at 11:10 PM..
  Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to redpoint5 For This Useful Post:
darcane (03-01-2016), Ecky (02-29-2016)
Old 02-29-2016, 11:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Ecky's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,495

Gaptooth (retired) - '00 Honda Insight
Team Honda
Gen-1 Insights
90 day: 54.26 mpg (US)

Such Fit - '07 Honda Fit Sport
90 day: 41.27 mpg (US)

Connect - '15 Ford Transit Connect XL
90 day: 23.93 mpg (US)

K-sight - '00 Honda K-sight
90 day: 40.97 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,285
Thanked 1,427 Times in 906 Posts
We called a place we trust to have it pulled out, and then left in the ambulance. The police for whatever reason waited at the car (which was clearly not blocking the road), got impatient and called someone else, because our guys were finishing up a tow and would be slow to arrive. If I could do it over again... I still would've gone with my wife on to the ER, but yes, it's puzzling to me too. The next morning I showed up at the shop that was allegedly going to tow it for me, and they didn't have my car.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 05:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
Plugging In FTW
cowmeat's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lakeland Florida
Posts: 1,527

Ron Burgundy (retired) - '01 Honda Insight base
Gen-1 Insights
90 day: 71.2 mpg (US)

High Voltage (retired) - '12 Chevrolet Volt Premier
90 day: 14.34 mpg (US)

Ruby - '18 Chevrolet Volt LT
Team Volt
90 day: 177.99 mpg (US)
Thanks: 114
Thanked 638 Times in 386 Posts
Glad your wife's okay, man! Was "Jesus take the wheel" playing on the radio when she started fishtailing by any chance?

If you were still in Tallahassee my son has a couple of extra Festivas and a Subaru Legacy wagon that would fit your budget, not sure any of them would make that long of a journey though

Good luck with the Insight!

If I only had a dollar for every time I've saved gas . . . wait, I do!
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 08:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,927
Thanks: 877
Thanked 2,018 Times in 1,302 Posts
Best way to drive? I think it's a lot like chess, you always want to be one move ahead of all the threats outside your influence. I remember a video posted on this forum of a member who was hit in the rear end by a big rig, driven by an absolute idiot.
I read about things breaking on cars and all I can think about is they HAD to know something was going on.

Your car should be easily fixable.

Make sure the frame is straight.
Get the hood to open and close properly.
Finally get the mounting points for the front bumper cover in place and do a trial reinstall of the bumper cover.
Bolt the headlights in place and see how well they are aligned.

If the radiator is not leaking leave it alone.

See if there is a car you can borrow from someone while you are doing this. Lights, alignment and a mounted license plate are all you are legally required to have.

  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 04:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 31

Porter - '13 Ford C-max SEL
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
...Apparently, she was driving along at ~35mph, when the weather got bad and she began to fishtail. She took her hands off the steering wheel and feet off the pedals, covered her upper body, and let the car go where it was going to go - which happened to be a pretty deep ditch. ...
Please see if there are any autocross driving schools in Burlington! Your wife needs to learn how to deal with a car at the edge of adhesion. It's not something to learn on a dark and snowy road, but rather a memory to access when conditions deteriorate. An autocross school will be cheap, and low speed (like the accident).

Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
... There is almost never a situation where both braking and steering is the correct decision....

At track driving schools, pre-ABS, the rule was "If you spin, both feet in." Race tracks are designed to allow you to lose control, and safely and predictably come to a stop. The key was locking brakes, so the car went straight off the pavement, into the gravel trap.

The guys who didn't bent their cars and paid for some Armco.

And your story is one reason I've always preferred a clutch in Winter; neutral is critical on slippery roads, and your left foot will beat your right hand (shifting an automatic) every time.

HAve fun,
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 05:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
Rat Racer
Fat Charlie's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Route 16
Posts: 3,306

Al the Third, year four - '13 Honda Fit Base
Team Honda
90 day: 42.9 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,253
Thanked 1,357 Times in 875 Posts
Neutral and a lever that applies brakes to the rear wheels only.

Plus, gentle engine braking is a lot safer and more quickly reversable than moving your foot away from the gas and over to the bake.

Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 07:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,059

Kristin's Impala FFV - '10 Chevy Impala LT
90 day: 26 mpg (US)

XFE Coupe - '09 Chevy Cobalt XFE
Team Chevy
90 day: 42.77 mpg (US)

2010 Cobalt - '10 Chevy Cobalt LT
90 day: 37.05 mpg (US)

Penny's Rogue - '15 Nissan Rogue SL AWD
90 day: 28.49 mpg (US)

Cam's Rogue - '11 Nissan Rogue SV AWD
90 day: 26 mpg (US)

Elantra - '17 Hyundia Elantra SE
Team Hyundai
90 day: 40 mpg (US)

Cruze Limited - '16 Chevy Cruze Limited LT
Thanks: 219
Thanked 191 Times in 162 Posts
Just get her a car with ABS, ESC, TC and winter tires. $500 + damages + ER visit covers alot of gas. $3500 factory rebate on 2015 Mirages.

I'm frankly amazzed how well ESC works, I've tossed the Impala sevaral times into corners faster than I knew it would hold and and it basically stops itself without spinning out. TC IMO not as important but it all comes together. ABS has evolved alot since my first one in a 1994 explorer. The impala's is seemless but I still put winter tires on it.

Last edited by roosterk0031; 03-01-2016 at 08:48 PM..
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 08:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
darcane's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Buckley, WA
Posts: 1,576

Ninja 650R - '06 Kawasaki Ninja 650R
90 day: 52.02 mpg (US)

B*tch - '01 Honda Civic HX
Team Honda
90 day: 38.09 mpg (US)

Ms. Hyde - '06 Cadillac CTS V
Sports Cars
90 day: 16.93 mpg (US)
Thanks: 366
Thanked 476 Times in 309 Posts
Originally Posted by Fat Charlie View Post
Neutral and a lever that applies brakes to the rear wheels only.
On ice and snow, this is a good way to cause a spin...

It's counterintuitive, but locking just the rear wheels will cause the car to spin 180 and have the car continue backwards, especially with a FWD car. And it's easy to do with a lever-operated brake. A locked wheel has very little friction and has no ability to control the direction of travel.

Locking just the front wheels would cause the car to continue in a straight line, but continue moving forward.

It's far better to avoid the brakes and steer out of the situation

Ecky: When your wife is up to it, see if you can find an empty parking lot and have her intentionally slide it and try to correct. Doing this several times in a safe environment will make her more comfortable when she needs to get out of a similar situation. Considering where you live, I'm sure it will come up again.

2001 Civic HX Mods

Past Cars:

2003 Silverado Mods
  Reply With Quote
Reply  Post New Thread

Thread Tools

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright EcoModder.com