As we collectively start tightening our belts and begin to brave the storm that is the economic apocalypse, it quickly becomes second nature to cut corners here and there, in the hopes of stretching every dollar to its limit. One of the first treasures in a person's possession that's going to bear the brunt of this new economy is their car. Perhaps it starts with an ignored "Check Engine" light, or maybe a trick you have to learn to close the passenger door. Then one day, you wake up and suddenly realize you're driving a full-blown hooptie.
By Brad Iger
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
10. Your Trunk Looks Like a Pep Boys Exploded
The first definite sign of beater-dom is when you pop the trunk and there’s about three cubic centimeters of usable space available. This is especially true when the contents are things like various half-empty hydraulic fluid bottles, random tools, a flat tire, light bulbs, an empty gas can, and several hundred zip ties.
When it takes an army of life support measures to keep your car on the road, it’s officially ghetto.
9. Your Stereo Doubles as a Tune Up
What the hell is that crazy knocking sound coming from the front of the car? Is there a wolverine caught in the fan blades of the air conditioning system? Why does the car randomly emit a loud beep sound every fifteen minutes or so? Is a constant grinding wail a big problem?
If your solution to these ailments is to go from “4” to “11” on the volume dial of your stereo, your car is a beater.
8. The "Space Saver" Spare Tire is Now a Permanent Tire
Okay, you got a flat. Happens to all of us. So you slapped on the space saver spare – a mini wheel designed to take you from where you got the flat directly to a tire shop to get the original tire fixed. Except you didn’t quite make it to the tire shop.
Actually, you went to the movies instead. And you still haven’t gotten around to it. Well, that was in October. Of 2007.
7. Your Horn Died Mid-Honk
Possibly one of the most embarrassing things you car could do to you, just short of dying in front of a girl’s house before you set off on a first date, the horn death rattle can really be a blow to your ego.
Say you just got cut off by some jackass and now you’re stark raving mad, and directly behind him in heavy traffic. You decide to let him (and everyone around you) know how you feel about it by wailing on the horn until it becomes unbearable. That’ll teach ‘em!
But you didn’t anticipate that the horn in your hooptie would suddenly decide to kick the bucket, mid-honk, causing the horn to emit a sound as though your car had suddenly been afflicted with “performance anxiety.” Yipes. Even his car can’t get the job done! That’s what they’ll say.
6. Gauges Are Now More Like Vague Estimates
In a new car, it’s easy to take things such as accurate readouts for granted. You look at a gauge, and you know exactly what the state of your car is.
But on a beater, it’s a different story. The owner of a proper beater knows he can never trust those things. In a properly beat down car, the gas gauge will read half a tank, and a naïve owner will be lulled into a false state of security. Suddenly, as he passes the sign that says “next gas 60 miles”, the needle will drop like a bag of hammers and come to rest about 3mm above E, revealing the true situation: You're f**ked.