Back when my brother and I were in college, our Dad took us car shopping, and we ended up buying a brand new, sporty, black, two-door, 1998 Dodge Neon - with a spoiler, no less. When my brother and I went our separate ways, he bought a new car and I got to keep the old one. I've had it ever since. Which means, if you're paying attention, it's 10 years old now. And over the years it's acquired a lot of, shall we say, character. So much character, in fact, that I'm probably going to get rid of it soon. But before it goes to that great junkyard in the sky, I wanted to record some of its odd quirks for posterity. I've listed all the ones I can remember at the moment below; I may remember more later, so check back for updates!
-There's a large dent in the left front side over the wheel well from when I was backing out of a space in a parking garage and neglected to notice that there was a large concrete pillar right next to the car. We got the alignment fixed after this accident, but never the dent.
-Ever since that pillar jumped out in front of me, the driver side door has never really sealed properly. If you just close the door and drive off, wind sneaks in through a crack in the window while you're driving and makes an irritating whistling sound. This crack also allows water to get inside when it rains, leading in the past to the car being filled with large puddles of water. To avoid this issue, it's necessary to roll the window down slightly before closing the door, and then roll the window up again after the door is closed. Of course, this means you have to then exit from the passenger side door, or risk breaking the seal.
-Sometimes when turning the car off, the key will not turn all the way back to the off position, but get stuck about three quarters of the way there. It's still possible to yank the key out from this position, but it certainly doesn't seem like a good thing. In order to avoid this problem, it's necessary to always turn the key past the off position, to the accessory position, before starting the car and after turning it off.
-If, while driving the car about, you just park it normally by shifting into park, over time, the brakes start to make a horrible squealing noise. This is apparently a problem in most Neon models. To avoid the squealing, it's necessary to always put on the emergency parking break whenever parking the car.
-The interior dome light no longer goes on automatically, although it can be turned on manually.
-Like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, the car's weakness is water. If you drive the car in a very heavy downpour, or go splashing through a large puddle, or otherwise get water up under the car, it will start to make a horrible grinding noise, especially when the gas is depressed. There's also a lot of rattling and vibrations, which you can feel if you grasp the parking brake. Lately, the car has reacted even more negatively to being wet in any way, to the extent that after a heavy rain, all of its electrical systems will fluctuate in odd ways: the radio will change stations randomly, or it will light up and seem to go on, but no sound will come out of the speakers. The headlights will also sometimes fail to come on.
-When you turn on the caution lights, often either the right or left side won't work, although you can sometimes make them work by jiggling the switch.