Missing door handles, 'plastic' windows: Weird car flaws, and strange fixes we all know

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Screwdriver in car window
Screwdriver in car window

When the budget is tight, drivers have to improvise if something on their vehicle breaks.

Some of these incidents include covering a missing window with cardboard or plastic.

The VW MK1 Golf's door handles have a tendency to break fairly easily.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.

Everyone wishes they could be behind the wheel of a brand-spanking new vehicle, but the reality is that many still keep the faith with their current 'old faithful', many being classified as lemons should it be found on the used car market.

Some of them might not be the prettiest or have any fancy features present like you would find in modern vehicles produced today, but they do the job of daily transportation when required.

Unfortunately, vehicles cannot repair themselves like the Plymouth Belvedere in the 1983 movie Christine. So when specific components need replacing, it is up to the driver to keep everything in top shape.


Something that needs replacing can also depend on the type of person you are - whether you want the work to be carried out as soon as possible, and not having to see out restless nights until month-end, or when you can afford to have the matter repaired.

Are there any other 'flaws' you know of that we might have missed, to add to the list? Email us, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

READ: How lockdown restrictions revived illegal street racing: A former racer shares all

Not all vehicles on the road are in top condition, leaving some drivers to improvise when certain components are broken or missing - though it doesn't look pretty. Here are some of them:

Screwdriver to keep side window up

Electric windows are prevalent in most new vehicles, while older or more budget-friendly models make do with manual window winders. The latter's interior mechanism rods can fail from time to time, so when trying to roll the window up or down, it will just stay in one position until someone has to use both hands to move the glass upwards.

In order to keep the glass in place and closed at all times, some wedge a screwdriver down the door panel. This is not ideal when the weather is at its best in warmer months, and you can't roll down the window for some fresh air.

Screwdriver in car window

Missing door handles

The Volkswagen Citi Golf could well be classified as South Africa's greatest automotive icon, mainly because of its overall affordability and reliability. Still, the 'old faithful' wasn't perfect and had a few aesthetic blemishes that also serves as one of the oldest running jokes among petrolheads.

Its plastic door handles and inner release button had a tendency to break or come apart altogether if pulled too hard when opening the door. Though it is relatively cheap to replace, having it fitted is often considered time-consuming, resulting in owners driving with one less handle - though it is not safe because of the country's crime and theft rate. Then again, that missing door handle could just be your saving grace.

Duct tape to cover window rust, broken parts

Any vehicle's biggest enemy is the build-up of rust in certain sections caused by damage due to a fender-bender or crash. Rust conditions prove to be even worse when winter and torrential rains come around. A commonplace for rust is above the front windscreen and, depending on how advanced it is, can allow water to leak inside the cabin.

Some panel shops can charge a pretty penny to repair the section, but for those who want a quick fix, usually just cover the affected area, or any loose car parts with duct tape.

A few years ago when the art of 'stickerbombing' was a trend in car culture circles, drivers would often use large stickers to cover any aesthetic blemishes on their cars.

Plastic or cardboard in place of a window

Incidents like someone smashing your window(s) is one of the most common acts of damage to a vehicle and can turn out to be a costly exercise if you're not insured. And, even if you are, an excess generally needs to be paid first.

Those waiting for a replacement window or until payday often resort to covering the exposed section from the elements with cardboard or a plastic sheet held together with masking or duct tape. Unfortunately, it immediately detracts from the appearance, making a car appear suspicious and could probably have the driver pulled over by law enforcement officials for a spot fine.

Broken car window covered with plastic in Rotterda
Broken car window covered with plastic
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