How to Take Care of a Sh*tty Car

This is my car…
Geo Prizm

Well, okay. That’s a stock picture of my car. Here’s a picture of my Geo Prizm.

Geo Prizm
Kind of depressing, huh? It’s like looking at one of those Faces of Meth picture comparisons. The stock picture of my car above is when the Prizm was in the midst of its youthful glory days, long before a dude name Miike (with two I’s, a fact he never fails to mention) introduced my car to this fancy new drug he made in his camper called “Meth.” The other picture was taken four years in to my Prizm’s meth addiction; specifically, moments after it was beaten up by a Mexican gangbanger that it tried to shortchange.

But my car’s meth addiction is beside the point. The true point here is this: my car is a piece of shit. Not everyone can afford a brand new car. Some of us have to drive the car that our aunt sold us 9 years ago the day before she was going to have it sent to the scrap yard. Times are tough — and there are XBoxes to buy. Priorities, kids.

But just because you have a car that’s a hunk of shit with R/C car wheels attached to it doesn’t mean you have to feel bad or ashamed of it — far from it. I love my blue 1992 Geo Prizm, and if you drive a shitty car as I do, you too should love that old battered warhorse. You should also try to maintain it, though. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a shitty car allowed to become progressively shittier.

So come on a ride with me as I, with my many years of knowledge and experience with a shitty car, guide you through the world of keeping up the functions and appearance of an automobile that already looks like it’s been involved in some crazy James Bond-style car chases while never once helping me pull anywhere near the amount of tail that James Bond does.

Door Handle

Geo Prizm door handle

When you enter my car, the first thing you may notice (along with the general state of decrepitude) is the driver-side door handle. This, friends, is a door handle that defies all metaphysical laws. Yes, it is there and it is a door handle, but it is completely broken and is really only there for aesthetic reasons; hence, the question that arises is, can a door handle that can no longer acts as a handle even be considered a door handle? If you’re reading this while on acid, I just blew your mind.

How To Maintain: Obviously, this can make exiting my car a bit of a hassle. If my car were to, say, plunge in to a lake with me at the wheel, the broken door handle would be less of a “hassle” and more of a “guaranteed death,” thus converting my “car” in to a “suicide box with a motor.” (By the way, all words encased in quotation marks can be found in my Chevy-supplied Geo Prizm User’s Manual). Some say it just isn’t safe to drive a car with such a severely broken door handle, but I say, “Shut up, mom! I can just roll down the window and open it from the outside!”

Air Vents

Geo Prizm air vents

Generally, air vents aren’t supposed to be large, cavernous holes in the middle of your dashboard. Mine are, though. This has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance…

  • Disadvantage: I cannot direct air toward my face on a hot summer day.
  • Advantage: Evolution gave us the ability to sweat to cool ourselves down. And if you sweat straight through your T-shirt and create a large, highly noticeable ring of self-generated moisture you’ll be cool (in all senses of the word) in or out of your car.

How To Maintain: While large holes for air vents might be something in need of repair for some people, for me it’s nothing but a creative challenge. At first I simply held my hand in front of the vent and angled it in a way that directed the stream of cool air at my face. While this did, in fact, work, I had to scrap the tactic after my friend sitting in the passenger seat got confused and gave me a high-five. High-fives are a precious celebratory act that must only be broken out during special occasions (example: “My car sank in to the lake and I survived! High-five!”), and I cherish their sanctity. So to direct the stream I got crafty — and checked the floors of my car for a business card to cram in there.

Geo Prizm

I found one, shoved it in, and now I have cool air hitting my face all the time. Granted, my A/C is, as of this writing, broken, and the business cards keep falling in to the air conditioner itself, but you’ll have to admit, it’s pretty brilliant. I can’t wait for the day I turn on my A/C full blast and get a face full of phone numbers for businesses that went defunct nearly a decade ago.

Air Vents, Part II

Geo Prizm

Speaking of air vents, I have two more on the opposite ends of the dashboard, just under the windshield. See, not everything on my car is brok –

Geo Prizm

How To Maintain: Never mind. But never fear, for there is yet another easy and quick fix!

Dashboard Flowers

It kind of looks like flowers growing out of the back of a blue dinosaur.


Geo Prizm

Moving upwards we find my lack of ceiling. If you’ve ever wondered what’s under all that good looking fabric that gives your car’s interior some semblance of color cohesion, it’s orange-y foam that I’m pretty sure gives you cancer.

How To Maintain: The best thing to do with the foam is to get stuck in traffic and use a pen or your finger to carve obscene pictures in the foam itself. Also, the foam tends to sprinkle off and sail around the car when I go over 60 MPH. In that situation I just close my eyes and hope everyone around me on the highway understands that I am not physically able to see things; namely, them.

You may also notice the lack of sun visor on the passenger side. But don’t let your eyes deceive you. Just because it’s not bolted in to the place it’s supposed to be doesn’t mean it’s not in the car.

Geo Prizm floorboard

See? It’s safely situated on the floor of the back seat, right next to the shiny windshield sun visor that I never use. And really, that’s the best place to keep the sun visor. Sun can bother backseat riders just as much as front seat riders. Out of dilapidation comes resourcefulness. Is that a penny next to the broken visor? I should pick that up later.


Geo Prizm Radio

No, this is not the last remaining BetaMax player in the northern hemisphere, this is my radio. According to those two knobs on the bottom I can control the bass and the treble; but in actuality they control the level of static and the diameter of the tin can inside of the speakers, respectively. The Fade and Balance knobs are there for you to determine precisely which passenger you want to piss-off/drown out the voice of. It’s a wonderful option that most cars should include.

How To Maintain: To increase audio quality, never listen to any audio source better than your car radio so you have nothing to compare them to.


Geo Prizm

Is that a collection of sea foam resting atop a softly sloshing body of water? Nope. It’s the final remnants of my car’s glossy sheen.

How To Maintain: A good tip for anyone with a car that looks like a person a week after they fell asleep on the surface of the sun is to pretty much forget about ever washing the car again. When a car reaches a certain point of disarray cleaning it in any way is just a demonstration of diminishing returns. A good scrubbing from even the weakest of sponges would strip my car bald of all remaining dignity. Even the weakest of hose sprays could cause as much damage as the Death Star’s planet-destroying death laser.

The paint/gloss flakes serve as a not-too-cleverly fitted toupee. Everyone knows beneath that thin layer of pathetic paint sprinkles hides a sad bounty of pastiness that no one wants to see. Everyone respects themselves too much to be subjected to that shared embarrassment.


Geo Prizm bumper

Moving to the car’s exterior we find a fracture on the front bumper. This is a good example of what happens when you “Love Tap” a tree trunk.

How To Maintain: There really isn’t any way to maintain or remedy this crack unless you just plunk down the cash to get a new bumper, but that ain’t gonna happen, now is it? No, it’s not. So the best word of advice I can give is to never teach your high school girlfriend how to drive with your own car. Doing this will prevent this crack from ever being created in the first place.

Windshield Wiper Fluid Tank

Geo Prizm

Lastly, we move in to the engine bay and examine the windshield wiper fluid tank, or as I call it, “The other use for that blue stuff that barbers keep their combs in.” As you can plainly see, I have a massive hole on the underside of the tank, rendering it completely useless.

How To Maintain: But, of course, it’s only completely useless if you lack any and all imagination. What was once an unsightly hole on a thing that nobody will see is now…

Geo Prizm

…a flower pot that you want to show off to everyone.

And About That Giant Blood Stain…

Geo Prizm

Oh, and as for the massive dried bloodstain on the backseat? Yeah, there really isn’t much you can do about that, except maybe tell everyone that asks about it a completely different story for how the blood stain got there. Here are a few of my best:

  • Ran over last remaining Dinosaur, drove it to animal hospital where it died.
  • “You know that scene in Reservoir Dogs where Tim Roth is bleeding to death in the back seat of the car? Yeah, it’s a true story.”
  • It’s haunted.