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Automotive Pet Peeves

Automotive Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve.  According to Merriam-Webster, a pet peeve is a frequent subject of complaint. When applied to cars, it is the ongoing irritant that prevents an enthusiast from thoroughly enjoying their car.

My automotive pet peeve is noise, vibration and harshness–known as NVH in automotive circles.  While I like the style and performance of my cars, that all goes out the window when my car develops a rattle in the dash–the end result of NVH.  More on that in a moment.

I’ve been around enough car people to know automotive pet peeves are not unique; however, does anyone share my obsession with rattles or is something else on their minds.  I asked my friends on Facebook and Instagram to weigh in on this topic.  Their feedback was interesting.

Social Media Feedback

Last week, I posted the following on Facebook and Instagram:

PET PEEVES! Is there anything about your car (or cars in general) that are a major irritation? Perhaps  a noise, color, style?  Anything goes…I am conducting an informal study for Vehicle Nanny that I will share when completed.

My friends did not disappoint.  Their feedback is shown below:

  • Brake moan and vibration. I can get almost any vehicle to do it. But seriously, it’s annoying and even though I know it’s harmless, I imagine the noise leads to a lot of warranty issues for dealers.
  • I have no idea what the warning signs on my dash mean. And I probably never will.
  • Auto stop/start (the feature that shuts off your engine at a stop light)
  • I don’t understand the manta ray looking slits on the sides of Camry tail lights.
  • The memory seat will randomly reset to a different position while driving.
  • Having to reset the stereo security code every time I disconnect the battery in my Porsche.
  • I had a 1970 Rambler Rebel and was annoyed with the fold flat reclining seats…until I remembered that I was 17 years old.
  • When my car says “key not detected” and the key is clearly sitting in the cup holder. Then says place key in the designated spot specified in the owners manual. Open the manual and it does not state where to put the key…but if I wave the keys around the steering wheel, the car starts.
  • Miscellaneous rattling after 3 months of ownership. Some noise/vibration between the exterior and interior that you cannot fix or figure out where it comes from!

One friend recently bought a Polestar 2 (the new electric vehicle from a Volvo-Geely partnership).  She sent me a list of her pet peeves, which deserve their own separate section.

Polestar Peeves

Buckle up…this is an exhaustive list!

  • No place to store anything minus a little front cubby. One visible cup holder and the second is hidden underneath what you think will be a console cover but no there is a cupholder. In order to access the secret cupholder you need to open the lid and basically rotate it into back seat. What the actual #$%&. Who designed this?
  • The panoramic roof with no cover???? It’s a $65k car. How the “f” does it not have a cover for the panoramic roof. A $35k kia soul has an electric clam shell cover for their panoramic roof and the Swedes can’t figure out how to get this done????
  • I don’t have leather seats, instead it’s this interesting fabric so I should be fine. Wrong!!! Whatever this fabric is made of takes leather’s bet and raises it. This stuff is like nuclear hot in the sun. I literally thought I was going to have a second degree burn the first time I sat on it in shorts. I had to jump out of the car.
  • I listen to a lot of audiobooks to the Bluetooth connection on the vehicle, but when navigation is playing. it plays over the audiobook. I think it’s because the navigation is on the vehicle and my book is playing through the Bluetooth, but it’s so frustrating that it doesn’t pause the audio coming through the Bluetooth.  

My friend asked not to be named, as she didn’t want to be identified by Polestar.  Evidently, Polestar montiors the web more closely than Tesla (which says something!).

Me And My Rattle

I have been chasing a small rattle in my 2022 Subaru Outback for the past six months.  It only surfaced in my subdivision, when the car was cold and when driven under 20 mph.  Once I’m on the main road, the rattle disappeared.  I could hit a pothole and no rattle could be heard.  Just that ⅛ mile drive through the neighborhood.  When the car was cold.  Under 20 mph.

My wife’s solution was for me to turn up the volume on the radio.  Before you criticize her for a total lack of appreciation for my plight, she has been dealing with my obsession since we started dating 1978.  Many date nights started with me chasing a rattle in my 1979 Z28.

car interior disassembled

With the Subaru, that dash has been apart at least a dozen times.  I have more components zip-tied or duct taped under the instrument panel than the engineers intended.  It was not until this past week that I nailed the source.  It was a plastic panel that was touching the side of the heater core.  When the heater core warmed up, the plastic softened to the point it no longer made the annoying sound. I added spacers to the plastic panel to solve the problem.

Why I wouldn’t take my car to the dealer for repair?  It is still under warranty and the dealer knows these cars best.  When it comes to intermittent issues that are hard to duplicate (like my rattle), it can be a nightmare for the technician.  Plus, I like a challenge that I can wrestle to conclusion.

Now that this is resolved, I can return to stress free road trips and normal maintenance.  Looking at the first list of pet peeves, I am wondering about the 1970 Rambler Rebel with its fold flat seat.  I might need to look into that one further!

Questions, Thoughts or Just Wondering Who’s Your Nanny?

I welcome any questions or thoughts you may have on this topic or anything on this website. Please email me at, or message me through the Vehicle Nanny Instagram or Facebook pages.

Want to learn more about me?  Go to this article:   Who’s Your Nanny?


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