Our 9-point inspection: Is it a beater?

To help determine if you're driving a beater, give yourself 1 point for the following:

- Each wire hanger employed for any purpose other than hanging clothes, such as a radio antenna or as an integral part of your exhaust system.

- Each taillight covered in red cellophane.

- Hand-cranked windows (1 bonus point if nothing happens when you crank them).

- Each hole in the floor through which pavement is visible.

- A Bondo purchase in the last two years.

- Each visible spring, either popping through upholstery or peeking through rust holes.

- Each mismatched body panel (a fire-engine-red door on a navy blue vehicle, for example).

- Each missing or mismatched hubcap.

- Each missing cigarette lighter, radio knob, door lock, door handle, rear-view and side mirror.


- Add 1 point if you carry an extra fan belt.

- Add 1 point if the glove box randomly flies open.

- Add 3 points if your vehicle has both an AM-only radio and an 8-track tape player.


0-3: You're driving a beauty.

4-7: Your car needs some work.

8-10: Call the mechanic, quick.

11 and up: Hey, look behind you ... is that your transmission in the street?