My Top 10 List of Rental Cars Honda Paid for while my Takata Air Bag was on recall!

Recently here on, I detailed my adventure with my exploding Takata Air Bag recall which claimed “shards of metal” would be flying in my face if I continued to drive my “daily driver” 2011 Honda Insight.    So, I parked the car for what turned out to be nearly 5 months before the replacement air bag arrived.   Honda was great, and rented me a car through Enterprise Rentals that entire time!!    I even got to know the “kids” at Enterprise at the El Camino center in Woodland Hills so much, I actually learned their names!

I always thought about how I would rank the rental cars if I had a chance, so, without further ado I bring you, drum roll please!

My…. Randy Kerdoon, Talking About….Top 10 car rentals


10. 2016 Chrysler 300 M 

a descriptive word no one ever wants to hear out of your rental car.   Painful.   …to your back.    I normally love Chrysler 300’s….in fact I just recently swapped my 2003 Chrysler 300 M to my sister for her aging ’99 Grand Cherokee so I could send that to a charity for a write off.    (Meaning I needed to thin my car “herd”).     This particular rental 300M was a nice riding, smooth car with one glaring issue.    The low back support wasn’t adjusting well enough to support my low back.    It was either too much or two little….I call it the “Princess and the Pea” syndrome.     Kept the car only a couple of days and swapped it out again….


9. 2016 Dodge Dart

I so wanted this car to be a great driving, spunky set of wheels.    Frankly I love the flowing lines….and didn’t expect much from the power plant of a economy rental car.    But some of the touches left me kinda cold.   I’m a big fan of Miles per gallon (MPG).    In every car I drive (‘cept the classics), I like to see what kind of gas mileage the car is getting.   Good or bad.   For some crazy reason, the Dart’s onboard display didn’t have that option.   Sure it showed me my mileage for that very SECOND….but an overall mileage?   No.   Odd.   I hoped I just missed it.    Because if I didn’t….well, that just reeks of being cheap.   Rental or not.   Other than that…it ran well, kind of underpowered, but again, it was a rental Dart.

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8.  2016. Chevy Camaro hardtop

I call this the “Claustrophobia mobile”.    For some, this iconic car is a sporty way to travel.   But the overall “chopped top” look, with not much window to stare through, while dynamic and great on first look….is a bit confining on the inside.    Nothing like driving to work at 430 in the morning and thinking about what it would be like to drive a Rose Parade float down Colorado Blvd having to peer thru a small hole in the front and side of the vehicle.    That was a bummer

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 7.    2016 Nissan Altima

A nice car with nice handling, nice comfort and….nice appearance.    Nice.   And Vanilla.   But nice!

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 6.  2016 Ford Focus Hatchback

the first car I rented, and certainly a nice set of set of wheels.    Great Handling…responsive steering…and I enjoyed it and kept it for almost a month when I thought to myself….”Geez am I going to have this car for 5 months?    Wait a minute, why couldn’t I trade this in for another car?”   And the rest is history

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 5.   2016 Nissan Maxima

Think upgraded Altima.   This car felt like what the 300M was supposed to feel like.   Comfortable, agile, solid and the closest thing to a luxury sports car on this list.    It even had a dial for “sport” performance.   Gotta like that.


  4.  2015 Chevy Camaro Convertible

This had everything the Camaro hardtop had, great reactive steering, a good road vehicle around the turns, and the extra joy of, no hardtop, thus, more headroom, thus….no Claustrophobia.   And if I even THOUGHT about that word….the convertible top would go down and wallah!!   During the time I had the car, a raging heat wave hit Southern California, to the point where on my way to work at 430am…I put the top down.   And it was comfortable.   And I didn’t have to wear a coat.   Nice!!   Made me almost forget that the truck lid latch was broken and wouldn’t open.   (Yes, Enterprise advised me of it before I rented the car, and I STILL wanted to rent it.   I had Triple A…don’t need to stinkin’ access to a spare tire).   Altho’ I kept wondering if I had a body back there and I just couldn’t smell it because it had been in there a long time.

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland3.    2016.  Jeep Grand Cherokee

The final rental.   One of my most favorite daily drivers ever was my ’94 Grand Cherokee….which was comfortable, great looking, had a nice stereo system and with the “Up Country” 4 wheel drive package could be driven practically anywhere.   It’s only problem was the one time I accidentally knocked a coffee mug out of it’s center console holder and it hit the gear lever at 70 mph on the 57 Freeway on the way to an Angels game, and knocked it into reverse.    It never had a reverse gear again.    As for THIS rental Grand Cherokee it was pretty pedestrian but still nice to drive and just driving a Jeep adds to the amount of testosterone flowing thru your veins by default.   Wish it had better gas mileage though.

img_43342.  2016. Dodge Ram 1500 Truck

Step behind the wheel of this truck and you suddenly feel like Tim Allen’s character in the old TV show “Home Improvement”. Ho!  Ho!   Talk about Testosterone flowing through your veins!   and with that ride height it’s easy to think….Wow….I’m on top of the world!!   Extra Cab, 5.7 liter Hemi (like my old Dodge Magnum)….that engine rumble sounded great!!   I was a little surprised by the truck having a “dial” gear selector instead of the column shift or floor shift, which kinda reminded me of a Prius, but, THIS IS ONE FINE MANLY RIDE!!   If I wasn’t 4 months out of having a heart attack, I’d be lifting heavy objects and throwing them in the bed of the truck…just because I could.

And the number 1 ranked Enterprise Rental Car I drove thanks to the Takata Air Bag recall IS…..

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1.  2015 Dodge Challenger

short of having a Hellcat, THIS is the car I want in my driveway!   It looks great, I look great in it, and being of a certain age, I don’t have to worry about taking my kids to school and cheerleader practices anymore so I don’t need a 4 door car (aka Charger).  This is great!   Admittedly this was a 305hp, 3.6 liter, 6 cylinder engine, NOT a HEMI, and thus picked up nearly 30 mpg, but it still had some kick to it.    Altho’ “punching it” on the freeway reminded me this is nice…but NOT a Hemi.       Soon after I traded it in….I started looking at 392 Dodge Challenger R/T’s with a Shaker hood because a Hellcat seemed so….over the top.   Let’s face it, do I really need a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter monster in Challenger trim?   Does anybody “NEED” a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter monster in Challenger trim?    Probably not, but….if you have the big enough pocketbook, it sure would have been fun to find out!
POSTSCRIPT :  Altho’ Honda has since replaced my driver’s side Takata air bag, it has YET to replace the PASSENGER side airbag….now expected to happen for another 3-4 weeks.  For now no one can set in my Insight’s passenger seat, making every trip with someone in the car feel like…


I guess we are the “Award Winning” Talking About Cars now!!


At the July 31st 2016 International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC) awards ceremony in Plymouth, Michigan, Talking About Cars 44, with Wayne Carini of Chasing Classic Cars and our coverage of the celebration of life at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles for the late car customizing icon George Barris, was honored with TWO awards!

The first (on the right) was a gold medallion for our coverage, and second, (on the left) we were judged the Best of Radio!!

While Wayne Carini gave us some great background on how be became such a car guy and a favorite of ours on Velocity, big automotive names like Chip Foose, Barry Meguiar, Linda Vaughn, and even….Joey Buttafuoco joined us to tell some great Barris stories.

It was terrific to be honored for just doing what we’ve done for a long time, give our podcast and radio listeners some great background on car loving celebrities and car personalities!

This was the first time Talking About Cars has been honored with an award and we thank Tom Kelley and everyone at the International Society for Vehicle Preservation (ISVP) for the honors!!


One other note, here’s to a speedy recovery for the First Lady of Motorsports, Linda Vaughn!    Her boyfriend recently passed away and she ended up later in a hospital for what was reported to be a heart attack.   She’s out now and recovering nicely.    Keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she recovers from this!    Linda has always been gracious and kind to us as we’ve covered the automotive hobby, and a really nice person!

Talking About Cars goes….video?

After nearly 2 years, Talking About Cars with Randy Kerdoon will continue to evolve.    While it’s been great doing a podcast (and we will continue it on iTunes and Soundcloud), we are EXPANDING INTO VIDEO!!   We have started our own You Tube “Talking About Cars” channel!! (click below)

Why?   Simply put, while many of you have been loyal podcast listeners….when we put an interview on You Tube….WOW…..that number of listeners/viewers increases some 500%.    I think someone is trying to send us a message!

Subscribe to our new you tube channel!!    and get ready for Talking About Cars….ON VIDEO AND on a podcast!


Our long National nightmare is almost over!

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Enterprise rental cars #1 (Ford Focus), #4 (Dodge Dart), #5 (Dodge Challenger)

Received the call I never thought i’d get this past week.   Our local Honda dealer said…”Mr. Kerdoon, the replacement part on your Honda airbag is in stock!”   Then silence.    I didn’t know what to say.   In my mind, I think I heard the Hallelujah chorus!   It had been five months since I pulled my 2011 Honda Insight in front of our home, turned it off, and didn’t touch it again….until I tried to start it 3 months later, but the batteries were dead.   ALL of the batteries.   All because of the recall notice I received that my Takata Air Bag was poised to throw “shards of metal” at my face in case of a front end collision!   Credit Honda for dutifully paying for a rental car for me since I first received my recall notice, IN FEBRUARY!   Since they are picking up my Honda later this week, I figure the rentals will go home by this coming weekend.

STAY TUNED for my promised look back at my TEN rental cars and my favorite rankings!

ALSO, some big changes are coming for TALKING ABOUT CARS as well starting in late August-early SEPTEMBER!!



it’s not easy racing in a circle!!

In June, Irwindale Speedway held one of their Celebrity car races for charity.    A time for fans to come out, see some of their favorite celebs get behind the wheel and race with the proceeds going to a nice charity.

It was at one of these events two years ago that “Talking About Cars” got it’s big start.    Like then, several celebrity drivers were gracious enough to take a few moments to give us their car “stories” including this week’s TAC 65 dynamic duo, Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle, Big Fat Liar) and Blake Michael (Dog with a Blog)!  (BONUS : Nathan Kress’ TAC 22 interview makes a cameo appearance to explain the time his DRIVE SHAFT fell out of his car at Irwindale two years earlier!  His was a classic explanation!)

For several of the drivers, including Michael and Jason Ritter (Parenthood) they were making their race car driving debuts!    Michael, driving yellow number 4, had an issue in practice and spun out, (which he and Frankie talk about in TAC 65), then during the actual race, he got a little too “up close and personal” with the wall and you see the damage below.     Actress Kelly Hu hit the wall around the final turn…causing a bit of a premature end to the race, both drivers were okay (Hu’ car is pictured below left)    Both Kelly and Jason will be featured on TAC 66 next week.


As mentioned previously, Muniz won the trophy (which sort of looks like a Dallas Cowboys football trophy) for winning, hear his story by going to LISTEN on iTunes or LISTEN on Soundcloud (if you have an android device) and listen away!!



“But Wally, how did you get your high school car back after 51 years?”


I LOVE stories like this! It’s the ultimate car guy fantasy! Chevrolet even made a commercial about it. Guy has cool first car. Guy sells first car. Then…somehow, guy gets first car….back! It’s a car guy’s way of turning back the clock. Flooding the brain full of memories, sensations, and even smells. That moment you were driving and glanced over to see the logo on the glove box, the date you were on when you pulled out that “Carpenters” cassette to play in your Pioneer know, the one that was in your glove compartment. The one you bought at Fedco for half off! Suddenly it is “yesterday, once more”.

Actor, director, voice over guy and now art sculptor TONY DOW now knows the feeling. In this week’s TALKING ABOUT CARS 64, he details the story of how he drove a 62 Chevy Corvair in his teen years while working on the TV classic show “Leave it to Beaver” as “Wally Cleaver”, older brother of Jerry Mathers…”the Beaver”. It’s a show America grew up on, and taught us about the “Cleaver” family. The mom always dressed stylishly (for the times), always in a dress, no matter if she was baking, cleaning or entertaining.

But back to the Corvair. Dow gave up the car for reasons like most of us did, to get something better! Only an email 51 years later from the friend of the guy who bought it, saying the owner had passed away and always wanted to return it to Tony opened the door for this great story!

So what car did Tony replace the Corvair with? What car did he ALMOST replace the Corvair with? What’s in Tony’s garage now? What’s the one car on his “must have list?” Click on our “listen” link above in the banner and enjoy! (and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes, rate us and write a review. It’s all free!!….)

(P.S. — yes this also applies to you car gals out there….you have great first car stories too!)


How a Honda airbag gave me the keys to the car candy store!! ((plus an UPDATE!!))

takata air bag

by Randy Kerdoon (Talking About Cars podcaster and website editor)

First, let me say…THANK YOU HONDA for making this entire story possible.   (Don’t want to appear ungrateful or anything).    Now, my story


Once upon a time I drove a 2007 Dodge Magnum R/T.   Black on black, it was car the I was dreaming about for years.   But as often happens, when my daughter joined a travelling cheerleading group, I knew driving her all over the Western U.S. in a 21 MPG car was going to hurt the wallet.   So, I decided I needed a car that had mileage beginning…with a 4.

Being 2011, and loving “different” cars, I checked into the popular Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and new Chevy Volt.   Rented them, drove them.    Loved the Volt, but this was 2011, before Chevy lowered the price, realizing people weren’t going to buy a $60,000 car just because it was all electric.    The Prius was everywhere (to me a negative).    Didn’t see many Insights and liked the look, liked the spaceship like dash and the average mileage began with a “4”.   One night, while my daughter was practicing her cheer moves, I zipped over to the nearby Honda dealer.    Due to some fire in Japan, stock was low, and there was ONE Insight left on the lot.   After about a week of phone calls and the usual haggling, I grabbed it.    It was fun at first drive.  Usually the mileage was 45+…..sometimes even 50 mpg!   Then when my daughter started driving and went to college in San Diego, I handed her the keys.     She would get 54 mpg!!  (that’s my conservative driving girl!!)

Eventually I got the car back…and received a letter in the mail.   RECALL…TAKATA AIR BAGS need replacement.   (okay)   METAL SHARDS CAN FLY INTO YOUR FACE IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT  (geez)   AIR BAGS WOULD BE AVAiLABLE THIS SUMMER.  (wait, what?)   This letter arrived in FEBRUARY.    So what the hell am I supposed to do with a hybrid that can shred my face if some bozo drifts out of his lane for 3-4 MONTHS?    I called Honda.   I was told, don’t worry, we’ll rent a car for you….AND PAY FOR IT!!    (Yay Honda!!)  My free ride in the candy store was about to begin!

As of this writing, in about 4 months, i’ve rented no less than SEVEN cars.    From a Ford Focus hatchback to a Dodge 1500 Hemi Truck….from a Dodge Challenger to a Chevy Camaro Convertible…the kids at Enterprise Rent-a-Car know me by my first name (and not because I’m an LA Sportscaster in my real job).    An Enterprise executive once noted a twitter post I tweeted about Enterprise and the car menagerie i’m driving, wrote me back and offered to help me locate the cars I really wanted to drive next!

All this, while my Hybrid Honda sits outside the house forlornly covered in dust (I have to promise Honda I will not drive the car)…the batteries are dead, dead, totally dead, waiting for that replacement Takata Air Bag to arrive.    I charged the car up a couple of times….revved the engine a bit, turned it off, and two days later the car was dead again.     I called a couple of times….and I was told…”another 7-10 days”.   That was 3 weeks ago, and strangely, I’m not ticked off!

I’m not alone here.    There must be a million other stories out there of people waiting to get their Takata Air Bags replaced, and renting cars until that happens.    I’m just having more fun than most!

Once the call comes in that it’s time to bring in my car for it’s replacement air bag and my car rental fun ends, i’ll post a review of the cars I drove, and the rankings I’ve given them.    Oh, and likely the car i’ll be trading that Insight in for…..about the time gas shoots up to $8 a gallon and I beg to get my Insight back!!

NOW AN UPDATE!!    Apparantly Takata is having some problems getting the replacement air bags made.   Now Honda tells me my car will not have it’s replacement part until late August or early September!!   That’s 6-7 months of my car sitting on the side of the road.   Looks like my review of rental cars will be longer and later than expected.   Stay tuned!!


Movin’ on up the charts!!

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Our little podcast that could….IS.    Thanks to you…our podcast listeners and “downloaders”, we start this day with our highest automotive podcast ranking on iTunes EVER!!    I like to think it’s because of our great guests and that we’re back doing a consistent podcast a week, so car fanatics like you know where to find us when we upload our new shows every Friday morning between 7am-8am pacific time.   But frankly, i’m not totally sure how this ranking works on iTunes.   Matt Farah of his “always in the top 5” ranked “THE SMOKING TIRE” podcast explained to me, the more listeners you get….the more people who subscribe….the more people who rate you and leave comments….the better ranking you get!   But even he admits it’s not an exact science, and iTunes doesn’t really list it’s ranking criteria.    So, i’m going with consistent content, guests those in (and sometimes out) of the world of cars would know and just having fun along the way.    You are welcome to join us!!    To listen, CLICK the “listen on iTunes” tab above…and enjoy our show!    SUBSCRIBE (it’s free) that way you’ll be alerted each week when a new show is uploaded, and rate us…and if you are so inclined, write a review for us!   This has been a fun adventure…and more is on the way!  (In fact, i’m picking up more celebrity car people interviews later today so STAY TUNED and check back here for the latest!)



in case you were wondering….


As I hit the car show circuit here in sunny (and water parched) Southern California, i’ve been displaying our podcast logo trying to stir up interest in our little podcast that could.    While there has been some interest, i’m getting the distinct feeling of a disconnect.   Maybe they are not getting the spirit of what we are trying to do…or where our “car stories” come from.    Above is a new poster from artist Amy Faigin of West Hills, CA.    It’s all here!    The logo, the slogan and the talented celebrities who are into cars and car “celebrities” that tell their stories as only they can.    Hopefully this might help those who like our logo, but don’t quite get our concept!

Great guest this week!!   On TAC 58, Rodney Allen Rippy of Jack in the Box “Jumbo Jack” fame joins me to talk about how he got his Jumbo gig, which led to a Billboard charted song, which led to him sharing the stage with the likes of Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson.    Rodney also gives us his story about why he loves Camaros, Corvettes and Mustangs….and what he’s up to today!    Listen to us on iTunes, or Soundcloud!!     and remember, Subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes, and rate us, it’s all free.    Or if you listen on Soundcloud, like us and follow us!!    Bigger things are on the horizon for TAC!!   Tell your friends!



Talking TV & Movie cars with the “Man from AMT”

genewhitefieldbookany car 1

Talk about a guy who knows his way around customizing a car!!   This week on “Talking About Cars” 54, we get to hear from a guy who is more than just a customizer!   He races cars (over 100 miles an hour…in his mid-80s….that’s his age…not his speed), he has great stories about his involvement with the celebrity cars behind “Get Smart”, “Back to the Future”, “Blade Runner” and the “Man from “U.N.C.L.E.” and his near involvement with what we know as TV’s Batmobile which was produced under the watchful eye of the late, great George Barris!  …and he designs cars that are creative and amazing!

Gene Winfield has done it all, including the ridiculous, thats an actual car above….the “AnyCar 1″…made for a bank commercial.    Can you see how many different cars are in that??   (actually, he made an AnyCar 2…but that’s another story)   His book came out last year…and last year (on the urging on my college radio pal, Chuck Schwynoch of Maximum Motorsports in San Luis Obispo, CA) we went to Gene’s autograph session at Aerobooks in Burbank, CA ….not only bought the book (yes…I actually BOUGHT the book), Gene gave a GREAT interview!!   Hope you agree.    Click “Listen” above and check out Gene’s great stories, which also include his days working for the AMT people (remember those models you built as a kid?)  and much, much more!!