All The Gross Toxic Automotive Chemicals I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Ingested

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

My racecar was built with burritos. Hot, gooey, spicy, finger-lickin’-good burritos. It’s easy to eat with your hands when you’re busy, and easier yet when the closest fast-ish food to your project car is a Freebirds. How can something so wholesome, cheesy and good be the likely end of me?

Jason’s grody Senior Week post where he may or may not have drank windshield wiper fluid reminded me that oh man, I’ve had worse. Not in that quantity, but certainly much nastier.

There wasn’t a sink at the shed where I was working on the Porsche 944 for the longest time. So, I generally just washed my hands before ordering a burrito and called it good enough, but sometimes I sat down and noticed that my nails weren’t adequately scrubbed, or that I bit into something gritty that tasted like chewed-up timing belt mid-lunch.


Here’s what I can think of just off the top of my head:

  • That time I changed a fuel line and the gas smell somehow didn’t leave my hands and arms for days.
  • That time I decided to clean up the 944's plastic timing and balance belt covers for probably the first time since the car was built in 1984.
  • Brake jobs. All of them. Ever.
  • All the times I’ve gone somewhere reeking of Cucumber Melon PB Blaster because I have tried and failed to cover the leftover PB Blaster stank with scented lotion.
  • Oil changes that trap unreachable grime under every fingernail for at least two or three days.
  • That time one of you jamokes thought it would be hilarious if I licked Magnus Racing’s Porsche 911 race car—after it had just been cleaned with Brutal Toxic Awful Cleaner Spray Crap—and then got ultra-sick the next day.
  • That week-long rush-push to try getting the 944 ready to race in the August heat where I covered myself head-to-toe in filth from sweating under the car all day.
  • That time an large container of oil sprung a leak inside one of the bins in my living room, basically turning my apartment into the post-Deepwater-Horizon-disaster Gulf of Mexico.
  • Whenever I stick my finger inside the 944's coolant reservoir to see if there’s still coolant in the system, and then forget about it.
  • Every time I handle that spare set of brake calipers that I keep meaning to rebuild someday and coat my fingers in a thin layer of brake fluid that I usually mindlessly wipe on my pants.
  • Sometimes I think to wear gloves! That glove smell, though. Latex bits. Nitrile whatever. There’s something there I shouldn’t rub on a burrito, then eat.
  • A vain attempt at stripping out a previously flooded 944 shell before ultimately deeming it too rusty and selling it to another 944 racer.
  • Any work beneath the car where I encounter the thick gooey crust of accumulated oil and sediment on the bottom of the car’s engine.
  • Every time I have to go on an insect-killing rampage with pesticides in my race car after spotting spiders or hornets.
  • Several attempts at fixing the leaky fuel filler neck in the 944 where I coated my hands in gas.
  • The oil, metal and rubber combo-smell that just won’t leave my hands after replacing front-of-engine seals.

You know the rule with burritos: if it oozes on your fingers, it’s only polite to lick it off. You are allowed. It’s practically burrito ettiquette.

My current crapcan racing 944 is an awesome car that I bought out of the comment section of my very first article as a Jalopnik contributor. It was a commenter’s project that had sat for some time, so we went through it with a fine-tooth before it ever saw a lap on track—just to be sure.


It took forever to get that car together. Thus, I have eaten a butt-ton of burritos in my life.


Holy crap, man. I am going to die.

This has been me coming to grips with my own very stupid mortality.

RIP, me.