- A small moment, but when Harv asks McQueen to name some of his friends so he can send them tickets to the race, McQueen can't think of a single one.
- The aftermath of the press finding Lightning again. It may not have drawn tears, but still... That scene was like a more painful version of the "Our Town" song mentioned below, because it essentially shows Radiator Springs coming back to life, and then dying again when Doc Hudson finally gets rid of the press and McQueen. The neon lights shutting off at that exact moment is good symbolism.
Doc: It's what's best for everyone, Sally.Sally: Best for everyone? Or best for you?
- To top the scene off, after Sally calls Doc off on getting rid of Lightning, everyone turns their backs on him and Doc instantly regrets his actions as he is left alone at the blinking traffic light.
- Doc's "they quit on me" speech. Remember that Cars was the last film for Paul Newman (Doc's voice actor) before he died - he even took a break from retirement when Disney/Pixar summoned him to have a role in it. The line "There was a lot left in me. I never got a chance to show them," becomes even more heartbreaking.Lightning: How could a car like you quit at the top of your game?!
Doc: (shocked) You think I quit? (shows Lightning an old newspaper)
Lightning: Right... your big wreck in '54...
Doc: They quit on me. When I finally got put together, I went back expecting a big welcome. Y'know what they said? "You're history." Moved right on to the next rookie standing in line... There was a lot left in me. I just never got a chance to show 'em. I keep that to remind me never to go back. I just never expected that that world would... would find me here.
- Even worse, in Cars 3 Mc Queen actually watches the crash as it actually happened in an old, grainy 8mm newsreel. Even moreso, Doc looks like he's really in pain. To top it all off, we see a flashback of Doc's speech from the first movie with the same archival recordings from the late Paul Newman. Way to inject us with emotional insulin, Pixar.
- How about the credits? And it's not just the use of that absolute Tear Jerker of a song - 'Find Yourself' by Brad Paisley. Those lyrics are bad enough, but at around the same time they begin (when the credits epilogue ends), the screen just has to display the words 'Dedicated to Joe Ranft 1960-2005'. For those who don't know, Ranft was an actor and close friend of the Pixar crew, who died in a car accident. Made more sad by them showing clips, next to the dedication, of the Pixar characters he played: Heimlich (from 'A Bug's Life'), Lenny (from 'Toy Story 1 & 2') and Wheezy (from 'Toy Story 2'). Made even worse for anyone who watched Toy Story 3 and was wondering where Lenny and Wheezy were ... and it might be bad for anyone who hoped for a sequel to A Bug's Life, as well. So ... heartwarming song + dedication to lost friend + clips of characters we may never see again = Tear Jerker all around.
- The scene where Sally is explaining to McQueen about the glory days of Route 66 and the pleasure of driving not just to get place to place as fast and as efficiently as one can, but to see and explore and have fun on the journey.Sally: 40 years ago, that interstate down there didn't exist. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
Lightning: How do you mean?
Sally: Well, the road didn't cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land; it rose, it fell, it curved... Cars didn't drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.
- Doubles as heartwarming: when Sally invites McQueen for the ride, he considers running away for a few seconds before deciding to join Sally instead.
- The "Our Town" sequence, which virtually anyone from such a town in real life can sympathize with. Especially the part where Luigi pushes up the sign that says 'We're still open'. It's the "When She Loved Me" of Cars. Even CinemaSins thought so; despite having a low opinion on the movie, Jeremy is compelled to remove a sin for the song no matter what else happens.
- The scene where McQueen goes back and pushes the wrecked King over the finish line, giving up his victory, but giving The King some final dignity and Chick Hicks karmic retribution.
- Speaking of that, The King's frame being so mangled from his crash that it resembles not only Doc Hudson's crash but also an actual event that happened to his voice actor, Richard Petty.
Tear Jerker / Cars