This song is a metaphor for making the same mistakes over and over again. Bowie wrote this around the time he retreated from the USA to Europe in order to recover from his cocaine addiction.
Former member of the prog rock band, Beggars Opera, Ricky Gardiner recalled to Uncut magazine about recording the guitar solo at the end of the song. He said: "I wasn't instructed in any way at all regarding modes of approach or specific techniques. When it came to overdubbing the solo in 'Always Crashing,' David hummed the first few notes and I took it from there. These things don't evolve as such. They happen spontaneously and the engineer has to catch them. I believe it was generally well received at the time. People do ask me about that solo so it must mean something out there!"
According to Paul Trynka, the author of Bowie's biography Starman, the song's title had a certain black humour of its own, because David was attempting to sell his Mercedes at the time. The car was dented, and half the time wouldn't start.
Rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar told Mojo magazine the song was the hardest one on Low to get right. He recalled: "It had this kind of gloomy thing to it, so we kind of understood that. But it also had this chordal thing I was trying to get… the chorus is a bit different to the verse, and I felt it was a bit disjointed."
Eventually Gardener unlocked the song. "Not so much with a riff," said Alomar, "as a signature sound and a signature guitar - which gives an essence."
This song had a third verse which Bowie sang in the style of Bob Dylan, but Bowie asked the producer, Tony Visconti, to delete it. Bowie did not feel it was appropriate, considering Dylan had a motorcycle accident in 1966. Indeed, Visconti said the verse was "spooky, not funny."