Bill's Subaru needs a new timing belt, and the dealer is asking twice what his local mechanic wants for the job. Tom and Ray say there may be more to this story than meets the eye.
Dear Car Talk
Phil's Honda Fit was sandwiched between a big Jeep and an even bigger mini-van during a recent rear-end collision. The insurance repaired the car but Phil wonders if they should be worried. Find out how Tom and Ray would check for structural damage, right here.
Jared just got his brakes replaced and his mechanic convinced him to buy ceramic brake pads. Now he wonders if these pads are as good as his mechanic says they are. Tom and Ray explain the history of brake pads and what's the best kind on the road today.
Jamie's wife's car runs great, but it is a complete mess on the inside and he wants to replace the interior on the cheap. Tom and Ray offer advice about sourcing quality parts from the junkyard, plus a word of caution about cats and cuban cigars. (It's relevant, we promise!)
Steve's headlight is acting up, but he discovered that if he smacks the top of the hood the light will reliably turn on and stay on. Can Tom and Ray explain what's causing this, and whether or not Steve can trust this as a long term solution?
Betty's husband tore off the black plastic thingamajig that was hanging under the front end of their car, a Mercury Grand Marquis. Now she wonders if this was a great idea, given her husband's limited expertise on cars. What was this mystery part, and will they be sorry that it's gone?
Martha's car battery died this week and her neighbor suggested that she pour a can of Coke on it to clean off the corrosion. Martha is skeptical. Tom and Ray talk about this and other home remedies for batteries. Find out what works and what doesn't, right here.
Sara loves her cruise control, but her fiance thinks she uses it way too often. He worriest that overuse will wear out the car. Tom and Ray say that's nuts. Read here for their explanation of how cruise control works, and find out whether they think Sara should call off the engagement.
Jim's Maxima has been overheating when he travels to hot places. But his San Fransisco-based mechanics can't duplicate the problem because the weather is just too nice there. Tom and Ray recommend an auxiliary transmission cooler as a short-term fix.