After two hours on the highway, the floor and underside of the middle seat are hot to the touch in Beth's Honda Odyssey. Her mechanic says as long as nothing is glowing there's no problem. Tom and Ray disagree and think Beth's right to be worried. Read their theories on what's going on, right here.
Dear Car Talk
John manages an RV park and he wonders why his guests run their engines for 30 minutes before they roll out each morning. Tom has a few choice words for these folks (see above). And Ray explains why this is not only unnecessary, it can actually cause damage to the engines of the RVs.
Stewart's buying a new Ram Laramie and has to choose between 20" and 17" wheels. He wants whichever will give him the best mileage as he tows a 7500 pound trailer. And whichever will be easiest for his wife and dog (who both have short legs) to get in and out of. Find out what Tom and Ray recommend, right here.
The battery is dead in DeWayne's key remote and he wants to replace it himself. Can he do this without messing up the programming? Tom and Ray say while some people have to go to the dealer for this type of thing,(for example, Ray, after he took his key remote for a nice swim in the Atlantic last summer), DeWayne can definitely do this himself. Step-by-step instructions, right here.
Joanna's water pump froze and caused her timing belt to break, which in turn caused her to spend a whole lot of money to get it fixed. She wants to know how she can prevent something like this from happening again. Tom and Ray say her best bet is to make sure to get regular, routine maintenance work done by a trustworthy mechanic. Find out why this is important, right here.
Atom's Jeep Liberty is losing time and he's worried that it might be a sign of a bigger problem with the vehicle. Tom and Ray say it's a sure sign of a bigger problem--Chrysler used cheap parts. Atom's best solution is an oldie, but a goodie. Find out what they recommend, right here.
Joe's a self-proclaimed old-timer who's driven manuals his whole life, always taking care never to keep the clutch depressed at stoplights. Now he has a newish Mini Cooper and he's wondering if the wisdom is still true. Tom and Ray say nothing's changed and he should keep up the good work. Find out how this will prolong the life of both the clutch and the release bearing, right here.
Deb's back window is leaking and she wonders if she can replace it on the cheap from junkyard parts. Tom and Ray think her window is probably fine--it's the weatherstripping that needs to go. Find out why weatherstripping should always be new, and why Tom and Ray say it's dangerous to park a 15 year old car at a junkyard, right here.
Kunaal loves his 2011 Skoda Fabia and wants it to last forever, so he takes care to always warm up the car before he drives and he never runs the AC during the first few minutes of the trip. Tom and Ray think this is unnesessary for someone who lives in Mumbai, unless temperatures drop to well below freezing....in which case Kunaal will have much bigger problems. Find out why, right here.
Jim needs to change the transmission fluid in his 2005 Chrysler 300C, but he's a little nervous about it. The last time he got this done (on his previous car) the transmission went out a week later. Tom and Ray explain the different methods and try to reassure Jim that the fluid change was not responsible for the demise of his last car.
Karen's 2000 Toyota Corolla is running still fine, but the paint is peeling off. Tom and Ray explain why this happens to certain model years and lay out a range of options, each one lower-cost and more aesthetically questionable than the last. Find out what they suggest, right here.
Maurice is loving the great mileage he's getting in his Chevy Volt. He wonders if he can improve things further if he reduces weight by keeping the gas tank almost empty. Tom and Ray think this might technically improve mileage, but by such a small amount that it's not worth the risk. Risks include: annoying friends and spouses, ending up out of gas and out of charge, naked, fleeing from a pack of hungry wolves.
Tom and Ray get a letter from John, from the department of armchair economics. While driving around, he started wondering whether the brake in his Toyota Sienna was the same part as the brake in the Toyota Corolla ahead of him at the light. Tom and Ray explain why it makes sense for auto manufacturers to use lots of shared parts.
Tom and Ray counsel a nervous Honda Fit owner who's been advised not to park his car in the garage until a fire-causing defect is repaired. How worried should he be? Tom and Ray say it's possible he can ignore the warnin. For example, if he's been wanting an excuse to remodel his garage...