Karen's oil change guys say the axle clamps are leaking on her Subaru Outback. The dealership says it's not a big deal. Who should Karen believe? Tom and Ray say her dealership sounds lazy...but that doesn't mean that they're wrong! Read their advice to Karen, right here.
Dear Car Talk
Russell uses his 2009 GMC Sierra to tow a 6500 pound trailer. His friends all say he's crazy to use the cruise control with something in tow but he can't find any cautions against this in the owner's manual. Tom and Ray say he should be fine as long as the area isn't hilly. Read their full recommendation (and find out why this includes doubling up on the Depends) right here.
Andrew belongs to a car club and he leaves flyers on the windshields of cars that are the right make and model to benefit from the club's services. Fifteen years ago, new members would say they were happy to get the flyer; now the owners get upset if they catch Andrew in the act. What gives? Tom and Ray say the culture has changed. Find out why, and read their suggestions for having a bit of fun with these angry drivers, right here.
Claudine's daughter just got a used Honda CR-V, her first four-wheel drive, and Claudine wants to know how to get the best use out of it. Tom and Ray say her daughter picked the best kind of four-wheel drive--the automatic kind. Find out why this is safer in difficult conditions and more effective in everyday road driving, as well.
Doc wants Tom and Ray to settle a bet. He claims that a person can tell the difference between a Chevy and a Ford based on the sound the door makes when closing. His friends say he's nuts and a a large bar tab hangs in the balance. What will Tom and Ray decide?
Rachel wants to know how much it costs per mile to run a car. Her friends calculate the cost of by the cost of the gas used, but Rachel thinks they should also factor in wear and tear on the engine, maintenance, etc. Luckily, the IRS calculates this number every year. The answer, plus Tom and Ray's advice on whether Rachel should start billing her friends at the IRS rate for rides around town, right here.
Heat from the engine compartment in Daniel's 1979 Fiat Spider is giving him hot foot. On this car, there are so many possible culprits Tom and Ray don't know where to start. The catalytic converter could be running hot or it could be a bad fuel injector or a missing heat shield. Find out what Tom and Ray advise, right here.
JamieLee loaned out her car and when she got it back it was leaking fluids and all the warning lights were flashing. The person she loaned it to denied doing anything wrong, but Tom and Ray say for this to happen on a relatively new car, the operator would have to have hit something. Say, a brontosaurus. Find out how she can get this fixed and what how she should deal with the person who borrowed the car, right here.
Today: Tom and Ray hear from BJ who's having window problems with his Chrysler 300M. The window sticks when it's warm outside, and BJ lives in Florida. Tom suggests a hammer. Ray suggests driving northward and selling the car there. This and more questionable advice, right here.
David has an old Jaguar. When he was young and irresponsible, he used to drive with three people in the front. Is that still legal? Was it ever? Tom and Ray suggest he get a second Jag. That way he'll have enough seatbelts for four and he'll double his chances of being able to start at least one of them on any given day.
Mary's Camry is reliable, has low mileage and is working fine. The problem? She can't stand the sight of the rusty wheels, even though her mechanic assures her there's no safety risk. Tom and Ray say there's no danger, but if it's driving her crazy, she has a lot of low-cost options for beutifying the wheels and rekindling the flame with this car.
Larry found a larger oil filter for his car and wonders if th extra oil capacity would help his engine in the long run. Tom and Ray say they've done similar work for customers who insist, but there are always dangers to improvising with the filter. Find out more, here.
Al's Suburban has been sluggish at low speeds and his relative told him it was his catalytic converter. Can relatives be trusted when it comes to car repair? Tom and Ray have a lot to say about that topic (and they help him with his car problem too). Read it all, right here.