Today: Best Way to Change Transmission Fluid?

12.12.2013

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. 

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No Cheap Fix for Delaminating Paint

12.10.2013

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. 

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Maurice's Mileage-Boosting Idea: Brilliant or Bogus?

12.09.2013

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. 

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Economics 101: Shared Car Parts

12.07.2013

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. 

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Today: Death by Lint?

12.02.2013

Tom and Ray hear from Joan who wonders if there's a particular type of towel she should be using to clean the dipstick when she checks her oil. Can lint make its way into the engine and cause damage? Find out why Joan doesn't need to worry, right here. 

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Today: Nervous About Recall Warning

11.26.2013

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...

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Did Tony Buy the Right Spark Plugs?

11.21.2013

Tony bought new spark plugs for his 2002 Dodge truck from an online store. Now he's worried he chose the wrong kind. Tom and Ray could set his mind at ease, but first they decide to chronicle the entire history of spark plug design. Read all about it. 

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Best Way to Loosen Stuck Lug Nuts?

11.19.2013

Nick's newish Camry is great except for one problem--he can't remove the wheels when he needs to swap in his snow tires. The dealership was able to help him out (with sledgehammers). The service manager says Nick can loosen the lug nuts just a bit and then drive a short distance, and the wheels will come loose on their own. Can this possibly be good advice? Tom and Ray offer some clarification, right here. 

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Today: Gear Shifter Location

11.14.2013

Bob writes in with an auto-philosophical question: Why are some gear shifters floor-mounted in the center while others are on the steering column? Tom and Ray explain why designers can pretty much put the shifter anywhere they want. But Tom claims there's one good reason to keep it on the steering column...snuggling. 

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Is Fuel Saving Method Wearing Out Starter?

11.13.2013

Terry's boyfriend turns off the car at every single red light. He claims this saves fuel (and money). Terry worries that all this does is annoy other drivers and will wear out her starter in the long run. Who's right? Find out what Tom and Ray say, right here. 

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Jury's Still Out on Aftermarket Batteries

11.07.2013

Anne's Prius needs a new battery and she's tempted to replace it with a much-cheaper, aftermarket version. Tom and Ray aren't quite ready to endorse this move yet because they don't know enough about these batteries. Want to help Tom and Ray? If you've replaced your hybrid battery with an aftermarket part, write in and tell us what happened. 

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Today: What to Do About Missing Piece?

11.05.2013

Stephanie lost the tip of a sparkplug and she's worried it fell into her engine. She's wondering how much damage this will do. Tom and Ray say she should find a mechanic with a boroscope. Find out what the heck that is, and why it will help Stephanie, right here. 

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Motor Mounts: To Replace or Not to Replace?

10.31.2013

Robert's mechanic thinks his engine mounts are showing some wear and due for a replacement. But Robert wonders how this can be true for a gently driven truck with less than 100,000 miles on it. Tom and Ray say there's a considerable distance between "showing wear" and "need to be replaced".  Robert should get a second opinion. Find out why, right here.

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Today: Best Convertible for a Nonagenarian?

10.29.2013

Anne's ready to trade in her Subaru Outback for something a little more fun. She wants a convertible. But she's also looking for something safe with good gas mileage; a 93-year-old lady has to be a little bit practical. What do Tom and Ray suggest? Something in red, obviously. 

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Preparing for Winter: Snow Tires for Sandrine

10.17.2013

Sandrine wants to get snow tires for her recently purchased Hyundai Elantra, but she's getting conflicting advice about how many tires she needs, and whether she should get them at all. Tom and Ray explain that while two used to be the norm, getting snow tires for all four wheels is now a better bet. More about how snow tires have improved and what it means for Sandrine, right here. 

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