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#0821: No Poorly Done Deed Goes Unpunished

Original Air Date: 05.25.2008

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Description: 
This week on Car Talk, good intentions go awry for Drew in New Jersey. He decided to surprise his girlfriend Sarah by washing her car, and--oops!-- left a very large and messy scratch. She's kinda ticked off, and her mood probably won't improve when she realizes his restitution will require her wallet. Meanwhile, out in Colorado, another family is in need of Magliozzi Mediation. This time, it's Tyler and his dad, who can't agree on what kind of car crash causes the most damage. We think they might want to lighten up just a little, but Tom and Ray nonetheless take a step back to their year(s) of Physics 101 to try to help. Also, a mysterious backfire makes one woman think her husband may be trying to knock her off, a skier wonders why he's become a member of the Brake Pad of the Month Club, and what do you do when a mechanic tells you your carburetor needs work... when you don't have a carburetor? All this and more, on this week's Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

Most cars have one, some have two, none have three and some have four. What is it? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

How do you plant four plants... and keep them all equidistant? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Could Infiniti's Plasma Cluster Filtration be the solution Tommy's been looking for all these years?

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car crash physics; 60=120???

by breenrichardj

Sorry, but for once in your career you were WRONG! Two cars hitting head on at 60 mph (each) is NOT the same as one hitting a wall at 120. Basic Physics: Force is Mass times acceleration F=MA Energy is 1/2 Mass times velocity times velocity; E = 1/2 m Vx V ( v squared) Force brings the car to a stop, Energy causes physical change, bent broken metal ( bloody people) Assume the car has mass 1, and 60 for speed case one head to head, EACH car has Force (momentum) of 60. and 1/2x60x60 of energy. Each car comes to a stop due to force on the bumper and is crushed by 1,800 of energy. case two car into wall. Force of 1x120 but energy of 1/2 x120 x 120 that is 7,200 crash energy. PS I,m not making this up, I have a BS in Physics and experience as aerospace engineer. Don't feel bad most people in this country are poorly educated in math and physics.

one way they could be right

by okin15

If it weren't for the stipulation that it is an "immovable" wall, then crashing into a wall which gives a little would make the 60 mph crash less bad. Since in real life, it's likely that the wall would give some, it feels less dangerous.

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