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#0823: Lillian and the Thousand Dollar Valve

Original Air Date: 06.07.2008

   Best Moment

Is this Car Talk or "60 Minutes"? This week, 83-year old Lillian turns to Tom and Ray to help decipher a suspicious diagnosis from her usually trusty mechanic. Does he really want to charge her a thousand bucks to replace a valve? Has he succumbed to the beginning of boating season? You won't want to miss it, as our hosts go to the source to try to get the truth. Meanwhile, our Physics advisor Wolfgang is on-hand to administer a (well-deserved) dope slap to the boys for their (wacko) theory on head-on collisions. Also, what do you do when your Maxima's windows go cuckoo? If you're Adam in Baltimore, blame your girlfriend! All this, plus Tommy communes with nature and winds up paying for it in our new Puzzler, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 15 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

Tommy spills a basket of eggs. What's the smallest number possible? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

From Ray's dining and dancing series: why was he still hungry, even after going to the restaurant? Find out!

Show Open Topic

How you know when it's time to trade in your car, part two.

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by Anonymous


Favorite Moment: oinoi

The Harvard Physics Prof was WRONG!

by dsiegfried

The Prof was WRONG!!! As an engineer, I can with some trepidation, absolutely state that the Prof was wrong. It does matter if it's a wall or a car with equal momentum. The question is "how strong is the wall? If it's the rock of Gibralter, maybe he's right. But when he said they are equal due to equal amounts of momentum being lost (mv=0 at the end), he's wrong. If I apply my brakes and slowly stop the car, the momentum lost is equal to the collision if both vehicles have V=0 at the end. However, we'd all agree the one using his brakes suffers less! The question is the time interval over which the momentum is lost. If it's instantaneous, the energy applied is infinite, much to the chagrin of the driver! So, if the wall isn't very strong (it's very flexible) the time interval over which the momentum is lost could be appreciable compared to the two vehicles colliding, and the energy applied will be less than the two cars colliding!

Wrong on Audi A4

by WoomRR

I believe the A4 driver who heard wow-wow-wow with increasing frequency when turning left was hearing the tires. He told you that during the alignment the mechanic said his tires were worn. You suggested it might be power steering.

Favorite Moment: Lillian and Bobby. That call made be pay attention to the A4 caller.

Lillian Rocks

by Dione Murray

What a delightful, knowledgeable, incredibly spry gal! My day is better because I know Lillian is out there, looking out for her car and her grandchild. There wasn't even a hint of a whine. She was doing her homework.

Favorite Moment: My favorite moments were both when she said she knew her mechanic was honest, and that her tennis shoes were close at hand.

You Bozos Still Have it Wrong

by samuelrifman

You and your Harvard professor are completely wrong (again). Your point about momentum transfer completely ignores the fact that the oncoming car is DESIGNED to absorb energy in an impact! Thus it is FAR FAR SAFER to hit an oncoming car at your speed than a wall at twice the speed.

Favorite Moment: Waiting for a duhhh.


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