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#0846: Fire, Fur, and Fears! Oh My!

Original Air Date: 11.15.2008

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, it's a mysterious case of fire and fur. Nathaniel in Washington state has a truck that keeps flaming up. Can Tom and Ray encourage him to investigate the cause of his conflagrations? And, while he's at it, might a rabies vaccination be in order, too? Then it's off to Colie in Colorado who's deciding whether to plan the funeral for her beloved Subaru. Speaking of funerals, Rachel wants to know if she should up her husband's life insurance after he does a brake job on their Honda Civic. And, from our Department of Higher Education, it's a list of doctoral dissertations that ended up in flames. All that, a puzzler from America's favorite pastime, and lots more, in this week's fiery edition of Car Talk.

Review this Show | 9 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

Can you explain this curiosity regarding baseball statistics? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

So, just how many people bought how many cars at the car auction? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Tommy shares some rejected dissertations.

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Show Review - 716

by Anonymous

Subarus can go far longer than 200,000 miles . . . .

by AmyBee

As always, great show and great advice. A young woman (full name: Nicole) called today and it was agreed she needs a new or used transmission (or transmission rebuild) for her 1996 Subaru Outback (w/200,000 miles on it). You advised that she find out what other work the car needs in order to weigh whether it's worth getting it fixed or replace it with a new/newer car. I agree she needs to find out what repairs the car needs so she knows what she's getting into. But I think even if it's a couple thousand dollars, she'll still save FAR more money repairing her car and helping it go another 50-100,000 miles rather than buy a new car that it sounds like she can't afford. I just had my 1993 Subaru Legacy's transmission replaced -- at 321,000 miles -- with a newer, used one, as well as $2,000 worth of additional work done on it. Spending this much was a hard call for a car with this many miles, but in the end, the car drives beautifully and our mechanic thinks we can go to at least 400,000 miles. It made much more sense to us to spend a couple thou now out of pocket rather than add a second car payment to our strained budget (we're paying on an '08 Outback), even if the ole' Legacy only lasts another year or two. My previous Subaru, a 1985 wagon, got to well over 400,000 miles. In this economy, and in general, I think it's preferable to encourage people to fix older cars (especially reliable makes and models) rather than encourage us all to buy new and get into even more debt, since isn't that how our country's economy got so screwed up in the first place? It's also such a waste of natural resources to give up on and trash newer cars after just a couple of years (as long as they're not putting out clouds of greenhouse gas causing exhaust). And many Subarus, when well-cared for, can last for years and years and years. Just my two cents :) LOVE your show -- it really brightens my weekends :) :)

Favorite Moment: All the laughter :)

Time for you guy to go back to technical school!

by Skyline

You guys really need to learn a little about Jeeps. This is the second time in the last few weeks that you told someone who had Death Wobble (DW) issue with their Jeep that the problem was inherent to the ancient front suspension design, and there really was not much to be done. This is BS. A well maintained Jeep will NOT do this. This is an indication of SOMETHING WRONG! There are a number of things that can cause this, but high on the list is a bad track bar bushing or loose bolt. But it could also be caused by a bad ball joint, control arm bushing, wheel bearing, tie rod end, or drag link. Wheel balance and alignment are important too. Bottom line, someone who knows Jeeps needs to look at the vehicle carefully. A Jeep with DW should not be driven anywhere but to a shop. This can be fixed. Your suggestion of adding a new steering stabilizer might help, and there are certainly aftermarket items that are beefier than stock, but this is just masking a potentially dangerous issue. You should also not forget the millions of non-Jeep vehicles on the road today that have virtually the same front suspension design. Virtually all big trucks, and untill the last few years, most small ones too.

Favorite Moment: How the hell did you guess that that guy had a jacket under the hood? Sounds like a set up.

I tried to access This Weeks show but

by Sue

like someone already mentioned, I got last weeks show. Please update because I would sure like to listen again :)

Favorite Moment: Honda brake job

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser -- CV joints

by amos

Just a comment about today's show. The first caller described his CV joints clicking, but neither brother seemed to recognize the problem. When a CV joint weakens a clicking occurs. It gets louder when turning toward and less when turning away from the side with the problem. The guys said it sounded like the CV BOOT or bracket was loose. Wouldn't you agree the CV joints (or simply axle) needs replacing? I was quite suprised by the diagnosis, because I always believed the guys knew everything about all cars. -amos

Fur-st time poster

by gbreadman

I listened to the show, and heard the caller mention he got the GMC for a steal... I was thinking it was more like a FIRE SALE!

Fire, Fur, and Fears! Oh My!


nothing would make this show any better keep screwing up you local NPR station

Favorite Moment: the squirrel in the engine, I bet you he was roasting his nuts for the winter and left the hood behind.

Death Wobble

by wranglermiatafit

After 70000 miles and 5 years, my Wrangler got the death wobble. I tried the heavy duty stabilizer which worked for about a month. I tried rotating the tires, finally I tried my snow tires (in August), and it went away. Put the stock tires back (probably about 40000 miles of wear) and the problem came back. I took it in to a 4WD shop, explained the situation, they checked the alignment, front end, and found nothing wrong. Since the tires were 2/3 worn, I replaced the tires. 60000 miles and 5 years later, and 4 more snow tires, and still no death wobble.

Favorite Moment: When the furry hooded monster appeared under the truck.


by Anonymous

For second week in a row. The "Listen to this show" web page which says it is "Original Air Date: Sat Nov 15" is last weeks show. The segment breakdown shows all the right information for the Nov 15th show. BUT, every audio segment link is from Nov 8th show. Your switch to the new mp3 format and flash player is not working.

Favorite Moment: When I thought the show being streamed was this week's show. That did not last long.

Rejected Dissertation Topics

We could have learned so much from these scholars... Oh well.

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