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#0849: Four Years, No Reverse

Original Air Date: 12.06.2008

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, after four years of relying on the laws of physics to parallel park, frustrated New Yorker Dan wants to know why his Jetta won't go in reverse. Also, a novice driver searches for her perfect entry-level vehicle, with just a few criteria: small, safe, reliable, cute, and cheaper than 5 grand. Will she be shopping in Automobile Never Never Land? Meanwhile, out in Ohio, Anna may need to take a hose in the left nostril to track down the gas leak in her hand-me-down Maxima, and on Stump the Chumps, we find out whether Tracy was able to rid her block of an unwelcome guest, and still sleep at night. All this, plus a puzzler from the Exponents and Existentialism series, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

From the department of crazy math. Can you explain how... (AB)*(AB) = CAB? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

What was the brake repair that was undone by one syllable?

Show Open Topic

New words from our Department of Nuevo Etymology.

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Show Review - 733

by Anonymous

Show Review - 824

by Anonymous

the best show on sat morning Radio

by Anonymous

AAA_+first class show.

Favorite Moment: the fun that it provide,and laughter.

Cheap shot on the American Auto Industry

by lix

At the end of the show, Tom made some very disparaging remarks about the big 3 and how its great that they are failures because you have made much money off of them (or something like that). My three grown sons and I have listened to car talk for many years. I am a long time supporter of your show and NPR and will continue to do so. My boys are car guys and always working on cars for improvements, rebuilding, etc. One is actually a mechanic for cars, trucks, heavy construction equipment, diesels. WE have noticed over the 5-10 years that over 90% of the call ins are foreign name plates. When a Ford or GM is called in, often its of the "I have a 15 year old surburban that I want to shut off the wipers when driving over the mountains to clean off the snow and ice". I work as a Quality Manager in the auto industry and supply fuel and brake systems to the big three and some Japanese companies. I will agree that the Japanese seem to have better management and certainly less heritage costs. But we all agree that the quality of Ford and GM is not second to these foreign companies. Infact, arguably the best engine ever made was the GM 3800. We buy up these old cars and usually get 250K-350k miles on them before they expire of other issues. Compare that to the interference engines the Japanese have saddled too many Americans with. The recommendation you guys always give for the Suburu Forester is also a puzzler. Do you ever listen to your own shows and hear how many problems that vehicle has? There is a huge misconception that American built cars are second to foreign built cars. While true many years ago, this continues to hurt our country by liberal media types and you guys. For example, my main vehicle is a 1995 Olds 98 with 180K on it. Zero rust, no oil burned and I get 28-30 mpg. Course I drive like an old man, I'm about Ray's age. People are often ignorant and speak of what they do not know the facts on. If people keep hearing propaganda that GM and Ford cars are lousy they will believe these affirmations and to them this will become the absolute truth. If the American public wants to buy RVs why is that GMs fault? I listen to some congressmen beat up on the auto big shots, which I have no love for, but see how they couldn't give enough free money to wall street crooks several weeks earlier with little oversight or stipulations. Your attitudes put you with that crowd. Please get with the program and use data to support your opinions rather than pander to those who bash the American auto industry. P.S. A fiend of mine has a Prius hybrid. Its a lousy ride and he'll never be able to justify the cost. Fortunately, he's got money to burn. Sincerely, David Lixey

Educational Views

by hedge685

As a solid C student throughout college and law school, I wholeheartedly agree with the theme pervading this show. Education, as with many aspects of American life, has become a form over substance business in the sense that 'achievement' has come to be measured in grades rather than retention of knowledge. I came to this conclusion as a youngster and was cheered to hear the brothers relate it in a way that only they can. I think they did Lea a great service by opening her eyes to it and really made my day. But, you know NPR will purse its liberal lips to hear you talking about one of it's sacred cows like that....

Favorite Moment: Loved the 100 lb. dog on the roof and the touching father figures cheering up a struggling, home sick, college freshman, Lea. Hope to hear more from her in the future.

Nuvo-Etymology Department

More coinages that you never knew you needed - until now.

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