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#0912: Everything I Don't Know About Cars, I Learned from Car Talk

Original Air Date: 03.21.2009

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, an auto parts store clerk finds himself in a sticky situation, after delivering advice based on the teachings of Tom and Ray. Can our hosts bail him out? Then, Peter in DC ponders how an unsuccessful furniture shopping trip in a pal's car could cost upwards of four hundred bucks. Find out why he's being asked to fork over money for not one, but two new tires. Meanwhile, what goes up must go down, but Christy in Maryland would like the tailgate on her Sienna minivan to wait for her to ask it to descend, rather than having it randomly bonk her on the noggin. Also, why Meredith in Brooklyn has become gas station attendants' Public Enemy Number 1, and a '65 Dodge Dart owner seeks pollution absolution. All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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Last Week's Puzzler

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Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray discuss a letter from an auto parts clerk, who dispenses advice learned from years of listening to Car Talk.

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Four Tires? Outragious!

by Anonymous

No matter what the "manufacturers" say, I think your lack of challenging this "fact" is BOGUS!

Favorite Moment: Other than that rant, I think you do a great job of diagnosing and entertaining!

Four Tires? Outragious!

by Saddlebum

I'm amazed you didn't delve deeper into the NEED to replace all four tires on a car that has only 18,000 miles on it. The reason given is the manufacturer says the differentials might wear prematurely because one tire has a tiny bit less tread just doesn't make sense. Have you actually seen this in your shop? Differentials are MADE to differentiate wheel speed and do so every time the steering wheel is moved from dead center. It happens all the time, changing lanes, turning corners, traversing a back road, just keeping a car centered on a crowned road. Different tire diameters? One underinflated tire will do the same thing. Will that destroy a differential? No matter what the "manufacturers" say, I think your lack of challenging this "fact" is BOGUS!

Favorite Moment: Other than this rant, I think you guys are both informative and entertaining.

some friend!

by patriciabarber

I want to talk about the guy who borrowed his friend's car, had a flat tire and now has to pay for 2 new tires because his friend's AWD needs 4 tires at a time. There's got to be a better way to handle this. Shouldn't the car's owner pay for the tires, since it's his car and had he been driving, he'd have to replace the tires? It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led the borrower to have a flat. The borrower should pay to replace 1 tire and they should agree to become followers of Franklin's "never a borrower or lender be." This was a real learning experience for me. I'd never have the chutzpah to pass on that much cost had I been the car's owner and I'm known for an excess of chutzpah!

Sienna Misdiagnosis

by kenryan

Obviously you guys haven't had many Siennas in your shop. And just as obviously Christy doesn't read her mail. First, while there is a button on the remote for the back hatch, there is no button on the door. The way it works is you start to push it down manually, which is detected by a sensor, and the hatch motor takes over to power it down the rest of the way. As it happens, this is a well-known problem. The gas cylinders supporting the hatch when its open leak, so the hatch droops when it's up. The droop sets off the sensor, and thinking you're pulling it down it closes the hatch for you (on you). This is more prevalent in cold weather due to PV=nRT. Evidently Christy doesn't read her mail, because this wasn't even a TSB. Toyota issued a full-out recall, not once but twice, as they extended the time and mileage over which they will cover this problem. Oh well better luck next time!

Christy in Maryland - Wrong Advise!

by copper-nickel

Long time listener and enjoy the show greatly. But, I must give my 2 cents on Christy in Maryland Sienna tailgate. This is a classic symptom of bad struts. When the "age", they loose ability to hold pressure and will collapse when in the extended position. This will happen especially (and sometimes only) in cold weather. Christy even gave Tom and Ray this gem of a clue, but Ray was too busy yacking about trying the other remote. This was an easy one guys, I'm disappointed in you!!!

Favorite Moment: Always listen thru entire shows, and never failed to be entertained - Keep up the good work!

Caller 5

by Daniel

This guy's car wouldn't start sometimes, would get jumped and run fine. Replaced battery and alternator. Sounds like mine- also a faint odor of something hot, like oil. Found the seat adjuster was jammed and, all the way back where I drive, continued to operate even when ignition off till battery was run down. Accused of dropping crumbs, chips, etc that caused the jam! Check for something sneaky like that to run the battery down.

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