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#0947: Differentials Flambe

Original Air Date: 11.21.2009

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, the third time is most definitely not a charm for two of our callers. Rick in Idaho has had three differentials burst into flames while driving his '96 Subaru, while Jonathan in Virginia has watched three spark plugs shoot out of his '01 Mazda, one at a time. Can Tom and Ray save them from a fourth hair-singeing adventure? Meanwhile, out in Oregon, it's rainy season, and Stephanie's got a wet dog and a foggy windshield, because her Jeep's vents will only blow at her feet. Also, could it be that the best way to deter a car thief is by inviting him in? All this, plus a new puzzler from the "Spies and Intrigue" series, and a mea culpa on the now infamous football puzzler, this week on Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

Why did the American soldier in Germany get recognized? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

What was wrong with the Bottomfeeders' new castle tower? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Paternal combustion: things you never hear dad say.

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Annoying Laughter!!

by Anonymous

We used to listen to Car Talk every week, and always looked forward to the next episode. However, I now turn off NPR almost immediately when this show comes on the air. It seems like all the hosts do is laugh at nothing, with this irritating Kackle most of the show!! It really gets old fast. Don't get me wrong, I love to laugh, but too much of a good thing...............

The Best Puzzler Ever

by Anonymous

As a long-time listener to Car Talk, I do believe that today's show is the best I have ever heard. The best part was the puzzler. It was brilliant, challenging and clever. Sincerely, John Philibert

Favorite Moment: The puzzler, obviously.

Newfie cage? What about one for Tommy?

by Anonymous

Instead of telling the ski instructor to buy a Honda Element; she should consider putting a separate barrier behind the front seat of her current car. (This is the almost the same thing a police car has; you can ask Tommy about what they look like from the back....) This keeps the Newfie from jumping into the front seat...

Did you miss the most obvious???

by Anonymous

Enjoyed the show, but, when Rick in Idaho called in with the burning differentials, I wonder if you missed the easiest fix and most obvious possibility. I bet he has two different size tires on the rear axle, generating heat as the differential constantly had to compensate.

can't stop laughing


Saturday morning (11/21) driving up the tollroad your show was on NPR..I only know the 3 s's of a car: start, steer, and normally I would not be listening...but the Boston "accents" and the patter was so amusing that I listened to the rest of the show. The personal info garnered from the callers and your comments kept me laughing...from the woman driving the mountains of Wyoming to the girlfriend turned finacee on a trip to Las Vegas. I hope to hear the show again...but I have one question: Do you have to be in a car to hear the show? (only kidding) Great fun though the advice was beyond me!

Favorite Moment: telling the potential law student who was planning to marry that the choice of law was he might get to know a divorce lawyer should he need one someday....and the laughter that followed...

Sal's Transmission

by Homer1952

You guys need to study transmissions. Sal, just try adding another half quart of trans fluid & see it it fixes your problem. If that doesn't do it, add another Half quart. It may be the seal on the trans filter has failed or the filter itself. The added fluid will answer the question. If this fixes it, you know the next steps.

Things You'll Never Catch Dad Saying

Unless, you know, he falls and hits his head.

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