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#1004: The $30,000 Paperweight

Original Air Date: 01.23.2010

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, a winter driving tip from Katie in Boulder: don't leave your Mini parked in a four-inch deep puddle, unless you want to find it encased in four inches of ice, up to its rims. The question now is, can Tom and Ray stop laughing long enough to help her figure out a way to extricate it? Also, a water pump replacement turns into a scavenger hunt in the engine of a '96 Civic; an unfortunate oyster shucking incident somehow leads to a new noise in a Ford Escort; and the condition of the seats may be what determines if it's worth putting a new transmission in a '93 Volvo. All this, plus a new puzzler from Ray's Uncharted Waters series, and more, this week on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 12 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

How can a solo sailor substitute for a feeler gauge to adjust a spark plug? See if you can figure out Ray's puzzler. Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

Ray's cousin Vinnie bought two American-made cars at an auction. One was made in the early 60's and the other was manufactured in the mid 70's. He bet Ray that Ray wouldn't be able to tell which one was which. What were the cars? Find out!

Show Open Topic

The problem with bringing barbecue forks to a house fire.

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Show Review - 1065

by Anonymous

Show Review - 1074

by Anonymous

Why not just running water from a hose? I think the cooking show guy (Alton Brown) did an experiment and found that running water, even if it's cold water, thawed the turkey out faster than immersing it in hot water. This isn't an old wives tale about "hot water freezing faster" or anything, it's just that most of the thawing action is the carrying away of the frozen water, the movement of the water. The hot water was static and quickly became cold water.

Show Review - 1426

by Anonymous

Suggest an answer to listener question.

by aroybal

Your answer for Boulder, CO lady was OK, but don't you think a bag of sand would work better in freeing the car from frozen puddle?

big daddy

by bdnbfrank



by aroybal

A bag of salt better than bag of sand.

Isn't it ionic?

by hadad

Dear Tom, Ray: Your answer to the frozen car surprised me, given your backgrounds in the frozen territories. It seemed to me, from my extensive background in ice gained in Houston, that the answer was clearly *salt*. The melting/freezing point of a saturated salt solution is 0 degrees F, compared with plain water at 32F, which is what gives it its melting 'power'. Salt alone might have done the trick, or, if boiling water is simply something you have to do (if, say, it's below 0), dump a bag of salt around the tire first ... instead of the energy of water going from 180F delta T (or whatever it is once you get it from the burner to the curb), you get 212F delta T. Still, I think the salt alone might have done the trick, without the drama and scalding Ben, who curses the inability to call-in to your podcast.

$30K paperweight

by Ihor

Guys, there was a simple and cheap way the free the Mini, just plain water!! Either applied via 5 gallon buckets or a garden hose, the wheel would have been freed in under 5 minutes!! A creative solution? No, but the simplest and cheapest.

Frozen Mini


You numb nuts spent minutes telling the guy to extract his Mini from the icy grip of the frozen puddle with force and/or lifting. What's wrong with a bag of salt....?


by Anonymous


Favorite Moment: v


"Hah! We're Back!"

What could Ray's trademark phrase really mean?

Here for the Barbecue

Unfortunate timing makes these neighbors look incredibly callous.

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