#1033: A Huge Bag of Crab

Original Air Date: 08.14.2010

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, yes that is a "b" at the end of "Crab," but a "p" might better describe the smell pervading Annette's Mercedes after she left a bag of giant king crabs in the car overnight. Can Tom and Ray help her find a way to get rid of the stench that doesn't involve a match? Meanwhile, Frank from Los Angeles has been losing sleep for a few decades, wondering what caused the car he was towing 25 years ago to explode and burst into flames. Also, bride-to-be Kelli learns that a toilet brush may be her best weapon to get her fiance to stop cooking her Accord's engine; and we get the inside scoop on Ray's latest million dollar idea--the plainclothes salesman. All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

In the early 1930's a young inventor came up with an idea for a little gadget which could be installed in an automobile. Even though people were afraid it would be distracting to drivers, the gadget sold out within minutes. What was the gadget?

Last Week's Puzzler

What was so interesting about the customer's change? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Ray presents his million-dollar business idea: undercover salesmen.

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English 'Block Shifting'

by gppixelworks

Oh how I love you guys! I've been driving for about 38 years with only one accident (I'd stopped and the other ran into me). Am now living in England and, as one would expect, I needed to take the United Kingdom driving exam. Their written test included such toss as how to do CPR (and then state not to do it unless you've been trained to do so). But the oddest was the actual driving test. I will not go into all the details but they have what they refer to as "block shifting" which is skipping out gears with a manual transmissions. Shifting from 1st to 3rd (even 2nd to 5th!) is considered to be eco-friendly. Phooey I thought. It's awful for the engine unless one is on a very flat road or going downhill. One ends up lugging the engine for goodness sakes! Then I experienced the joy listening to this show. Thank you for setting people straight on this skipping of gears at lower speeds. Over here they also - with good reason - take a dim view of coasting with the clutch in. Yet they consider doing 30 mph in 5th gear acceptable. One is nearly coasting at that speed in 5th! I should also say there are some things they do that I felt would improve my driving and have adopted those. Oh, and the English DO drive on the proper side of the road. There is a historical president for driving down roads on the left! But that's another story ...

Favorite Moment: 1) Stating how an automatic transmission wouldn't let you drive in a high gear at low speed. 2) The tow truck driver and the exploding transmission. Priceless!


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