#1238: My Engine Is on Fire

The optional Engine-Bonfire package! (Flickr/p.Gordon)

Original Air Date: 09.22.2012

   Best Moment 1:06

This week on Car Talk, Glen's summer vacation got a little more exciting when his rental car caught on fire, after he spilled oil on the manifold. He escaped unscathed, but did the car? And, more importantly, did he 'fess up to the rental company? Elsewhere, Joann's getting a foot bath from her Grand Caravan; Ed's Jetta needs a few seconds to convince itself it really wants to go into Reverse; and Sue's wondering why PAM cooking spray quieted her noisy fan belt. But our deepest question of the week comes from Vera in New Orleans: Is it legal to drive barefoot? All this, plus the truth about duct tape, a new Puzzler from the Baseball Algebraic series, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

How is it that Popeye had a better batting average than Bluto, at the end of the baseball season? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

How did Crusty know what was wrong with the window, without even touching the car? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share the sad, sad truth about duct tape.

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wasted hour

by rapidR

1. My AC sloshes, my passengers are clueless too. 2. My transmission has a dipstick? 3. Trust my vehicle and dog to college students for 3000 miles. Brilliant? 4. Oil can burn? Ask Red Adair.

Jetta Transmission Slipping - Solution, Most Likely

by robnotbob

The gentlemen from Jersey City calling about the 97 Jetta automatic transmission which delays shifting into reverse. I had a 1996 VW Golf with 2.0 ABA engine, with the "01M" 4 speed automatic transmission, with the same problem, more than once. I owned the car from it's birth up until about 175k miles, then sold it. If the caller has the same 01M tranny (I'm guessing he does), then there is no dipstick for checking levels, and the place to add fluid is hidden pretty well. But I had the same basic problem more than once, and the problem was caused by low transmission fluid level each time. More than once I had to add fluid to solve this slow shifting problem. (The problem also improved slightly when the transmission fluid warmed up.) Check out this excellent write up on changing the fluid in this tranny, or go to the end of the document where it shows how to check the tranny fluid level. http://pics.tdiclub.com/members/drivbiwire/Auto%20Fluid%20change%20procedure/01M%204%20Speed%20Automatic%20Fluid%20change%20Procedure.pdf

A Persistent Myth (Barefoot Driving)

by Barefoot Professor

I am a college professor and according to my own (unscientific) polling in my classroom, up to 2/3 of Americans believe it's illegal to drive barefoot. This persistent myth no doubt goes back a long way. As far back as the 1930's, Popular Mechanics ran an article on how to modify your car's pedals to accommodate high heels without even the suggestion that it might be simply easier (and safer) to take off the heels for driving. I discuss this in my book (The Barefoot Book:50 Great Reasons To Kick Off Your Shoes) and recently on my blog (www.barefootprof.blogspot.com). By the way, feet don't stink, shoes do! Thank you for helping to clear the air on this one.

Favorite Moment: The dead dog story!

Barefoot Driving

by Bud1

This information from the Society for Barefoot Living is a little dated, but it's unlikely things have changed much. It's not illegal to drive barefoot in any of the 50 states and DC. http://www.barefooters.org/driving/ States have searchable statutes. Here's Louisiana's: http://legis.la.gov/lss/tsrssearch.htm Searches on terms like "barefoot" and "shoeless" turn up nothing.

Jetta transmission slip

by emmajettadad

I'm new to writing to the show. Your caller on September 22, 2012 was looking for a transmission dipstick on a 97 Jetta. My daughter has a 2001 Jetta GL with AEG engine and FDF transmission. There is no transmission dipstick. Checking the fluid is done by lifting the car, removing the fill cover, and squirting in fluid until it comes out. The folks at VW say it is a sealed unit with lifetime fluid, for what it's worth. Your caller might have more success looking for a vacuum leak. Ours was shifting erratically. The egr hose from the oil fill hole to the intake was cracked. After I replaced it, the transmission returned to shifting normally.

The Sad Truth About Duct Tape

Tom and Ray share the sad truth about duct tape.

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