arrived in the same envelope and we thought you'd want...
Dear Tom and Ray:
I usually drive between 35 and 40 mph, and I keep my Toyota Tercel in third gear until I go over 40 mph. My soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, Stan, argues that I should be in fourth gear all the time, even at 35 mph. He is a pilot and thinks he knows everything about driving anything with an engine. Of course, he is wrong. Please tell him so in your column. Thank you very much.
P.S. If he is right, I'll eat the page this column is printed on.
RAY: Here's the accompanying letter.
Dear Tom and Ray:
My fiance, Miriam insists that she has to leave the transmission in third gear until she goes over 40 mph. I say that once she has reached 35 mph, it is OK to shift into fourth gear, as long as she does not need to accelerate or go up a steep hill. In fact, I say that on a straight and level road, she can even drive in fourth gear at say 30 mph. On the infrequent occasions when I have been permitted to drive her car, I have noticed no problem driving around in town like this. I have tried to explain this to her, but she just won't listen to me. You are my last hope. The whining of the transmission is starting to drive me nuts!! She has stopped listening to me. I'm sure she will see it my way after you explain it to her.
RAY: Gee, Stan, I'd lighten up if I were you. I mean, do you really want to ruin a perfectly good relationship over something as petty as this?
TOM: Yeah. What Miriam is doing isn't harming the car. The only disadvantages to shifting later are that you use a little more gas, and it makes a little more noise. So what's the big deal?
RAY: Of course, Stan, you're entirely right. Miriam COULD shift into fourth gear at 35 mph or even less, as long as the engine isn't bucking or chattering.
TOM: So we're enclosing some chocolate syrup for her, in hopes that it will make this newspaper go down a little easier. Good luck, you two love birds.