Stuck between a Ditch and a Divorce!

The Puzzler

RAY: Here's the answer. He used the vise grips.

TOM: Let me think about it for a few hours.

RAY: How about a week? Well, since the dawn of humankind, early - since homo erectus - front brakes on vehicles have had flexible rubber hoses going to them. In order for the wheels to turn left and right, you can't have a rigid brake line going, you have to have a flexible tubing.

TOM: Of course.

RAY: With the vise grips, Marty clamped off or restricted the flow of fluid to the left front brake - the one that was on the pavement. And then he got in the car, started it up and stepped on the brakes.

When he stepped on the brakes he stopped the right wheel from turning because pressure is going to the right front wheel but no pressure is going to the left front wheel. And even though some pressure is going to the back wheels, he managed to get enough power going to that left front wheel for which there was no braking action and that got him out.

So he actually reversed the curse or the differential. And backed himself out of the ditch and made it just an hour and a half late for that special dinner with his wife and she's now divorcing him, but that's another story. Anyway, do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah. The winner is Julie Page from Minneapolis, Minnesota. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Julie is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which she can get our brand-new, stainless steel Car Talk water bottle.

RAY: Congratulations, Julie!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel