Show Rundown

#1141: The Pot-Mobile

Original Air Date: 10.08.2011
Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share a letter from Sophie, a high-schooler who applied the knowledge learned from Car Talk - and flunked.

Call 1

Lisa Wegener (, California)

While driving from Minnesota to California, Lisa's car lost its AC belt. She cut it off with a hack saw and completed the drive. Does she need to replace it? No, she doesn't, because her car has a dedicated belt for the AC, rather than a serpentine belt. So, as long as she doesn't need AC, she's fine. She can also just remove the AC compressor if she's not going to replace the belt.

Call 2

Hannah (Granby, Connecticut)

A question about pranks. Hannah is 11 years old. Her Dad likes to blow the horn incessantly at her when she's coming out of the house, because he thinks it's funny. She'd like ideas for a prank to help make him stop doing this. The guys suggest she get a Henna tattoo. There's also the classic of putting shoe polish on the steering wheel.

Call 3

Jeff Goldberg (Long Island, New York)

A question about winter driving. Jeff is a police officer, and needs to get to work when it snows. However, his street is often plowed late, and last Winter he had a lot of trouble getting out of his driveway. He's using all-season run flat tires. Tom and Ray suggest he invest in a set of wheels and good snow tires. Then he just needs to swap them out at the first sign of snow.

Call 4

Julie Lopez (Seattle, Washington)

A question about her engine, and whether she should dump the car. Julie took her Beetle in for a tune up and was told it's only running on 3 1/2 cylinders and that, pretty soon, it will only be 3 cylinders. The mechanic recommended a new or rebuilt engine. She bought this car for $3000 only a year ago, is it worth it to pay for a new engine? Ray suggests she dumps the car and gets something new and safer---recommends the new Fiat!

Call 5

Stephen Chang (Oakland, California)

He's got a question about his fiancee's car. She had the engine mounts replaced 2 years ago and ever since there's been a very pungent smell of marijuana from the engine compartment. Once they were pulled over for rolling through a stop sign and had to convince the park ranger that they didn't have drugs in the car. Tom and Ray don't have a good explanation for the smell--possible mechanic who did the mounts left something...suggest finding a drug-sniffing dog to try to find source of smell.

Call 6

Mandy (Chicago, Illinois)

A question about her key. Mandy is having trouble getting key out of ignition. Her boss said she should spray WD40 into the lock. Is that a good idea? Tom and Ray say she'd do better to spray something like Lockease, but it depends what the problem is. She could need a new lock.If she doesn't want to pay to fix, she can get a 2nd key, leave one in the ignition and use the other to lock the car.

Call 7

Wolfgang Rueckner (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Wolfgang is calling to follow-up on whether bird poop can crack a windshield. Based on imprecise data, he thinks it's highly unlikely poop could generate enough force to do it--more likely thre was some stress in the windshield.

Call 8

Mary Knickerson (, South Carolina)

Mary made a deal with her husband that she can't retire until the car dies. It's got 240,000 miles, and is running fine, but Mary wants to retire. Can she do anything to speed the car's demise? Tom and Ray say the car may have another 50,000 miles in it--aside from sabotage, the best way to do this is to use the car as much as possible--insist they take it on weekend drives, etc.