Show Rundown

#1204: It's Snowing in My Car

Original Air Date: 01.28.2012
Show Open Topic

How listening to pop music might be a sign of dementia.

Call 1

Patricia Marucci (Eugene, Oregon) - Jeep

Every time Patricia starts her car, a large puff of black soot comes from the exhaust. Tom and Ray believe this is because of carbon build-up in her engine, caused by the choke closing too soon. If her mechanic cleans out the choke, she may stall occasionally, but the smoke should stop.

Call 2

Jamie Thompson (, New York) - 1993 Mazda Pickup

Jame was driving on the Taconic Parkway when he heard a large bang--he opened the hood, and discovered one of his spark plugs had blown out of the engine. His mechanic fixed it, and a few weeks later, another spark plug blew out. Jamie replaced the plugs a few months ago--Tom and Ray say he didn’t tighten them enough, and they’re gradually working their way out. Jamie just needs to get his mechanic to tighten all the plugs and he should be okay.

Call 3

Bernadette Brinko (, New Jersey) - 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier

In cold weather, when Bernadette first starts her car, she can only shift into Reverse, until the car has warmed up after 10-15 minutes. Her mechanic checked tranny fluid, said all cars do this, and she can live with it. Yes, she can live with it, but Tom and Ray say if she wants to fix it, she needs a transmission rebuild.

Call 4

Lisa (Greenfield, Massachusetts) - 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix

A windshield wiper problem. When set to the intermittent setting, they stop in the middle of the windshield. She wants to get rid of the car, but her dad gave it to her and asks about it all the time. Could be the intermittent wiper controller, the multifunction switch on the stalk, or could be the motor itself.

Call 5

Joddy (Botteneau, North Dakota) - 1993 Dodge Caravan

Joddy’s car overheated twice, and after the second time he discovered the nut holding the cooling fan in place had fallen out. He can’t find a replacement nut-- Chrysler says he has to buy the whole assembly, for $300. Tom and Ray suggest getting a machine shop to fashion a nut for him, or try J.B. Weld, if he can’t find a nut.

Call 6

Cheryl (Dallas, Texas) - 1995 Honda Odyssey

A few times a month, Cheryl’s steering wheel gets stuck in the locked position, and she can’t turn the key to start the car. It usually loosens up eventually. The problem is her lock--may be worn out, and needs to be replaced. Or she can try spraying graphite into lock.

Call 7

Helen Moerr (Victoria, BC, ) - Volvo

Helen's boyfriend changed her alternator, "with very little smoke," but now the light comes on when she slows down and stops at a traffic light. The light can stay on for half an hour, and then go off. Her oil level is fine. The issue is the oil pressure switch, which is on the same side as the alternator, and should be checked after the repair by Helen's boyfriend.

Call 8

Steve Swain (, Massachusetts) - 1989 Nissan Pathfinder

Steve recently drove across country and in high winds he discovered that, because of the odd engineering of the doors, the driver’s side door could partially open, letting snow come in. He’s tried taping weather-stripping, but he’s wondering if this is just bad engineering. Tom and Ray think the door may just be out of adjustment, and suggest Steve take it to a body shop.