Show Rundown

#1205: Carla, Come Home

Original Air Date: 02.04.2012
Show Open Topic

How a romantic date in an MG went seriously off course-- literally and figuratively.

Call 1

Kathy Alley (Old Lyme, Connecticut) - 1987 Dodge Stratus

Kathy’s car smells like “burnt popcorn”--she and her sons think the smell is coming from her exhaust, through the tailpipe. Tom and Ray think it’s coming from the engine--she has a small oil leak, and the smell is the oil getting vaporized. She should have the oil pressure switch and head gasket checked to find the source of the leak.

Call 2

Dave McDonough (Hanover, Massachusetts) - 1989 Volkswagen Golf

Dave’s car makes a clicking sound. It seems to come from the front end and happens at random times, but its speed is in sync with rotation of the wheels, and it doesn’t do it if the car isn’t moving. The car also shakes. He likely has a bad CV joint and should get it checked.

Call 3

Carla (Homer, Alaska) - 1976 Toyota Pickup

Carla’s truck will only go uphill in Reverse. If she goes forward, it dies. Tom and Ray think she has a weak fuel pump, or a crack in the fuel line. When she goes uphill in Reverse, gravity is getting gas to carburetor, but in forward gears, the gas isn’t getting pulled forward.

Call 4

Matt (Russell, New York) - 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon

Matt’s Vanagon is leaking coolants out of all four corners of the head gasket. The leaks stop as the car warms up. He wants to replace the head gasket, but a VW mechanic warned him he’d wind up having to replace a lot of other stuff, as well, and would wind up spending about $3,000. Tom and Ray think his head cover may just be loose--hence the leak from all corners. They suggest he try tightening it. If that doesn’t make the leak stop, he can try living with it until the gasket blows, and then just put in a new engine.

Call 5

Elizabeth (Palo Colorado, California) - Dodge

Elizabeth’s car won’t start--for the last several months, it’s sat on a hill and her neighbors decorated it with Christmas lights. The battery had been weak, so her husband tried pouring gas into the tank and carburetor, and briefly set the car on fire. Now, her husband’s afraid to go near it. Tom and Ray suggest he try pouring a very small amount of gas into the carburetor--he may have just poured too much last time, and it caused the choke to backfire, which caused the fire. The basic starting problem is likely a weak battery.

Call 6

Sunday D'archangelo (, New Jersey) - 1990 Toyota Corolla

Sunday is having a couple of starting problems. First, her key won’t turn for about 5 minutes; then, once she can turn the key, the accessories will come on, but the car won’t start for another 10 minutes. She’s had several keys made, but not by a Toyota dealer. Tom and Ray think she has two problems--a bad starter motor and a bad ignition lock.

Call 7

Rachel Hale (, California) - 1994 Chrysler Concorde

When Rachel drives up or down hill at a slow speed, the car shakes from side to side--she can see the steering wheel move back and forth! The shaking stops once she gets up to speed. This sounds like a classic case of tread separation--she needs to figure out which tire is bad and replace it ASAP, as this is really dangerous.