Show Rundown

#1206: Help Me Blow Up an LTD

Original Air Date: 02.11.2012
Show Open Topic

A distracted driving tale, and question.

Call 1

Michael Hackett (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 1999 Toyota RAV4

When it’s really cold out, Michael hears a high-pitched whine that seems to be coming from the front right wheel. It goes away once he gets to highway speed, and only happens when it’s really cold. Ray thinks it’s a stuck caliper that’s freeing as the car goes faster. Tom thinks Ray is nuts, but offers no alternative explanation.

Call 2

Adrian Down (Pahoa, Hawaii) - 1991 Chevrolet S-10

Adrian’s gas mileage seems to drop precipitously once the gauge reads below half a tank. A friend says mileage does change as the tank gets lower, but Adrian disagrees. Tom and Ray side with Adrian--gas gauges are notoriously inaccurate unless they’re on Full or Empty, so his mileage isn’t changing, the gauge is just reading it wrong. If anything, less gas might improve your mileage, because of less weight, but it’d likely be imperceptible.

Call 3

Jayne Matricardi Burke (Fairfax, Virginia) - 2001 Subaru Outback

Jayne’s ten-month old baby will only nap in the car. So, Jayne drives around, but when she gets home she sits in the car with the engine running and heat/AC on rather than wake the baby. Jayne’s husband says this is okay, but her dad says it’s dangerous because of carbon monoxide. Tom and Ray say it’s not really dangerous, unless there’s a leak, and she can get a CO detector to be safe. But they also don’t like the idea of sitting with the engine running--the car should stay warm enough with the engine off, and in a few months the baby will outgrow this.

Call 4

Doris Miller (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - 1988 Pontiac Sunbird

Doris was driving recently, when her temperature gauge suddenly pegged to the top. She took it right in, but mechanic said he couldn’t look at it, and to bring it back the next day. She didn’t drive for a few days, when she turned the car back on, the gauge was fine. Mechanic said it was just a stuck thermostat, than unstuck itself, and this happens all the time. Really? Yes, this does happen, but it’s a sign of imminent failure--she should get the thermostat replaced, and yell at the mechanic for not looking at it right away.

Call 5

Jim Rieger (Mechanicsburg, Virginia) - 1994 Ford Explorer

Jim’s Explorer makes a knocking sound--starts on a flat road, but gets worse when he goes up hill. If he turns the car off, then re-starts it, the knocking will go away. It will also stop knocking if he puts the clutch in. Tom and Ray think it could be a stuck valve or collapsed lifters.

Call 6

Judy Eaton (Pocatello, Idaho) - 1991 Honda Accord

Judy’s hatchback won’t stay up. The problem started in colder weather, so they ordered new pistons, but never had them installed. The problem went away in spring and summer, but came back last fall. Should they bother installing the new pistons? Yes, they should--the problem is that the old pistons are leaking, and in colder weather, don’t have enough pressure to hold the hood up. New pistons will fix the problem.

Call 7

Joan Gutekampf (Willamette, Illinois) - 1990 Honda CRX

Joan’s car makes a noise like “amorous donkeys” when the front goes up and down. Her car doesn’t have to be moving for the sound to occur.

Call 8

Seth Wachensky (Springville, New York) - 1977 Ford LTD

Seth is directing a film and wants to blow this car up on a lawn for a scene. Licensed pyro-technicians will be on hand, but Seth wants to make sure he doesn’t blow up the house. What should he do? Tom and Ray refuse to answer, under legal guidance.