Show Rundown

#1223: Emboldened Electrons

Original Air Date: 06.09.2012
Show Open Topic

Brace yourself for a couple of classic groaners!

Call 1

Carly Strauss (, California) - 1984 Honda Civic

Carly’s car shakes when she steps on the brakes. It’s not too bad when she’s going 30 mph, but at 50, the car shakes violently. It’s been doing this for years! She has warped discs on her brakes, and really needs to get them fixed.

Call 2

David (, Oregon) - 1998 Dodge Intrepid

David’s car has trouble starting--about half the time, he turns the key, and nothing happens. No noise, no click. If he holds the key to the start position and counts to 10, the car starts, and it’s fine. If he’s really lucky, it may just be a bad connection at the battery, but it’s more likely that he has a bad starter motor.

Call 3

Rachel Coleman (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 1994 Honda Accord

Rachel’s having a windshield wiper crisis. While driving, her passenger-side wiper stopped working, then started working, but slower, so it and the driver’s side were out of sync, and crashing into each other. Then the driver’s side arm flew off onto the highway. The wiper nuts got loose--maybe from one winter day when she didn’t scrape the windshield, but let the wipers and defroster clear it. If she gets the nuts tightened, she should be okay.

Call 4

Jeff Kirk (, Ohio) - 1994 Pontiac Grand Am

Jeff’s car started making a symphony of noises--a high-pitched whistle coming from under the hood, along with a boom boom.Then, as he was driving, all the dashboard lights came on and the car died. He had it towed home where it’s still sitting. Tom and Ray think the problem is belt-related--maybe the tensioner broke, or the serpentine belt itself. Could also be alternator-related.

Call 5

Kara Shavo (, Michigan) - 1992 Subaru Legacy

Kara went to the gas station and filled her car--with water. She got across the street and the car died. The gas station found her and flushed the system, and her mechanic says the car is fine, but Kara’s Dad and father-in-law say her engine’s going to die-- that the water will cause corrosiion and grit. Tom and Ray say Dad’s wrong. Water is a product of combustion, and in all engines to some degree. As long as gas station guys flushed the injector lines, she should be fine.

Call 6

Gerry Anderson (, Connecticut) - 1997 Saab 900

Gerry’s car is going through coolant-- he needs to add 1/2 pint a week, and it’s blowing smoke. He thinks he needs a new head gasket--can he do it himself? He’s done a lot of other repairs, but never anything this complicated. Tom and Ray encourage him to try, but suggest he get a copy of the bona fide shop manual. See if a mechanic will print it for him.

Call 7

Barbara Summers (Yosemite National Park, California) - Volkswagen Eurovan

Barbara’s about to embark on a three- to six-month road trip, would love to do it in a VW Camper Van, but is worried about it breaking down. She needs something she can sleep in. Tom and Ray say to find a VW, and go for it--it’ll make the trip more memorable. But get it checked for safety before buying. And get a big dog to accompany her.