Show Rundown

#1234: I Spit On Your Volvo

Original Air Date: 08.25.2012
Show Open Topic

How do I respond to my wife's impulse mini-van purchase?

Call 1

Elizabeth Tallman (Chattanooga, Tennessee) - 2003 Saturn Ion

During a summer road trip, Elizabeth’s car started making mooing sounds when the AC was on. And, it was only blowing hot air. Tom and Ray say it’s likely her AC compressor is failing--it may be low on or out of refrigerant. Could cost $500 or more to repair. If she’s really lucky it could be something as benign as a slipping belt.

Call 2

Bruce Mims (Chicago, Illinois) - 1995 Toyota Avalon

Bruce bought this car from his brother for $2,000, and thinks he may have been ripped off. When he turns left or right, there is a rubbing noise. He added fluid, but the noise didn’t go away. Tom and Ray think the power steering pump is failing, and suggest his brother might have run it out of fluid at some point.

Call 3

Mae (Union Springs, Alabama) - 2002 Volkswagen Beetle

Mae’s gear shift gets stuck in park. It’s been happening more frequently--she usually can get it out by shaking the car, or stomping on the brake pedal. Tom and Ray think it’s probably the shift interlock mechanism. She needs to get it fixed, because at some point she’s likely to get stuck. In the meantime, she can check her owner’s manual for a way to override the mechanism.

Call 4

Tim and Pam Cone (Albuquerque, New Mexico) - Saturn

Tim borrowed Pam’s car, and drove 45 mph on washboard roads. It now has crushed engine mounts. Did he do it? Tom and Ray say there’s not enough evidence to convict - they have seen other Saturns with engine mount problems that hadn’t been driven off-road. But, he was irresponsible to drive her car that way, and should do penance by washing the dishes.

Call 5

Heather Ross (Arcata, California) - Volvo

Heather’s car began stalling at elevations of 5,000 feet, shortly after Helmut the Mechanic did a bunch of work on it. Helmut had denied responsibility. Tom and Ray said the stalling must be altitutde-related, and likely caused by something Helmut did. Turns out, Helmut had crossed two wires while working on the fuel system--which caused the stalling at high altitude. Heather stood up to him. Right Answer!

Call 6

John (Telluride, Colorado) - 1986 Toyota 4Runner

John’s car is missing while driving at constant speed. It usually gets better if he accelerates or slows down. He’s also noticed some fuel dripping from the frame--he can stop the leak by taking off the gas cap. Tom and Ray say he has a leak in his fuel feed line, between pump and the engine-- it should be easy to find if someone crawls under the car.

Call 7

Wendy Warner (Washington, District Of Columbia) - 1974 Volkswagen Beetle

This car has been sitting in her parents’ garage in Kansas for two years. She can take it, but needs to get it back to DC. If she flies out, will it make the drive back East? Tom and Ray think she’s crazy to drive it--hire a flat-bed truck to move it for her--it’ll probably cost about the same as a one-way plane ticket.