Show Rundown

#1235: A Truck By Any Other Name

Original Air Date: 09.01.2012
Show Open Topic

A few things you don't want to hear before surgery.

Call 1

Elisha Wood (Baltimore, Maryland) - Honda

Ever since she got her windshield replaced, Elisha’s car has been making a sound like "a mouse wearing stilettos, tap dancing." She only hears it when going 50 mph, or above. Tom and Ray say the windshield wasn’t installed properly and is flexing and she needs to get it replaced, again. She should check with the dealer to see if there was a recall.

Call 2

Steve Chychlik (, North Carolina) - 1994 Nissan Altima

Steve's car is making a "psssssht" sound, like a tire losing air. This only lasts for a second or two and seems to be coming from underneath the car. Tom and Ray suspect his problem is with the fuel pump.

Call 3

Lucy Wood (San Antonio, Texas) - 1999 Saturn SL

Lucy’s car is emitting white smoke through the tailpipe after it's been idling for 15 to 30 seconds. She smells exhaust. Diagnosis? The car is burning oil. She’s ready to dump it, and is interested in Honda Accord. Tom and Ray say go for it, but recommend the four cylinder instead of six.

Call 4

Amy Halloran (Troy, New York) - 1989 Toyota Corolla

Amy's car has trouble getting started. Her mechanic has already replaced her ADR valve, cleaned the carburetor and tried increasingly large fuel filters. Tom and Ray think the problem may be with the carburetor itself--it may need to be replaced.

Call 5

Zack Huttner (Toledo, Ohio) - 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

The center console of Zack’s steering wheel fell off so he duct taped it back on. Now he wonders if that was a bad move. Tom and Ray think it could be dangerous because the airbag could accidentally deploy. He might be able to replace the entire steering wheel for less than buying this part if he asks his mechanic to check the junkyard.

Call 6

Maureen Lafferty (, Maine) - 1994 Volvo 940

Maureen’s mechanic hit his head on her kayak rack and needed stitches. She feels guilty, and wants to make it up to him... should she offer to help pay medical bills, or is there some other way for her to express an apology? Ray suggests he may have marked up the bill so she already paid for his medical bills. But, if she really feels guilty, she can bring him baked goods--maybe a banana bread.

Call 7

Charlie "Zap" Zabolski (Saugus, Massachusetts) - 1993 Ford Taurus

When the engine’s cold, the idle surges up and down and the car almost stalls. After about five minutes it runs fine. He's taken it to one mechanic who couldn’t figure it out. Tom and Ray think it’s either the coolant temp sensor, or idle air control, which may just need a cleaning. Tommy suggests a high-tech solution: wacking it with a shoe.

Call 8

Elizabeth Durden (, Pennsylvania) - 1999 Volkswagen Beetle

At highway speed, Elizabeth can’t downshift out of fifth gear. The clutch pedal feels loose and the car will only go into neutral when this happens, which makes highway exiting dicey. Tom and Ray are confident the problem is in the clutch master cylinder, but don’t know why it would only happen at high speed. They suggest she try to find a VW dealer near an exit ramp, so they can check it out when it’s misbehaving.

Call 9

Robert Estoye (Soddy Daisy, Tennessee) - 1990 Ford F250

Robert bought this truck used and as he was driving off, the previous owner said, “Take care of Mark." All of his vehicles have had female names so now he wonders whether he can he change this one’s without giving it an identity crisis. Ray suggests calling it “Markie” which could go either way. Tom and Ray both admit they don’t understand naming cars and ask Car Talk listeners to weigh on the website.