Show Rundown

#1239: The Truth About Leaf Peepers

Original Air Date: 09.29.2012
Show Open Topic

How do retirees have fun? Here's one way!

Call 1

Angela Summers (Eugene, Oregon) - 1984 Audi 200

Angela smells maple syrup through her dashboard when she has the defroster on. Bad news--she's smelling anti-freeze, and likely has a blown heater core. It'll be several hundreds dollars to fix it-- she can try getting through the winter without heat, or try BarsLeak or Alumseal to try to stem the leak. Tom also suggested trying a hibachi in the passenger seat. But she really should fix it.

Call 2

Eric Marsh (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - 1995 Dodge Intrepid

This car belongs to Eric’s Mom, who wants to sell it. So she took it to mechanic and asked them to check for “anything that might be wrong.” They said her front crank seal was leaking--four dollars for the part, and $358 for Labor. Did she get taken, and does this really need fixing? He needs to determine Mom’s oil consumption, if it’s going through oil it probably needs to be fixed before she sells it. And, she shouldn’t have told mechanics she was getting ready to sell it!

Call 3

Peter Daniels (Crested Butte, Colorado) - 1980 Honda Accord

Peter is having odd electrical issues. If he’s driving at night, with the headlights on, and steps on the brake, he sees a flash or spark from under the pedal. Then, everything in the car shuts down for a second. He’s wondering if water got in through the hole where antenna was, and it's causing a power drain. Tom and Ray think it’s more likely that he’s somehow pushing on a wire when he steps on the brake--he needs to lie down under dash and have someone step on the pedal to see what’s happening.

Call 4

Monica Bokinskie (Avon, Minnesota) - Dodge

Monica’s son is driving his car. The power steering went out, so her husband cut the belt. It needs a new rack and pinion, and he doesn’t want to spend the money on it. Is her son safe driving this car without power steering? Tom and Ray say no--it’s not a problem at high speed, but in traffic, it will be very difficult to undertake an evasive maneuver. They should get it fixed.

Call 5

Kate Antanovics (San Diego, California) - 2003 Toyota Matrix

Kate just bought a new Toyota Matrix, and decided she didn’t like it. Is it worth taking the financial hit to trade it for something she’d like better? Tom and Ray said yes--life is too short to waste driving a car she hates. The Matrix wound up getting totaled, and she got a Subaru which she likes much better. She says the guys gave her good advice. Right answer!

Call 6

Ed Benz (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Ed has six cats. He loves them, but they’ve taken to marking their territory on his tires, and the smell is bugging him. A friend rigged an electric shock theft deterrent through the coil--would that work on the cats? Tom thinks not--the coil only gets energized if someone turns the starter. Ray thinks it might work with a pressurized switch. But, they say it wouldn’t be very nice to the cats--they’re not doing it on purpose, after all!

Call 7

Bridget Albright (, Washington) - 1992 Chevrolet Pickup

Bridget and her partner borrowed their friend’s truck. The battery was dead, so Bridget’s partner, an electrician, tried to jump it, but still couldn’t get it started. The friend took the truck to a mechanic, who said Bridget had charged it backwards and fried the computer. The repair was $1300. Is this possible, and should Bridget pay it? Tom and Ray say it wasn’t Bridget’s fault--you really can’t charge it backwards, and that wouldn’t fry stuff. But, in the interests of friendship, Bridget can offer to pay half--in installments.

Call 8

Kurt Erickson (Glen, New Hampshire)

Kurt lives in a prime leaf-viewing area. He’s developed two theories about tourist drivers. The ones who drive the slowest, and make odd turn signals usually drive Ford Winstar minivans, and drivers with lots of stuff hanging from rear view mirror drive Pontiac Grand Ams.