Show Rundown

#1242: Diplomatic Immunity

Original Air Date: 10.20.2012
Show Open Topic

Eccentricity: Nature or nurture?

Call 1

Karl Wolf (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 1994 Pontiac Bonneville

A transmission problem. Karl’s car is hesitating when he shifts into Drive. The engine revs, but the car won’t go. He just got the car a few months ago, and the problem seems to have worsened as weather has gotten cooler. Tom and Ray say the problem is transmission-related. If he’s lucky, he’s just low on fluid, and has a small fluid leak.

Call 2

Alice Lenthe (, Pennsylvania) - 1999 Honda Odyssey

Alice occasionally has trouble getting her gear shifter out of Park. When this happens, she takes her foot off the brake, takes her seat belt off, and opens and closes the door. Usually she can shift after that.Tom and Ray say the problem is that the shift interlock switch in the brake pedal is not engaging. Get the switch replaced, and it should be fixed.

Call 3

Lee Cabana (Winslow, Maine) - 1990 Mazda 626

A retired mechanic told Lee that to keep his engine clean, when doing an oil change he should drain the oil, then add a pint of kersoene, and run the engine for 15 seconds before adding new oil. Is this is a good idea? Tom and Ray say, "No!" It’s a bad idea to run the engine without oil, even if just for a few seconds.

Call 4

Mike Petit (Washington, District Of Columbia) - Mercedes-Benz

A diplomacy question. Mike lives near the Swedish Embassy in D.C. There is a car parked there, and its alarm goes off just about every night. Nobody is at the embassy overnight to tend to it, and the police won’t do anything, citing diplomatic immunity. Tom and Ray suggest Mike pretend he works at the embassy and call AAA to get them to come and tow the car.

Call 5

Carla (Homer, Alaska) - Toyota

Carla called because her ancient pickup truck would only go uphill in Reverse. Tom and Ray said she had a bad fuel pump, likely due to age, and when she was climbing in reverse, gas was flowing directly from the tank and bypassing the pump. Right Answer!

Call 6

Gloria Dunn (Las Cruces, New Mexico) - 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

A power steering question. When Gloria backs out of her driveway and makes a sharp turn, she hears a loud grinding sound. It goes away as soon as she straightens the wheel, but will happen again on sharp turns. Tom and Ray think her power steering pump is rattling, possibly due to a loose belt. She should get it checked--she could lose her power steering altogether.

Call 7

Jerry Kaiser (Boulder Creek, Colorado) - 1997 Dodge Caravan

Jerry dove down a long, steep mountain. When he got to the bottom, the car was enveloped in smoke, and he saw flames near the front wheels.Took it to the shop, and they said the grease behind brake pads had caught fire, but they didn’t know why. How does he know this won’t happen again? Tom and Ray say the problem was that he rode the brake down the mountain, rather than downshifting.You should never do that, because you can get fire or brake failure. Next time he should downshift, and the car should be okay.

Call 8

Twila (, )

Twila borrowed her brother’s truck, and it got hit while parked at her house. She had the truck fixed and painted, and returned it, but didn’t tell her brother about the accident, and now she feels guilty.Will Tom and Ray confess for her? Sure! They call the brother and leave a message saying she destroyed his truck.Tom and Ray also say she shouldn’t feel guilty--she did nothing wrong.