Show Rundown

#1245: The Car Talk Economic Stimulus

Original Air Date: 11.10.2012
Show Open Topic

Dave Barry: Women are saner than men, except in one area...

Call 1

Chauncey Gardener (, Idaho) - Saab 900

When Chauncey starts her car and puts it in Drive, it will not go. The engine revs, but she needs to floor the gas pedal to get the car to move. It started happening a while ago, now it's getting more frequent. Tom and Ray think her transmission is cooked. It will cost a few thousand to repair. There's a slight chance it’s the ignition or computer, which would also be expensive.

Call 2

Jacob Stohler (Charlotte, North Carolina) - 1993 Acura Integra

Jacob finally replaced his timing belt. Ever since, he’s been hearing a whining sound, the car feels like it has less power, and his gas mileage has dropped. Did the repair shop mess up the timing belt? Tom and Ray say yes, these are classic symptoms of a timing belt that has jumped a cam. They may have put the belt on wrong, or not tensioned it properly, but he needs to take it back right away before it damages the engine.

Call 3

Holly Knight (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 1994 Nissan Pathfinder

Holly is hearing two noises when she makes a sharp turn. One is a clunk, and the other sounds like a baseball card in the spokes of a bicycle. Tom and Ray think one problem is causing both sounds -- an axle that is about to break.

Call 4

Zue Acker (San Francisco, California) - Mazda Miata MX-5

Zue has an intermittent problem. While driving, the car will suddenly lose power, like gas is not getting to the engine. If she takes her foot off the gas and steps back on, it’s fine. Her husband changed the plugs and wires, and the mechanic couldn’t replicate the problem. Tom and Ray think it’s a faulty throttle position switch--assuming this car has one.

Call 5

Mark Loop (, Oklahoma) - 1987 Isuzu Trooper

Mark called because a reddish fluid was dripping from under his dashbaord, getting on his socks. Tom and Ray said it was transmission fluid leaking through the speedometer cable, and Mark just needed to get a rubber seal replaced. Mark got the seal replaced, and the fluid stopped dripping. Right answer!

Call 6

JoAnne McBroom (Texarkana, Texas) - Nissan

JoAnne is trying to teach her 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter to drive standard, but she gets whiplash every time they get the car moving. Tom and Ray talk about teaching Tom's son Alex to drive stick. Ray suggests telling the kids to get the car moving from a dead stop with the clutch instead of the gas.

Call 7

Lee Barrett (Nagadoches, Louisiana) - 1994 Lincoln Town Car

Lee’s car has begun kicking and bucking. When driving, it will suddenly feel like he’s stepped on the brake, and then release. This happened three years ago, and mechanic said his “whoop tube” needed to be replaced. Lee has no idea what a whoop tube is, and whether that’s the problem again. Tom and Ray think it’s a snorkel that runs from the air filter to the intake manifold, and it likely has a hole in it.

Call 8

Laura (Erie, Pennsylvania) - 1995 Toyota Camry

Laura loves her Camry, but it’s not suitable for transporting her growing dog, so she’s looking for something the dog can ride in safely. Tom and Ray suggest she wait until the dog is full-size, then she will likely want something like a Subaru Forester or Toyota Rav 4 -- and the dog will need to ride in the back.