Show Rundown

#1246: The Acura Bird Poop Magnet

Original Air Date: 11.17.2012
Show Open Topic

Is Car Talk a leading cause of hemorrhoids?

Call 1

Jenny Bacon (Fort Collins, Colorado) - 1997 Chrysler Sebring

Jenny’s driver side door fills with water every time it rains and she can hear it sloshing. She also gets soaked when she goes to the carwash. Mechanics pulled the plug to the drain, and the sloshing stopped after a week or so. Tom and Ray think the door problem is likely a clogged drain, but they think she has water collecting elsewhere too -- she needs to find all the water and get it out before the car rots.

Call 2

Seth Strong (Castro Valley, California) - 1986 Isuzu Pickup

On cold mornings, Seth’s truck emits thick plumes of white smoke. It’s been doing this for a year. Ray thinks it’s a classic case of worn rings, and Seth needs a ring job. Tom holds out hope that it’s just worn valve guide seals, or the guides themselves. If he doesn’t want to pay for the ring job, Ray suggests trying Redtore.

Call 3

Ross Carey (Seattle, Washington) - 1995 Acura Integra

Ross traded his green Acura for a white one. The cars are identical, except that the new one is a magnet for bird poop. Can the color of a car make it more likely for birds to drop on it? Tom and Ray have no good answer, say they’ll pose the question on the website.

Call 4

Justin Sewart (Eugene, Oregon) - 1984 Chevrolet Blazer

Justin drives 45 miles back and forth every day. In the morning, after about 20 minutes, the truck begins to lose power--he keeps downshifting until he’s in 1st, but only going 5 to 10 mph. If he shuts off the truck and lets it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, it’s then fine for the rest of the day. This only happens in the morning. Tom and Ray think it’s carburetor icing--could be due to a missing hose, or a broken vacuum switch.

Call 5

Selene Eubanks (Hollywood, California) - 1980 Cadillac Seville

This is Selene’s boyfriend’s car. It makes a horrible noise when you turn the key to start it when it's cold. The noise pitch changes, like something has grabbed, so she gives it gas, and the engine revs really high. Once it starts, if she doesn’t rev it a long time, the engine dies. It has also begun making a loud banging sound when she revs. Dealer wants $180 just to scan it. Tom thinks it’s a simple problem of bad timing, and can easily be fixed. Ray thinks it may be her camshaft. In either case, it should be easily diagnosed by a non-dealer.

Call 6

Dan Elliott (New York, New York) - 1996 Volkswagen Jetta

A transmission question. He hasn't had Reverse for the past four years. Is it worth fixing? Tom and Ray say it's either inside the transmission, or the linkage between the shifter and the transmission. Linkages may need to be adjusted. Could be reasonably affordable to repair, if it's the linkages. Otherwise, it'll be expensive.

Call 7

Laura-Rose Russell (Burlington, Vermont) - Toyota

Laura-Rose’s truck hit 90,000 miles so she decided to switch to Super Unleaded gas. After six months, she didn’t notice any big improvement, so she switched back to Regular. One-half mile after first Regular fill-up, the truck began to shake and buck, and stalled whe took her foot off the gas. She tried to drive off the Regular tank and went back to Super, but the problem is still there. Tom and Ray say the gas switch has nothing to do with the problem--just a coincidence. She likely has a bad distributor cap, and is only running on three cylinders.