Show Rundown

#1249: The Vanagon of Sierra Madre

Original Air Date: 12.08.2012
Show Open Topic

The annual Gallup survey on the most (and lest) trusted professions. Guess where car dealers land?

Call 1

Michelle (Lexington, Kentucky) - Volkswagen

On occasions, Michelle can’t push her clutch pedal all the way to the floor -- it feels like a rock is undeneath it. But she can still change gears. Other times, the pedal is fine, and this only happens when she’s moving. Tom and Ray say her clutch is disintegrating, and a broken piece might be getting stuck between the pressure plate and flywheel. Time for a new clutch.

Call 2

Michael (Niagra Falls, New York) - 1990 Lincoln Town Car

When Michael turns the steering wheel all the way left or right, the car stalls, and then idles oddly until he straightens out. It actually belongs to Michael's father-in-law, whose mechanics are stumped. If Michael can figure out the problem he gets the car! Tom and Ray say his car has a sensor that sends a signal to rev up the engine when steering is at maximum resistance -- that sensor is likely bad. Could also be the idle air control.

Call 3

Audrey (Bolton, Connecticut)

Audrey is teaching her daughter to drive. Her daughter asked why we use the right foot for gas and brake, instead of using both feet. Tom and Ray explain that when most cars were Standard, you used the left foot for the clutch. Now, driving with both feet usually results in always having the brake on -- which drives other people crazy to see your brake lights, and it can mess up the brakes, too.

Call 4

Henry Meredith (New York, New York) - 1986 Dodge Colt

Henry was getting some pulsing from his brakes, so his friend Sammy changed the pads. The pulsing started again, so Sammy checked the rotors with a coat hanger and said they were fine. Tom and Ray say that if Sammy is correct about the rotors, the problem is likely in the rear brakes, which are drum brakes on this car.

Call 5

Erica (, Maine) - 2000 Subaru Forester

Erica called because her car was popping out of 5th gear. Tom and Ray said the problem was inside the transmission -- it would either cost hundreds to fix, or she could try using a bungee cord. Problem was indeed inside the transmission, but Erica’s boyfriend had gotten an extended warranty, so the repair was covered. Right answer!

Call 6

Neil Berry (Durham, Maine) - 1987 Ford Taurus

Over the summer, Neil’s daughter drove the car about 10 miles when it was low on coolant. It overheated, mechanics replaced the radiator hose, and said to drive it for a while. The car seemed okay for a while, but now Neil thinks the gas is getting into the oil -- oil level seems high, and gas mileage has dropped. Ray first thinks the theromstat got cooked, but Neil says the temp gauge has remained constant. So, Tom and Ray say it could be many things -- bad coolant tempo sensor, a vacuum hose, bad injector. But, Neil needs to get it fixed before the engine gets cooked.

Call 7

Suzy Hohman (Carlsbad, California) - 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon

Suzy is about to drive across Mexico in this car -- everything was recently re-built, she’s stocked up on supplies, and got the name of Mexico’s emergency roadside service. Is there anything else she needs to do? Tom and Ray suggest renting “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” and to call from the road if anything happens.