Show Rundown

#1252: Il Fiat Miracolo

Original Air Date: 12.29.2012
Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share the story of the Fiat Holiday Mileage Miracle.

Call 1

Delena Lee (, Kansas) - 1990 Honda Civic

Delena’s Civic has two problems. First, it goes through about 1.5 quarts of oil per week. She doesn’t see any puddles or blue smoke. Tom and Ray say she’s likely burning it, just not enough to see. It could be the rings, or rear main seal. Second problem, the car goes through exhausts quickly. Is this related to the oil? Tom and Ray say no, it’s a separate problem -- she may want to buy a CO detector for the car to make sure she’s not breathing carbon monoxide.

Call 2

Stan (Saint Louis, Missouri) - Oldsmobile

Stan inherited this car from his aunt. Since the weather’s gotten cold, it starts on only three cylinders and shakes for the first five to six minutes, then smooths out and runs okay. He’s checked the cap, rotors, wires, etc. Ray says the problem is the classic choke pull-off! It needs to be replaced.

Call 3

Scott Minielly (Kingston, Ontario, )

When Scott’s wife drives, coming to a stop, she will reach over and put her arm in front of him. She thinks this will help restrain him from going into the dashboard. He thinks she should hold on to the wheel with both hands. Which would be safer? Tom and Ray say he is right. His wife’s approach is from the era before seat belts. The seat belt will do the job 1,000 times better than she can.

Call 4

Daren Hassell (Bend, Oregon) - 1994 Land Rover Discovery

When Daren’s wife drives his Land Rover, she leaves the radio, heater, and wipers on when she shuts it off. Daren learned this is bad for the car because it drains the battery while it’s trying to start. Is his wife trying to kill his car? Tom and Ray say no, she’s not -- at least, not by doing this. When you start the car, all the battery power goes to starting, so it doesn’t matter if this stuff is on. But, it is good to leave the wipers down so they don’t freeze to the glass in cold weather.

Call 5

Rachel Sullivan (Albany, New York)

When Rachel comes to a stop light, her car begins vibrating. If she shifts to Park it stops, but then it shakes again when she goes back to Drive. Tom and Ray say the problem is a worn motor mount -- she should get it fixed before the engine jumps out and winds up on the passenger seat.

Call 6

Rich (Greenleaf, Wisconsin) - Chevrolet

Rich wants to turn his Cavalier into a convertible by cutting the roof off. His wife says this is unsafe. Tom and Ray agree--it is a very bad idea, and will make the car dangerous. It probably won’t fall apart on its own, but could be very bad in an accident.

Call 7

Liz McConaghy (New York, New York) - 1990 Jeep Cherokee

When Liz drives her Jeep, there’s an overwhelming gas smell for the first 30 minutes or so. The smell then dissipates. Tom and Ray say she has one or more leaky injectors, and needs to get this fixed ASAP, as the car could burst into flames. Get it towed to her mechanic.

Call 8

Kimberly Anderson (Amherst, New Hampshire) - 1994 Nissan Sentra

Kim’s timing belt has 94k miles on it. Mom’s a “Nosy Nellie," telling her she needs to get it replaced ASAP. Mechanic said not to worry about it. Who’s right? Tom and Ray aren’t sure if this has a timing belt or chain. She should call Nissan. If it’s a chain, don’t worry about it. If it’s a belt, listen to Mom and replace it.

Call 9

Dave Sepos (Davis, California) - 1992 Ford Ranger

When Dave makes his first right turn of the day, he hears a “whooping” noise coming from the right rear wheel. It only happens on right turns, and becomes more sporadic over the course of the day. Tom thinks it’s related to the wheel cylinder. Ray thinks Dave’s parking brake is stuck, and not disengaging. Ray suggests Dave experiment by not using the parking brake one night (when it’s safe to do so).