Show Rundown

#1310: Ben and the Junkonauts

Original Air Date: 03.09.2013
Show Open Topic

Science finding: You can laugh your way to health with Car Talk.

Call 1

Anwen (Rockland, Massachusetts) - 81 Volvo 240

Anwen’s Volvo is makes a noise when the gas tank is half full, like the sound of chalk on a blackboard. She had the fuel pump checked and the mechanic said it was fine. Tom and Ray suspect that her mechanic didn’t realize this car has two fuel pumps and the one in the tank is the problem. It will probably need to be replaced.

Call 2

Rush (Mystic, Connecticut) - Land Rover

Rush went away for the holidays not realizing he’d left a stick of butter on his dashbaord. It melted into the heating vents and now the car smells horrible. He’s tried Lysol but to no avail. Tom and Ray says he’s going to have to take the entire heating and ventilation system apart, to remove all traces of the butter. And even then, he may never be able to completely get rid of the smell. Coffee may help mask it for a while. The best solution may be to hope for a fire!

Call 3

Ben (Seattle, Washington) - Volvo

Ben and his band are about to embark on a cross-country tour. They can’t get a van and are planning to get a Volvo 145 instead. Ben’s girlfriend has the same car, and will be able to Fed Ex them parts if needed. Tom and Ray say to go for it--it’ll be an adventure.

Call 4

Kyrie Gerriton (, Maryland) - 1988 Ford F150

Kyrie uses this truck to tow her horse trailer so she got the Heavy Duty towing package. She had the radiator replaced last winter, and ever since, the truck overheats when she’s going fast. Tom and Ray think the guys who did the radiator put a stock one in, rather than the Heavy Duty radiator. She should go back and ask them to replace it with the right one.

Call 5

Mike Harklerm (Hilsboro, Oregon)

Mike teaches physics and his students are working on understanding angle of reflection. His students asked why you can change the angle of a rear-view mirror to avoid a car’s high beams, but are still able to see the road. Mike said it was magic, but he’d like a better explanation. Tom and Ray explain that you’re moving only the reflective surface and suggest he go to a junkyard and get a rear-view mirror, so he can do an in-class demonstration.

Call 6

Helen (Oakland, California) - 1976 Toyota Celica

Helen’s dashboard has a display that flashes words repeatedly--”battery," “radiator”, etc. It’s distracting and annoying and her mechanic says she can disable but she’s worried that she may miss an important message. Tom and Ray say this is supposed to be a system check; the fact that it’s flashing this way means it’s gone awry. Tom and Ray suggest their time-honored solution: covering it with black tape.

Call 7

Parashanth Kulkari (, Virginia) - 1991 Toyota Corolla

Prashanth called because his wife was coming over from India. He was worried she’d be disappointed by his beat-up Corolla, and wondered if he should get a new car to impress her. Tom and Ray said to keep the Corolla, and show her who he really is. How did that advice work out for Prashanth?

Call 8

Megan Libbey (Paris, )

Megan’s moving from Paris back to the U.S. but she doesn't want to leave her '94 Austin Mini behind. She's considering having it imported, but her father thinks that's a crazy idea, a lot more trouble than it's worth. Tom and Ray think the car is likely to be illegal here. They suggest that she buy one here that was grandfathered in.