Show Rundown

#1329: Let Sleeping Civics Lie

Original Air Date: 07.20.2013
Show Open Topic

Everything you ever wanted to know about... musical rumble strips. (We kid you not!)

Call 1

Enrico Farina (Tulsa, Oklahoma) - 1995 Nissan Sentra

Enrico’s power door locks have a mind of their own--they go up and down at random while he's driving. The dealer told him he'd need to replace the entire system for $550. Tom and Ray think it may just be a bad wire in the driver’s door. He can get someone to open the wiring harness and they may be able to fix it for $100. He can also just disable the power locks in this car.

Call 2

Karen (Yosemite, California) - 1994 Honda Civic

Karen was jealous of all the attention her boyfriend lavishes on his truck, so he did some work on her car. He changed the plugs, cap, rotor, oil and filter. Immediately after, the Check Engine light came on. What did he do wrong? Tom and Ray think he likely knocked loose a vacuum hose. Luckily for him, it should be easy to figure out which one it is.

Call 3

Wolfgang Rueckner (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

We heard from our Physicist on call, following up on last week’s “dispersion" discussion. Wolfgang has several theories about why a remote would work better when pointed at the driver’s chin: The height and orientation of the antenna could affect it, or the remote could jiggle electrons in the body, making it another antenna.

Call 4

Andy Bean (Portland, Oregon) - 1991 Jeep Cherokee

Andy hears a noise coming from the rear of the car when he decelerates. He replaced the exhaust, which didn't help. Then he took it to a mechanic who replaced the front brakes, which also didn't help. Ray thinks the noise is from the rear brake drums, but Tom wonders if the noise is actually coming from the wheel area.

Call 5

Laura Murphy (Boise, Idaho) - 1990 Toyota 4Runner

Laura has a three-mile commute to work. If she goes out at lunch to run errands, the car often won’t re-start. Dashboard lights come on, but the only sound she hears is a click. Her husband told her to turn the key more slowly. Tom and Ray say it’s a bad starter motor, and the key turning theory is completely bogus.

Call 6

Glen Hendricks (Pueblo, Colorado) - 1979 BMW 528

Glen’s wife is a priest and who's just been assigned to a new parish seventy miles away. So, she needs a new car to make the commute. She’s also rough on cars--she drives too fast and once rolled an Escort on the Interstate (she wasn’t injured). Glen’s thinking of a Jetta, Passat, or Subaru. Rom and Ray suggest a Volvo Cross Country, but the Subaru would also be okay. The most important thing is to figure out how to slow her down!

Call 7

(Hood River, Oregon) - Subaru

Rod's son's car keeps running, even after he shuts it off. He can remove the key, and the engine keeps on running. Tom and Ray think the problem is likely a bad relay at the battery causing it to stay in the on position when the key is off. This should be easy for someone to find and fix.

Call 8

Anna Litchfield (Lake Forest, Illinois) - 1998 Honda Accord

Anna found a large white rat in her car one day. Her mechanic said it got in through an air vent. But she’s baffled and concerned it might happen again. Tom and Ray don’t have a good explanation for the rat’s presence...may have been a bad practical joke. But they reassure Anna that it’s unlikely to happen again.