Show Rundown

#1331: The Rhinestone Plymouth

Original Air Date: 08.03.2013
Show Open Topic

A milestone is reached at Car Talk Plaza, as Dougie really does go to the last drop.

Call 1

Larry (, Pennsylvania) - Lincoln

Larry bought a Limo from eBay. (It used to belong to the Russian embassy.) It lost power and died while driving and now the engine cranks but the car won't start. Is it worth the trouble to figure out what's wrong and fix it up? Tom and Ray suspect it's a bad timing chain and say it's worth the effort to repair.

Call 2

Savannah Baldwyn (Warwick, Massachusetts) - 1987 Plymouth Sundance

Savanah wants her car “to glitter”. She wants to paint flowers and attach rhinestones. She’s concerned about what kind of paint and ashesive to use, she doesn’t want the car to look shabby or have stuff flying off. Tom and Ray say she can use just about any kind of paint. The most important thing is to prep the car properly before applying. For adhesive, they suggest rubber cement or Epoxy.

Call 3

Damien Sands (Eugene, Oregon) - 1996 Subaru Outback

Damien drives his kids to school and it's a one-mile trip, uphill. A couple of times a week, about 3/4 of the way there, the car begins sputtering, and the engine feels like it’s choking. He pulls over, turns the car off for 30 seconds, and then it’s okay. This seems to happen less if he lets the car idle before driving. Ray thinks it’s bad spark plug wires or a coil affected by dew getting on wires overnight. Tom thinks the dew explanation is “doo doo” and suggests the coolant temp sensor.

Call 4

Andrew Soshe (New Orleans, Louisiana) - 1991 Nissan Sentra

Andrew's automatic shifts roughly from 1st to 2nd in the morning when it's cold. After about 15 minutes of driving it goes away. This has been going on for about six years, but lately the problem is getting worse. It's also rough when downshifting from 2nd. Tom and Ray suggest that he start by changing his transmission fluid and filter, but if that doesn't work he's looking at a new transmission.

Call 5

Maxine Aaron (Davis, California) - 1998 Honda CR-V

Maxine took her car for service and the mechanic put washer fluid in the brake reservoir. As she was driving, she got a terrible vibration in the wheels. She went back and the mechanics replaced her font brakes for free. Should they have done the rear as well? Tom and Ray think it's unlikely that washer fluid would have caused this problem--it's more likely that they added power steering fluid, in which case they should also replace the rear wheel cylinders.

Call 6

Mary Jane Beaton-Doyle (Superior, Wisconsin) - Ford

Mary Jane's husband bought a 1964 Ford Fairlane. She recently discovered Car Talk’s phone number--she’s worried her husband plans to ask Tom and Ray for guidance on fixing the Fairlane, so she’s calling to beg them to talk him out of it. He’s not mechanically inclined, though she has some experience around cars. She also hates lving in Wisconsin. Tom and Ray suggest a compromise: she offers to help her husband, if he agrees to move from Wisconsin.

Call 7

Barry Zack (San Quentin, California)

Barry works for a group that received a $19,000 grant to buy a car to use for transporting inmates on errands. What should they buy? Reliability is key, so Tom and ray suggest a Camry...though a camper van might be more fun.