Show Rundown

#1344: Auto Acupuncture

Original Air Date: 11.02.2013
Show Open Topic

Nearly fired for being "pedagogical," and other stories from real-life Dilbert managers.

Call 1

Rebecca Martin (New Haven, Connecticut) - Chevrolet

Rebecca is a grad student going home to Indiana for Thanksgiving. Can she drive this busted heap there and back? Tom and Ray say she shouldn't even try it and offer to send her money for airfare.

Call 2

Chuck Cremins (Prairieville, Arkansas) - Subaru

Chuck changed his spark plugs, and cross-threaded one trying to reinsert it. He torqued the heck out of it; it’s halfway in, seems tight, and the car is running fine. Is it going to do any harm? Tom and Ray say he should be okay, if it really is as tight as Chuck thinks. But, if it blows, it could be exciting.

Call 3

Charis Collins (Redmond, Washington) - 1984 Chevrolet Caprice

When Charis comes to a stop light, blue smoke billows out of her tailpipe and envelopes the car. Her husband is cheap, and doesn’t want to do anything that requires more than duct tape. Tom and Ray have bad news: she needs a ring job, meaning a new engine. She can also try Motor Medic.

Call 4

Frances (Dallas, Texas) - Mazda

Frances loves her Miata but she has a chance to take ownership of her late uncle’s Porsche 944. He was a mechanic and the Porsche is in great shape. She doesn’t want to see the Porsche leave the family but will owning it be a maintenance nightmare? Tom and Ray say to stick with the Miata. The Porsche isn’t worth the hassle.

Call 5

Erik Hare (St. Paul, Minnesota) - Ford

Erik has a “blinky” Check Engine light. When he’s accelerating onto a highway and takes his foot off the gas to shift from 4th to 5th, the Check Engine light will come for about two minutes. He’s wondering what’s happening and if it matters. The problem is likely his oxygen sensor sending an erroneous signal. If it is just the sensor he can afford to ignore it, but the only way to be sure is to hook the car up to a scanner.

Call 6

Steve Cunningham (Los Angeles, California) - Volkswagen

When Steve drives his wife's car, the temperature gauge drops and the oil pressure light comes on faintly. He checked the oil and it’s fine. He promised his wife he could fix it, but it’s been three months and he can’t figure it out. (He’s even sneaked out to three Volvo mechanics, and they’re stumped.) Tom and Ray say the problem is electrical. Tom and Ray suggest replacing the instrument cluster with one from a junkyard, or give in and take the car to a shop that specializes in electrical stuff.

Call 7

Jody Foreman (Portland, Oregon) - Honda

Jody took her car for a tune-up. Ever since, the engine has been making a ticking noise. She’s studying acupuncture, so she’s considering trying it on the car: What is the car’s acupressure point? Tom and Ray say mechanics messed up the valve job on the tune-up. They likely left the valves too loose. She should take the car back and get them to fix it for free.