Show Rundown

#1406: Captain Destructo

Original Air Date: 02.07.2014
Show Open Topic

Hibernating Bugsy: A Better Way to Predict the End of Winter

Call 1

Gretchen Harris (Tyler, Texas) - 1996 Nissan Sentra

Gretchen’s car got stuck in the mud, and in the process of getting it pulled out, mud got all over the dashboard and into the vents. Dealer quoted $500 to clean it out and fix heater control box. Gretchen took it to another mechanic who kept it for a day, then returned it, all cleaned, and only charged $57. What did this mechanic do and why was it so much cheaper? Tom and Ray think the mud had hardened to concrete, and mechanic just blew compressed air into the vents until the stuff stopped coming out through the drain. The car is probably fine now.

Call 2

Albee Walton (Newton, Massachusetts) - 1987 Chrysler LeBaron

Albee wants to sell this car to his mother-in-law, but it sputters and occasionally stalls in city driving or reverse. His mechanic says it has one weak cylinder, and Albee can just change that spark plug every month. Tom and Ray are dubious about the spark plug, but really fixing this would require removing the cylinder, so it’s worth trying. Albee’s mother-in-law lives in Florida, so the car isn’t likely to even make it there.

Call 3

Brenda Waldren (Westport, Connecticut) - Volvo 850

Brenda recently zipped her seat belt inside her jacket and had a difficult time getting out of the car. She’d heard Tom and Ray recommend carrying a fire extinguisher and is now convinced this would be a good idea--but where should she put it? Tom and Ray say to get a small one and mount it on the side of the passenger seat or rocker panel.

Call 4

Donna Dubuque (Hartland, Vermont) - 1992 Volvo 240

Donna’s car has been freezing up and not starting after very cold nights, even with a new battery. Someone told her husband to leave the car running an extra 15 to 30 minutes in the evening to charge the battery. Her husband tried this, but forgot to shut the car off, and it ran all night. Is this good advice? Tom and Ray say it's bogus. If you’ve been driving, the battery is as charged as it can be, and leaving it running just wastes gas. Donna needs a block heater with a timer.

Call 5

Roger (Akron, Ohio) - 1994 Toyota Tercel

After every third or fourth oil change, Roger’s car emits huge clouds of black smoke--”Biblical proportions”-- after the car is warmed up. He gets all his oil changes at the dealer. Tom and Ray think one of the mechanics is overfilling the car so oil is getting into the crankcase ventilation and intake, causing the smoke.

Call 6

John (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) - 1992 Dodge Van

When John drives down the highway and rolls down his window, the radio gets louder--really loud. The speaker is in the door and he can feel air coming from it. These are hand-crank windows, and it’s a simple AM/FM radio. Ray offers a theory about the cabin being de-pressurized when the window is open, but the guys don’t have a real answer and suggest another listener might.

Call 7

Beth Goullard (State College, Pennsylvania) - 1994 Ford Mustang

Beth was driving her boyfriend's Mustang on an icy road and got into a fender bender. The car showed very little damage and was fixed--but a few weeks later, her boyfriend was on ice, and his friend noticed that only one rear wheel was spinning. The boyfriend has accused Beth of wrecking his car. Did she? No, this is the way the differential operates in a rear-wheel-drive car--under extreme conditions like ice, all the power goes to the wheel with the least resistance, such as being on ice. Beth is innocent; Tom says to dump the boyfriend.