Show Rundown

#1409: The Curly Package

Original Air Date: 03.01.2014
Show Open Topic

How Car Talk's puzzler led to a police house call.

Call 1

Pat Deer (Danbury, Connecticut) - Ford Windstar

Pat and her husband disagree about driving her daughters 3/10ths of a mile to the school bus stop on cold mornings. Pat’s husband thinks short trips like this destroy the car. Tom and Ray agree--really short trips in really cold weather lead to bad gas mileage, and can cause other problems. Pat’s husband is willing to walk with the girls so they’re safe.

Call 2

Tom Coyne (Utica, New York) - Ford Taurus

Tom’s oil light started flashing and staying on at times. He called the dealer who told him he needs a new engine. The guys at work said to just to use heavier oil and STP. Who’s the genius and who’s the quack? Dealer could be right--the light means low pressure, but Tom needs to find out why. He can get someone to drop the pan and see what the bearings look like. If they’re shot, he needs an engine, if they’re okay, he may get by with a new pump.

Call 3

Leon Lynn (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) - 1994 Toyota Corolla

In winter, Leon usually has to park, with one side of the car on several inches of snow. Does leaving the car at an angle like this damage the suspension or cause any problem with the fluids? Tom and Ray say no, the car should be fine. And it’s preferable to parking in the middle of the street.

Call 4

Tim Peterson (Cincinnati, Ohio) - 1995 Honda Civic

Tim recently moved to Cincinnati and is now doing more city driving. When accelerating at slow speeds, he hears a hollow metallic sound, like the compressor in a small refrigerator. Tom and Ray think it’s just a loose heat shield.

Call 5

John Christian (Fayetteville, North Carolina) - 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser

John took his car to the Philippines and when he had it shipped back, the engine caught fire as he drove home from the port. He got a new engine, then started hearing a squeak when turning. Mechanic said someone had put motor oil in power steering system. They flushed it and the squeak went away, but the mechanic wants to replace a new gearbox. Does he need to? Tom and Ray think he’s probably okay. He may want to get the system flushed again, and if squeak comes back, it may just mean he needs a new seal.

Call 6

Jane Poznar (Alpine, Oregon) - 2000 Volkswagen Jetta

Jane runs her car on biodiesel. She’s switching from B-20 to 100%. A company will deliver it to her and she’ll store it in a 50-gallon drum. The area where the car will be filled is on an angle, so she's wondering if it matters whether the car is parked nose up or nose down? Tom and Ray say it makes no difference.

Call 7

Howard Stovall (Memphis, Tennessee) - 1989 Lincoln Mark VII

When Howard parks his car and gets out it makes a whooping noise, like Curly from the Three Stooges. Tom and Ray say it’s a problem in the ride-leveling system. Or, Howard got the special Stooges edition of his Lincoln.