Show Rundown

#1118: You Say Kilometer

Original Air Date: 04.30.2011
Show Open Topic

Repairs gone awry: how one listener got his head stuck between his MG's pedals!

Call 1

Kaytie (Baltimore, Maryland) - 2003 Ford Focus

A question about a smell. Occasionally, when she starts the car, stops at a red light hits a big bump or pothole, car smells of burnt oil. Otherwise it runs great. Tom and Ray believe oil is leaking from someplace--maybe the transaxle, and hitting the hot exhaust system. She should check the level of the transmission fluid and the oil to see if either is low. Her mechanic should be able to see where the leak is coming from. Could be serious, she should get it checked.

Call 2

Bob Cramer (Wayland, Massachusetts) - Volkswagen

Bob bought his wife a Beetle for her birthday,but it doesn't come in her favorite color, Pink. So, Bob wants to get it painted for her, but has gotten quotes ranging from 2,000-5,000 dollars. What's the difference? Likely, it's in the attention to detail--removing door handles, etc. Probably worth spending the extra bucks to make sure it's done right, or he can do it himself with rollers.

Call 3

Penelope White (Salem, Oregon) - Subaru

She is very annoyed about the way people in this country pronounce "kilometer"--'ki-LAH-mu-tuhr', rather than 'ki-lo-MEE-tur'. She considers it incorrect, like 'nucular'. But, Tom and Ray note both pronunciations appear in the dictionary. Also discuss pronunciation of forsythia'.

Call 4

Georgia Sledge (West Port Island, Maine) - 2008 Chevrolet Suburban

A question about a noise. On occasion, usually first thing in the morning, she hears a heavy breathing sound, from the engine area. She thinks it sounds like an amorous couple, her grandchildren say it sounds like Darth Vader. Took it to mechanic, they couldn't hear it. Tom and Ray think it's from the heating system--could be blower motor, or blend door.

Call 5

Curtis Peterson (Portland, Oregon) - 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon

Some wacko stole the stick shift and the linkage to the transmission from the car. Can he still drive it? Also, how difficult is it going to be to replace these parts? Tom and Ray say if the van is in a forward gear, he can just drive it--best to get it to 2nd Gear, if possible. He can then go to junkyards to look for a new shifter--will likely be hard to find, which is why someone stole his. And find a new place to park!

Call 6

Megan Coughlin (Seattle, Washington) - Toyota Prius

A question about a smell-- and mice. Megan rode in her friend's car and smelled mothballs. Her friend said she had mice in the car, and used mothballs as deterrent. Megan is concerned that breathing mothballs may not be good for her friend's health. She thinks she should stage an intervention. Tom and Ray think the mothballs are not healthy to breathe in. They recommend that she email the biologist on our site for humane ways to deal with the mice.

Call 7

Allon (Las Vegas, Nevada) - Plymouth

The car has a 2 barrel carburetor. He thinks that if he replaces it with a 4 barrel carburetor it will consume less gas. Tom and Ray say it won't make much difference, and may actually, it may consume more. The real determinant is the weight of the car and how much energy is needed to get it to a certain speed, and if he's using all 4 barrels, he'll speed up more quickly, but use more gas. But, since Allon has bought all the equipment, he should go for it.

Call 8

Becky (Denver, Colorado) - 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser

They are getting ready to move into their motor home for the next few years and want to sell the car. But, they know that the car is no longer being made, and they are wondering if it would be worth it to store the car for a year or two to see it go up in value. Tom and Ray say to sell it. It's unlikely to appreciate in value, but check around and confirm that with someone who knows collectable cars.

Call 9

Dave Blood (Mays Landing, New Jersey) - 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

In the front end there are grinding noises when you apply the brakes or drive over very rough surfaces. The problem happens randomly. He thinks it's some kind of lubrication problem but what part of the car is the problem coming from? Ray thinks it's a bad wheel bearing or the hub.