Show Rundown

#1106: Beware the Anonymous Physicist

Original Air Date: 02.05.2011
Show Open Topic

Ray sheepishly offers a mea culpa for his recent booooo-gus puzzler.

Call 1

Shawn Downey (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

A marital/buying question. His wife drives this car and she's hit a Pepsi truck, Coke truck, a goose, the garage, etc. She wants a new car, but he thinks she should just keep this one since it's so safe. She argues that the newer cars are even safer. Tom and Ray agree with Shawn's wife--newer cars have more safety features, suggest they get a new Cross Country.

Call 2

Martha Gustavson (Loveland, Colorado)

She has named a car "Excalibur" because the key is stuck in the ignition and has been for about 8 months. Also, when they leave the car parked for a few days, it won't start, needs a jump. Problem is likely the ignition switch and lock, not allowing the key to get to the Off position. Tom thinks it's the steering wheel lock. She can test by turning wheel and jiggling keys at the same time. If they don't come out, she needs a new ignition switch and lock.

Call 3

Karlye Maloney (Indianapolis, Indiana)

A question about her directionals. Whenever she makes a right or left turn, the directional signal keeps blinking, won't shut itself off--she hears a click, but has to turn it off manually. Problem is likely a bad switch, and there may be a campaign on them. See if other Cobalt owners have experience same problem.

Call 4

Deborah Axtell (East Longmeadow, Massachusetts)

A family question. She has two sons. The younger son, Blake, saved up to buy this car, and was really excited until his older brother told him ti's a chick car. Now Blake is sour on the car. What can he do to macho it up? Tom suggests painting the car black. Ray says older brother is just jealous because Blake got a car first. Blake should leave the car as is and say he's macho enough to drive anything he wants.

Call 5

Babacar (Burlington, Vermont)

A question about tires. He's had two cars and four sets of tires that have all had repeated slow leaks out of the front passenger side tire--some snow tires, some Summer tires. Not driving on curbs. Is it something he's doing wrong? Ray thinks it's just coincidence, but suggests Babacar pay attention to his driving, to make sure he's not more reckless than he thinks.

Call 6

Belle Duggan (Denver, Colorado)

A steering question. Every time she drives through a puddle of water, her power steering goes out, car is hard to turn. When she accelerates it comes back. Also get s a screeching sound. Mechanic said her belt is okay. Tom and Ray think the belt is loose, likely because the belt tensioner is bad. She should get it checked--could be dangerous. Also possible that splash guard fell off, and belt is getting wet.

Call 7

Kate (Chicago, Illinois)

A noise and a marital question. Her car makes a rubbing noise when turning. She brought it in, but mechanic couldn't find anything, told her to come back when noise gets worse. Also, Kate's husband hit another car while parking, taking her to the hospital to give birth. Did that cause the noise? T&R say the noise is from the diferential--fluid has degraded, because it hasn't been changed. It's unrelated to the accident, but if Kate's husband is responsible for regular maintenance, she can still blame him.

Call 8

Chuck Grodnik (Elkhart, Indiana)

A driving and engine question. When he's stopped at a light, occasionally feels a bump that feels like he's been rear-ended, and car moves forward a bit. Keeps checking rear view mirror, but isn't getting hit. Tom and Ray think his computer is sending a bad signal to the electronic throttle. Could just be a software proble, and there may be a TSB on it.

Call 9

Mary Lane Leslie (Taos, New Mexico)

A marital and driving question. Her husband is obsessed with getting good gas mileage, so he drives down mountain every day in Neutral. Is this safe? Does it affect power steering and power brakes? No, it doesn't affect them, but it's not safe--makes it harder to slow the car down, and keep it under control. Also, she'd like to get him in an AWD, but he won't because of the mileage. Tom and Ray agree, he should be driving an AWD, suggest a Ford Escape hybrid.