Show Rundown

#1034: He's Nothin' to Me

Original Air Date: 08.21.2010
Show Open Topic

The sky is falling! A close call at Car Talk Plaza.

Call 1

Leslie Gasko (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

ac... smoke coming out of vents when she turns on the AC. Whitish, not black, an d doesn't smell like anything's happening. Guys say it's just fog--water vapor from AC re-condensing. May just be caused by air being too humid for the AC to handle, or she may have plugged evaporator drains, so all the AC water's not escaping.

Call 2

Brian Demarco (Boulder, Colorado)

starting/stalling...occasionally starts the car on a cold morning, drives about 100 feet, and car dies. Turns key, everything comes back on except the engine. If he puts the car in neutral, it starts. Also hears a clicking sound when it doesn't start. Guys think problem is a faulty neutral safety switch. Clicking sound is likely fuel pump relay, and is always there--he just doesn't hear it when the car starts.

Call 3

Nancy Lattimore (, Massachusetts)

driving/stick.... Just ordered a Mini Cooper, last two manual cars she owned gear shifter came off in her hand. Something she's doing? Could be, if she's using her full hand on the shifter--or if she's an animal. Try using just three fingers.

Call 4

Vern Jewitt (, Ohio)

engine/oil... Vern's wife's sister's husband is accusing them of ruining the engine by overfilling with oil. Wife borrowed it, oil light came on, they added oil without checking dipstick. Oil light kept coming on, they kept adding oil, engine finally seized. Really Vern's fault? Guys say he was wrong not to check the dipstick, but engine was probably overcooked before that because brother in law had been adding oil. Light means oil pressure is low, not necessarily oil level. Also warning--don't drive with oil light on.

Call 5

Leslie Blake (, New York)

Parking/marital...husband doesn't like the way she parks. She doesn't straighten the steering wheel, and he says this throws the car out of alignment, and 'puts strain on joint connecting the tires to the driveshaft'. Husband is crazy--she's not wearing anything out, or doing any harm.

Call 6

Chris Jones (Durham, North Carolina)

car jacking?....went to Home Depot with Dad, when they came out, car was in different parking space, with CD player volume turned up to full blast. No locks broken, or damage done. Did someone almost steal his car? Guys think another Focus owner mistook Chris' car for his own, and his his key just happened to work. Small chance, but it can happen. Chris is lucky the other guy didn't force his key and break it in the ignition.

Call 7

Beth Flowers (, Colorado)

Writing a novel...set in the 20's, needs to know how long it would take to drive a 1925 Buick Open Touring Sedan 75 miles through Kansas on highway and some improved roads. Guys think they should be able to make the trip in about an hour and a half.

Call 8

Victoria Baker (Grandville, Michigan)

engine...Makes a squeaky 'hamster on wheel' sound- varies with acceleration, goes away when she stops. Electric cooling fan stopped working, so Dad, a mechanic, put in a switch to connect fan directly to the battery. Guys think she's hearing a bearing on the fan---when it's off, air rushing through it is causing it to turn enough to make the sound. She can test it on her own. Slight chance it's a stuck brake, but they're assuming Dad checked that.