Show Rundown

#1032: Practical Jokes

Original Air Date: 08.07.2010
Show Open Topic

Practical jokes, courtesy of our listeners.

Call 1

Sirah Qureshi (Washington, District Of Columbia)

A clutch question. Her mechanic says master cylinder is leaking, and she should replace it, but she doesn't want to spend the money, and drives around with brake fluid all the time. Can she get by for another couple of years doing this? Tom says she probably can, Ray says it's a bad idea--it's likely won't keep running for two years, and she may break down in some remote place.

Call 2

Jeff Holliger (, Oregon)

A driving question. He's got an 18-year-old son who doesn't want to drive. The kid seems able to do it, just doesn't want to. Parents want freedom from driving him around. Tom and Ray think the kid just needs time--don't push him to drive if he doesn't feel like he's ready, because he may do something stupid. But, they can also decline to give him rides when he asks.

Call 3

Nancy Gold (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

A question about brakes. She was driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike, got to the toll, and her brake pedal went all the way to the floor. She was able to pump it, and get the car to stop. She made it to a mechanic, who looked and said nothing was wrong. Hasn't happened again, but she hasn't driven long distances out of fear. Tom and Ray think what happened was that something caused brake fluid to boil--maybe a clogged brake hose, stuck caliper, or emergency brake. By the time she got to mechanic, it was unstuck, but the problem is still there. Try a different mechanic. The problem could also be the master cylinder.

Call 4

Gary Friedman (Plano, Texas)

He gets a loud squealing noise when he starts up. The noise lasts a few miles. Coworker suggested he sprinkle Comet on the serpentine belt. The Comet made the noise go away for a while, but it came back. Can he keep doing this, or will it destroy the belt? The pumice in the Comet likely wore away the glaze that caused the squeal. If he keeps doing it, could make the noise go away, but the bleach could eat away the belt. He's probably better off just replacing the belt--should cost less than $100, or a case of Comet.

Call 5

Sarah Pritchett (, New Jersey)

A heating/cooling question. She went away for weekend and left car with husband and sons--when she came back it smelled of urine. She thought the kids peed in the car. Tom and Ray said it was more likely mold spores caused by a plugged drain. Correct answer, it was mold spores, she used Lysol to get rid of the odor.

Call 6

Mieko Imai (, Colorado)

An alignment question. The car pulls to the right severely. It also makes a 'wah wah' sound when she pulls away from a stop, with her foot off the brake and gas. She thinks the noise is coming from the front right. Got alignment, new front tires, new front brakes, CV joints, didn't help, mechanics now baffled. Tom and Ray think the noise is actually coming from the rear--a hung up brake or stuck caliper. Get those checked.

Call 7

Abe (Medford, Massachusetts)

A horn question. He's an impatient Boston driver, and he wants to install a second, high-pitched horn so that he'll sound like several drivers honking at once. Tom and Ray sent him to JC Whitney, but caution he may get punched in the nose by another driver.

Call 8

Alice Walrath (Hastings, New York)

A mileage and marital question. She's having a disagreement with her husband over the better route to take to daughter's house. It's 1.5 miles if you go over a steep hill, 2 miles on a flat road. Her husband's a retired engineer. He says to go over the hill, she thinks it's better, and causes less wear and tear to use the flat road. Tom and Ray agree with her--theoretically, husband may be right, but in this case, flat road is better.