Show Rundown

#1024: There's (Not) Only One City in the Country!

Original Air Date: 06.12.2010
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Ray issues a small correction, related to a recent puzzler regarding a certain characteristic of Stamford, Connecticut.

Call 1

Rayme (Las Cruces, New Mexico) - 2001 Mazda Tribute

An engine question. When she steps on the gas, she hears a cricket/chirping noise from under the hood. It varies with acceleration, but only happens when she steps on the gas. Her boyfriend thinks it's a vacuum hose, but car runs fine. so that's not it. Tom and Ray were not sure of the answer (roof rack?), Ray finally suggests it's a belt tensioner.

Call 2

David Brown (Hot Springs, South Dakota) - Chevrolet

A question about animals. Birds keep pooping on his mirrors. Has tried folding them in, putting a scarecrow up. Now he's wondering if he can wire something in to shock them away. Tom and Ray think the birds are seeing their reflection in his window. He can try leaving the windows rolled down. He can try putting Vaseline on the housing, or thumbtacks, or order pigeon spikes that are used on buildings.

Call 3

Chris (Austin, Texas) - 1993 Nissan Pathfinder

A suspension/alignment question. He drove from Austin to Chicago with the truck fully loaded, and it rode fine. After he emptied it, the front end seemed wobbly, and the steering wheel was going back and forth. When he loaded it back up, it was fine again. Problem is a seized universal joint--when the truck is loaded, it changes the angle, so there's less strain on the U-Joint. Get it checked--slight chance it's a wheel bearing.

Call 4

Cathy Heath (, Virginia) - 2005 Honda Civic

A relationship/driving question. Drove to Florida with her friend, who gave three bits of advice--drive with open windows and no AC to improve mileage, don't turn on the AC while driving because it'll wreck the car, and Cathy's wallet attached to her keys will damage her starter. Is she right? Friend is wrong on all three. Best mileage is to drive with windows closed and AC on, because of aerodynamics. Turning AC on does nothing to damage the car. Wallet weight may damage ignition switch, but not starter motor. Tell friend to butt out--she's wrong, and it's Cathy's car!

Call 5

Gianpaolo Debole (Los Angeles, California) - 2004 Volvo S60

Oil. His oil light is flashing, and his oil is disappearing, but he doesn't know where. Was down 3 quarts in 600 miles. Tom and Ray say he's burning it, he just doesn't see it. His rings are shot--only hope for engine is to try switch to synthetic oil.

Call 6

Jason Wright (Douglas, Wyoming) - Volkswagen

An exhaust question. Gets 'high' off of exhaust fumes because he has an exhaust leak. Tried stuffing exhaust pipe, engine kept running. not sure where it's coming from. Ray beleives it's his heater boxes--need to be replaced. Get it fixed, because of the seriousness of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Call 7

Jennifer Burt (Eugene, Oregon) - 2005 Honda Civic

A transmission question. When she starts the car, and steps on the gas, after 1-2 seconds she hears a low, growling noise. The car jumps a little but then runs fine. Problem is likely somewhere in the starting circuit--the car doesn't think it's been turned on.

Call 8

Micah Brown (Mechanic Falls, Maine) - 2003 Toyota Matrix

A fuel/mileage question. He wants to know why his gas mileage has suddenly gone up by 10 miles per gallon. (It went from getting 32-35 mpg to 42-45 mpg) He is concerned that it might mean something bad, like a busted catalytic converter. He did switch gas stations before this happened. Ray thinks calibration at the new station pumps may be off. If it was the cat, it would turn on the Check Engine light. Try another gas station.

Call 9

Karen Gardstrom (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

A driving/road trip question. Driving to Grand Canyon with husband and three grown kids, and they're arguing over which car to take. 2000 Honda Odyssey which needs work, an '04 Volvo Cross Country wagon, and an '06 Mercedes E350. Guys go for the Odyssey--say it'll be the easiest to service if/when it breaks down, and offers the best chance for adventure--breaking down. Also suggest flying to Denver and renting a camper van. Even if they don't take the Honda, need to get it fixed.