Show Rundown

#1012: Bad Hair Day

Original Air Date: 03.20.2010
Show Open Topic

Study: Bad driving may be genetic.

Call 1

Ravi Raj (Woburn, Massachusetts) - 2002 Dodge Stratus

engine/coolant... saw steam coming out of coolant bottle. Mechanic told him coolant is leaking into the engine. Is it worth fixing? Could be a cracked head, cracked block, or blown head gasket, but mechanics will have to take engine apart to figure it out, so it's gonna cost at least $1000. Have mechanics check everything else on the car--if the engine is the only problem, and he loves the car, get it fixed.

Call 2

Teresa Owens (Yakima, Washington) - 1999 Subaru Outback

heating/cooling/hairstyling. Commutes an hour to work. She occasionally needs her hair to look good, so she wears curlers, and uses the heater vents to dry her hair. But air doesn't reach back of her head, so it doesn't dry. Any appliance she could connect to heater vent to dry the back of her hair? Go to JC Whitney and try to get a blower defroster that she can aim at the back of her head. Or, try any fan on the back seat.

Call 3

Kerry O'Donnell (, Pennsylvania) - 2000 Honda Odyssey

Transmission/shifter. Parked the car, went to re-start it, and couldn't get it out of Park--the shifter won't move. A guy was finally able to turn the steering wheel all the way yo the right, and force the shifter into Reverse. Now she's afraid to drive it. Problem is likely the parking pawl wearing out--she can fix it, or work-around by setting hand brake before she puts it into Park. Get it checked, because it could also be the shift interlock switch on the brake pedal.

Call 4

Kristin Toy (Starksboro, Vermont) - 2001 Saturn Aura

Windshield wipers... when on intermittent, goes up about 1/3 of the way, then stop--may start working again, usually she forces them. They work on regular speed, but are occasionally 'slow' in the morning. Could be wiper motor wearing out. Test to see if current is getting to wiper motor--could also be a bad switch.

Call 5

Joe (Ocean Park, Maryland) - 2002 Buick LeSabre

dump/keep... Has 162k miles, needs brakes, tires, rotors, hubs... Is it worth it the $1500 of repairs? He loves the car, drives 20k miles a year taking his kid to soccer games. Guys say he should dump it because a new car will be safer, and more enjoyable... especially because he's doing so much highway driving with his kid. Test drive a Lucerne, they think he'll fall in love.

Call 6

Jane Albright (Montgomery, Alabama) - 2008 BMW 525

smell... Spilled a bottle of cream, spoiled and leaked, smelled terrible. A guy fumigated the car for $35, got rid of cream smell, but new smell is worse...he won't tell her what he used, only that it's approved. Go back and threaten to sue unless he tells her. Also, cream smell will likely come back when weather warms up--he didn't get rid of it, just covered it. They need to remove the carpets and driver's seat and really clean them to get the smell out.

Call 7

Adam Cuppy (Medford, Oregon) - 2000 Kia Sportage

Transmission/engine. When he reverses out of his driveway, and shifts into D, car feels laggy--engine not revving, feels like it's going to putter. Only happens occasionally. Also, when downshifting at a turn, he hears a metal on metal 'tink' sound. Check Engine light has been on and off for last 5k miles. Needs to get car scanned--problem is likely the transmission not shifting properly, not starting off in 1st--bad shift solenoid. Could also be engine misfire. Could be expensive, but if he wants to keep the car, he needs to get it checked.

Call 8

Howard Turner (Hudson, Ohio) - 2001 GMC Pickup

A question about brakes and ABS. When stepping on the brakes, right before he stops, he gets a 'BRRRRR' and glides and then eventually stop. He's hearing the ABS system kick in when it shouldn't, because one of the sensors is malfunctioning. Use a scanner to see which sensor is at fault. Try cleaning it, to see if there's crud there. If necessary, replace the hub assembly.

Call 9

Michaela Murphy (Chicago, Illinois) - 2001 Honda Civic

dump/keep... She, husband and baby are moving to San Francisco. They plan to get a new car. This one needs new tires and about $1500 of work. They're flying--it is it worth spending $1000 to move the car, or should they sell it before they go? They'd lease a car in SF until they buy one. Guys say spend the money to fix his and move it--it will relieve time pressure to buy a new car quickly, or sell this for less than it's worth. It will be a good temporary car in SF.