Show Rundown

#1007: The Return of the $30,000 Paperweight

Original Air Date: 02.13.2010
Show Open Topic

News headlines from

Call 1

Karen Healey (Rutland, Massachusetts) - 4 Jeep Liberty

Noise... Her car sounds like flatulence, expelling air--sounds like it's coming from underneath, in front of her. Can happen once or twice a day, doesn't affect performance, check engine light is not on. Could be the ABS pump coming on, and a possible sign it's on the way out. It's probably okay for now, but if ABS light comes on, take it in ASAP and get it fixed.

Call 2

Larry Shaw (Huntsville, Alabama) - 6 Chevrolet Malibu

A heating/cooling question. Wife's car, he installed a remote starter to heat it up--but doesn't get warm air, unless the car is moving. Otherwise it just blows cold air. So he's telling her to run red lights, so she doesn't have to stop and freeze. Could be insufficient coolant, with air trapped in the heater. When the engine is cold, check coolant level. Could also have a loose impeller on the water pump, which would be much more expensive.

Call 3

Katie Montgomery (Boulder, ) - 4 MINI Cooper

Chumps...Husband's car, got stuck in frozen puddle up to the rims. Guys suggested drilling holes in the ice and pouring boiling water. It was an 'epic failure'--some of the ice just turned slushy, not enough to move the car. Wrong answer. Neighbor came over with pickax and smashed the ice, which freed the car, but left a mudflap behind.

Call 4

Nathan Bell (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) - 1 Subaru Impreza

An engine question. The car has started to drive rougher, and makes a sound alike a sewing machine when he accelerates. Also, gets a burning smell in the car. His mechanic told him not to bother bringing it in, suggested he try fuel system cleaner additive, or get a new car. Check engine light has been on several months. Not sure if it makes the noise when he just revs the engine, so guys send him outside to try it while they take another call.

Call 5

Rebecca Roberts (, California) - 6 Volkswagen GTI

A clutch/transmission/engine question? Her dad smashed up the side of car, since it was fixed, makes 'tick-tick-tick' noise when the car is is neutral. She thinks it's coming from the engine. Dad is a mechanic, denies that there is any problem. Also, her mechanic couldn't hear the noise. Could be a sticky valve, or a bad valve lifter, but Ray thinks most likely it's a loose spark plug. Guys never address whether accident caused the problem.

Call 6

Nathan Bell (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) - 1 Subaru Impreza

Returns from the test--did not make the noise when he revved the engine without moving the car. Ray suggests piston slap, because Subarus are famous for it. Could also be sign timing belt is going. Burning smell is oil--check oil level. Find a different mechanic, who's willing to look at the car and diagnose.

Call 7

Kevin Hamrick (Woodlands, Texas) - 3 Toyota Camry

An engine/heat/cool/AC question. It's his wife's car, and it makes a whistling sound like he's in a space ship, or a kid is blowing through a soda straw. Only really notices it at low speeds. Sounds like it's coming from behind the dash, thinks it does it when heat is on. It's probably a blend door that's not working properly, not serious.

Call 8

Andrea Gomez (Wilmington, Delaware) - 1 Toyota ECHO

Engine/warming/marital dispute. She's and husband disagree over whether cars need to be warmed up before driving in cold weather. He's from Costa Rica, and hates the cold He starts car and lets it sit for up to a half hour before driving. She thinks cars don't need to warm up. She's right--a long warm up is unnecessary and bad for the environment. Best is to start car and start driving, at a moderate speed. Buy husband some Bronco Nagusrkis to help him keep warm in cold car.

Call 9

Andy Cornelius (Louisville, Kentucky) - 84 Mercedes-Benz 190

An ignition question. The tumbler of his ignition isn't turning anymore. Tried new keys, but they didn't help. Was able to use his sonic toothbrush to get it to 2nd position, so he's leaving it there. He says he has mediocre mechanical skills. Mercedes wants several hundred to replace the tumbler--can he do it himself? Dealer is close by, so guys say he can give it a shot...maybe do it in their parking lot on Sunday so if he fails, car is already there.