Show Rundown

#0935: The Beetle in Winter

Original Air Date: 08.29.2009
Show Open Topic

Things you could only learn from the movies.

Call 1

Corrine Arraez (San Jose, California) - 1998 Honda Accord

A starting/fuel pump relay question. Her husband's car has heat exhaustion. If it sits outside in the heat, won't start. After 20-30 min, and opening windows, it'll start. If parked in shade, garage or moon roof is open, car will start. Can't send husband on errands because he has excuse that car might not start up again. Classic case--bad fuel pump relay, common problem in Accords.

Call 2

Lowell Parker (Dallas, Texas) - 2007 Volvo S40

A suspension/differential question. When accelerating and turning left from a stop, there's a lumpy sounding object coming from the trunk--sounds like something rolling across the trunk. It only happens when making a left, and stops-- turning right 'resets' it, so it will happen again. Take everything out, and see if the noise goes away.Could be a trailing arm bushing, or something that's worn out before its time. Could have broken a stabilizer link.

Call 3

Nancy (Washington, District Of Columbia) - Volkswagen

A buying question. She really wants to buy a VW new Beetle convertible. But, she is moving to New Hampshire, to a house without a garage. Should she still buy the car? Will snow crush the roof? She should go for it, but probably doesn't want to drive it in snow. Find or build a place to store it for the Winter, and use another car, preferably one with 4-Wheel drive.

Call 4

Krysta Kelly (Beaverton, Oregon) - 1995 Ford Aerostar

Steering question. It makes a mosquito/growling noise. Her friend replaced both pump and rack and pinion, but it still growls whenever she turns, and the steering gets hard. The car is going through lots of power steering fluid. It was mis-diagnosed, she may not have needed the rack. Problem is the high pressure hose that goes to the rack is leaking.

Call 5

Nick (Montauk, New York) - 1995 Jeep Cherokee

A question about killing a car. His wife said she'd buy him a brand-new BMW when the Jeep gives out but nothing is wrong with it. What can he do that's not too obvious to make the car stop running? He needs to over the $1000 threshold for a repair. Head for the Rockies, drain three quarts of oil, and drive it. Or, hire a friendÂ… or let Tommy drive it. Or, do something to the car that embarrasses her. Alternatively, just do maintenance and safety work, but nothing else.

Call 6

Mary Alice (West Bloomfield, Michigan) - Chrysler Cirrus

A suspension question. She is hearing a metal-on-metal grinding noise coming from the front of the car when making low speed turns. It's really bad on a hard turn. It only happens when moving. Her husband is an engineer for Chrysler. Could be a tie rod end, a ball joint, or the support bearing on top of the Macpherson strut. Have her mechanic take it for an extensive road trip. Once they hear the sound, they'll figure it out.

Call 7

Marlon Crook (Washington, District Of Columbia) - 2001 Lincoln Navigator

A heating/cooling/leak question. When he goes to step on the gas, there is a sound like a waterfall behind his radio in his dash. He has a clogged AC evaporator drain plug. Need to blow out the drain with compressed air.

Call 8

Lisa Wiseman (San Jose, California) - 2006 Lexus ES 330

A body/window/ aerodynamics question. When the windows are down, the car makes a strange sound. It feels like her eardrums going to burst. It's a pulsation as a result of the aerodynamic flow around the car getting disrupted. It's common with many cars, it's very annoying, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Call 9

Manuel Cervantes (Bentonville, Arkansas) - Jeep

An ignition/fuel/electrical question. He used to have electronic ignition, but a Mexican mechanic replaced it with points and condenser. Now, it's running poorly, can't find anyone to work on it Can he switch back to electronic ignition? Probably needs new points--find a really old mechanic who knows how to work on them. Alternatively, buy a new distributor and replace it.

Call 10

Ed Silva (Sacramento, California) - 1996 Ford Explorer

A question about car locks. The child safety lock is stuck. If he flips the switch on the door, it won't unlock. He took it to his mechanic, who thinks the rod might be disconnected. Take the door panel off to see what's going on, and it should be easy to fix--he'll probably have to disable the child locks.