Show Rundown

#0933: A Walking, Talking Environmental Disaster

Original Air Date: 08.15.2009
Show Open Topic

A human resources test, to fit the right person to the right job.

Call 1

Kelsey (Montclair, California) - 2003 Honda Element

A steering/ suspension question. Thinks it has arthritis--Whenever she turns the wheel either way, while pressing on the accelerator, there is a creaking noise from the rear. Been doing it for a year. Probably just needs to change the differential fluid--common in AWD Hondas. Lubricant has broken down. If that doesn't fix it, big problem.

Call 2

Eric Sengelman (Fort Myers, Florida) - 1996 Geo Metro

A question about brakes. His brake pedal get harder to push down when he drives, especially when it gets hot. If he can drive for a while without braking, then the pedal gets easier to use, but if he is frequently braking, then it becomes almost impossible to stop the car. Power brake booster isn't working and needs to be replaced. It could also be the result of a collapsed hose, or a bad valve.

Call 3

Robyn and Brad Myers (American Canyon, ) - 2001 BMW 330

Husband's car, leaking oil--'gushing' all over the garage floor. He says he can just keep refilling it, rather than fix it. She wants guys to convince him to fix it--they say it could just be the drain plug gasket, and he may be spending more on oil than it'd cost to fix it--also, he's a Park Ranger, and he shouldn't be doing damage to environment by leaking oil all over the place.

Call 4

Randa (Lake Hallie, Wisconsin) - 2002 Acura RSX

An electrical/horn question. Her car honks randomly, gets worse in hot weather. Stops if they turn the A/C on, and point the vents at the steering column. It's probably caused by overheating. The plastic surrounding the horn may have deformed, and is now pressing on the horn. Replace the horn pad. Pull apart the horn ring and take a look.

Call 5

Rob Owen (Reno, Nevada) - 2003 Honda CR-V

A clutch question. The clutch doesn't engage until the pedal is all the way to the floor. Is it failing due to wife's apparent clutch-riding? How easy is the replacement to do it yourself? Perform a clutch test against a tree to see if the clutch is slipping. His wife might be the culprit.

Call 6

Katie Else (Royal Oak, Michigan) - 1994 Ford Escort

A transmission, dump/keep question. Lost 5th gear a few months ago. She was on the highway and it slipped out of gear, acted like it's in neutral. It's fine for driving around town, but she has to borrow cars from family to drive long distances. Ground tooth off 5th gear. She could buy a used transmission. First, though, take it in to a mechanic, to see if it's worth fixing. It's probably time to dump it and move on.

Call 7

Tina Scharf (Lincoln, Vermont) - 1998 Honda Civic

An exhaust/muffler question. She has black 'hair-like substance' coming out of her tailpipe. She says it looks like the hair on a witches Halloween wig or something. She passed her emissions test, and the car isn't behaving any differently. This is just the sound-deadening material from inside the muffler. It may raise the exterior temperature, and could be a danger to whatever is in the trunk. It's time for a new muffler.

Call 8

Jesse Triplet (, North Carolina) - 1996 Nissan 240SX

An electrical question. Two years ago, car stopped starting because of bad relay. Replaced the starter motor and the relay, but that didn't fix it. Installed doorbell to jump the starter--turn key, push doorbell, car turns on. Now even the doorbell is occasionally not working. It could be that the button is not designed for the amperage it's getting now. Remove the button from the circuit and try it. It could also be a bad ground. Run a wire from the battery to the engine block, to see if it's a bad ground.

Call 9

Kirsten Michener (Corte Madera, California) - 2003 Honda CR-V

She called in 2000, as Kirsten from Kosovo, and now she is going to be shipping out again. About to transfer to the Republic of Georgia, and bringing her car with her. What spare parts should she should load up on to cover most repairs she might encounter over the next 2 years, around 20k miles. Guys says definitely bring differential oil, and maybe synthetic engine oil. Also, check to find if there's a repair shop that can get Honda parts over there.