Show Rundown

#0926: What's Another 2,000 Miles? A Miracle!

Original Air Date: 06.27.2009
Show Open Topic

Names of race horses not to bet on.

Call 1

Sophia Hamilton (Bellingham, Washington) - 1996 Nissan Altima

A transmission question. Her father put in some transmission fluid, and a few days later, the car stopped going into reverse. She took it to a shop, and they said it was an internal transmission issue, so any fix would cost a thousand dollars. She didn't fix it, but months later, the car just went into reverse, and now it works fine. What could have caused this? Had a stuck valve in the transmission that probably freed itself up. But, the problem will be back, and she may lose all the gears in the transmission. Tom thinks she'll be fine, guys bet, tell her to calll back at Christmas

Call 2

Chad (, Arizona) - 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe

A dump or keep question. He purchased the car over the weekend while his wife was out of town--it has over 200,000 miles on it. Needs to convince his wife it's okay to take on 2,000 mile camping trip with their two kids. 'Looks nice', he's replaced the radiator, about to replace the catalytic converter, and says the tires are good, so how can he convince her that it's okay? She's right to be concerned, because of the high mileage. Get it looked over once more, then go for it. They'll have some great stories as a result.

Call 3

Kristin Simonson (New York, New York) - 1998 Honda Accord

A question about mechanics/repair/alignment. Her car was broken into and the airbag and computer were taken. Her garage sent it to a place in Revere. Was told by people in Revere they fixed the alignment for free (which wasn't part of original problem). When picked it up, car was detailed but check engine light on, alignment was worse, the acceleration was jerky, and she found a receipt in the car for valet parking at restaurant in Revere. Sounds like 'Nunzio the Knucklescraper' in Revere took it for a joyride. The engine is misfiring, find another mechanic to fix it.

Call 4

Theresa Johnson (, California) - 1993 Buick LeSabre

A heat/cooling/AC question. The car sometimes smells like bacon, shortly after starting the car and the AC. She wants to know if this is dangerous, and if it isn't, how she can make it happen more often. Some kind of lubricant is leaking onto the exhaust and getting sucked into the ventilation system. Have the shop check the back valve cover.

Call 5

Craig Britton (Crockett, ) - 1996 Toyota Previa

An engine question. From under the right front, under the hood, there is a sound like 'rolling a marble around on a wooden floor, combined with a growling sound.' Guys gave three possibilities, including coolant boiling because air had gotten into the system--which was the right answer. Had it fixed, problem gone.

Call 6

Karen Gayle (Seattle, Washington) - Volkswagen Eurovan

An exhaust/heat shield/transmission question. At 3000 rpm, there's a rattle like someone left a screwdriver in undercarriage and shakes floorboard on passenger side. Replaced muffler but still rattling. Her mechanic couldn't figure it out. Also jolts when she shifts from 1st to 2nd. Could be a tire out of balance, or it could be something in the transmission, like a bad torque converter, bad harmonic balancer. Also could be exhaust related. Get it on a lift, and run it at the RPM that generates the problem.

Call 7

Tamara Debolt (Birmingham, Alabama) - Chevrolet TrailBlazer

An electrical/speedometer/gauge question. Her speedometer doesn't work. Dealer said needed whole cluster replaced. There was a TSB, but she's not covered because of too many miles. Dealer won't let her put in a used speedo, because of the odometer reading. Check state law-in MA, one can get a used odometer, and a mileage affidavit--maybe same law in AL. If so, she can get a used speedometer, and have any mechanic put it in.

Call 8

Paul Schwartz (Chicago, Illinois) - 2004 Volvo S40

A question about a leak in the car's body. There's a constant reservoir of water in backseat behind the driver, rain or not. It dries out with towels, but keeps coming back. Sunroof drains might be plugged up. To find it, go to a car wash. Have an assistant spray systematically, while he sits in the car and checks for leaks. Start at the windshield.

Call 9

Mary Fee (Phoenix, Arizona) - 2006 Scion xA

A question about suspension/steering. It makes a noise only when she makes a hard right turn. Seems like it's squeaking from the axle. It's a metal rubbing against metal sound. 'Eeeeeee!' The noise goes away when she straightens the steering wheel. It's getting louder. Could be the brake dust shield. Could also need new brake pads. Have someone check it-it might be something serious.

Call 10

Julius Shulman (New York, New York) - 2000 Lexus RX 300

A question about brakes/driving/relationship. He was taught by his father that when you are about to enter a puddle in the car, you should go through with the brake pedal slightly depressed, so as to keep water from getting in between the brake disk and the pads. He and his family disagree about whether or not it still holds. His dad was right, when drum brakes were around, but that advice is no longer valid with disc brakes. Still, it's wise to drive slowly through puddles.