Show Rundown

#0921: An Astronaut After Our Own Heart

Original Air Date: 05.23.2009
Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray point out the tips they gave to shuttle astronaut John Grunsfeld.

Call 1

Ainsley Rossi (Atlanta, Georgia) - 2004 Subaru Forester

A starting question. Her car won't start whenever it rains. It works fine in dry weather. The engine turns over, but it won't catch, and it won't start properly until the weather dries out. Her car has no spark when wet. Hairline crack in the coil is allowing moisture to short-circuit the coil. Needs to have the coil replaced.

Call 2

Daniel Miller (Pensacola, Florida) - 2005 Saturn Relay

A transmission question. When in reverse, in morning, put back in drive, sometimes doesn't do anything, the car makes grunting noise, grabs for a few seconds, and then goes. Could be a sticky valve in the transmission. Wouldn't worry about it. When steady accelerating up slight incline, at around 45 mph, the car bucks or kicks if gives more gas, doesn't buck. Pending code in the computer, could be the throttle position sensor or the crank sensor. Have the car's computer scanned at a shop.

Call 3

Janet Scurlock (St Louis, Missouri) - 1997 Nissan Sentra

An engine question? Every now and then when starting, she gets two noises: first, an intermittent noise when she starts it up, makes growling noise; second, when accelerating. Makes a whbeen iny sound. First noise is the starter drive. Put in a new starter.

Call 4

Rennie Riggs (, Arkansas) - 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager

A heating/cooling/AC question. AC blowing smoky steam like vapor. Water underneath driver's side floormat. Is it harmless, or is it going to kill him? AC evaporator drain is plugged. Blow out the evaporator drain, and that'll fix it.

Call 5

Rane (, Maryland) - 1994 Isuzu Trooper

An engine. Trouble accelerating beyond 30 mph while getting on highway, or climbing. Also makes a horrible kerchunking sound. Noise doesn't change with acceleration. Transmission may be on the way out, which means she should dump this-not safe to be driving around with a baby while it's doing this.

Call 6

Grace Spruel (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) - 2004 Volkswagen Jetta

A suspension or tranny question. Whenever she pulls away from a stop the car makes a slow groan like someone getting out of bed. She thinks it might he axle. Low on transmission fluid, or it needs to be flushed. That's probably all that needs to be done. Could also need a new or adjusted belt slip on the power steering pump, or the pump could be failing. Take it in, have it checked out. Also, she lives on a really steep hill, and her fiancee will often switch the car from reverse to drive while doing a turn, without coming to a complete stop. Isn't that bad for the transmission? Yes. He will hasten the demise of the transmission.

Call 7

Carla Lang (Kelso, Washington) - 2006 Cadillac SRX

A driving question about manual transmission. She had a bad experience learning to drive a manual, and is now too scared to learn how. She bought a car with an Automatic/Manual Transmission, and she is wondering if she can safely learn to drive using this transmission, or could she accidentally damage her car if she does this wrong? Advice: when in doubt, shift up. If it bucks, you'll know you're shifting too soon.

Call 8

Cliff Owens (Laconia, New Hampshire) - 2000 Toyota Camry

There's a knock in the trunk like someone's in there. Sounds like a bowling ball. Could be the anti-sway bar bushings. They may look fine, but they still need to be replaced. Rare, but it could be the links, or the strut mounts or the struts.

Call 9

Katherine (Newton, Massachusetts) - 1999 Honda Accord

A dump or keep question. She & her husband, one is safety-minded, one is cheap (won't say which is which). Been in two accidents, one with major repairs. Safety-minded one thinks it should be replaced, the other wants to keep it until repairs become too expensive. Keep the car, despite the accidents, blue smoke, check engine light, other issues. (End of call, says she's the cheap one in the marriage.)