Show Rundown

#0913: Burning Man

Original Air Date: 03.28.2009
2
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A painful lesson about what can go wrong, when you smoke the tail end of a cigar in a car.

Call 1

Cher (Cincinatti, Ohio) - 1996 Mercury Villager

A heating/cooling question. Her car will never heat up during her 20-minute commute. Probably low on coolant. Her mechanic disappeared, she added some, but she needs to add more, and determine cause of coolant leak. Try Mechanics Files.

Call 2

Robert Fuller (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) - 2007 Saab 9-7X

A driving/brakes/transmission question, about when he stops at stoplight on apex of a hill. If he takes the brake off the car when he sits there, the car sits still, from a combo of forward thrust and the incline. Is he doing any damage to his car? No, there's a torque converter that's designed to slip. It's fine to do this in an automatic. In a manual tranny, you'd fry the clutch.

Call 3

Tiffany Delph (Stanford, Connecticut) - 1994 Ford Explorer

Two problems: Crunching sound from right front wheel, which Tom and Ray said was probably a bad wheel bearing and problem accelerating, which guys said meant her transmission was either shot, or just low on transmission fluid. She took it in, and guys were right on both counts (low tranny fluid on the 2nd problem).

Call 4

Lindsay Christianson (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 2000 Mazda Protege

A transmission/clutch question. The transmission falls out of fifth gear when she's driving. Sometimes it does it 3,4 or 5 times in a row. Possible it's just a linkage adjustment that's needed. Synchronizers could also be worn, in which case the transmission needs to be replaced or rebuilt. Tom says "forget about it", but it's under warranty, so bring it in.

Call 5

Jimmy Rheinhart (Chesterfield, Virginia) - 2004 MINI Cooper S

A clutch question. At idle when starting the car in neutral, there's a rattling sound. When he depresses the clutch, even partially, the sound goes away. He took it to the dealer and they said there was nothing wrong with it. Clutch pressure plate is probably hitting the clutch release bearing. He'd have to replace the clutch to get the noise to go away. Can live with it, but eventually, he'll need a new clutch.

Call 6

Candy Dimick (Indianapolis, Indiana) - 2001 Mazda 626

An ignition question. She cannot retrieve the key when she shuts the car off. It seems like it's stuck in there for good. She was told that it might be a bad steering column, but she doesn't want to spend the money to repair it. Try a different key, if she can get the key out. Transmission may not be fully in park, preventing the key from coming out. Try pushing the shifter farther into park. If key comes out, then the shifter's the problem. If not, problem is the lock. Can also just leave key in, and use a second one to lock and unlock the car.

Call 7

Roman Borochin (Chicago, Illinois) - Mercedes-Benz

An engine/heating/cooling/oil question. He's getting white smoke when starting up, the engine sputters during idle when it's cold out, and there's a black film on the ground. The radiator fluid hasn't gone down at all. He tried some anti-gel for the diesel fuel. It was running satisfactory until adding the gel. He probably has one cylinder that's bad, and he's running on four instead of five cylinders. Or, he could have blown a head gasket or have a cracked head. He is losing some coolant, but also has a leak. Do a compression test. One of the cylinders is probably a dud. There may also be coolant in the cylinder. Fix it, if he's in love with the car.

Call 8

Clement Napolitano (Tuxedo Park, New York) - Jeep

A speedometer/gauges question. He wants to keep the mileage low, so only does about 25 mph, but speedometer says about 40 mph, and odometer is going up accordingly. Cable-driven speedometer, and it's likely that the speedometer head needs to be replaced. There could also be a problem with the gear sizes in the transmission. He needs to get the speedometer head rebuilt and calibrated.

Call 9

Michelle Dabroski (Chicago, Illinois) - 2008 Honda CR-V

A tires/cold weather question. In cold winter temperatures, she parks in a heated garage, around 65-70 degrees. In the morning, pressure has dropped from 30-27psi, in all four tires. Happens a few times a week. She has leaks in her tires. It seems unlikely that all four are leaking, but that might be the case. Could be boyfriend trying to Gaslight her.