Show Rundown

#0905: A Special Kind of Stink

Original Air Date: 01.31.2009
Show Open Topic

A special bond with a male elephant. Maybe.

Call 1

Stephanie Pont (Norwalk, Connecticut) - 1989 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

An engine/body/leak/oil or brakes question. It's her dream car, just got it. A mysterious, light, pretty oil leaks out the back right bumper. Most likely brake fluid, which could be coming from a brake line or the hydraulic cylinders. Should take care of it immediately, because she might lose the rear brakes. Call dealer and have them tow it in.

Call 2

Wally Brown (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - Porsche 944

A fuel/exhaust question. There's a gasoline smell in the cabin, but only when the windows are open. It could possibly just be as simple as a cracked hose in the ventilation system, or a rust hole in the top of the tank. Do an emissions test, and it should be easy to find the source of the problem.

Call 3

Jen Crynor (, Pennsylvania) - 2007 Toyota Prius

A body/windshield question. She pulled a boneheaded move, and scraped the windshield with a fork. She now has scratches everywhere. Can she get them out without replacing the whole windshield? No, she needs to replace the windshield. Throw herself on the mercy of the insurance company and see if they'll cover it...even if they don't still need to replace it.

Call 4

Nick Manderfeld (Baltimore, Maryland) - 2000 Jeep Cherokee

Ajalopy/engine/vacuum/heating/ cooling/electrical/etc question. The check engine light on, flashes at times, squealing noise from underneath the hood. Also thermometer is erratic, the throttle sticks, leaks coolant, and volt meter is busted. No doubt that the radiator is leaking, but also the heater core might be leaking too. There are too many problems; get a FEMA application.

Call 5

Katie Turner (Basalt, Colorado) - 2000 Subaru Outback

A tires/brakes question. She recently put new all-weather tires on. Ever since, whenever she turns wheels, makes a squeaking noise from front left, and when she hits the brake left front tire makes a weird grinding noise. One of the tires they sold her is bad, and needs to be replaced--go back to tire shop.

Call 6

Bill Loehr (Ojai, California) - 1991 Isuzu Rodeo

An animals/cosmetic/smell/biohazard question. He uses the car for fishing and camping, and leaves it sitting for six months. It reeks of fishing gear, dead rats, and bats guano. Can he bring it to a car wash and hose it down inside? It's probably a bad idea, since it could damage sensitive instruments. Just use a drain cleaning brush, scrub everything really well with Fantastik, and bomb it with Fabreeze. Tommy suggests a fire.

Call 7

David Beez (, Georgia) - 1969 Cadillac Eldorado

An engine question. His car sputters and coughs for a few minutes after turning engine off. Also revs high. The sound is the engine running backwards. It's "dieseling." Layer of carbon built up on the pistons, and compression ratio is getting higher. Can't buy octane high enough to prevent this. Try cleaning carbon off the pistons. May also be idling too fast. Can also turn it off in drive, because it's running at lower RPM, which may be enough to keep it from dieseling.

Call 8

Nara Naranjit (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) - 2004 Kia Optima

A starting/engine/belts question. When starting up in the morning, and whenever she goes below 1,000 rpm, it makes a noise like "EEeeeeEee." The belt is slipping. Tensioner may need to be replaced, or something could be wrong with one of the components. Belt could be glazed from slipping, too, and could need to be replaced.

Call 9

Samuel (Upland, California) - 1999 Volvo S80

A transmission question. His wife's car started jumping when he was driving it (borrowed it to take a trip to Disneyland for his birthday). Then car wouldn't drive. Now works for a few minutes, stops again. He feels guilty because it's his wife's car. Probably a dirty throttle, or it needed reprogramming. Common problem with Volvos.