Show Rundown

#0903: Hooray for Captain Spaulding

Original Air Date: 01.17.2009
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Classic lines from Groucho Marx.

Call 1

Jerelee Bassis (Montgomery, Maryland) - 2006 Toyota Matrix

A sensors question. The car is perfect, except when she parks in front of the house, it sounds like it's settling like an old woman. The car heaves, groans and even shudders. It only does this when she parks in front of her house, which is on a slight decline. Problem is parking brake not fully engaging, so car is trying to move. She experiments on air putting it in park first, so the parking pawl engages, and then putting on the parking brake, and noise goes away.

Call 2

Drew Forster (Sharon, Massachusetts) - 1996 Honda Accord

A suspension question. When he goes over bumps he hears a, "errh errh" like a seal barking noise, from rear of the car. Worn control arm bushings that need some lubrication. Get it lubed, and get the front end checked at the same time.

Call 3

Ellen Ganci (Schoharry, New York) - 2001 Toyota Corolla

A body/wine/wiper fluid question. Every year, a friend gives her cases of really bad homemade wine. It's undrinkable, and she wants to spare his feelings, so she wants to use it as windshield wiper fluid. Not a good idea. Red wine may cause visibility problems, she'll have wine residue on the car and dripping into the insides. Need to do an intervention and tell her friend he's a lousy vintner.

Call 4

Penny Marks (Jacksonville, Florida) - 1999 Lexus ES 300

An engine/oil/exhaust questions. She gets a burning smell when she first starts the car. Smells it when she's idling, coming from under the car. Smells like something is burning off. Smelling oil that's dripping from the backside valve cover, onto a hot catalytic converter. Take it to her mechanic. She probably needs the valve cover gaskets replaced.

Call 5

Jason Finkle (Lubbock, Texas) - 2000 Chevrolet Impala

Called because his low coolant light had been on for a year, them about six months later, he noticed low operating temperature on the engine. Wanted to replace thermostat himself, on advice of his friends, Stumpy and Meat. Wife thought it was a bad idea. Tom said go for it, Ray agreed with wife. He did it himself, and successfully replaced the thermostat, so Tom was right. But, it didn't make the light go off. Put black tape over the light until he can get a new sensor.

Call 6

Logan Agee (Reno, Nevada) - 1996 Subaru Legacy

A question about brakes. In the morning when the car's cold, the first few times she stops, she can't even push the brake pedal down. She's been rolling through stop signs. Only when temp is below freezing. Power brake lines are not working, possibly because there's water in them, meaning she doesn't have power brakes. Try a new hose to start. If not, replace the booster.

Call 7

Chris Claybo (Chicago, Illinois) - 2004 Saab 9-3

An engine question. He had his oil and air filter changed about two months ago at Jiffy Lube. They installed a different kind of filter than had previously been on there. Now, whenever he accelerates and then lets off the gas, he hears a windy, airy, whooshing, whistling noise. Is it the different filter? Probably not, more likely that they didn't attach the filter housing properly. Take it back and have them look at it.

Call 8

Connie Smith (Minneapolis, Minnesota) - 1996 Honda Accord

Transmission/engine question. When trying to accelerate on the highway, the car will have trouble shifting and rev very high. Car gets a lot louder and makes a "rrRRRRRR" sound. It will shift sometimes if she lets off the gas and presses down again. Easier to shift in warmer weather. Also sometimes makes a growling noise when she steps on the gas, like she ran over a raccoon or something, when she is accelerating. Related? Not shifting into high gear. Engine is revving faster and faster. Probably a stuck solenoid, which should be easily fixed. Scan for codes, and check service bulletins. Might also need a transmission rebuild.

Call 9

Sandy B Nutterfield (Boulder, ) - BMW 318

He wants to convert one of these cars to become an all-electric car. His wife wants him to wait until a real plug-in car is available. Guys agree with his wife--this is more complicated than he thinks, and he could electrocute himself. Forced to choose between the cars, they go for the Porsche because the batteries will take up so much space, there won't be room for anyone else in the car.