Jan 10, 1998
TOM: You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to discuss cars, car repair, and my brother's new puzzler.
RAY: OK, here it is.
TOM: Does it have to do with donuts?
RAY: No, not really.
TOM: That is the most obscene donut I have ever...
RAY: Only in America.
TOM: Only in America, exactly.
RAY: It's no wonder they call -- I mean I don't mean this in a bad way because this is from Dunkin Donuts, and they make very good donuts.
RAY: But this is why they call us ugly Americans.
RAY: Anyway I'll eat that later. This was sent to us by e-mail from John Zumsteig, and I don't know where he is from because you don't know where anyone is from.
TOM: As it should be.
RAY: Isn't that interesting?
RAY: He says based on a true story.
TOM: Whoa, geez, yeah.
RAY: One crisp fall morning a man brings his Porsche into his mechanic's, saying that he couldn't drive it more than 20 miles an hour. At that speed it developed a horrendous shudder. The mechanic being busy as usual drinking his morning coffee...
TOM: And eating Dunkin Donuts.
RAY: ...tells the driver to drive his car into the shop but he couldn't look at it until later that day. When the driver returned that evening, you can probably guess the next thing...
RAY: The mechanic reported that they couldn't repeat the problem. They couldn't reproduce the problem. They had taken it on a test drive, and the car ran perfectly. Huh, the next morning the driver returns with exactly the same complaint.
RAY: Again the mechanic puts it in the garage and spends his morning drinking coffee and over billing other customers. Again, the driver returns that evening, and he has the same story. We drove it...
TOM: The car was great. It was perfect.
RAY: That thing ran great. What's the matter with you. Handed the bill for a hundred bucks. The third morning the driver returns, same story at 20 miles an hour, the car starts to shake itself apart. This time -- are you ready for this?
RAY: The junior assistant deputy fledgling mechanic, Crusty, young Crusty.
TOM: Crusty junior?
TOM: The son of Crusty?
RAY: No, this was the original Crusty.
TOM: Oh the original Crusty. This is an old story.
RAY: This is an old story, yeah.
RAY: He hears the story, OK, and he asks a question. He says to the guy, did you buy new tires this summer? The guys says yes, I did.
RAY: Crusty says, I know what's wrong with your car.
RAY: Now if you think you know the answer or you just have nothing, nothing whatsoever to do at work, like my brother, what the hell do you do all day?
TOM: What do I do all day? I mean how can a guy spend an entire three hours--eight hours a day...
RAY: He comes home from work. I call his house the other night, and Joanne says he's not home yet. I say it's like 7:00. She says he's at work.
RAY: And I went...I don't know. One of life's little mysteries.
TOM: Isn't it though? It is.
RAY: Yeah, but you have everyone else fooled.
TOM: And how old is Crusty when this story took place?
RAY: And the hint was of course that he asked if he bought tires in the summer, and of course the guy did.
RAY: And what happened when he bought the tires is that one of the tires had water in it, as is often the case -
TOM: Well, you know what I -
RAY: - five tires, store them outside. The tire got mounted with the water in it, and when it was put on the high speed balancer and spun around, the water, because it was a liquid, got evenly distributed and got balanced...
TOM: With the rest of everything.
RAY: With the tire.
RAY: OK, now we fast forward to the first cold morning. I think I said it was a crisp fall morning.
TOM: Well, that's the part of the puzzler that I missed last week. I didn't realize you had said it was a crisp fall morning.
RAY: That's what happens when you doze. Because it was a crisp fall morning, that water froze and made a chunk of ice that now made that tire so unbalanced that the car really would feel like it was shaking itself apart when you tried to drive it. It would be so unbalanced, you wouldn't be able to drive it. Of course sitting in the warm garage all day, it melted and reverted to its summer state, etc. etc. etc. QED.
TOM: So what does one do in a case like that. You just make a hole in it so you can get the water to drain out?
RAY: Yeah, on the bottom.
RAY: Yeah. If you do it on the top -
TOM: - on the top, the water won't.
RAY: The water would leak out.
TOM: Well, you could make the hole on the top and then apply heat to the tire and vaporize it.
RAY: And vaporize it.
TOM: It would come out the hole -- that's what I would do.
RAY: And who might our winner be?
TOM: The winner is Halden Babcock.