A brother looks to prank his older brother...and turns to the masters for inspiration.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a very vexing car question. I have an extremely antagonistic older
brother (I'm 27, he's 31). I'm looking for the most devious possible practical
jokes to play on him. He's very bright and mechanically inclined, so I thought
I'd go right to you two resident geniuses for assistance. His vehicle is a '97
Chevy Monte Carlo six cylinder. Any nondestructive, but extremely demonic ideas
would be MOST welcome. I've already thought of just alligator-clipping his horn
to his turn signals, but I'm looking for some much more villainous ideas. --

TOM: Gee, Randy, what a great question! I trust he's too sophisticated to fall
for the old "potato in the tailpipe" trick. But you might as well start with
that one just to warm him up.

RAY: Next, you can close down the spark plug gap from the recommended 45-
thousandths of an inch or so to almost nothing!

TOM: Yeah. Just get the plugs out and crunch those electrodes down. That'll
allow the car to start and run, but not accelerate. So as he steps on the gas,
the swirling currents in the cylinders will blow that wimpy spark right out.
That should keep him busy for at least a little while, since he won't suspect
the spark plugs. He'll probably be sawing off pieces of the exhaust system
looking for another potato!

RAY: Another idea is to try putting some kid's bubble solution down into the
defroster vents. Then, when he turns on the ventilation system, he'll think he's
on the Lawrence Welk show.

TOM: If your brother has a cellular phone in his car, you can pull one of my
favorite gags of all time. This is a little more destructive, but lots of fun.
You simply take some clear epoxy, and put a drop in each of the holes in the ear
piece. When the epoxy dries, he won't see anything or hear anyone, but everyone
will be able to hear him.

RAY: And you'll be amazed at the number of obscenities that will come out of his
mouth after he gets two or three "annoying" calls like that.

TOM: It's also come to our attention that Kiwi now makes a wonderful new line of
car-care products. But it's their traditional products you want for this gag.
You take some black Kiwi shoe polish, and put it all over your brother's black
steering wheel. That should provide some good laughs -- especially once he wipes
his face or his nose while driving.

RAY: Then there are always the nonmechanical approaches to annoying one's
brother. I drove my young family to Montreal one holiday weekend some years ago.
I was in the hotel on Sunday morning when the phone rang.

"Ello? Eez dees Meester Magliozzi?" a voice said in a French accent.
"Yes," I answered.

"Thees ees Franz, at zee concierge desk. Deed you used to own a late-model Ford

"Used to own?" I said, suddenly alarmed.

"Yes," said Franz. "I'm afraid der has been a terrible fire. Zee entire garage,
she has been totally demolished. Burned to a crisp! Mon Dieu!"

As I was trying to figure out how I was going to get my wife and young kids home
without a car and no money, Franz started to laugh, and I realized that it was,
in fact, my extremely antagonistic older brother.

TOM: That was great, wasn't it?

RAY: Well, if any of our readers have other great ideas, send them over, because
I still owe my brother for that one. You can send them to me in care of this
newspaper, or e-mail them to me by visiting our Web site, the Car Talk section
of cars.com.

* * *

What's one secret of financial success? Driving a used car! Read "How to Buy a
Used Car: Things Detroit and Tokyo Don't Want You to Know." You can order it by
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