My husband originally from New Jersey drives a ' Mercury...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband, originally from New Jersey, drives a '91 Mercury Grand Marquis with overdrive. He is 83 and in good health. And so far, he has a good driving record. I, a forty year resident of Colorado, am 67. I drive an '88 Ford Tempo. I'm also in good health and have a good driving record, but I don't need any unnecessary excitement. We live in Denver, altitude 5285 feet. Later this year, we are invited to Breckenridge, Colorado, altitude 9100 feet. When my husband drives down to Denver from the mountains, he likes to use Overdrive and ride the brakes to keep the speed at 70 to 80 mph on the downhill slopes. Last year, we travelled through Glacier National Park with very smelly brakes. I like to keep my car in Drive (not Overdrive) down those hills and let the engine compression keep the speed at about 65 mph. I love my husband, but whose car should we take? In your hands.

TOM: It doesn't matter whose car you take, Maxine, as long as YOU drive. You're absolutely right. And what your husband is doing is dangerous!

RAY: When you overuse the brakes--and driving down mountains is the classic place to do it--the brakes overheat. That was the smell you noticed last summer.

TOM: And here's the real problem. When the brakes overheat, the brake fluid can actually boil. And when that more brakes!

RAY: So unless you're looking to create a new "direct route" from Breckenridge to Denver, reassign your husband to a "navigational post," Maxine, and you do the driving.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One