Not to split hairs, but there is a major difference between the words "damped" and "dampened".

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

As a retired automotive engineer, I enjoy reading your column. Your recent column about a '92 Ford Tempo caught my attention. Your handling of the explanation of what a "harmonic balancer" is was well done because technical terms like "outboard balance" and "crankshaft torsional harmonics" were neatly sidestepped. There was one lapse, however. You said "there's a rubber sleeve that dampens crankshaft vibrations." It is the word "dampens" that caught my eye, because there is no water or liquid associated with the damper. I can still envision my professor demonstrating the difference between "damps" and "dampens." To demonstrate "damp," he bounced a ball, and then stopped it from bouncing. He demonstrated "dampens" by filling a salt shaker with water and then pouring it on his lectern. If I didn't learn anything else, that demonstration stuck. -- Warren

TOM: Warren, you are 100 percent correct.

RAY: We'll give ourselves 40 lashes with a damped noodle.


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