May 14, 2022
This is the case of the bad shocks!
The puzzler this week has to do with shock absorbers.
This woman goes to one of those speedy, super quick, fix your car in 5 minutes places. You know, one of those places we are always bad-mouthing and then getting nasty letters from...
Anyway, her car was running rough. And they told her she needed new shocks. The mechanic says, "Here, I'll show you." And he bounced on the rear bumper, up and down, up and down, to prove his point. So she agrees and tells him to put in new shocks.
He puts the shocks in and she drives away. Of course, as luck would have it, they were closing for the night, right as she left. She was very disappointed because the ride was terrible. It was much worse than it was when the old shocks were in there. It was like driving over cobblestone streets. Very rough.
So she went back the next morning and said, "There's something wrong with these new shocks. They're defective."
The mechanic looks at them, and there's nothing wrong with them. He did the test again, pushed the bumper down, and released it. It came to a stop. He said, "They're perfect."
She insisted he put new shocks in again and so he did. And of course, it made no difference. So after all of that, she came to us and said, "What is wrong with my car? What did they do to it?"
So the puzzler question is, what is happening here? Did they do something wrong when putting in the shocks? If not, what is happening here?
New shocks lady. She went to one of those quickie, muffler, tune-up places. She thinks she needs new shocks. They installed the shocks and she drove off with new shocks and a new tune-up, but she was very disappointed because the ride was terrible. And it was worse than before. She said she could feel every bump in the road.
They said they would put in another new set, obviously free of charge because she hadn't exceeded the 30-minute warranty... So they put the new shocks in and the ride was exactly the same.
And the question is, what is wrong?
Part A, did they do it wrong? Part 2, what is actually happening here?
Well, they didn't do anything wrong, actually! Except they overlooked one thing. She had way too much air pressure in her tires!
We may have used this puzzler once before... But I'm trying to save the planet by recycling puzzlers. I've gotten into recycling everything now.
The shocks lady had around 50 PSI in her tires and she didn't notice. So when they finally put shocks in that worked correctly, they should dampen the vibrations. But when she hit a bump, it felt like every little pebble she hit was telegraphing right through to her bones.
So we let the air out of her tires, and then, it was fine. Air pressure, ladies and gentlemen. Air pressure.
Not sure what to do with your old car? Your favorite NPR station can turn it into your favorite NPR radio shows. Here's how.