#1311: To Mud Flap or Not to Mud Flap?

Mar 16, 2013
This week on Car Talk, John is wondering whether 'tis nobler not to spray water on his fellow drivers at the risk of increasing his new car's risk of rust--which is a poetic way of asking, should he get mud flaps installed on his new car? Elsewhere, Manny's Chevy S-10 in having trouble adjusting to its new home. Ever since he moved, it won't start after an overnight rain; and Piali's steering wheel is making noises that she thinks are scary, but her husband thinks are hilarious. Also, former Ferrari driver Steve wonders how he can adjust to a post-divorce life of driving a car with cloth seats; Connie's looking for the perfect car for a road trip from Bellingham, WA to Rio de Janiero; and when Lin's mechanic told her, "your rear end's gonna fall off"--we're pretty sure he was referring to her Explorer. At least, we hope he was referring to her Explorer. All this, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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ay caramba

The call about driving in/to South America: the error is the "85 octane" comment that T&R missed. It is 85 ethanol that is most common in Brazil. Also, Venezuela has cheap, subsidized gasoline. Leasing or buying a VW there would seem logical, just re-sell it! & as for bushwhacking down there, no macho 4x4 is gonna protect U from la mordida, armed gangs, nor military nor Customs in Mexico and beyond. Head for the Canal Zone and travel from there.
Favorite Moment: 
usual mirth at beginning/end

Mud flaps

I have often wondered why mud flaps are not required or standard equipment - only a few dollars per vehicle. Safety would be much improved. In rain, I try to follow cars with mud flaps. For each car I have owned, I have added mud flaps. You can look in the mirror and see how much less spray you are kicking up. I am sure those following me appreciate it.
Favorite Moment: 

About driving to Rio

I live in Mexico and a very common car i a small SUV made by Ford in Brazil. It's called an 'Ecosport' and they're very common. I am sure Connie would be happy with its size, mileage, and ability to be fixed in South America. God forbid she tries to make the trip in a primitive conveyence like the VW Thang!
Favorite Moment: 
Guy in Alaska being teased. He loves fishing and talking to his car, leave him alone!

Segment 10 The road to Rio de Janeiro. Wait, there is a road to Rio de Janeiro?

Connie in Bellingham, I would suggest a Jeep Cherokee XJ 1997 to 1999 with a 231 "Command-Trac", part-time only transfer case and auto transmission, 350,000 miles in not unheard of. You can get one for around $3500.00 150,000 miles in good condition. There is a great following of these SUV’s in the USA, Australia, Europe, China, and South America. These are very reliable and easy to work on. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ) there is an abundance (huge abundances) of aftermarket replacement and performance parts available. I would put a 3.5 inch lift (cost $) with full spring pack in back (-no more- without other modifications) and 31 inch tall tires, if you can afford it, get a long arm lift (cost $$ one that attaches to a new center cross member rather than the mono-frame) much better ride on and off road. Replace the CPS and the oil pressure sensors and any leaky seals before going. If you get electric windows replace the driver’s side switch panel with a new one. Have a good mechanic do a full check before buying. Get a roof rack and/or an extra spare tire bumper with tow hitch and recovery points as well as a front tow hitch or replacement bumper. The stock bumpers are inferior. Total cost $5000.00 to $65000.00 depending on replacement /upgrades. The best part is there are 4X4 and Cherokee clubs from Alaska to Argentina that would be happy to help a fellow xj owner. (Other upgrade to consider a selectable locker in the front and a lunch box locker in the rear (due to the week Dana 35 rear end don’t want to over stress it) This done you will be able to go anywhere you want Including some of the world’s most notoriously difficult and sometimes dangerous roads. And I and many others would be jealous to go on your adventure. You should blog about it. There is also a diesel version sold in Europe and I believe also in South America. And as for the YJ/ZJ Grand Cherokee they have more creature comforts but an unreliable transmission.
Favorite Moment: 

Mud Flaps Flap

You are absolutely correct. The most dangerous part of driving on the throughway is splash back. I have a commute on 78 from PA accross Jersey in the very early morning and I switched to back roads even in the most onerous weather to avoid the spray from what amounts to 90% truck taffic in those early hours. If only the highway safety folks listened to your show!!!
Favorite Moment: 
All of it!

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