Car Talk


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 Feb 29, 2020

 Jan 14, 2020

 Jan 8, 2020

 Nov 21, 2019

 Oct 15, 2019


America's funniest auto mechanics take calls from weary car owners all over the country, and crack wise while they diagnose Dodges and dismiss Diahatsus. You don't have to know anything about cars to love this one hour weekly laugh fest.

Episode Date
#2027: The Dregs Theory
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Donna's husband warned her not to let her new Camry's gas tank fall below 1/4 full, because the dregs might damage a crucial part. Does the fact that this part no longer exists automatically throw this advice into the Land of the Booooooogus? Elsewhere, John can only keep his car from stalling by opening the hood and touching the engine. Does this fix have anything to do with the fact that John's a Catholic priest? Also, Tom is looking for a "girlfriend car," but can't decide if his wife should be able to drive it; Michael will inherit his father-in-law's Town Car if he can figure out it's odd steering and stalling problem; and way up north in Alaska, Linda needs to retro-fit her ATV so her sled dogs will get their off-season workouts. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jul 04, 2020
#2026: Sherlock Holmes, Eat Your Heart Out
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Stephanie's Volvo began making noise after she moved from California to Oregon. Tommy uses brilliant deductive reasoning to come up with a completely bogus explanation. Elsewhere, Karlene's mechanic diagnosed her Explorer's annoying squeak as "an annoying squeak," with no suggestions for quieting it. Can Tom and Ray do perhaps just a wee bit better? Also, Ed may need to resort to healing crystals to start his son's Taurus; Larry has a chance to take part in a wonderful bonding experience with his 14-year old son and is looking for any way to get out of it; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Michelle is happily driving around Spokane in her $700 dream truck or if it's doing duty as a lawn ornament in her backyard. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 27, 2020
#2025: A Sympathetic Ear
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Ryan took his car in for an oil change and got talked into an engine shampoo. Will Tom and Ray reassure him that he's not a complete idiot? At least he didn't get a cream rinse. Elsewhere, Bill parked his rental car on a beach, and discovered the next morning that the tide had rolled in—to the car. He's bailed the water, but hasn't told the rental company. Also, Ray channels Frank Costanza to try to diagnose Kevin's clicking noise; Jean is suffering a run of flat tires in her driveway; and, is a lucky doughnut enough to keep Tamatha's brakes from burning up for a third time? All this and more this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 20, 2020
#2024: Faster Than the Speed of Light
This week on The Best of Car Talk, physics research suggests that Tom may in fact be Superman. You've never seen them photographed together, have you? Elsewhere, Grant's marriage counselor suggested he and his wife turn to Tom and Ray to help settle their auto-marital dispute over keeping the radio on while the car is off. Will our hosts bring peace, or will Grant's next appearance be on Divorce Court? Also, Mark decided to replace his working transmission, and has now gone through six failed rebuilds in 6 months; Mabel's Subaru is leaking oil from every orifice; Tulis's mechanic may be relying too much on prisms and crystals trying to fix her Civic's brakes; and is Jessica's car shocking her because of her clothes, her hair, or its ugly upholstery? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 13, 2020
#2023: Proverbial Declarification
This week on The Best of Car Talk, a quiz for the Master of Puzzler Obfuscation. Can Ray un-declarify some well-known proverbs? Elsewhere, Caroline's poor clutch technique may be destroying her relationships; Nancy boyfriend's MR2 is burning oil, which may say more about his personality than the car; and John's pickup sounds like Buddy Rich is playing drums under the hood. Also, is something really wrong with Dana's starter motor or have her parents taken action to get her to stop lounging on their couch? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 06, 2020
#2022: Ask the Ethicist
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Mary wants to sell her Accord, but it has a leaky water pump. Does she get the work done, knock the price down, or none of the above? Can Tom and Ray put their inner mechanic aside, and guide her to a clear conscience, or do they need an outside consult? Elsewhere, Tina just learned a scary and stinky lesson about why you shouldn't drive drive down a mountain in neutral; Jerry is looking for an alternative to the "stick and ballet pose" method he's using to get his convertible top to work; and we revisit the Waccabuc Incident: Was Sally's vision of a flashing light an atmospheric abnormality, or a call to the mothership? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 30, 2020
#2021: Odometer Dreans
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Bill's broken odometer fixed itself, right after Bill dreamed it was working. Will Tom and Ray have a mechanical explanation, a metaphysical explanation, or (most likely) a boooooogus explanation? Elsewhere, Toby wants her husband to get rid of her old BMW, but he's proving as immovable as the car; Sally is getting half her husband's mileage, and hopes it's not because she's buying cheap gas from Rotten Robbie; and Derek's dog would really appreciate it if Derek could get his Impreza to stop lunging forward. All this, plus a round of Stump the Chumps, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 23, 2020
#2020: The Waccabuc Flash
This week on The Best of Car Talk, paging Agents Mulder and Scully! Sally drove under a wire, heard a loud noise and saw a flash of light in her console. Is Waccabuc, New York the new Area 51? Elsewhere, Wyatt holds Tom and Ray responsible for the worst eight months of his life, and not because they gave him bogus car advice! It's a tale of woe and intrigue that ends with an almost cross-country escape in a VW Microbus. Also, Cynthia's kids want her to dump her beloved Subaru. Should she go along, if they give her a new BMW? And, Dorothea's dealer changed her belts, and now her car is shrieking. Does she need a big lawyer, or a big stick? All this, plus Tom and Ray ponder whether members of the Witness Protection Program get to hang out with each other, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 18, 2020
#2019: Click & Clack & Mom
This week, Car Talk celebrates Mother's Day with a special appearance from Tom and Ray's long-suffering mom, Elizabeth. She'll spill the beans on what life was like in the Magliozzi household, and do her best to evade the question of which of her kids she liked best. She's also ready to give out advice to new moms ("You've got a long way to go, sweetheart!"); get to the real reason one caller really wants to teach his mom to drive ("Is she going to leave you a lot of money?"); and, offer a final thought on Motherhood that will have Tommy blowing coffee out his nose. Lizzy may even be able to top her sons in figuring out why Sandy's Mitsubishi is groaning, and how Linda can stop the air leaks that are turning her Accord into a wind tunnel. Join us for a visit to the Maternal Combustion Department, this week on Car Talk.
May 09, 2020
#2018: Your Wife or a Cigar
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray demonstrate their unmatched ability to plant all four feet firmly in their mouths and endanger their marriages— all while diagnosing a simple vacuum leak. Later, however, they just might make amends by helping to save Beth's marriage, with a ruling on whether her Civic's clutch should be more afraid of Beth or her husband. Elsewhere, Susan is a philosophy professor by day, and a pig rescuer by night. Is there one vehicle that can handle both lifestyles, or does she need a dedicated Pigmobile? Also, Jackie's squealing brakes are wreaking havoc for her pet chihuahuas; and Daniel got a very unpleasant surprise when his mechanic removed his distributor cap—think Vincent Price in "The Fly." All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 02, 2020
#2017: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
This week on The Best of Car Talk, a salute to Edwards Bulwer-Lytton, the writer who set the bar for bad opening sentences with, "It was a dark stormy night." Can any current authors hope to match him? Elsewhere, Liz wants to use her Maxima to remove some unwanted shrubs from her yard, but is worried her bumper will wind up as part of the landscape. Elsewhere, Nancy's 16-year old son wants a muscle car. Will she be abdicating all parental responsibility if she buys him one, and is there a good alternative that's big, ugly, and cool? Also, Pam wants to ease her husband's guilt over denting her door; Charles succumbed to Male Answer Syndrome trying to diagnose his wife's noisy Voyager; and, is Kirk's steering problem a result of Post-Alignment Euphoria, or Post-Alignment Anxiety? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 25, 2020
#2016: The Stick Fix
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Martin drove off a ledge and dislodged his muffler. He found a stick to keep it in place. Will this brilliant solution set New Hampshire and the entire Northeast on fire? Elsewhere, Tom and Ray administer the Leadfoot Personality Test to try to figure out whether Martha is responsible for her Passat's rough shifting, or if she can blame a failing transmission. Also, Dick's car is blowing so much smoke he's on Pennsylvania's Most Wanted Polluters list; and, Elizabeth is wondering if she should let a sleeping nail lie--in her tire. And, can Tom and Ray teach Beth how to parallel park when she can't see what's behind her? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 18, 2020
#2015: The Popsodent
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Sarah's about to graduate from college, and is ready to address the 5,000 dents her Taurus has suffered from years of being parked in campus lots. Will she find the solution on late-night TV? Elsewhere, really low-budget filmmaker Seth wants to blow up a car for his latest project. Is there enough cash in our legal defense fund for Tom and Ray to even consider giving Seth any advice? Also, a manure overload may have made Art's truck's steering &*%^! the bed; and Stephan is bothered by his truck's knocking, but even more concerned about his mechanic's fix for it. And, should Byron challenge the marital-industrial complex and insist on driving away from his wedding in his pick-up truck? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 11, 2020
#2014: A Nice Juicy Pizza
This week on The Best of Car Talk, unearthed letters from summer camp prove that the child really is the father to the man, at least when it comes to our Technical, Spiritual and Menu Advisor, John Bugsy Lawlor. Elsewhere, Lee liberated herself from her mechanic by changing her own oil, but also got liberated from her cash when she poured the oil into her transmission; Author Cameron needs a lesson in how to burn rubber; and, Jane and her husband want to buy a stretch limo to cruise around town in, because, well, why not? Also, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Eddie and Edie Electron made their way home in Michelle's Saturn. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 04, 2020
#2013: The Sacrificial Battery
This week on The Best of Car Talk, did the battery in Keith's electric winch give up its life to lift a tree trunk? If so, how can Keith honor its memory? Elsewhere, Anne's family is planning a cross-country road trip. Is their Mercury Villager up to the task, or likely to wind up being pushed off the top of Pikes Peak when the engine fails? Also, Arlene wants her recently retired husband to learn how to work on their six cars. He says cars are too complicated, but is he just blowing smoke? And, Cindy's family loves the nurse they hired to take care of Cindy's Mom, but she has a nasty habit of backing into garden gnomes (and other objects) whenever she drives. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Mar 28, 2020
#2012: Automotive Darwinism
This week on The Best of Car Talk, after driving in Massachusetts for the first time, Addie is baffled by the concept of the rotary. Happily, Tom and Ray can explain its true purpose. Elsewhere, is "Backseat Driver Syndrome" incurable? Lani got used to yelling at her husband when he was a stinko driver, but now that he's doing better behind the wheel, she's still nagging from the passenger seat. Also, Christine is wondering if she needs to give up knitting in the passenger seat, lest a deploying airbag turn her needles into projectiles; Jem needs to clean a stuck valve, but the gunk may be the only thing holding his engine together; and even after three alignments, Russ still thinks his car may be headed for a ditch. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Mar 21, 2020
#2011: Attack of the Black Widows
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Heather recovered her stolen Civic, but found a family of black widow spiders had taken up residence. She killed the mother with a shovel, but how can she evict the rest of the clan? Elsewhere, Howard ran out of brake fluid during a long drive and is wondering if he could have used his bottle of tequila to fill in; Timothy is wondering if it's time to cut his losses on the Maserati that has him on a first-name basis with AAA; and could Tanya's loss of reverse lead to the Superball bumper? All this, plus the unfortunate tale of Tommy meeting Princess the pooch, the most polite hate message in the history of email, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Mar 14, 2020
#2010: Freedom From Perfection
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Deb is extending 3-minute errands into 20-minute excursions, because her headlights won't turn off until the car warms up. Is her best fix a new switch, or loose wires and liberation? Elsewhere, the good news for Allison is that there are still sparks between her and her husband. The bad news is, we mean that literally. Also, the Click and Clack Forensics team tries to figure out why Sarah's Volvo burst into flames on her way home from its 60,000-mile service; Paul wants to take a Sawzall to his Subaru and transform it into a convertible; and, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Bill cut the cable that was keeping his Tahoe from sinking to the bottom of a lake. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Mar 07, 2020
#2009: Saddle Up
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Mara's husband says he'd rather drive a horse and buggy than a minivan. But, with one kid on hand, and twins on the way, are there any options other than an Odyssey or spurs? In another auto-marital dispute, Pat and her husband disagree over whether driving their daughters 3/10 of a mile to school in cold weather is killing their car. Also, after meditating for three months, Conrad found his Civic in an immovable state, thanks to a frozen parking brake; Peter wants to rid his garage of bats, but may wind up on the ASPCA's Most Wanted list; and, trying to solve one of Ray's Puzzlers leads to a police visit. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Feb 29, 2020
#2008: Moses Blew Beets
Will's beloved dog Moses got carsick and puked on the dashboard of Will's now not-so-beloved Ford Ranger. Will's mechanic wants a couple hundred bucks to remove the dashboard and clean out the vents. Is there a cheaper, if messier, solution? Elsewhere, Jeffrey and his girlfriend disagree over how often to wash the road salt off their cars in the winter--their dispute might have something to do with the fact that Jeffrey drives a junky Tercel while his girlfriend has a shiny Subaru Legacy. Also on the relationship front, Beth's boyfriend says her fender bender on an icy road is the reason why only one rear wheel is spinning on his Mustang. His accusation may be the reason he may soon be Beth's ex-boyfriend. And, why does Kenneth's car sound like a cow mooing when it slows down?
Feb 22, 2020
#2007: The Pavlovian Dope Slap
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Cathy thinks she may have found Mr. Right, but he may not live to see their wedding day if he kills her Sentra's clutch. Can a rigorous training program save Cathy's car, and the relationship? Elsewhere, Nicki gets a primer in how to shop for a used truck, including wardrobe tips. Also, Kate needs to slow down her neighbor who's zooming around their small island in his Malibu; Arleigh's car is afflicted by the "Elvis Idle"; and after Melissa cranked the heater to dry some wet clothes on her dashboard, she was shocked to discover her blower motor had died. Is there any chance this was just a coincidence? Find out, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Feb 15, 2020
#2006: Brotherhood of Cheapeskatism
This week on the Best of Car Talk, meet Tommy's new best friend, Paul. After the screws holding Paul's gas pedal fell through the rusted floor of his '78 Datsun, Paul eschewed a body shop and found a cheap fix at his local cobbler. Now he needs a podiatrist to help with the limp his brilliant solution gave him. Elsewhere, neat freak Doug thinks his wife is a slob when it comes to cars, so he's considering buying a stick shift so she can't drive it. Also, Kathy's sister's boss suggested putting mothballs in her VW Bus's gas tank to improve mileage; Donna's husband was told to leave his car running an extra 15 minutes in really cold weather to charge the battery, but can't remember to shut it off; and on Stump the Chumps, did Dr. Paul find a new car and a new girlfriend, after his life turned into a country song? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Feb 08, 2020
#2005: Roadhog Day
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom, Ray, and our callers anxiously await the annual sign from Tommy's Dodge Dart that winter may end early. Up in Maine, Paula's Subaru won't start in really cold weather unless she lies a heated blanket on the engine for 10 minutes. She's getting tired of waiting, and having her neighbors think she's nuts. Meanwhile, out on Martha's Vineyard, Betsy's Toyota Echo is sliding around in the snow, making it difficult to get to team sword dancing practice. Also, Deanie's husband and father are arguing over the best time to check the dipstick; and Peter's wife always said, "A car is just a car", until she drove his new Jaguar, and decided it was a little different from her Accord. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Feb 01, 2020
#2004: Are You Ready For Summer
This week on The Best of Car Talk, let's escape winter for a few minutes with a ride in the '75 Pontiac convertible Red, just bought off someone's front lawn. Hey, are those flames shooting up from the carpet? Elsewhere, a potential fire is just one reason Gladys is too scared to use the remote starter she got for Christmas. Also, Trent thinks his van suffered a stroke, taking out the power window, blinker and tail lights; Josie inherited a VW Westfalia with the annoying habit of starting itself and and driving off; and Lucia put a 150-pound log in her Corolla's trunk to prevent fish-tailing in the snow, but is worried it might be doing damage elsewhere. All this, plus the real origins of 4-Wheel Drive, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jan 25, 2020
#2003: Optimal Rust
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Steve's wife gave him a homework assignment--write a paper explaining why he should keep the '77 MG he bought a year ago, but has left sitting in the garage. But does Steve love it enough to defend it? Elsewhere, Helen's tires are growing mold. Tom and Ray say it's because Helen drives the car infrequently, to which Helen replies, "Au contraire Piston Pusses!" Also, Linda's fiance insists on washing his car before a long trip, to improve its gas mileage; Heather thinks an opera singer is hanging out under her Civic; and, you'll be shocked, shocked to learn that John's "cheap and reliable" Ferrari is proving to be neither. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jan 18, 2020
#2002: Falls Village, We Have a Problem
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Nina's mechanic ripped off her Altima's heat shield and said she can live without it. But Nina's seen enough Star Trek episodes to worry she might burn up on re-entry without it. Elsewhere, Steve expected to encounter snow during his winter cross-country drive, but he wasn't prepared for flurries inside his Pathfinder. Also, Jean's brakes started screeching after she got new pads, apparently with the "banshee" option; John's daughters' know-it-all boyfriends have convinced them they need to let their cars warm up for a loooong time on cold mornings; and Ray discovers new automotive healing powers. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Jan 13, 2020
#2001: That's Worth Needlepoint!
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Kim and her husband each made questionable car purchases. He got an abandoned Lexus, while she went for an ancient VW Campervan. Who gets bragging rights for being more wacko? Meanwhile, another marital dispute is brewing in Alaska, where Samantha and her husband can't agree on the best place to hang dry cleaning. Can Tom and Ray referee his one, without knowing exactly what dry cleaning is? Back on the wacko front, Stephan's solution to his Golf's rough running may earn him the "Big W" on his repair slip. And on Stump the Chumps, we find out if John's wife made it from Buffalo to San Diego in her Cabriolet, in less than six months. All this, plus Math with Dummies, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jan 06, 2020
#1952: Blow it Out
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Jill's pal keeps telling her she needs to do more highway driving to "blow the stuff" out of her car. Jill's not opposed to this on principle, but she would like to know what she's trying to blow out. Elsewhere, Eleanor is leaving on a 6-month around the world bicycle tour and she wants to know what to do with her truck while she's gone. Tom and Ray want to know how Eleanor plans to pedal across a few oceans?! Also, after Lauren's boyfriend drove down Mount Washington with the emergency brake on, Lauren is wondering if she needs new brakes, and a new boyfriend. And, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Marc rescued his Peugeot from his mechanic, and whether he wishes he hadn't. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Dec 28, 2019
#1951: One Truck a-Dangling
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Bill Bailey's truck made a horrible noise and lost reverse. But, the fun really began when it rolled into a lake after Bill got home. Now the only thing keeping it from sinking is one cable. Elsewhere, Victoria is looking for a quartet of $2,000 cars for her sons; Jenny's newlywed husband lost 15 pounds and his now-oversized wedding ring is missing in their Jeep's dashboard; Lindsay is wondering whether to charge her husband with sabotage after he drove her Malibu 300 miles in 2nd gear; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if David lost his car-induced cough, but kept all his brain cells. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Dec 21, 2019
#1950: The Great Cow Magnet Caper
This week on The Best of Car Talk, could cow stomach magnets have improved the gas mileage on Tim's Jaguar? Or is that udderly (sorry) ridiculous? Meanwhile, down in Antarctica, summer is coming, but Matt's vehicle is still having trouble when the thermometer dips below a balmy minus 40 degrees. And, Tom and Ray are in the holiday spirit with some creative gift suggestions for men, comforting advice for Adrian who wants to put a wreath on her car but is worried it will spontaneously combust, and a lesson for Scott that it is the stingy man who spends the most. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Dec 14, 2019
#1949: Stop and Chat
Out in Gustavas, Alaska, Janet and her neighbors like to stop and talk to each other when they're driving. One of the topics: whether their cars are better off idling or being shut off during the conversation. This week on the Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray weigh in, and one Magliozzi manages to book himself a night sleeping in the garage. Elsewhere, Heidi's Lincoln is under attack from a bird that's pecking at its own reflection. Can Heidi protect her car without landing on the Audubon Society's Most Wanted list? Also, Shawn's Caravan seems to be channeling Maurice Chevalier; John got a smokey lesson in what happens when you leave the filler cap off after an oil change; and Steve's truck is bouncing like a basketball on bumpy roads. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Dec 07, 2019
#1948: Honesty Will Always Get You in Trouble
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Prashanth's new wife is about to come to America for the first time. Should he greet her with his beat-up Corolla, spring for a new car, or try to fake it by renting something until it's too late for her to turn back to India? Elsewhere, Al stands accused of "careless parking"—his brother says Al pulls into the garage in a way that makes it impossible to back out. Is this even physically possible? Also, Father Bob needs a heavy duty flasher, so he can hear his turn signals; a piece of hot molten lead fell on Pam's foot from under the dash while she was driving; and, Deanna's Civic's battery has been stolen several times in the last few months. Does she need a Rottweiler under the hood? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Nov 30, 2019
#1947: Ray Caught Working
This week on the Best of Car Talk, we demonstrate just how much effort goes into. . . .embarrassing Tom and Ray. You didn't think we were talking about putting effort into the show, were you? Elsewhere, "Sweetie" has to decide whether to rebuild her Explorer's transmission or limp along without 5th gear, and Tom and Ray have to decide how many times they can call her Sweetie without getting into big trouble. Also, should Ruth follow her husband's or father's conflicting advice on tire pressure; Ellen thinks her mechanic is blowing sulfur up her skirt over her Camry's smell; Glen spilled a little oil and set his rental car engine on fire; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Bill managed to drive a stick shift to the high school dance and save his social life. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Nov 23, 2019
#1946: Mmm, Donuts
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Ben and his brother took their dad's Camry for a ride--in reverse, in the neighbor's yard, with the steering wheel cocked all the way to one side. They had a great time! The Camry's power steering, not so much. Elsewhere, Al and his friend disagree over whether to take speed bumps with two wheels or four; Kathy is miffed that her husband carries a picture of his beloved Studebaker in his wallet, but not one of her; Wendall, and his insurer, want to know why his truck caught on fire; and did a neighborly gesture really kill Daniel's alternator, as his wife predicted? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Nov 16, 2019
#1945: Phantom Foot
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Amy's husband is no longer driving a stick shift but is still using both feet, keeping his left foot on the brake. Is this dangerous and can Tom and Ray help Amy find something else for him to do with that foot? Elsewhere, Esther is looking for a Get Out of Speeding Tickets Free card due to her car's stuck idle; Edabeth's Volvo sounds like an airplane readying for takeoff; and Nathan wants to take shade tree mechanic to a whole new level. He's camping out in a redwood tree to protest deforestation, and has noticed that one of the trucks passing by every day is running rough. Can he diagnose this from his leafy perch? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Nov 09, 2019
#1944: I Stink, Therefore I Am
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Fran and her boyfriend are both jocks, and as a result her Taurus smells like a locker room. Will a few dozen Odor Eaters hanging from the rear view mirror get rid of the stink? Elsewhere, Fritzie has two Peugeots, one of which has died. Should she keep it around, so its partner has company? Also, Margo's Dad gave her his Cadillac, but her noisy brakes have Tom and Ray convinced Dad may be trying to bump Margo off; Matt wants to cure his wife of her habitual door slamming; and "Martha" bought a used van from a dealer six months ago, but has yet to be billed or pay a single cent for it. Should she keep quiet, 'fess up, or trade it in for a new van? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Nov 02, 2019
#1943: Cream Rinse
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray stray ever further into terra incognita, as they try to help Sharon figure out why her hair looks lousy after a long drive. Procter and Gamble may have issues with Ray's diagnosis. Elsewhere, Sharon's car is making a "lurid groan" when she turns. The noise is making her a star at the retirement home, but should she be worried about it? Also, from the marital disputes department, Cathy thinks her husband erred by driving down Mt. Washington in 1st gear rather than riding the brakes; and Lynn is worried that a cold water car wash on a hot day can warp her brakes. And, has the New York Times really found the world's funniest joke? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Oct 26, 2019
#1942: A Bevy of Bad Options
This week on The Best of Car Talk, should Bill risk humiliation and passenger nausea by trying to learn how to drive a sitck shift in time for the high school dance? Given that his options are the family minivan or station wagon, he may need to go for it, and have a handy supply of barf bags on hand. Elsewhere, Jane's neighbor's dog is biting her Subaru's tires and chasing her car. Jane is thinking a healthy dose of pepper spray may help dissuade Fido, but Tom and Ray may have a more (or less ) humane solution. Also, Abby's Accord has a burning smell since she accidentally backed down a friend's steep driveway in drive; Steve promised his wife he could fix her oil problem three months ago, but is stumped; and can Ray convince John his air conditioning is making noise, even when it's off? All this, plus a quiz for the Philosopher King, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Oct 19, 2019
#1941: Bryology This, Pal
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Jenny's fiance, a budding bryologist, thinks she's crazy because she swears her car is more difficult to start when its low on gas. Should he stick to moss and stay away from fuel dynamics, let alone female psychology? Elsewhere, Angela's smelling something sweet from her dashboard, but the cost to fix it will be mighty sour; Eric is wondering how a $4 part could require $358 in labor to replace; and David is trying to decide which of two heaps to dump, when the answer should probably be both. And, in the midst of New England foliage season, New Hampshire native Kurt has lots of time in traffic to profile the tourist drivers slowing him down the most. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Oct 12, 2019
#1940: Junkaraderie
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Michelle's husband paid $170 for her dream car, and she thinks he may have overpaid. It's just missing a few things, such as the rear windshield, the gas cap, chunks of the floor...and we haven't even gotten to all the problems under hood. Fortunately, Michelle is talking to a guy who can appreciate junk, and Tommy is as excited as her husband about this dream turned nightmare. Elsewhere, Mary discovered how big a rock it would take to kill her lawn mower; Matt is looking for music recommendation to drown out his Civic's brake noise; and can Tom and Ray convince Andrea the noise she thinks is coming from the dashboard is actually originating 3 feet away; and our on-call Physicist Wolfgang helps ease Ray's gastrointestinal distress. All this and lot more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Oct 05, 2019
#1939: If That's What It Is
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Anne's mechanic can't identify the gunk blowing out of her car's ventilation system, but he does know that whatever it is, fixing it will cost $1000...if that's what it is. Sounds like a new mechanic's mantra to us! Elsewhere, Linda is still trying to figure out how a gas attendant put her radiator cap on backwards; Alan is baffled by the diamond patterns he sees on rear windshields, especially when he's wearing polarized sunglasses; and is Andy safer keeping his doors locked while driving on the highway? And, has our pal Daniel Pinkwater found his true calling, as a scientific measurement? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Sep 28, 2019
#1938: Theresa Syndrome
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Lee's mild-mannered wife's temper and vocabulary both take a dive, but only when she listens to our show. Are Tom and Ray carriers of a new form of ABS—Aberrant Behavior Syndrome? Meanwhile, tempers are also flaring out in California, where Jim's truck is polluting his entire town; and down in Hendersonville, Kentucky, where Brian's merging strategy is incredibly efficient, and also incredibly rude. Also, on Stump the Chumps we find out if Sarah's kids really held a peeing contest in her car while she was away; and, can Bill in Alaska get his forklift running in time to get us our halibut? All this, plus the return of the Puzzler, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Sep 21, 2019
#1937: The Great Montreal Hotel Fire
This week on The Best of Car Talk, the best prank ever in Magliozzi history, as Ray's family vacation is interrupted by the unfortunate news that his beloved Ford LTD has "burned to a crisp." Elsewhere, grad student Erica hopes her Celica's rattle is serious enough to get Mom and Dad to buy her a new car; Jodi's oil burning may put her Cavalier well ahead Erica's car on the path to heapdom; Unitarian Minister Carol is being tempted by a shiny Jetta; and can Vince put the leftover gas from his weedwacker in his car without destroying it? Also, if you keep taking a car apart and putting it back together, will you eventually wind up with two? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Sep 14, 2019
#1936: The Super Magliozzi Brothers
This week on The Best of Car Talk, two preteen kids present "Car Talk: The Video Game," and prove they're a lot more creative and have better marketing skills than anyone in our office. But, they probably can't beat Tom and Ray on car questions, right? We won't test that, but, the brothers will try to figure out why Martha's van stops moving and acts like it's run out of gas; what made Karl's horn start blaring early Sunday morning; and which heap Cass and her newly reunited husband should keep. Also, should Lee listen to a retired mechanic's advice and run his car for 15 seconds with a pint of kerosene and no oil? And, our listeners weigh in on whether or not to name a car. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Sep 07, 2019
#1935: Think of the Tucchus
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Matt needs a car that can handle his annual 100,000 mile commute, and no, we didn't add too many zeros there. Matt is looking for reliability and good gas mileage, but Tom and Ray think he should be a bit more self-centered, particularly on the body part that will be chained to the seat for all those miles. Elsewhere, Marc is wondering if add-ons like the "Crap-a-Chip" will really improve his SUV's horrible mileage. Also, Mary Anne's air conditioning is cooling her passengers but not herself; Chip is wondering what fried his van's exhaust manifold; and Tom and Ray's efforts to help Becky deal with a film on her windshield are derailed by the Car Talk Studio Pranks department. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Aug 31, 2019
#1944: Tea and a Haircut
This week on The Best of Car Talk, one listener undertakes a bold, yet reckless experiment to find the correlation between drinking iced tea and needing to take a haircut. Is the real question "if", or "how fast"? Elsewhere, Robert bought a used truck and thinks its previous owner misnamed it. Can he re-christen it without changing its identity? Also, the only way to get into Paul's $200 car is by climbing over the hood, which, to nobody's surprise, has fried the battery; Maxine's mechanics 'fessed up to putting the wrong fluid in her brake reservoir, but maybe not so much about which fluid; Christine's Accord has become home to an ant colony; and Ray shows off his deep understanding of dew dynamics. Or is that "doo doo dynamics"? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Aug 24, 2019
#1933: The Geek Squeak
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Dana's wife's Volvo's brakes squeak, but only when Dana drives the car. Does his wife have a heavy foot or is Dana driving too much like a geek? Elsewhere, Louise made the mistake of taking her car to a specialist rather than a GP to diagnose a clunk; Sylvia thinks her Rabbit's array of problems are due to radiation poisoning from being parked near a uranium mine; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Tom and Ray correctly diagnosed why Ralph's Suburban was imitating an old TV game show. Also, a date goes awry when a Jaguar is mistaken for something else; and a few of Shakespeare's plays not coming to a stage near you. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Aug 17, 2019
#1932: A Series of Unforced Errors
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Marc bought a used Peugeot for $100, and, believe it or not, that wasn't his worst mistake. Now he's got a car he can't drive, and a mechanic who can't get the part, but did obtain cash from Marc's wallet. Elsewhere, Edward needs a monthly subscription to replace his Altima's distributors; Mary's husband insists on leaving the car running while he pumps gas because he's never seen one blow up, perhaps not realizing that's because everyone else turns their cars off; Nigel may be better off not knowing what his mechanic did to get his Mercedes to pass the smog test; and Heather is looking for the perfect practical joke to play on her brother, through his vintage Toyota Supra. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Aug 10, 2019
#1931: Eggs Prestone
This week on the Best of Car Talk, can an omelet save an engine? A friend suggested that Sasha use eggs in his cracked radiator. Was this advice to actually stop the leak, or just to give Sasha something to snack on while waiting for the tow truck? Elsewhere, John put wooden blocks under the gas pedal to slow down his leadfoot son; but is worried that the speeding tickets savings may need to go towards a new transmission. Also, Debra may need to resort to whacking the steering wheel to start her car; Ron's horn sounds when he turns his steering wheel; on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Heidi had to lock her husband in the cellar to keep him from changing her timing belt; and, are Tom and Ray's stupid questions really profound existential Philosophy? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Aug 03, 2019
#1930: The Andy Letter
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray's noble, but doomed, attempt to diagnose a problem with electrical brakes may have helped another listener resolve a different conundrum: Do two people who don't know what they're talking about know more or less than one person who doesn't know what he's talking about? Elsewhere, Rob needs to find a way out of a 5,000 mile road trip with his in-laws; Erin is on what may be a misguided quest to convince her husband to dump his BMW; and Kate's Acura's brakes slip when the temperature goes over 103, which seems extra serious since she lives in Las Vegas. So why are her mechanics looking at her like she's crazy? All this, plus how not to set your sideview mirrors, and lots more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Jul 27, 2019
#1929: Electric Brakes
This week on The Best of Car Talk, our all-time favorite demonstration of Male Answer Syndrome. The electric brakes on Paul's cattle trailer engage when he uses his turn signal. Will Tom and Ray's ready acknowledgment that they know nothing about electric brakes stop them from offering a diagnosis? Of course not! Is there any chance of it being a correct diagnosis? Of course not! Elsewhere, Alice and her husband are enjoying retirement by arguing over whose route to their daugher's house is better for their car. Also, Ralph's Suburban is channeling an old TV game show; Cathy's son locked her keys in the trunk and the retrieval has led to lots of chipped teeth; and will Marsha's husband's shifting habits kill her clutch permaturely? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jul 20, 2019
#1928: I'm Stupid's Brother
Tom and Ray prove they are their brother's keepers, until Ray's explanation for Becky's smelly Toyota goes too far off the deep end. Elsewhere, Arlene bought an old Volvo for her teenage daughter, who promptly drove it off road and tried to fix its overheating by pouring Mountain Dew in the radiator. Does Arlene need to find her daughter a better teacher, or a convent? Also, Kate's mechanic husband can't figure out why her car has touble starting; Warren wants to treat his Olds to a paint job, but his wife is convinced that will make it die within two months; and Newton is still trying to figure out how his driver in Africa kept his Land Rover running for 60 miles by sitting on the engine with his hand over the carburetor. All this, plus the truth about lying, and lots more.
Jul 13, 2019
#1927: Call Stella
Stella is renting a highway billboard for a personal ad. What size font should she use to attract the right guy, and should she divulge she's a lawyer? Elsewhere, Frank may need to offer a couple of spiral cut hams to find out why his car is squealing; Kelly was told never to change his transmission fluid, but that may not be his concern, since his truck appears to be out of transmission fluid; Chris' brake pedal sank to the floor, but Tom and Ray are more interested in his askew cassette cases; and can Mabel's screeching Subaru really be explained by, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Power Equals I Squared R"? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jul 06, 2019
#1926: MIT Wants Its Diploma Back
Tom and Ray run through the entire table of elements trying to identify the white powder in Ann's Subaru's radiator. If only they could put that much effort into figuring out why the car is blowing through heater cores! Elsewhere, Jamie wants to achieve his modest life ambition of owning a truck with power steering, but doesn't know whether to also go diesel; Dr. Gary is having doubts about his professional services exchange with his mechanic neighbor; Doug needs to decide whether he wants to become the "Chuck Yeager of CV joints", or risk being stranded on a railroad track; and Anna discovered a rat in her Civic's passenger seat--how did it get there? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jul 01, 2019
#1925: While Mom's Away
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Sarah left town for a weekend and came home to an array of disasters, including a minivan that smells like urine. Did her kids and husband hold a Physics-defying peeing contest while she was away? Elsewhere, Sissy's husband may blow out the bogosity meter with his argument that she needs to park with the wheels straight to keep her car from going out of alignment; Paul's life turned into a country song when he totaled his car, his wife left him, and his dog died; and service advisor Charlie needs help figuring out how to blame his customers for their short brake life. Also, on Stump the Chumps, did Tom and Ray get the heat working in Bob's Cavalier, or did summer get the heat working in Bob's Cavalier? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
Jun 22, 2019
#1924: Belize It or Not
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Nancy is looking for a vehicle she and her family can take to Belize for a year. Other than something big enough to haul back Cuban cigars for Tom and Ray, what should she be looking for? Elsewhere, Diane's husband thinks she's nuts for insisting there's more resistance in her gas pedal when the tank is full; Rebecca's best solution for her Accord's shifting problem may be to return the car to her Dad; Lily hopes her Taurus's intermittent air conditioning can be resolved by buying a new Mustang; and Sandy's neighbors really want her to figure out why her car screeches first thing in the morning. Also, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Bob tried to bomb the flies out of his truck. All this, plus one listener's fondest Car Talk memory, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 15, 2019
#1923: Emboldened Electrons
Rob's car has trouble starting unless he holds the key in the start position for several seconds. Does Ray's Emboldened Electrons theory mean Rob's electrical system needs to read Profiles in Courage? Elsewhere, Gary is guilty until proven innocent for his mother-in-law's T-Bird catching fire, and even exculpatory evidence may not get him off the hook. Also, Isla's had to replace her Jeep's brake pads three times in the last year, and Midas says she's run out of free replacements; Carly has been living with a shaking Civic for two years; and Avital's ex-boyfriend is trying to convince her that motor oil behaves like bottled salad dressing.
Jun 08, 2019
#1922: If It Blows, It Blows
This week on The Best of Car Talk, climbing Mt. Adams apparently wasn't exciting enough for Glen. When he discovered his truck was leaking gas on the way home, he decided to keep driving. While Glen undoubtedly tops this week's dope slap count, Denise won't be far behind. She celebrated a "significant birthday" by buying a 1961 Volvo online sight unseen. As you might imagine, it arrived with enough problems to keep any mechanic's boat fueled for the entire season. Also, Marc's Corolla's gas mileage began dropping, and every attempted fix has only continued the decline; Bob wants to know if he can set off a bug bomb in his truck without damaging the electronics (we're a little more concerned about his lungs); and there's only one problem with Tom and Ray's brilliant diagnosis that Beth's Accord needs a new clutch. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Jun 01, 2019
#1921: No Sleep Till Hunga Dunga
This week on Car Talk, Howard needs to drive a mattress from Boston to "Hunga-Dunga" and wants to know how to get negative lift, and keep it from flying off the roof of his car. Tom and Ray know one method that won't work, as evidenced by an ill-fated attempt to transport 18 sheets of plywood. Elsewhere, Peggy swears she heard the guys recommend mixing kerosene and water to wash a car, but isn't calling to sue for damages. Also, Scott's concerned about his truck not starting, but more worried about his friend "Fat Tony" fiddling around with his big bucket o'tools; John managed to lock himself out of his car with the engine running and chose the most painful way to shut it off; and if Tom and Ray help Gillian translate a French truck description, are they really doing work for the CIA? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 25, 2019
#1920: Crushed Cans and Loose Lug Nuts
This week on The Best of Car Talk, two matters of life and death. Jose may have done serious damage to a wheel but doesn't want to pay a dealer to find out if it's on the verge of falling off. Elsewhere, Kris may kill her husband if he continues to crush cans for recycling by driving over them. Also, Jason is pouring gas into the carburetor to get his truck to start, but may be better off just pouring gas on to the seats; Rebecca inherited her ex-boyfriend's BMW, complete with annoying rubbing noise; and John's maple sugaring trip ended with him spilling 5 gallons of syrup in his car. Anyone got pancakes to help soak it up? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 18, 2019
#1919: The Tao of Fred Glass
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Erin's roommate doesn't drive her old car but won't get rid of it, and Erin is tired of having to move it every day. Is Erin's best solution philosophical or conflagratory? Elsewhere, Nathaniel's attempt to show off his Saab to his future in-laws went downhill, literally, when it rolled down their driveway on its own. Also, Dee's truck sounds like singing dogs; Norm wants to know how to get his Stanza running after storing it over the winter, but will first have to incur Tommy's wrath over a sore knee; and Nancy wants to convince her husband that his Acura can live without a bra. All this, plus Tom and Ray's brilliant new "do whatever you want" strategy, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
May 11, 2019
#1918: The Ungrateful Passenger
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Jere agreed to drive her sister's co-worker's husband to work. Not only is he annoying in the car, when he gets to work he complains about Jere's driving behind her back. Does Jere need to switch to a one-seater? Elsewhere, Mark's Trooper is oozing fluid onto his feet. He thinks the fluid is red, but he might just be wearing red socks. Also, Sharon's trying to live with a stalling truck without killing the starter or clutch; Alicia's Camry has a furball problem; and is John negating the mid-life crisis benefits of his Miata by worrying whether to park indoors to preserve the hood? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.
May 04, 2019
#1917: Double Fault
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Heidi's husband is a tennis pro, with a limited grasp of English, and an aversion to reading instructions. So he should have no problem changing her Volvo's timing belt, right? Elsewhere, Nathan dinged his girlfriend's Civic while driving it without her permission (or a license). Can Tom and Ray help him cover up his crime, at least until she hears the show? Also, June agreed to teach her friend's teenaged son to drive, but has no idea where to begin; Andrew's Toyota has a bad case of crud accretion in the radiator; and over in Botswana, Dorothy's baboon behavior studies are on track thanks to a piece of wire keeping her Land Rover's fan from destroying the radiator. Is there a more permanent solution, other than Dorothy relying on Jane Goodall's Greatest Hits video for her studies? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 27, 2019
#1916: Desperate Measures
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Amy's brilliant husband's brain doesn't have room to process a few small details while driving, like keeping the car in his lane. Amy's screams of terror don't seem to be helping him improve, so she may need to figure out a creative (and potentially disgusting) way to convince him she needs to drive. Elsewhere, seminary student Matt's truck is leaking oil onto someone else's driveway and fixing it would cost more than the truck is worth. Also, Tom's daughter is about to take a year off college to work on an organic farm 3,000 miles away. He's wondering if her truck can handle the drive, or if she'll need to find an organic farm 2,995 miles closer; Ellen's Sable has a flatulence problem; and Kimberly's BMW is having even more trouble adjusting to living in New York City than she is. All this and more this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 20, 2019
#1915: SUV Absolution
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Carl is about to receive his Master's degree in Coastal Management and is wracked with guilt about owning two gas guzzling SUVs. Will converting emissions systems help him feel better and keep the seas at bay? Elsewhere, Brian's drive to work is quicker and more scenic than his wife's, but on washboard roads, so is he going to spend all that saved time in his mechanic's lobby waiting for a new suspension? Also, Dr. Kenny is so concerned about his Civic's brakes that he's stepping out of surgery to seek help; Debbie's mechanic found a rag stuck in the remains of her Peugeot's oil filter; and Monica's husband insists on shifting his automatic transmission into neutral at stop lights to let the transmission rest. Does his brain need a nap? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
Apr 13, 2019