NPR: Car Talk Podcast

NPR: Car Talk Podcast

United States

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.

Episodes

#1708: The Roof Snow Theory  

This week, the Best of Car Talk kicks off with a proposal that could revolutionize snow measurement, if it wasn't completely bogus. Later, the bogosity continues as Tom and Ray try to explain why Anne's dashboard gauges all stopped working after she filled up her gas tank at a Shell station—twice! Also, Kay's 38 year old daughter left mom's Explorer running all night, and Kay's wondering if she needs to blow out the car's engine or the cobwebs in her daughter's brain; 14-year old Matthew's struggles to wash his parents' car could be a valuable life lesson in how to get out of doing chores forever; and will Rush ever be able to get the smell of rancid butter out of his Land Rover? All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.

#1707: Book This, Rebecca  

Remember Rebecca from a few weeks ago, whose anal-retentive dad insisted she keep detailed records of her gas mileage in his book? This week, Dad has his say. Topher explains the book's origins in a Datsun 510, and what it will take for Rebecca to free herself from book duty. Elsewhere, Scott may have to decide whether he wants to be right or be happy, as he and his wife disagree on how to use their truck's 4-wheel drive; Art's wife drove home from an oil change missing one small ingredient—the oil; and Judy's getting good at holding up her car's hatchback with her head, but would like to get it to stay up on its own. And, what happens when a computer traffic model tries to understand Boston drivers? All this and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1706: My Tire Passed Me  

You've no doubt heard Tom and Ray warn callers about the danger of wheels falling off their cars. Well, this week on The Best of Car Talk, Mike's wheel fell off—twice! Happily, he lived to tell the tale. Can Tom and Ray help prevent Strike Three? Elsewhere, Carl's daughter drove from Boston to Colorado, and swears her truck added gas along the way; Father John has decided to splurge on a Miata, and doesn't know if he'll get the best deal with his clerical collar on or off; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Alison's starting problem was really caused by a cracked breather, or if her mechanic had a cracked skull. Also, could listening to Car Talk really be good for your health? (Aside from the migraines and waves of nausea). All this and more this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1705: Book This, Dad  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, how do you handle a slightly anal retentive Dad who insists on keeping verrrry thorough car records? If you're Rebecca, you ignore Dad's beloved gas mileage book, tell Dad what you really think, and then call on Tom and Ray to try to get Dad to re-open his wallet. Elsewhere, should Carl try quieting his Rolls Royce by bending the door frame, or splurge for official Rolls duct tape? Also, Jane fears her mechanic may have purged her of $87 with a bogus repair; Ben's girlfriend thinks he needs to factor wind chill into warming up his Rabbit; and Tom and Ray ponder how one sign with two simple words could lead to a utopian society. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1794: They're All Jerks  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Joyce's mild-mannered husband teaches meditation by day, but when he gets behind the wheel, he turns into a cross between Mario Andretti and Tony Soprano. Is it the car, the traffic, or does Joyce's husband have a dark side? Elsewhere, Andrew is concerned about his washer fluid lacking testosterone; Catherine has lived five years with a buzzing oil pressure indicator; and Aaron's Impala now takes off like it's dragging a ton of bricks. Also, Jim is worried he may be a Fire Starter, after his battery and muffle both exploded. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1703: Oh Shut Up  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, might three simple words be Cathy's best response to her dealer's accusation that she was lax in changing her Camry's oil? Elsewhere, Martin's love for his Cadillac has him concerned that he might actually be older than his Dad; Tony is sleeping on the sofa after his failed attempt to fix his wife's starting problem; and Sarah can only enter her car through the trunk, since the doors are frozen shut. Also, does the ECS light in Ilsa's Subaru mean "Expect Catastrophe Soon"? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1702: Acute Tire Phobia  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Peterson is afraid to put air in his tires. Is he doomed to depending on the kindness of strangers with pumps, or can Tom and Ray help cure him—or at least outfit him properly in case there is an explosion? Elsewhere, towing may be Dave's best option for transporting his beloved LeMans cross-country, because the car could fall off somewhere in Nebraska; Hanz can't decide if his wife's behavior at stoplights is utterly brilliant or utterly wacko; and Elizabeth may be asking too much from her Volvo. Is shutting down when she turns on the wipers really such a big deal? All this, plus a world record for parking in a small space and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1701: The Roadmonster That Ate Cambridge  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, is Phil's Buick Roadmaster making noise because of a steering problem or because he needs to make 20-point turns to navigate the narrow streets of Our Fair City? Elsewhere, Fred doesn't know whether he should listen to his mechanic or his FSTB (Future Son-in-Law To Be) on how to start the Alfa that's been sitting in his garage for a year. Will siding with the mechanic doom Fred's daughter's marriage? Also, Steve's driver's window glare screen is now a stuck-in-the-door glare screen; Alison's Golf may be suffering from a "cracked breather" and "achin' plugs"; and is Judy's Escort sending smoke signals that it won't make it to the moon? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1653: The Mustang Compost Bin  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Mary loaded her Mustang's trunk with compost two months ago. Her husband says it's rotting the floor, but Mary wants to keep the compost all winter for ballast. One added wrinkle: Mary got the Mustang because her husband works for Ford—at least, for the time being. Elsewhere, Carla would love to escape from Alaska for a bit, but the fact that her truck will only drive backwards is making it difficult. Also, can Kathy figure out her Stratus's burnt popcorn smell without asphyxiating her sons? And is Justin's engine making noise, or is he just hearing people laughing a him for driving an old Beetle? All this, plus a plea for more civil Hate Mail, this week on the Best of Car Talk.

#1652: Ode to a Monte Carlo  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, we thought nobody could be more devoted to an old heap than Tommy, but then we met Lita who has written a poem about her Monte Carlo—we're just relieved she didn't try to rhyme anything with "rust bucket." Elsewhere, Steve moved to Chicago for a job and a girlfriend. He lost both, but he's most confused about why his Acura was the only car not towed from a party. Also, the holiday season brings good cheer and the annual squeak to Betsy's Town and Country; Kate's temporary fix for her frozen door locks is hilarious, and incredibly dangerous; and, did the hottest man in show business set Melinda's radio on fire? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1651: Predestination of Lightning  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Evelyn wants to know why a bolt of lightning spared her car and struck the road 20 feet away instead. Tom and Ray think Evelyn should just say a few kind words to the deity of her choice and move on, but will nonetheless offer a pseudo-scientific answer that's guaranteed to have MIT demanding its diplomas back. Elsewhere we find out if Bob's wife's car survived sucking a sock into the engine on Stump the Chumps; Gary's steering noise is scaring away his girlfriends; and did Barbara do more damage to her husband's truck, or her marriage, by driving a mile without any oil? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1650: The Snort Track  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, can Ray grant one listener's Christmas wish by snorting less? And why can't Bob stop laughing about his Geo's starting problem? Elsewhere, Alan's Lincoln is starting to sound eerily like his mother; Karen's Caravan's dashboard is telling her she's always going 120 miles per hour on an empty gas tank; Steph wants to tempt the Blowout Gods by removing his Miata's spare tire so he'll have more trunk space; and Ariel is thinking of buying her first car and is wondering what level of protection she needs to bring to the dealer. Will a Rottweiler do or a big guy named Bruno? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1649: If You Suck a Sock  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Bob is worried his car may have a permanent case of athlete's foot (or worse) after a sock got sucked into the engine. Find out how the sucking transpired and whether Tom and Ray can stop laughing long enough to ease Bob's fears. Elsewhere, Patty's Accord began mooing at her. Is her best option to try milking it? Also, Elizabeth came home from Thanksgiving to discover her Volvo's windows permanently fogged; Marlene got talked into buying an electric anti-rust device for her new car; and Mike may re-think his desire for a "heavy duty" clutch after he hears Tom and Ray's tale of the customer known as Mr. Heavy Duty and his enlarged left foot. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1648: The Black Hole of Auto Metaphysics  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, one listener postulates that a non-essential repair on an old car creates a parallel universe where everything else starts to break. Sorry, but for proof, you may have to tune to the Sci-Fi Channel. Elsewhere in the land of semi-wacko theories, Mark was told he could use rice to clean a carburetor, and Joyce's boyfriend insists on leaving his Taurus' trunk open overnight to keep it dry. Also, can Stephanie blame her mom for killing her Subaru's clutch, and is Mike's snowblower really not starting because it's too cold? And, John's mechanic ran into the age-old dilemma: Is it better to admit stupidity or gaslight the customer? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1647: The Shrink-Wrapped Land Rover  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Mike and his sons are about to embark on a two-year around the world sailing voyage, but the vintage Land Rover Mike's been restoring won't be much use at sea. Should he sell it or will late-night TV provide the perfect storage solution? Elsewhere, Lisa's wondering how much restitution she's entitled to for allowing her husband to buy a used Corvette; Charlotte's daughter spent $300 on a truck and may have overpaid; and Arnie's Accord's harmonic balancers won't stay balanced. Also, Tom and Ray may need to consult Junk & Wagnalls' encyclopedia to diagnose Sandy's hum. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.

#1646: Tanya the Trainer  

This week, The Best of Car Talk kicks off with the tale of one man's descent to Dante's supplemental Circle of Hell, the local health club, where he is at the merciless hands of his personal trainer, Tanya. Then we're off to Virginia, where Shelia's Maxima smells like someone burned her dry cleaning. Elsewhere, Ethan's preparing to sell his truck, which was struck by lightning. Should he advertise it as "pre-disastered" or keep quiet? Also, from the don't-try-this-at- home department, Marty's dad got their vintage car started by sucking gas through the exhaust with a shop vac, and he still has his eyebrows! All this and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1645: The Bionic Bug  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Rita's VW won't start after being flooded during a hurricane. Does it have a future on the road, or just as a saltwater aquarium? Elsewhere, Bob discovered an unusual feature in his BMW as a result of his father-in-law being locked in the car for a half-hour; Dan's neighbor is convinced Dan's Acura has oil problems based only on the racket it makes when Dan drives home; and Chuck thinks his wife's parking brake technique is too quiet. Also, on Stump the Chumps, Tommy faces the Great Cathy/Kathy Challenge! All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1644: Mayonnaise on My Dipstick  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tim doesn't know if he should be worried about the substance on his Fury's dipstick, or if he should just make a tuna salad sandwich with it. Elsewhere, Tonia likes her next door neighbor but is less fond of the noxious chemicals he uses on his car; Larry wants to convince his wife it's okay to buy a used car from a rental company but a tale from Ray's past may change his mind; and Dara is having trouble selling a car that used to belong to the fire chief. Should she forget about selling the car and just advertise its spotlight? All this, plus the great Cathy/Kathy challenge, and more this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1643: Dave From Bemidji  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, gather round for the greatest road trip story ever told. Dave and his girlfriend drove from Alaska to Minnesota in an overheating Chevy Cavalier with an old campfire grill jammed into the catalytic converter, a crescent wrench with no sockets, and one big zit on Dave's forehead. In more mundane matters, Patrice's VW bus won't start, John Mark's backseat passengers are getting their feet soaked when he makes a turn, and Alana's gas tank is spitting fuel back out after she fills it. Also, how should Rich wake up a Buick that's been napping for four years, and is the threat of fire enough to convince Jim that replacing his tailpipe might count as a "necessary repair"? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1642: Leah, We're Here For You  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Click and Clack answer the desperate plea of a depressed college student. Leah is contemplating the meaning of life and writes to Car Talk seeking answers. (Clearly more competent talk show hosts were busy!) Can Tom and Ray set her straight and help poor Leah find happiness? Meanwhile Hope's massive mutt has taken to riding on top of her pickup, and Paul's daughters are annoyed at his selective hearing. Will they hate dear old dad even more if he follows Click and Clack's advice? All that and more, in this week's automotively therapeutic episode of The Best of Car Talk.

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