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

#1721: Reality Often Astonishes Theory  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Cynthia is so convinced her gas mileage improves when she gets her oil changed, she bet her boss 100 bucks. If she can't win on technical grounds, might Tommy the Philosopher King be able to bail her out? Elsewhere, Linda may be on firmer scientific footing by claiming her husband's "wah-wah" pedal driving style is doing more harm than good. Also, Joyce's hood won't open, and given the overall condition of her car, an air chisel might be the right tool; Scott is looking for eco-friendly windshield washer fluid, and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Tom and Ray helped Laurie's Pathfinder lose its nickname, "Wobble Butt". All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1720: The Unmotivated  

Slackers of the world, unite! Ah, never mind, that's probably too much effort. But this week The Best of Car Talk pays tribute to those dedicated to avoiding the rat race. In matters automotive, Liz's husband really wants to celebrate the end of his medical residency by buying a used Porsche, but Liz is worried the repair bills will negate any salary increase he's about to receive; Julie is wondering if her Accord's electrical problems are related to the series of "encounters" (accidents) she's had; and Marc's gas mileage appeared to increase by 20 percent after he left the gas cap off. Should OPEC be worried? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1719: I Help You, Mommy  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, is there a better Mother's Day gift than a kid helping his mom work on her car? Well, Anne might have done better with breakfast in bed. Her four-year-old son Matthew "helped" by pouring Ring Seal into her Jeep steering reservoir. Is next year's Mother's Day gift going to be a new car for Mom? Elsewhere, Bruce's tire is being attacked by air pressure goblins in the night; Ellen wants her Accord's door to stop squeaking so her new neighbors won't know how late she's getting home at night; and is it time for Steve to say goodbye to his beloved, wallet-draining Datsun or could it have a future life as a coffee table? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1718: The Scrape Theory  

You're driving down a long hill in San Francisco. Your brakes fail and there's a stop sign at the bottom. What do you do, aside from uttering every prayer in the book? This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray offer two suggestions, one of which might actually help avoid a big hospital bill. Elsewhere, Robin loves her Tourismo, even though it needs more than $1000 worth of repairs and it's causing a family rift. Is it time for her to kiss it goodbye? Also, Alex thinks her boyfriend's technique may have led to the premature demise of his Jetta's shifter; Finley needs help convincing his friend to baptize his new truck by hauling some manure; and after losing a lot of money to the IRS, will Ruth have to lose even more to her mechanic because of her Achieva's coolant leak? All this, plus a round of Stump the Chumps, and more--this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1717: The Rhinestone Sundance  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Savannah wants to decorate her Plymouth Sundance because, well, they couldn't make it look worse, could they? Is she going to appear even more wacko by asking Tom and Ray for advice? Elsewhere, Peter may wish that whining sound coming from his car is his mother in law after he finds out what it's going to cost to make it go away; over in Germany, Steve is wondering whether his Tracer can survive keeping up with the BMWs going 100 on the Autobahn; and Richard is so desperate to find out why his cab has vapor lock, he's willing to kick out a passenger so he can talk to Tom and Ray. All this, plus one listener's fond Puzzler memory, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1716: Au Contraire, Leah  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Hannah is about to graduate from Smith College and move in with her boyfriend. Does cohabitation extend from their apartment to his Ford Explorer? But first Hannah wants to counter our pal Leah's thoughts on all-women colleges. Elewhere, Marni wants to pay tribute to her departed dad by pouring some of his ashes into his beloved Corvette's gas tank; Su wants to use a hair dryer to straighten her dented fender; and is the whirring noise Eric is hearing the death-bed cry of his Saab's turbo? All this plus a lesson in inter-species communication between humans and mechanics, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1715: Alas, Poor Wobble Butt  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Laurie's Pathfinder earned the unfortunate nickname "Wobble Butt" because its rear end rocks from side to side. Can Tom and Ray calm Wobble Butt down and save it from further embarrassment? Elsewhere, Bob wants to know just how wacko his brother in law is for proposing adding duct work to improve the heat in Bob's mom's car. Also, Ellen's dad scolded her for having too many keys on her key ring; Chris got a little aggressive with his Dremel tool on his Camry; and Ray shares the joys (and terrors) of teaching middle school, while trying to help Susannah strengthen her anemic windshield wiper squirt. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1714: The Return of Leah  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, our favorite depressed college freshman, Leah, checks in with an update on her whereabouts—physical and emotional. Did she adjust to life on campus and follow Tom and Ray's advice to embrace failure? Elsewhere, Andy wants to know if electronic gizmos can improve his Suburban's gas mileage to, say, 5 miles per gallon; Chris' Belvedere is growing flowers in the front seat and stinks of blue cheese; and the severity of Dan's coolant loss may be directly tied to his religious practices. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1713: Click and Clack Defined  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Merriam-Webster helps answer the second most-asked question in Car Talk history: which brother is "Click" and which is "Clack." Unfortunately, they can't the answer the most-asked question: How did these jerks get on the radio in the first place? Elsewhere, Lee's mechanic told him he has a cracked "whoop tube," which may or may not refer to Lee's Town Car; a wayward binky has Marietta's driver's seat stuck in a bad spot; and traveling musician Valerie can't decide whether to dump the Dodge van that tows her trailer in favor of a Cadillac—sounds like a no-brainer to us! Also, on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Wendy used the snorkel test to figure out why her husband is fogging up her car. All this and more, this week on the Best of Car Talk.

#1712: Nature Vs Nurture  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, if Art passes his AMC Concord onto his 16-year-old son, is he setting the kid on a life path of collecting junk cars? In other words, Art wants to know what Tommy's first car was. And worse, would the Concord doom his son to no social life? Elsewhere, James is about to relocate to Haiti, but needs a car with high ground clearance. His Honda Civic may not fit that description. Also, Wendy's husband is fogging up her car; Troy's VW sounds "satanic" at 1500 RPM, and Mary Rawson's friend offered to fix her brakes, but wants to be more than just friends. If she stops his advances, can she expect her car to stop? All this, plus the bright side of an expensive diagnosis, and lots more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1711: Love and an Automotive Weenie  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Darlene loves her husband but his ignorance about cars has left her at the mercy of a mechanic she doesn't know if she can trust. Meanwhile, Susan may need to to dump her boyfriend before his "lazy shifting" croaks her Miata. Also, Richard is planning a road trip in a '64 Dodge Dart and wants to know what spare parts he should bring along--although he might do better with a spare car; Dick's van needs a new alternator every time the seasons change; and, will Tom and Ray actually give helpful advice to a used car salesman? Find out, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1710: Miles Per Mothball  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Jim thought he had a disaster on his hands after he left his gas cap off during a rain storm, but his pal came to the rescue by pouring mothballs into the gas tank. Can Tom and Ray give any explanation for why the mothballs got Jim's truck running? Meanwhile, Ray's got a theory about Heather's Jeep's popping noise that may win points for creativity and bogosity. Also, Patrick hopes the guys can help him design the perfect soapbox derby car; Ann needs assurance that putting a new engine in her beloved Fuego isn't the most ridiculous idea ever; and has one of our listeners identified the true scent of a man? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1709: The Evil Twin  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, Stella bought matching Monteros for her kids but dumped one because it spent more time in the shop than on the road. Should she be worried about the second Montero? Who better to weight the chances there's one good brother and one evil brother than Tom and Ray? Elsewhere, Heather has taken to calling her Jeep "Clunking Matilda"; Abe has an idea to navigate traffic in Our Fair City that may get him to work faster (but with a fat lip); and can Anne risk one more road trip in her overheating Subaru before it blows up? All this, plus a round of Stump the Chumps and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#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.

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