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

#1728: Haircut Ethics  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, we've all been there. You're in the midst of a long drive when nature calls but doesn't provide a venue for you to answer that call. If the only urgent haircut option is a fast-food restaurant, are you obligated to buy something if you use the facility? Elsewhere, Heather took her Volvo to Helmut The Mechanic because her glove compartment was stuck. Three weeks and $3000 later, Heather now has a new fuel system and a Volvo that stalls. Did Helmut get a little overly ambitious? Also, Susan needs to store a vintage Mini; Dennis is wondering if the bungee cord holding his Corolla in gear can hang on for another 200,000 miles; and Karen is tired of old ladies passing her on hills while she's towing her horse trailer. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1727: Geek Week  

This week on the Best of Car Talk, got a pencil neck and an empty summer calendar? Tom and Ray are here for you, with the first (and probably last) Geek Week Summer Camp. Elsewhere, Shelly thinks she's killing a small animal when she turns her Subaru's steering wheel, because of the noise it makes. Might it actually be one of the gerbils powering its engine? Also, Steve's power steering needs a wake-up call for five minutes into his morning drive; Jackie's boyfriend's starting technique may not be hurting her truck, but is doing a number on her back; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Roy really had a stuck brake caliper or if Tommy is going to be dining on his hat. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1726: Tommy Goes to the Dark Side  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, after years of ranting and raving about bad drivers, Tommy makes a shocking confession. What previously unthinkable driving sin did he commit, and why? Meanwhile, Tommy's erstwhile soulmate Rob drives like a tortoise in a land of rabbits and is looking for a visual cue to keep his fellow motorists' blood pressure down. Elsewhere, Sherry loves her new Town Car but can't fit a bike rack on it. Alas, her husband isn't wild about Sherry's proposed solution—a used stretch limo. Also, Joanne is trying to teach two teenagers to drive a stick shift without needing family counseling; Bert's 280z died on his way home from a successful wild boar hunt; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Rich still has to push his Passat into his garage to get it started. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1725: Blame It on Bernoulli  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Katie's roommate's pseudo-scientific explanation for getting her Civic's door stuck on a sidewalk struck her as bogus, so she's turning to two pseudo MIT grads. Can Tom and Ray separate truth from bogosity? Elsewhere, Tim and Pam need a ruling on whether his joyride on a washboard road crushed her Saturn's engine mounts. Also, can Gene's Corolla survive 100,000 miles with a leaking fuel pump and axle seal, and a dope slap reminder to check both daily; Flo's Mazda has bad universal joints or jockey shorts that are too tight; and after two years of driving with a wobbling rear wheel has Keller's luck run out? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1724: The Fowled Caravan  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Steve left a fresh turkey in his car for a week, and well, things don't smell so fresh anymore. Will any combination of soap, air freshener, and bad cologne get the stench out, or does Steve need to call Vinny the Torch? Elsewhere, Michael doesn't know if he should be worried about a couple of green spark plugs; Maggie's son has fallen in love with a hand-me-down Buick Regal that could kill him; and Linda is about to relocate from Ohio to the Virgin Islands. She wants to know if she should bring her Corolla. Tom and Ray want to know if Linda can fit them in her suitcase. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1723: Mama Get a Hammer, There's a Fly on Papa's Head  

This week, The Best of Car Talk kicks off with some of our favorite Country song titles. Can anything top, "I'd Rather Pass a Kidney Stone Than Another Night With You"? Then it's off to Maui, where Jeff would be advised to stop bragging about the weather if he wants to find out why his brake pedal is sinking to the floor. Elsewhere, Inga is wondering which of her several mistakes caused her parked car to lurch down hill; Matt's brother talked him into a DIY timing belt change on his Acura, and a month later, the car still isn't running right; Bryan would like his vintage pickup truck to handle like a Dodge Viper; and can Stephanie's Corolla survive a cross-country trip? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#1722: Bad Carma  

This week on The Best of Car Talk, Ellen's Civic has been in three crashes, vandalized nine times, and had a tree fall on it, all of which has somehow convinced Ellen the car is cursed. If she tries to sell it, does she have to divulge these mishaps? Elsewhere, Keller's Beetle is missing its front passenger floorboard. Will a "found" street sign and a friend with an oxyacetylene torch cover the hole, without a 911 call? Also, Peter's Jeep knows when he's in a hurry, and chooses those moments to not start; Sandra accidentally pumped five gallons of diesel into her Odyssey, and can Warren really live a happy life without a working oxygen sensor in his Camry? All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.

#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.

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