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December 29, 2013

Car Talk

A cheap fix for slow clock

Syndicated columnists

Dear Tom and Ray:
The clock in my Jeep Liberty requires resetting every two weeks. Apparently, the clock is moving backward in time. After two weeks, the clock will be three minutes slow. What causes this? Is this an indication of a larger problem? — Atom

Tom: Yes, it's an indication of a larger problem. The problem is that Chrysler wasn't aiming for bulletproof quality when they made this vehicle.

Ray: And apparently, they opted for a nine-cent clock. That's why it runs slow: The clock is cheap junk, Atom.

Tom:
The problem now is that it'll cost you a lot more than the clock is worth to remove and replace it. You don't say what year Liberty it is, but the clock probably is part of the radio display. So you'd have to replace the entire audio system just to fix the clock. And unless you're still under warranty, that's hardly worth the cost and trouble.

Ray:
Besides, if the problem is in the manufacturing or design of an inferior part, you'll only be replacing it with another one that'll run slow, too. Maybe slower!

Tom:
So you're a candidate for a solution we haven't recommended in many years now: Go buy one of those three-for-a-dollar, stick-on digital clocks, and slap it right over where your clock is.

Ray: It might not be any better in quality (it may even be the same clock!), but at least if it runs slow, you'll have the satisfaction of ripping it off the dashboard, tossing it out the window at high speed and replacing it with a new one for 33 cents.

Tom:
Actually, we don't want to condone littering. So after you rip it off the dashboard, take it home with you and run over it a few times in your driveway ... then sweep up the remains, and dispose of them properly, Atom.

(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)

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