Car Talk


Ray explains reasoning behind his anti-coasting comments

Editor's note: This is the first Car Talk column featuring the new format with Ray Magliozzi as the sole writer. Dear Car Talk: My husband and I have a real...

By Ray Magliozzi November 26, 2014

Brake softening likely caused by overheating

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a rural mail carrier, which means I have to use my own vehicle to deliver. I drive a 2005 Scion xA. As you...

November 23, 2014

Owner has simply fallen out of love with car

Dear Tom and Ray: From the time she was 14 years old, our daughter was dying for a new Volkswagen Beetle, and she finally bought a brand-new one after college,...

Created by Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 21, 2014

Is angry diatribe a sign of an unskilled mechanic?

Dear Tom and Ray: A mechanic recently replaced my timing belt, pulleys, water pump and another belt on my 2001 Toyota Avalon, and the car runs fine. But I made...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 16, 2014

Mystery overheating may be all in his head (gasket)

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1993 Toyota pickup truck, a four-cylinder base model. It keeps overheating. Usually it happens in the morning and on the way home. Once...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 14, 2014

Figure out speed with physics, please

Dear Tom and Ray: I was involved in a car accident. My car was thrown 83 feet. The guy who hit me was driving a 2002 Thunderbird, weighing 3,775 pounds....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 9, 2014

Worn-out hinges can make a car think the door is open

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1996 Ford Windstar in perfect condition that was driven for years by a little old lady. She actually was from Pasadena, Calif. The...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 7, 2014

Are warranties worth it?

Dear Tom and Ray: We just picked up a new Fiat 500C, and we were pondering the lifetime warranty. Before the car hits 10,000 miles, we have to decide whether...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 2, 2014

High-end cars can have high-end prices for part replacements

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2004 Acura RL that had developed an intermittent headlight problem where one of the headlights would go off unexpectedly. The quick solution...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 31, 2014

Why are expensive cars so quiet?

Dear Tom and Ray: We bought a new Toyota Camry, but the road noise seems excessive when on certain freeway surfaces. How do expensive cars dampen road noises? Extra insulation...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 26, 2014

Slow and steady wins the regenerative-braking race

Dear Tom and Ray: I am always irritated by people who have their accelerators pressed right up until the moment they apply the brakes. For example, I might be a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 24, 2014

His power window doesn't know when to stop

Dear Tom and Ray: This problem already almost cost me my fingertips, so you've got to help me. How does a power window know that it's reached the top of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 19, 2014

European mileage versus American mileage

Dear Tom and Ray: I just purchased a 2014 Mazda3, and I am thrilled with getting 32 miles per gallon, city and highway combined. Then I spoke to my brother-in-law...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 17, 2014

Valve clearance adjustment a legit service for Hondas

Dear Tom and Ray: My 2006 Honda Element has 108,000 miles on it. The dealer recommends a valve clearance adjustment at this time. Is this a service you would...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 12, 2014

Suggestions for a 'fun' car

Dear Tom and Ray: I am newly retired. I have always purchased the cheapest car sold by each brand (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla). I now find myself with enough money...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 10, 2014

He's got a hurricane under the hood

Dear Tom and Ray: My 1995 Volvo 850 GLT sounds like there's a hurricane under the hood. This sound started as a barely noticeable hiss at high rpms but...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 5, 2014

If a manufacturer offers you a new engine, take it

Dear Tom and Ray: I am the owner of a 2012 Acura TL with the tech package (AWD, etc.). It has a six-speed manual transmission. It was purchased new in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 3, 2014

This radio has a mind of its own

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1999 Ford F-150 with 94,000 miles. The truck runs great, but I have a problem with the radio. Starting last Thanksgiving, the radio...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 28, 2014

Dishwashers are for dishes, not for car parts

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife says using our dishwasher as a parts cleaner is hurting our dishwasher. I say it is not. But I have learned to run an...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 26, 2014

Mechanic double-checks his air-bag work

Dear Tom and Ray: Last week, for one of my best customers, I replaced a very difficult steering rack. The ALLDATA instructions called for air-bag and steering-wheel removal, which I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 21, 2014

Where have all the smaller pickups gone?

Dear Tom and Ray: Remember those Datsun mini-trucks that used to be around? Where did that class of trucks go? It seems like all you can get now is a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 19, 2014

How to safely handle a stuck accelerator

Dear Tom and Ray: I've always heard that if your accelerator sticks, you could turn the key off (not to the locked position) to kill the engine, and then gently...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 14, 2014

Did listening to baseball kill the cruise control?

Dear Tom and Ray: Did I kill our cruise control by listening to baseball? Driving in the mountains, we listen to the San Francisco Giants' home station on the car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 12, 2014

Changing brake light will cost you

Dear Tom and Ray: I need to remove the upper light cover on the back hatch of my 2012 Subaru Outback, Limited, six cylinder. My book has instructions on how...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 7, 2014

Small oil loss is likely not worth fixing

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica Touring with 39,000 miles on it. The car apparently uses oil without smoking or leaking. What could it be? —...

September 5, 2014

Sway bar not as useless as mechanic claimed

Dear Tom and Ray: My stepson recently discovered something dangling under his 1997 Ford Escort wagon. He took it to some mechanics, who looked underneath and found it to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 31, 2014

There's no economic advantage to driving a stick shift

Dear Tom and Ray: Years ago, it was understood that manual-transmission cars had better fuel economy than the same cars with automatics. But for the past several years, as manual...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 29, 2014

We smell a prank in the works

Dear Tom and Ray: If a tin of sardines is attached to the exhaust manifold of a 1993 Ford F-150 with a pair of large radiator clamps, will the heat...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 24, 2014

Freezing gauges likely due to bad instrument cluster

Dear Tom and Ray: I bought my used 2000 Nissan Xterra almost three years ago. Every once in a while it did this weird thing where all the dashboard functions...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 22, 2014

Diesel fuel in a gasoline car can be a real nightmare

Dear Tom and Ray: I woke up screaming the other night, as I'd dreamed I had just pumped five gallons of diesel fuel into my Prius. Back in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 17, 2014

Tire-mounting tool for $50? A guy can dream

Dear Tom and Ray: I go through a lot of used tires. To save money and add convenience, I manually dismount and mount the tires myself, using only a GM...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 15, 2014

Car fan stuck on high likely needs new resistor

Dear Tom and Ray: My car is a 2005 Hyundai Sonata. The fan just started blowing air full blast whether the switch is set to on, off, high or low....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 10, 2014

Rainy day raises physics question for reader

Dear Tom and Ray: I've noticed something while driving, and I want to find out if it's real or just my imagination. While sitting at a stoplight during a light...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 8, 2014

In dipstick we trust

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis. Recently, the oil-level light came on, so I checked the level on the dipstick. It was in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 3, 2014

Is it time to pull the trigger on getting a new car?

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 2005 Toyota Sienna with 52,500 miles on it (I don't get out much, I know). I drive like an old lady, and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 1, 2014

Former rental cars usually are good buys

Dear Tom and Ray: What are your thoughts on buying a car from a rental agency? Would you buy one? — Byr Ray: Sure. Rental-car companies sell relatively new cars,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 27, 2014

Hubby's hands-free driving is definitely not safe

Dear Tom and Ray: Today my question is about safety. My husband, who has not had an accident in the 20 years I've known him, drives in a way that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 25, 2014

What's in a wheel size?

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive Lincoln Navigators. I like as good a ride as possible for this size vehicle. If I remember correctly, the one I bought in 2008...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 20, 2014

Though hybrids are complex, going haywire is rare

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I purchased a 2013 Prius in July 2013. We were parked at a mall when we had an unusual problem: I started the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 18, 2014

Bentley is best bet for car that will start after inactivity

Dear Tom and Ray: I want to lease either a Mercedes-Benz S65, Bentley Flying Spur or Audi S8. I'm concerned about quiescent current drain when the car is locked and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 13, 2014

Clutch system has few places where it can leak

Dear Tom and Ray: Our grandson, Matthew, is now driving our old '92 Honda. It's a stick shift. Recently, it wouldn't go into gear, so we took it to our...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 11, 2014

Blown spark plug can mean bad news

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban with a six-liter, V-8 engine. It blew out the No. 5 spark plug. I took the car to a Chevy...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 6, 2014

When carburetor spews gas, it's time to replace

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a '68 Chevy pickup that I love and want to keep running for as long as I can. I live on a farm, but...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 4, 2014

This car has a shimmy that he can't shake

Dear Tom and Ray: My car has almost 80,000 miles on it. It's a 2005 VW Jetta 1.8T GLI. It's been a great, reliable car, but I've been having a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 29, 2014

Idling may not hurt the car, but it does hurt the environment

Dear Tom and Ray: I've been a school psychologist since 1978, and my assignment has changed somewhat during that time, so it has given me some experiences in several different...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 27, 2014

Engineers are up in arms about a recent column

Dear Tom and Ray: Ooooh! Rarely do you guys make errors. But your recent comments about jacking up a Ford F-150 by the "pumpkin" were wrong. You said the...

June 22, 2014

Advice for mom of aspiring new driver

Dear Tom and Ray: My 19-year-old daughter will not get her driver's license. She has taken the test and failed "maneuverability" (parallel parking). So far this hasn't been that big...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 20, 2014

Wife's gentler driving saves gas, and the car

Dear Tom and Ray: Our gas mileage drops when my husband drives. He has a habit of driving with cruise control on all the time. He likes to engage cruise...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 15, 2014

Using manufacturer's fluids isn't just a ploy

Dear Tom and Ray: The owner's manual for my 2010 Honda CR-V with all-wheel drive states that only Honda fluids may be used in the car, except for motor oil....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 13, 2014

Busting a myth about pumping the brakes

Dear Tom and Ray: Please settle a disagreement I'm having with my wife. I told her that we were taught never to pump the brakes on snow or ice...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 8, 2014

Stuck trunk likely due to busted latch

Dear Tom and Ray: My brother-in-law, who lives in the next state over, has a 2007 Toyota Corolla. His trunk no longer opens. He lives frugally, so it would really...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 6, 2014

It's time to stop guessing and find a mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, four-cylinder, automatic, with 51,000 miles. It runs like new until you go over 60 mph for about 10 or 15...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 1, 2014

Should we search for an affordable RV?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I are getting close to retirement, and we would like to travel, visit friends and see the sights before it all goes underwater....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 30, 2014

Transmission idea can hurt clutch

Dear Tom and Ray: A friend in high school back in the early '70s would occasionally borrow his dad's Ford Pinto to cruise us around in. On odd-numbered days, he...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 25, 2014

It's time to put this work horse out to pasture

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband never wants to throw anything away until it's completely used up. While this probably is a good idea for most things, I am concerned...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 23, 2014

Randomly running truck is confusing owner

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 1999 GMC Sierra that has something that "runs" on occasion when it is sitting in the garage. We have not started the truck...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 18, 2014

Hummer should be able to take some off-road travel

Dear Tom and Ray: Greetings from Doha, Qatar. Six months ago, I bought a used 2006 Hummer H3 (now with 115,000 miles), which my wife uses five days a week...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 16, 2014

Rolling wheels can jump-start a diesel — in theory

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a diesel engine. If I turn off the car while it is moving, then engage fourth or fifth gear and pop the clutch,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 11, 2014

Hot catalytic converter might be due to valve trouble

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1998 Honda CR-V with about 189,000 miles on it. A month or two ago, the check-engine light came on, and a scan said...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 9, 2014

Fix for vibrating car may be very simple

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2006 Toyota Corolla with 60,000 miles. I love the car. It's never given me any problems, except this one: It has an...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 4, 2014

Car's jack point recommendation is for owners, not mechanics

Dear Tom and Ray: My Ford F-150 owner's manual points out that there are certain "jack points" for the front and rear axles. I had a puncture in the sidewall...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 2, 2014

Have you ever correctly installed a child seat in a car?

Take our poll or leave your comments below. Have you ever correctly installed a child seat in a car?...

May 1, 2014

Transmission line failure likely due to age

Dear Tom and Ray: What would make a transmission line blow out? — Tamerlyn Tom: Sorry, Tamerlyn. I take it you've had a catastrophic event in your life recently....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 27, 2014

Tips to remove auto-fluid stains from clothes

Dear Tom and Ray: This is only tangentially car-related. I know that all good mechanics wear coveralls to keep grease and other fluids off their clothing when working on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 25, 2014

For tracking mileage, the computer is most accurate

Dear Tom and Ray: Since buying a Prius, I have become overly interested in gas mileage. The dashboard tells me I am regularly getting over 50 mpg. But when...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 20, 2014

Help for a leaky sunroof

Dear Tom and Ray: I bought a 2006 Pontiac GTO about a year ago. After a considerable search, I found one with an aftermarket sunroof so the sun's rays could...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 18, 2014

Dealer not blowing hot air with compressor diagnosis

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Honda Civic. My air conditioner starts off blowing cool air, but after several miles of driving, it blows only hot air. The...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 13, 2014

Not all GPS systems are created equal

Dear Tom and Ray: Do the different car companies offer GPS units that give different styles of navigation? I have a 2013 Nissan Rogue and have used the factory-installed GPS,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 11, 2014

How to find cause of persistent tire-pressure warning

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2006 Toyota Sienna CE model with approximately 85,600 miles on it. Recently, I changed two of my tires and had a wheel alignment....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 6, 2014

Driving faster is not the way to save fuel

Dear Tom and Ray: Please settle a difference of opinion. All things being equal, which is harder on my engine: traveling 500 miles at 55 mph, or going 500 miles...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 4, 2014

Seat covers are now being made to accommodate side air bags

Dear Tom and Ray: I have an '09 Hyundai Sonata. I finally got around to actually reading through the car manual. It states that covering the front driver or...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 30, 2014

Car won't start in damp weather

Dear Tom and Ray: In January, the water pump went out on my 2001 Dakota (V-6 engine). Everything under the hood got soaked with coolant. I had the water pump...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 28, 2014

'Carstache' messes with temperature sensor

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently began driving my 2007 Dodge Caliber around with a "carstache" mustache on the grill. Don't ask me why, but I did. While driving with...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 23, 2014

Weepy axle clamps: A problem, or not?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2009 Subaru Outback, currently with 54,000 miles. Since April 2012, every time I take it in for an oil change (at two...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 21, 2014

Using cruise control while towing shouldn't cause problems

Dear Tom and Ray: I tow a 6,500-pound travel trailer with a 2009 GMC Sierra. The truck has a 5.6-liter engine with a trailer-towing package. My friends tell me not...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 16, 2014

Flyer on windshield no reason to get mad

Dear Tom and Ray: I never thought you dealt with questions of automotive etiquette, but you recently ran a letter from a man who preferred that his neighbor not park...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 14, 2014

Today's four-wheel-drive systems are a driver's dream

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter just purchased a used 2004 Honda CR-V with four-wheel drive. My question is: How do you use the four-wheel drive effectively? When do...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 9, 2014

Are door sounds like fingerprints?

Dear Tom and Ray: Is it possible to determine the make of an older truck (Ford versus Chevy) based on the feel of the door slamming? A friend gave me...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 7, 2014

What is the actual cost of driving a car?

Dear Tom and Ray: So many of my friends evaluate the cost of a car trip only by the cost of the gas. But I know that the cost, given...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 2, 2014

His car is trying to give him a hot foot

Dear Tom and Ray: Every time I drive my 1979 Fiat Spider, excessive heat comes from the engine compartment to the area by the pedals. What's causing this, and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 28, 2014

New cars don't just start leaking fluids on their own

Dear Tom and Ray: Is it possible for a 2013 Chevy Impala that has only 7,550 miles on it to malfunction mechanically without operator error? When I got the car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 23, 2014

Stuck window? It might be the motor

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a Chrysler 300M with a stuck driver's window. The mechanical function is fine — when it works, it works fine. But heat seems...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 21, 2014

Seat-belt laws have changed in the past 40-odd years

Dear Tom and Ray: Longtime fan and avid listener. I have a 44-year-old two-seat Jaguar E-type sports car. When we were young, we often rode around with three people in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 16, 2014

Rusty wheels can be fixed easily and pretty cheaply

Dear Tom and Ray: Although cars have always been just a means of transportation for me, and not the mainstay of my life, I can't stand to look at my...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 14, 2014

Sticking with recommended oil filters is best

Dear Tom and Ray: I found a larger oil filter for my car with the same exact specs, except for the length. The larger one is about 1.5 inches longer....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 9, 2014

Sluggishness in low speeds might be fuel-delivery problem

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1999 GMC Suburban with a 5.7 V-8 engine and 140,000 miles. Lately, the truck has had problems getting moving from zero to 30...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 7, 2014

When driving for work, rent a car if you can

Dear Tom and Ray: I've got a question that arises from time to time in my office. Oftentimes, we need to visit faraway cities and towns within the state for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 2, 2014

Old car is having trouble with its get-up-and-go

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1979 Jeep CJ-7 with a 5-liter V-8 engine. The ignition switch is the type commonly used in vehicles of this vintage, and it's...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 31, 2014

Crankcase additive is safe but ineffective at removing sludge

Dear Tom and Ray: Is it safe to add a few capfuls of denatured alcohol to the crankcase of my two older vehicles to remove oil sludge before I change...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 26, 2014

What caused new timing belt to fail?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently had to have a new water pump put in my 2005 VW Bug. At the same time, they replaced the timing belt. Twenty-three days...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 24, 2014

The meaning of oil's 'W'

Dear Tom and Ray: You were answering a question a few weeks ago about what type of oil to use (5W-30, 10W-40, etc.). My question is: What does the "W"...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 19, 2014

Hot floorboards are a real threat

Dear Tom and Ray: My 2002 Honda Odyssey (96,000 miles) has been a great car, other than having to replace the transmission at 60,000. When we take a road trip,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 17, 2014

Idling RV for 30 minutes not only is unnecessary, it's harmful

Dear Tom and Ray: I manage an RV park but know nothing about diesel engines. Why does everyone who has a diesel start and idle it for 30 minutes before...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 12, 2014

A lesson in key-fob battery swap

Dear Tom and Ray: How does one change the key fob battery in a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI? Does the remote require a special process in order to be...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 5, 2014

Regular maintenance can prevent problems before they start

Dear Tom and Ray: When driving down the freeway, I heard a scraping sound, shortly followed by my car slowing down, no matter how hard I pushed on the gas....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 3, 2014

A cheap fix for slow clock

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...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 29, 2013

Old clutch idea still holds true

Dear Tom and Ray: I am an old-timer and have driven manual transmissions since the late '60s. In those days, I was told that it is not good to leave...

December 27, 2013

New weatherstripping might help leaky window

Dear Tom and Ray: The rear window of my 2000 Ford F-150 leaks from the top. Can I just have the seal/molding replaced, or should I have the whole window...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 22, 2013

Gentle driving increases life of car

Dear Tom and Ray: I am Kunaal from Mumbai, India, and I am a big fan of your show and column. I own a 2011 Skoda Fabia diesel hatchback...

December 20, 2013

Which method of changing transmission fluid is best?

Dear Tom and Ray: What is the best way to have transmission fluid changed? Around 2002, I had my transmission fluid changed by the recycle method at a quick-change...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 15, 2013

Peeling paint has no cheap fix

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla. It runs really well, especially since it has 180,000 miles on it. However, the paint is coming off and it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 13, 2013

There's such a thing as overdoing fuel conservation

Dear Tom and Ray: I am currently driving (and loving) my Chevy Volt. So far, I've gone about 2,800 miles with it and used only 19 gallons of gas. And...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 8, 2013

Cars from same maker usually have many same parts

Dear Tom and Ray: The other day, I stopped my Toyota Sienna behind a Toyota Corolla at a traffic light. As I held my foot on the brake, I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 6, 2013

Lint is no threat to engine

Dear Tom and Ray: Can I check my oil with a paper towel or an old towel, or is it best to use a shop towel? I'm wondering if the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 1, 2013

Is Honda un-'fit' to park in garage?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2007 Honda Fit. A couple of years ago, I got a recall notice that said there was a defect in a part in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 29, 2013

Spark plugs have individualized fit

Dear Tom and Ray: I was shopping for spark plugs for my 2002 Dodge truck from a company that has a site on the Internet. They had spark plugs for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 24, 2013

Help for stuck wheels

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2-year-old Camry, and I like to work on my cars. I live in northwestern Montana. Great place! But we have snow. I have...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 22, 2013

The reasoning behind shifter placement

Dear Tom and Ray: General Motors recently unveiled the 2015 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon. The three SUVs continue to have the gear shifter positioned on the steering column...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 17, 2013

Is stopping and restarting at lights worth the fuel savings?

Dear Tom and Ray: About once a week, my boyfriend and I drive to a nearby city, about 150 miles round trip. When we go together, he drives my Toyota...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 15, 2013

It's too soon to recommend aftermarket hybrid batteries

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband's car is a 2005 Prius with about 130,000 miles. Our local Toyota dealership told him that the hybrid battery needs to be replaced and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 10, 2013

How to fish for a spark plug

Dear Tom and Ray: I had a spark plug blow out. The tip of the spark plug fell into the engine. Will that hurt it if I can't fish it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 8, 2013

Worn engine mounts not as dire as they may sound

Dear Tom and Ray: I've never given my engine mounts a second thought until my Acura mechanic advised me that my 2001 MDX with 95,000 gently acquired miles was showing...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 3, 2013

At 93, she wants to feel the wind in her hair

Dear Tom and Ray: I want one more crack at a convertible, having had a wonderful Dodge Dart convertible in earlier years (it was stolen in Detroit when I left...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 1, 2013

Advantages of snow tires outweigh disadvantages

Dear Tom and Ray: I own a 2006 Hyundai Elantra that I just purchased from the estate of a 90-year-old woman. The car has only 12,000 miles on it. The...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 27, 2013

Problem with blinker could be a pricey one

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2006 Dodge Durango with 118,000 miles. Recently, the turn signals have developed a mind of their own. I turn on the left...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 25, 2013

Question of dealer versus aftermarket parts has no easy answer

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a Dodge Durango, 2000, four-wheel drive. I have three faulty oxygen sensors (as detected by a scan); one of them may have oil-soaked...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 20, 2013

Not putting car in park might not be harmful but is a bad habit

Dear Tom and Ray: I met my fiance in a car accident three years ago. I bumped into his car, and the rest is history. However, as luck would...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 18, 2013

Modern brakes are largely unaffected by water

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently finished driver's ed, and in it, they told us that when we drive through puddles, our brakes get wet, which is true. Their solution...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 13, 2013

Drs. Tom and Ray provide help for voiceless horn

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Chevrolet Astro Van. The emergency warning device (aka, the horn) will work only if the outside temperature is above 55 degrees F....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 11, 2013

Occasional driving is a good idea for car in storage

Dear Tom and Ray: What's the minimum a car should be driven to keep the battery charged and the fluids doing what they are supposed to do? My daughter...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 6, 2013

The case of the disappearing dashboard lights

Dear Tom and Ray: I write this letter as the rain pecks away on the windshield of my surveillance van. I'm a private eye. I live in Nebraska. I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 4, 2013

Push-button starts seem to have built-in protection for starter

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a push-button start on my car. When I start the car, I have found that you just need to push the button and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 29, 2013

Oil won't cut it for a bad differential

Hi guys! My name is Emma, and I am 20 years old. I am about to purchase my first car. I have chosen a 1975 Mercedes 240D non-turbo, four-speed manual....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 27, 2013

This is one gamble you shouldn't take

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with only 22,000 miles on it. I took it to my local quickie-lube place for an oil change....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 22, 2013

Reader wants older car in case of solar flare

Dear Tom and Ray: With talk about the potential (though unlikely) event of a large solar flare directly hitting Earth, some high-tech engineering types are discussing the merits of using...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 20, 2013

When in doubt, throw it out

Dear Tom and Ray: While cleaning out my 70-something parents' garage, I found three mostly empty containers of power steering fluid. They are possibly from different decades. Can these be...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 15, 2013

The safe way to take a road trip in an old beater

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm a 50-year-old male. For my midlife crisis, my old college roommate and I are taking a 1960 Triumph TR3 roadster on an 8,000-mile road trip,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 13, 2013

Cars generally don't need lube jobs anymore

Dear Tom and Ray: My question concerns the "lube" portion of "lube, oil and filter." A couple of years ago, I took a new job that is a mere 4...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 8, 2013

Oils are getting thinner and better

Dear Tom and Ray: I just bought a new Mazda, and the owner's manual states that I should use 0W-20 oil. I wonder if that is too lightweight for summer...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 6, 2013

Dad is wrong about turbo-charged engines

Dear Tom and Ray: My dad and I are looking for new cars. I test-drove a car, and then I test-drove the same car with a turbo engine. It had...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 1, 2013

Saving lives is more important than saving pennies

Dear Tom and Ray: I don't mind being called a sorry skinflint as long as I can justify my penny-pinching proclivities. I happen to believe that there are only so...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 30, 2013

Don't drive yourself crazy over fuel choices

Dear Tom and Ray: We bought a brand-new Mini Cooper S. Nobody told us what grade of gas to run it on. Stupidly, we did not look in the manual....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 25, 2013

If you've got back pain, it may be time for an automatic

Dear Tom and Ray: I have painful, incapacitating sciatica on the left side, most likely from constantly engaging the extremely hard clutch in my 2000 Toyota Celica. Have you...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 23, 2013

Is there help for this smelly car?

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter has a Volvo named Smelly. It has a very distinct chemical smell that we cannot get rid of. We have had the car detailed,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 18, 2013

On the hunt for jump-start options

Dear Tom and Ray: OK, I know this is a pretty ridiculous question, but I've done a little research and can't find anything written on the subject. I was wondering...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 16, 2013

Why does second gear always seem to fail first?

Dear Tom and Ray: Why is it that it always seems to be second gear that fails first in a manual transmission? I have been perusing my local Craigslist ads...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 11, 2013

Have 'dream car' thoroughly checked out before buying

Dear Tom and Ray: Hi, guys! My name is Raychel. I'm a full-time student and part-time valet parker. I'm about to turn 21, and I am enthralled with the idea...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 9, 2013

Midlife-crisis car should be impractical

Dear Tom and Ray: I am fast approaching my midlife crisis and want to buy a Jeep. I have wanted one for decades, but I am very cautious and always...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 4, 2013

Tie rod in need of repair is a serious matter

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1987 Honda Accord, and the right front CV boot on the drive axle is torn. A mechanic said it would be about $250...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 2, 2013

Safety tips for rotating tires and changing oil

Dear Tom and Ray: Am I putting my 24-year-old daughter in harm's way by teaching her to rotate the tires and change the oil in her car? She is strong,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 28, 2013

He'd like to mute warning bell to spare his sensitive ears

Dear Tom and Ray: This past year, I got some kind of fungus in my ears that deteriorated my eardrums to the point that I needed hearing aids. It...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 26, 2013

A question with teeth

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I disagree about whether the button on the parking brake should be pressed down prior to engaging and lifting it. If you don't,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 21, 2013

Very hot conditions can cause strange things to happen

Dear Tom and Ray: On a cross-country summer trip to Las Vegas, we stopped for gas in a town in New Mexico. After filling our '04 Ford Escape, it would...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 19, 2013

Stick shift keeps popping out of third gear

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with a stick shift. Every now and again, when I have the car in third gear, the stick...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 14, 2013

Mechanics can check a car's emissions before a test

Dear Tom and Ray: We live in Buffalo, N.Y., and our son will be living and attending graduate school in Glendale, Ariz. He owns a 2000 Ford Contour. We are...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 12, 2013

Do use parking brake with manual transmission

Dear Tom and Ray: To use the emergency brake or not — that is the question! We bought a Mazda3 with a manual transmission for our son, and the question...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 7, 2013

Answering questions about CVTs

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm considering getting a new Honda Accord four-cylinder. For 2013, Honda went to a CV transmission, replacing the five-speed automatic. I wonder about (1) the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 5, 2013

Convertibles still have some mpg improvements to make

Dear Tom and Ray: I turn 70 in a couple of years and want to do two things to celebrate: Enter a triathlon and drive across the country on back...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 30, 2013

A creative solution to a messy problem

Dear Tom and Ray: Every morning when I walk out the door to go to work, there is bird poop all over the sides of my car. Always in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 28, 2013

Rubber piece in gas tank most likely harmless

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 5-gallon gas can that has an old-style spout, which used to have a bright-yellow cap. The cap got lost, so I got a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 23, 2013

What's causing front-end shake?

Dear Tom and Ray: About three weeks ago, I was pulling into a parking space, and just before stopping I heard and felt what appeared to be a large impact....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 21, 2013

Which comes first: Park or parking brake?

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I are at odds on this issue. We have a 2003 Mini Cooper with an auTomatic transmission. He applies the hand brake before...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 16, 2013

It's wise not to push towing limit

Dear Tom and Ray: We do a lot of city driving, but in the summer months we tow a couple of Jet Skis around behind our older Nissan Murano,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 14, 2013

Father still knows best, even in dreams

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2005 Hyundai Sonata. It has just reached 60,000 miles. Should I have the timing belt changed, even though there are no problems? My...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 9, 2013

There's no right to claim parking spot on public street

Dear Tom and Ray: My question regards parking etiquette. Recently, a neighbor has been parking his car in front of our house on a daily/nightly basis. From what I can...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 7, 2013

Bolt of lightning shocks car's headlight relay

Dear Tom and Ray: My uncle owns a 2001 Lincoln Town Car. A few days ago we had a real bad storm, and the tree that was about 7...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 2, 2013

Shop around when looking for car parts

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2005 Subaru WRX STI with 106,000 miles, and it is time to replace the timing belt. The Subaru dealer will do the job...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 31, 2013

Never underinflate tires on purpose

Dear Tom and Ray: I like a bit more comfort, so I lower the pressure in my tires by 4 psi below the door-sticker recommendation. I figure that the pressure...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 26, 2013

Alignment will tell you of any frame damage

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife Olivia's first car (in the early '70s) was a purple-sparkle dune buggy built on a VW Bug frame — one of the least-safe but...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 23, 2013

Try a flush first on plugged heater core

Dear Tom and Ray: Our mechanic states that the heater in our 2000 Ford Focus sedan is clogged. He says there is nothing he can do, since attempts to unclog...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 19, 2013

Uniting tinkerers is tough to do

Dear Tom and Ray: I read somewhere that you started out with a garage that people could go to and work on their own cars. I've often thought that I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 17, 2013

Is there a way to replace car's interior?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife has a 1999 Subaru Forester with low mileage (85,000), but the interior is not so good. She lets the kids eat in her car,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 12, 2013

Oil barrel needs to be disposed of properly

Dear Tom and Ray: Back in the '80s, when there wasn't anywhere he knew of to take used oil for recycling, my dad started pouring it into a 55-gallon drum...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 10, 2013

This car has a mind of its own

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2001 Dodge Neon with more than 150,000 miles on it. Until very recently, it's been an extremely reliable vehicle, and I've loved...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 5, 2013

Mechanic selling ceramic brake pads knew what he was talking about

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently needed to replace my brakes, and the shop sold me on ceramic brake pads. The pads have a lifetime warranty, which is very...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 3, 2013

Flakey headlight probably just needs new bulb

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Subaru Outback wagon. Recently, the passenger-side daytime running light and low-beam headlight stopped working. When I got out of my car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 28, 2013

Air deflectors help mileage some but aren't vital

Dear Tom and Ray: There once was a black plastic thingamajig hanging under the front end of our Mercury Grand Marquis, right behind the front bumper. We could almost...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 26, 2013

Cause should be found when a new battery dies

Dear Tom and Ray: I live near the ocean, and my less-than-a-year-old battery died this week. My neighbor, who jumped the battery with his cables, said that my connections should...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 21, 2013

Parking brake will wear out if used daily

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm looking to resolve a brake discussion between me and my dad. Do you think you two can help? My car is a 1996 Honda Accord,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 19, 2013

No debate: Cruise control is good

Dear Tom and Ray: I have an issue. OK, not so much an issue, more of an argument between me and my fiance. I just bought a 2008 Dodge Caliber....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 14, 2013

Rough shifting in heat and on hills could be transmission problem

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and love my 2003 Nissan Maxima. It works fine, except for a problem we began to experience last...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 12, 2013

There are better first cars than a Jeep

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm turning 16, and I'm looking at buying a 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport. Do you think this is a good car for me? A safe car?...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 7, 2013

Minivan is good substitute for RV

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a dilemma. My retirement dream has always been to purchase some type of vehicle to travel in and live out of for extended...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 5, 2013 2 Comments

Reader gets permission to junk son's car

Dear Tom and Ray: My son left for Europe to get married and live there. He left me his 2001 Chrysler Sebring convertible. It lasted three weeks before the engine...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 31, 2013

Never ignore signs of overheating

Hi, guys: I drive a taxicab in Austin, Texas, and I'm feeling flummoxed! The 2008 Chrysler 300C that I drove blew its head gasket. Here's where I get confused. The...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 29, 2013

Whining indicates loose belt

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer with about 90,000 miles. Several months back, I was driving home on a rainy night and splashed through a deep...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 24, 2013

Reader wishes full-service stations would make a comeback

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm an old geezer with fond memories of when you could pull into a gas station and tell the kid to fill it up and check...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 22, 2013

When idiot lights come on, you'd be an idiot to keep driving

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon. Yesterday, while sitting in traffic, I noticed that my temperature gauge was all the way in the red....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 17, 2013 1 Comment

Is Dad's 'foot off the clutch' rule too intense?

Dear Tom and Ray: One of my dad's many, many rules of driving is "Foot off the clutch when you turn a corner." And when he's with me and I'm...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 15, 2013 2 Comments

Math does not add up for switch to diesel engine

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband's latest great idea is to convert our 2001 Ford F-150 truck from gas to diesel. I would very much like to know if this...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 10, 2013 7 Comments

Is fallout from fluid faux pas coming?

Dear Tom and Ray: Bonehead move on my part: While changing the oil for the first time in my 2005 Toyota Sienna van, I could not locate what looked like...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 8, 2013

A tirephobic driver airs her concern

Dear Tom and Ray: Yesterday I went out to put air in my tires, and I had the same problem I always do — I'm very afraid that the tire...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 3, 2013

Groom: Let's vow to not decorate

Dear Tom and Ray: My fiancee and I were discussing our wedding plans the other day, and a question came up. We'll be driving away in my VW convertible (there...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 1, 2013

Low coolant sometimes leaves you cold

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently I was driving my 2001 Ford Focus in cold weather on I-70 in the mountains west of Denver. There are two long, steep grades (10-15...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 24, 2013

High tire pressure can cause bounce

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my 2002 Infiniti I35 to a shop to have the rotors and brake pads replaced on the front. While in the shop, the mechanic...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 22, 2013

Corolla owner on the hunt to identify sound

Dear Tom and Ray: Something on my 2009 Toyota Corolla is running when the car is turned off! I have heard it at various times of the day and night,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 17, 2013 1 Comment

Traditional spare tires are being phased out

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife just bought a 2013 Kia Soul, and there is no spare tire. The salesman told us that spare tires are becoming a thing of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 15, 2013 6 Comments

Good old truck is a sound business move

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm 24 and about to start business school. The trouble is that I drive a '98 Ford Ranger with 110,000 miles -- not exactly a model...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 10, 2013

Does this car just dislike drive-thrus?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have two things: a son who is a shade-tree mechanic and does a good business out of his backyard, and a 2003 Honda Civic that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 8, 2013 2 Comments

Corrosion signals battery's dying days

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2007 Kia Spectra EX that does not start all the time, and it is getting corrosion on the battery terminals. My husband cleaned...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 3, 2013

It's wise to get to the root of gas smell

Dear Tom and Ray: For the past four to six weeks, when I start my 2004 Chevy Trailblazer first thing in the morning, the smell of gas and sometimes oil...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 1, 2013

Look for the light at sea-level lag

Dear Tom and Ray: My 88-year-old mother has a 2005 Buick LaCrosse with 15,000 miles on it. It only gets driven to the grocery store, hair salon and church. But...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 27, 2013 1 Comment

To be fair, you really should pay for diagnosis

Dear Tom and Ray: Although I like to do my own repairs whenever I can, I don't know enough about cars to make a reliable diagnosis. Is it ethical for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 25, 2013

Springs can wear out and affect ride height

Dear Tom and Ray: I've always done the "bounce test" to check my shocks. I also go by the feel of the ride. My '99 Taurus seems solid and rides...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 20, 2013

How did crooks turn on light in locked car?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a prosecutor in Florida, and I've been stumped by a very interesting issue that's arisen in a case of mine. A team of burglars...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 18, 2013 6 Comments

The annoyance factor of fuel efficiency

Dear Tom and Ray: If I bike up a steep hill, I have to slow down, since maintaining speed would exhaust me. Applying this to driving, I drive my VW...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 13, 2013 2 Comments

Smaller engines are getting more powerful

Dear Tom and Ray: I am thinking of buying a new car, and I need to know if a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine would be the wisest choice. I live...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 11, 2013

Adding weed-whacker gas mix to car won't hurt car

Dear Tom and Ray: Winter is coming, and I have two gallons of oil/gas mixture (40-to-1) for my weed whacker that I don't want to save for next year or...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 6, 2013 1 Comment

It's OK to use snow tires from previous car

Dear Tom and Ray: I traded in our old Prius for a 2012 Prius last spring. I'm getting ready to put on the snow tires that I kept from the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 4, 2013 2 Comments

Will driveway scraping scrap Prius-buying plan?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a wonderful car, a '97 Saturn that gets great mileage and has been reliable all this time. But it's beginning to signal me that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 30, 2012 11 Comments

Sandy-soaked car probably totaled

Dear Tom and Ray: Can you help my sister's family? They were victims of Hurricane Sandy this fall, and although their cars are running, they did get saltwater up to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 28, 2012

This advice from hubby is bad news

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband tells me I should "wiggle" my steering wheel when I take a curve because it gives you better traction, especially in rain or snow....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 23, 2012 1 Comment

Hubby is starting to become a slowpoke

Dear Tom and Ray: I am 65 and not yet ready to become a "geezerette." My husband is two years older, and although he may look like one, he is...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 21, 2012 3 Comments

Source of shake not an easy fix

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a member of the military living in Minot, N.D. None of the mechanics in Minot, including the dealership, seem to know what is making...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 16, 2012

Garages do make vehicles happier

Dear Tom and Ray: My boyfriend and I disagree on whether to keep the car in the garage. He thinks it cuts down on the life of the car (something...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 14, 2012 3 Comments

Reflashing is a software update

Dear Tom and Ray: My local automotive-repair shop offers a service in which they will "re-flash" your car's computer. Is that helpful, or just an unnecessary service to generate profits...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 9, 2012

AC problem might actually be a vacuum problem

Dear Tom and Ray: My name is Luke, and I am a musician playing double bass with a band based out of Norman, Okla. Our record label has thoughtfully provided...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 7, 2012

Toyota should share cost of steering-wheel problem

Dear Tom and Ray: Help! My daughter-in-law purchased a new 2009 Toyota Corolla Type S in late 2008. The car has about 40,000 miles on it, so it has exceeded...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 2, 2012 2 Comments

Which hybrid is the best for long commutes?

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive a long way for work — about 310 miles round trip. Fortunately, I only have to do that eight or nine times each month,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 30, 2012

Battery won't be drained by radio

Dear Tom and Ray: My 16-year-old son drives a 2008 Honda CR-V. He wants to play the car's radio while the engine is off. He wants to sit in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 25, 2012

Dad's road trip idea will make many good memories

Dear Tom and Ray: My dad has a 1962 Studebaker Hawk that he bought three years ago, when he was in chemotherapy. He got it out of a barn in...

November 23, 2012

Cruise control has an on/off switch for a reason

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Honda Accord coupe. Like most cars, it has three cruise-control buttons: the main on-off cruise button, the Set button and the Resume...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 18, 2012 2 Comments

When wife ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer with 178,000 miles. I have a wife who also has many miles on her. I love my car, even with...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 16, 2012

What's the right way to rotate tires?

Dear Tom and Ray: I just spoke to two different tire shops and got opposite answers to the same question. The right-side tire on my pickup is wearing quicker than...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 11, 2012

There's no easy fix for this oil leak

Dear Tom and Ray: OK, this is going to be a bit of a long story — sorry. As a college graduation present, my father got me a used 2004...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 9, 2012

Mechanic is not just full of hot air on brake line flush

Dear Tom and Ray: After 25 years of faithfully patronizing my highly competent mechanics, I fear that they are getting nervous about their approaching retirement. I have always trusted them,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 4, 2012 1 Comment

Reader wants to build Frankenstein's car

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently I've been thinking of piece-mealing a car (aka creating a Frankenstein car) from the best parts of all the cars I can identify, the goal...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 2, 2012 1 Comment

Temperature drops and speedometer goes nuts

Dear Tom and Ray: I've had this 2001 Chevy Cavalier for almost five years. It's been a fantastic car. I take care of it, and it takes care of me....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 28, 2012

Maybe he'll get lucky and mistake won't be costly

Dear Tom and Ray: So, a co-worker needed a jump-start after leaving her lights on, and I thought I would be a good Samaritan and help her after work. Her...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 26, 2012 1 Comment

Smoking turn signal should be fixed

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1998 Ford Explorer. A few days ago, I had the left turn signal on and suddenly, it just stopped blinking. Then a very...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 21, 2012

The trade-off of technology

Dear Tom and Ray: I am about to buy a car. I've been advised to buy a new or newer car so as to avoid breakdowns, but I'm running into...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 19, 2012

Gas-can spout in gas tank can be left alone

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1964 Mercedes 230 SL. While I was adding gas, the detachable plastic spout from a five-gallon gas can fell into my car's gas...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 14, 2012 1 Comment

What to do if you find yourself in too deep

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm an authentic Chinese citizen writing to you guys from China. Did you imagine you would ever have faithful listeners and readers across the Pacific? Well,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 12, 2012

Advice for a future auto-parts worker

Dear Tom and Ray: I am hopefully starting a retail job at an auto-parts store as a part-time associate/part-time driver. Could you please provide a primer on what every parts...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 7, 2012

Is there hope for this doggone stinky car?

Dear Tom and Ray: I need your help. My car has an odor that will not go away. My car, now known as "The Farm," smells like a barn. Basically,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 5, 2012

Tom and Ray have to give this one to the husband

Dear Tom and Ray: I have enjoyed reading your help for car owners for years. Now I need your help. When I was working and had my car, I took...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 30, 2012 1 Comment

Off-center steering wheel worth a trip back to mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently had my car's front end aligned by a mechanic whom I have trusted for more than 10 years. The problem is, to keep the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 28, 2012

Extended periods of sitting won't harm engines

Dear Tom and Ray: Are car engines damaged if left on dealership lots for weeks without running? My automotive instructor told me that letting a car sit for more than...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 23, 2012 1 Comment

Grandson's driving almost certainly contributed to engine failure

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Mazda Protege with 103,000 miles. The problem started while my 20-year-old grandson had my car one time. My engine started getting hot,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 21, 2012 4 Comments

There's a snake in his manifold

Dear Tom and Ray: My mechanic found a 4-foot-long boa constrictor in my manifold, in Boonton, N.J. It cost me $310 to get it out. It was barbecued, of course....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 16, 2012

The right order: brake, then park

Dear Tom and Ray: On a recent visit to my home, my "wonderful" mother expanded her range of "helpful" advice-giving to the manner in which I park my car on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 14, 2012 4 Comments

Older cars can take used computers

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter has a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse four-cylinder RS model. Everything electrical died, and she was told that the computer is no good. Since the car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 9, 2012

She's itching to get rid of fleas

Dear Tom and Ray: Help! My mechanic has fleas! My mechanic has a "garage dog," who is very old and droopy. I think he has fleas, because after I got...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 7, 2012 1 Comment

Options for replacing an older engine

Dear Tom & Ray: I have a 1993 Cadillac Coupe DeVille with a 4.9-liter V-8 engine. It has 123,000 miles on it, and I want to keep it forever. My...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 2, 2012

Tips for hiding valuables in a car

Dear Tom and Ray: After some locker break-ins at the gym, I started leaving my wallet and phone in the glove box of my Volvo S60. The other day, there...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 31, 2012 4 Comments

Shop's charge for battery installation is legit

Dear Tom and Ray: Our 1986 Honda Accord needed a battery. My wife took the car to a local auto shop. She bought a five-year battery that cost $91.95. They...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 26, 2012 4 Comments

Dispelling myths about manual transmissions

Dear Tom and Ray: When I first learned to drive, a million years ago, my father (who knew nothing about cars) advised me to always drive a manual transmission because...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 24, 2012 10 Comments

Add oil anytime engine's not 'full'

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife has an '89 Toyota Camry with a four-cylinder engine. Her dad says that you should add engine oil as soon as the oil drops...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 19, 2012

The problem with classic cars is finding a good mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1966 Ford Mustang 2+2 (289-cubic-inch) V-8 engine with four-barrel carburetor. It has more than 170,000 miles on it. It starts right away, but...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 17, 2012

Is a 1992 Saab worth losing the love of your life?

Dear Tom and Ray: A few years ago, I purchased a 1992 Saab 900 turbo from a friend of mine. This car was in beautiful condition, with 230,000 miles on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 12, 2012

Here's the deal with self-adjusting clutches

Dear Tom and Ray: What's the deal with nonadjustable clutches? I have driven manual transmissions my whole driving life. I own a 2007 Toyota Matrix, and when I started stalling...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 10, 2012

Don't replace shocks based on mileage

Dear Tom and Ray: I was watching a baseball game, and an ad on the backstop said to change your shocks at 50,000 miles. I realize this national shock-replacement company...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 5, 2012

Tires can't self-inflate, so what's going on here?

Dear Tom and Ray:The tires on my wife's 2005 Infiniti FX35 are about six months old. We had no problems with them, until three weeks ago. When driving down the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 3, 2012 1 Comment

AC's effectiveness not affected by car's speed

Dear Tom and Ray: Nearly 40 years ago, I was told that it was a bad idea to turn on the air conditioning when driving at highway speeds. I was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 29, 2012

He's steaming mad about wife's AC reasoning

Dear Tom and Ray: As I write this, I am still fuming. This past week, the temperature has been in the high 80s to low 90s. I hate the heat...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 27, 2012

Ways to get hot engine to run a little cooler

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a rural mail carrier and have a question about engine coolants. As a mail carrier, I spend a tremendous amount of time on hot...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 22, 2012

Man-made shade the best sunblock

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I recently purchased a hacienda in Tucson, Ariz., where we just arrived for the summer and will be spending all our future summers....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 20, 2012

Should Del Sol driver worry about his 'chick car?'

Dear Tom and Ray: I just learned that I might be driving a chick car. I own a red Honda del Sol, and I really enjoy driving it. Do other...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 15, 2012 2 Comments

Can you tell if a frame has been bent without taking car apart?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am in the Air Force, and last week when I was driving through the gate at the base, the security forces troop accidentally raised the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 13, 2012

How do you know when to replace brake rotors?

Dear Tom and Ray: This morning at the gym an acquaintance (Fred) told me that he took his car to a mechanic for some brake work, and the mechanic replaced...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 8, 2012 1 Comment

Is constant fog-light use a cause for concern?

Dear Tom and Ray: I need your help to settle an argument I have with my no-good brother-in-law from Illinois. He always drives at night with his fog lights on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 6, 2012 3 Comments

What is this part and does it really need to be replaced?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife, while driving her 2011 Cadillac CTS coupe, ran onto a tree limb that fell off a truck in front of her. She stopped, backed...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 1, 2012

Jackrabbit driving does have consequences for a car

Dear Tom and Ray: My son is driving a 2001 Chrysler Concorde, and it's now on its last leg. He drives fast — he just got a speeding ticket for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 29, 2012

Is small, new car safer than big, old car?

Dear Tom and Ray: Please settle a marital dispute. I currently drive a 2001 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 with 165,000 miles. She ain't what she used to be. I would like...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 24, 2012

Are there really risks to always running on empty?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a 76-year-old woman, recently engaged to an 80-year-old man. We are truly best friends and agree on everything, except one thing. He drives a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 22, 2012 4 Comments

Does use of synthetic oil mean you're stuck with it forever?

Dear Tom and Ray: I was buying oil for an oil change and was planning to use a coupon from the manufacturer. The auto-parts store was out of stock of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 17, 2012 1 Comment

Is a generator the cure for range anxiety?

Dear Tom and Ray: Say I have an electric car (one that runs on nothing but electricity) that can be charged by plugging into any outlet. But for cross-country trips...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 15, 2012 2 Comments

Should mechanic be responsible for critter eviction?

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my van in for an oil change, wiper blades and general inspection. When the hood was raised, I discovered that some animal, probably a...

June 10, 2012

Reader is right that dealer's oil offer is a bit slippery

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I just purchased a brand-new 2012 Nissan Juke SL, with a CVT transmission and the 1.6-liter "turbo" engine. It came with a bonus...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 8, 2012

What to get the man who has... an old VW bus?

Dear Tom and Ray: My boyfriend is turning 40 this year, and I really want to get him something special, something that will surprise him and that he never would...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 3, 2012 1 Comment

In this case, a discontinued car sounds like a good fit

Dear Tom and Ray: My fiancé and I are planning to buy a new car that fits our lifestyle and our budget. We are currently looking at the Honda Fit,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 1, 2012

Any need to fix hail damage if paint isn't broken?

Dear Tom and Ray: We have two cars that got dinged up pretty badly in a recent hailstorm. Although none of the dents actually cracked the surface paint, our insurance...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 27, 2012 1 Comment

Try not to lose any more sleep over who is at fault

Dear Tom and Ray: We recently purchased a 2003 Honda Civic with 80,000 miles. The previous owner was very fastidious about maintenance, and had replaced several major items within the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 25, 2012

Do Prius tires have to be purchased at dealership?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2007 Toyota Prius. I was hoping you could help me with what I suspect is a cheap sales tactic by my Toyota dealer....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 20, 2012 1 Comment

There are only two things that could be making old tractor stall

Dear Tom & Ray, Do you ever address questions about old farm tractors? Our 1945 Farmall-A starts well and runs well for about 10-20 minutes, but then it starts to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 18, 2012 2 Comments

What to get a mechanic who does you a favor

Dear Tom and Ray: When your auto mechanic offers to help sell your '97 Subaru, what percentage of the sale is appropriate to give him as a thank-you? If I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 13, 2012 1 Comment

Should they trust garage that caused a near disaster?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife drives a 2003 VW Passat GLX 4Motion Wagon with just over 47,000 miles on it. She took it to a local dealer for service...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 11, 2012 2 Comments

Choice is obvious: You prefer your cars to your wife

Dear Tom and Ray: I collect cars from companies that have gone out of business. So far, I have a 1950 Studebaker, a 1950 Hudson, a 1950 Packard, a 1960...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 6, 2012 2 Comments

Prognosis is dire for doctor's station wagon

Dear Tom and Ray: My boyfriend drives a 2000 Ford Taurus station wagon with 112,000 miles. He's an MD and specializes in palliative care medicine, which is to say he...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 4, 2012

Absolutely, car engine can be used to cook snacks

Dear Tom and Ray: When I pick up my teenage son from school, he is so ravenous that I worry he'll eat one of his younger siblings when I'm not...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 29, 2012

Why is car burning through clutches so fast?

Dear Tom and Ray: I purchased a Kia Forte Koup in March of 2010. After I received the car, it blew three clutches in an eight-month period. I have been...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 27, 2012

Should he repair catalytic converter or dump car fast?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently got a 2001 Audi A8L that now has 130,000 miles on it. The only other owner was my dad, and he took extremely great...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 22, 2012 1 Comment

Try easy fix first on car's time-traveling clock

Dear Tom and Ray: My car time-travels into the future. I have a 2004 Volvo XC70 station wagon that for some reason does not keep proper time. I can set...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 20, 2012 2 Comments

Dogs belong in the back seat — for everyone's safety

Dear Tom and Ray: My son has a 2006 Jeep that he uses to carry around tennis equipment and his dogs. His youngest dog, a 10-month-old, 60-pound male golden retriever,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 15, 2012 1 Comment

Are dual exhausts for looks, or do they enhance performance?

Dear Tom and Ray: I really like the look of the prominent chrome dual exhausts seen on so many cars and trucks these days. To me, they give a look...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 13, 2012 1 Comment

Does gentle braking have any positive effects?

Dear Tom and Ray: I always brake by lightly touching the brakes — not jerkily, so that any rider would notice, but sort of gradually coming to a stop. My...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 8, 2012 2 Comments

How many diagnostic readings does one car need?

Dear Tom and Ray: The dashboard of our 2004 Honda lit up like a Christmas tree. We had the car towed to our local Honda dealer. When we were presented...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 6, 2012 3 Comments

Is there is a way to downshift on hybrids with CVT?

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently my husband and I rented a Toyota Prius in California — which we enjoyed driving, by the way. While driving in our many national parks,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 1, 2012

Garage's zip tie repair is incredibly dangerous

Dear Tom and Ray: I've been a fan for years. I had a great 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, which I always had serviced at a local muffler/repair shop. Last year,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 30, 2012 1 Comment

Could pine needles in the engine do serious harm?

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was filling my engine with new oil, pine needles fell into the oil and are now in the engine. The little stem that went...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 25, 2012

Is urea additive really needed in diesel car?

Dear Tom & Ray: Can this be true, or are my wife and I just gullible? Our dealer claims that we need to add "urea" to our BlueTec 350 Mercedes...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 23, 2012 5 Comments

Sunroof on older car is worth replacing in this case

Dear Tom and Ray: The sunroof on my 1998 Toyota RAV4 doesn't close anymore. The Toyota repair guy says it will cost $1,700 to replace the motor and cables ($1,400...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 18, 2012

Why would car start in the cold but then shut itself down?

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter lives in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a Wisconsin transplant who still believes her father (me) can help with anything. I need your help to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 16, 2012

Is fuel consumption affected by use of car's electronics?

Dear Tom and Ray: My son staunchly states that in newer-model cars (like his 2003 Lincoln Navigator), gasoline consumption is not affected by turning on the lights and/or the air...

March 11, 2012

Could fall from lift have caused truck's frame to bend?

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my GMC ('06 K2500 Extended Cab) to the purchasing dealer for service. My truck has only 20,000 miles on it. It was up on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 9, 2012

Will hitch used for bike rack affect car's resale value?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2007 Subaru Outback. It's the perfect vehicle for driving over hills and curves during winter storms, hauling garden supplies and toting around Theo,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 4, 2012 1 Comment

Cars are not once-in-a-lifetime purchases

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm 35, and I would like to purchase a diesel SUV that will last the rest of my life ... ideally, into my 90s. My idea...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 2, 2012

What is causing brake failure?

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm the "keeper" of my 25-year-old daughter's 2004 Nissan Maxima. It has a serious problem. On any cold winter morning, the power brakes are NON-EXISTENT. If...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 26, 2012

Traction devices work, but they have some drawbacks

Dear Tom and Ray: Do those clamp-on or strap-on devices that go on your tires help with winter driving traction? Or do they just clamp on my wallet? — James...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 24, 2012

Driving technique may strain tires, but not that much

Dear Tom and Ray: I need your opinion on whether something the driving instructor is teaching our daughter to do is hard on the car. When parallel parking, he has...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 19, 2012

Unfortunately, tires really do have an expiration date

Dear Tom and Ray: I just bought a new Jeep, and the owner's manual says that all tires, including the spare, should be replaced after six years, regardless of condition...

February 17, 2012

Is induction service really worth the money?

Dear Tom and Ray: The local Honda dealer charges $120 for a fuel-induction service every 30,000 miles. I can buy a can of BG 44K injector cleaner as a gas...

February 12, 2012 2 Comments

What do I do about parts for an old Saab?

Dear Tom and Ray: My 80-year-old father owns an '03 Saab. About two months ago, the electric locking mechanism on the driver's door stopped working. Now the door cannot be...

February 10, 2012 4 Comments

There are many better options than an old bug

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm hoping you can assuage my fears. My 24-year-old daughter told me today that she is buying an old VW bug. She spoke with her father,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 5, 2012 3 Comments

Don't buy this explanation; garage likely made a mistake

Dear Tom and Ray: I had a heater core on a '99 Dakota Sport replaced, and I now have heat all the time without it being turned on. I was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 29, 2012

Why is idle car going through batteries so fast?

Dear Tom and Ray: My 88-year-old mother has a 2005 Buick LaCrosse with 15,000 miles on it. It only gets driven to the grocery store, hair salon and church. But...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 27, 2012 1 Comment

Leaky strut isn't disaster, but should be fixed

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 2009 Toyota Camry. When our local mechanic was checking the brakes, he noted that the left rear strut was leaking fluid. He informed...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 22, 2012 2 Comments

Take great pains for safety if using a trailer to move

Dear Tom and Ray: My son is taking a new job in Sioux Falls, S.D., about 850 miles away from our home near Detroit. The old man promised to help...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 20, 2012

Using pebbles as tire studs has a couple of flaws

Dear Tom and Ray: The other day, I installed winter tires on my car (I have those tires on separate rims, so I can do this myself). Prior to attaching...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 15, 2012

Do motor mounts really need to be replaced?

Dear Tom and Ray: The Toyota dealer where I have my car serviced recommended that I replace the motor mounts. Since I had never heard of motor mounts breaking, except...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 13, 2012 2 Comments

Could his baby have been saved from an early sale?

Dear Tom and Ray: What went wrong with my baby? Years ago, I owned my favorite car ever: a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in Triple White (white paint, white top...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 8, 2012 1 Comment

Is there a way to make a sports car ride smoother?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently purchased a 2006 Mazda MX5 with 48,000 miles. When I test-drove the car, it seemed great, and since I always wanted to own a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 6, 2012 2 Comments

Try run-flat variety when tires keep getting punctured

Dear Tom and Ray: Between yesterday afternoon and this morning, I have had three flat tires. The tire that was flat yesterday had a screw in it, and the tires...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 1, 2012 2 Comments

Lower revs, higher gear is definitely more efficient

Dear Tom and Ray: A friend and I are having a running debate that I was hoping you two would be able to settle. We each recently bought ourselves pre-owned...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 30, 2011

Gliding on ice in neutral is never a good idea

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband is 68, I am 72, and the following has been a lifelong argument. We have a small, graveled hill leading to our driveway. When...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 25, 2011 2 Comments

Mystery may be solved with a new gas cap

Recently, I started getting a "check fuel cap" message on my dash. How serious a problem is this? Is this going to cost my life savings to fix?

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 23, 2011

Switching between regular, synthetic oil is no big deal

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2009 Nissan Cube. I take the car to the dealer for oil changes. I always use synthetic, but at the last oil change,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 18, 2011

Will gas gauge read correctly after the tank was dented?

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm sending this anonymously because I don't want my friends to know what a bonehead I am. I went out to the driveway to replace the...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi December 16, 2011 2 Comments

Try junk yards, websites when selling car for parts

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a beloved 1998 Plymouth Voyager minivan with only 83,000 miles. It has new tires, and was recently serviced (new plugs, leaks plugged, tuneup, etc.,...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi December 11, 2011

Mistakes happen, but shop should pay for repair

Dear Tom and Ray: My "check engine" light illuminated a few weeks after a Jiffy Lube oil change. I took my 2008 Subaru Impreza in to the dealer, and they...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi December 9, 2011

Front-wheel-drive trucks might be on the way

Dear Tom and Ray: Hi, guys! I've always wondered why there aren't any front-wheel-drive pickups. I would think they'd be a nice alternative to more-expensive four-wheel-drive pickups, and a lot...

By Tom & Ray Maglozzi December 4, 2011 5 Comments

Turn signals can fail intermittently

Dear Tom and Ray: I currently have the misfortune of needing to drive a beat-up 1995 Volvo 850, which I share with my husband, who fancies himself an expert on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 2, 2011 2 Comments

What could be the cause of the disappearing fire?

Dear Tom and Ray: Driving down the road in my '89 Nissan pickup, I smelled smoke. I assumed it was outside and rolled up the driver's-side window and turned off...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 27, 2011

Husband's shifting method shouldn't hurt the car

Dear Tom and Ray: My 53-year-old husband drove like an old man in his 1997 Camry, but then he gave the car to one of our kids. He bought a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 25, 2011 2 Comments

The mystery of the missing air filter

Dear Tom and Ray: A couple of months ago, I bought a used 2007 Tacoma truck from a Toyota dealer. The truck had 53,000 miles on it. After driving it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 20, 2011 3 Comments

Portable potties: New fuel source?

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was younger, I had a friend who had an early-'80s Pontiac Firebird. It was in rough shape, and it had the 305 small-block engine...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 18, 2011

Tom and Ray crack the case of a fuel pump gone bad

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in Houston, and on a typical 104-degree day this past summer, I took my son's car to run some errands and stopped first to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 13, 2011

Recent question sparks old debate

Dear Tom and Ray: I heard a caller on your radio show a few weeks ago ask whether passengers are obligated to pay for speeding tickets, and this prompted an...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 11, 2011

Soon-to-be ex wants to cash in on tools

Dear Tom and Ray: My fiance is an auto mechanic working at a dealership. He owns his tools. Now, here's the rub: His current marriage has not yet been dissolved,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 6, 2011

Quick-thinking wife saves the day

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband was driving our Yukon on the highway (cruise control set on 70) when he passed out. He was in the left-hand lane of four...

November 4, 2011 4 Comments

The geese weren't hurt, and neither was the car

Dear Tom and Ray: I was driving on a rural road and rounded a bend where there was a family of geese crossing: Mama, Papa and five goslings. I successfully...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 30, 2011

Where to start when car falls off tow truck?

Dear Tom and Ray: I had the "opportunity" to watch my car fall off a flatbed tow truck last night in the middle of Brooklyn. Nothing like waiting two hours...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 28, 2011

Why are stick shifts so prevalent in Europe?

Dear Tom and Ray: My fiancee is European, and they all drive stick shifts over there! When I visited, I had to pay more to rent a car with an...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 23, 2011

Broken dipstick may not hurt engine

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1993 Subaru Loyale 4-wheel-drive wagon. The transmission-fluid dipstick has broken off the cap. The stem is down the fill tube beyond where I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 21, 2011

Duct tape is good, but not for brake lines

Dear Tom and Ray: So, my 2003 Kia Rio has a brake-fluid leak. A reeeeally bad brake-fluid leak. So bad that the floor of my back seat is fully littered...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 16, 2011 2 Comments

Boss should bite the bullet and get AC in this car

Dear Tom and Ray: I do not have an air conditioner. "So what?" you say. "There are many cars on the streets without any air conditioning, most of them old,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 14, 2011

Water in gas tank likely due to rusted filler neck

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy L wagon. Four mechanics in and around Boston can't figure out how (twice now) in excess of three gallons of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 9, 2011

These mechanics were full of hot air

Dear Tom and Ray: I was told today at an auto-body-repair shop that the temperature dial on my car (the one that is half-blue and half-red) is NOT a thermostat...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 7, 2011

Is VW feature helpful or harmful?

Dear Tom and Ray: I observed in a recent VW commercial that the car has a feature that automatically unlocks the doors at the time of a collision. I was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 2, 2011

On air conditioners and hair styles

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I live in the northwest corner of Georgia, and she insists on running her car's air conditioner at all times -- winter, summer,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 30, 2011 1 Comment

Diesel versus gasoline

Dear Tom and Ray: What is the difference between diesel and regular gasoline? My boyfriend thinks that diesel is mixed with oil, and he can't explain what is in regular...

September 25, 2011

Old part might save the day for old car's AC

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive a 1994 two-door Honda Accord (140,000 miles or so) with a lot of personality. One of her "quirks" is that she doesn't have a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 23, 2011

Even a novice can do this replacement

Dear Tom and Ray: My mechanic asked for $99 to replace the cabin air filter on my 2003 Subaru Outback. Apparently, this needs to be done every year. I decided...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 18, 2011 1 Comment

Battery options for a Prius

Dear Tom and Ray: I just got word that my 2005 Prius, with 110,000 miles, needs a new hybrid battery. I got the car new, and it's been well-maintained, but...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 16, 2011 1 Comment

What does a coil wire actually do?

Dear Tom and Ray: Hi! My name is Eli, and I have a quick question for you. I live in North Carolina, I'm a teenager and I am a mechanic's...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 11, 2011

How often to change oil on differentials?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a general maintenance question for you guys. Every time I go to get the oil changed on my 1998 Toyota Tacoma, the service man...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 9, 2011

A crash course in contaminated cylinders

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm an idiot. I just poured synthetic motor oil into my master cylinder. Am I destined to crash? -- Lisa Ray: Well, not unless you drive...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 4, 2011

What's the real story with the timing-belt claim?

Dear Tom and Ray: About a year ago, I had the timing belt replaced on my 2003 Subaru Outback. Then, last week, I had the head gasket replaced at a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 2, 2011

Only you can decide if reusable air filters are worth it

Dear Tom and Ray: I just found out that cars can use reusable air filters! But that's all I know about them, except that they're more expensive and claim to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 28, 2011 3 Comments

Slow is best on speed bumps

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in a gated community with lots of speed bumps to deter speeding. I am always amazed at the ingenious techniques people use when they...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 26, 2011 1 Comment

Fog in car is not a good omen for air conditioner

Dear Tom and Ray: I own a 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser, which I purchased new. Since I live in Hawaii, air conditioning is a necessity. My PT has never given...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 21, 2011 1 Comment

Can you unstick a stuck tire cap for less than 71 bucks?

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my 2008 Audi A4 for routine maintenance. The dealership informed me that they could not check my tire pressure, because I had "aftermarket valve-stem...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 19, 2011 3 Comments

Reader distrusts mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: I just paid more than $1,000 for a major 60,000-mile service on my 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse (4-cylinder), which included, among other things, replacing the timing belt...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 14, 2011

Don't mess with a shaking car

Dear Tom and Ray: Hi! My husband and I now live in the Dominican Republic. We have a secondhand 1998 Toyota Corolla LE. We live in the mountains, which we...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 12, 2011 1 Comment

Smug husband thinks 'towed miles' don't count

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband just bought a 2004 Chevy Tracker with a smidge over 60,000 miles on the odometer. We think the prior owner might have hauled the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 7, 2011 2 Comments

Commuter turns vigilante

Dear Tom and Ray: I need to know if I'm being a jerk. Every day, I use a left exit ramp on the highway that starts out one lane wide....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 5, 2011 1 Comment

Low-rolling resistance tires explained

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm writing for my brother, who never reads your column. He has a 2010 Toyota Prius with all the bells and whistles. He was told that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 31, 2011

Tips for pulling off a horn prank

Dear Tom and Ray: My boss and I are in a never-ending prank war. I really want to hook up one of those horns to his car that plays the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 29, 2011 2 Comments

'Oil hinges; replace belts'

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a high-pitched noise coming from the engine of my 2000 Chevy Blazer with 150,000-plus miles. My husband told me it was a belt, and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 24, 2011 4 Comments

Shop is responsible for damage from botched oil change

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife had the oil changed in her 2010 Camry at Wal-Mart. One week later, as she was finishing her 25-mile morning commute, she noticed a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 22, 2011

What to do when thieves steal your car's seats

Dear Tom and Ray: Last night my daughter's 2000 Acura Integra was broken into, and they stole the front and back leather seats, and nothing else. The car had been...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 17, 2011

Mythical benefits of hard acceleration debunked

Dear Tom and Ray: I am writing to you to settle a disagreement that my dad and mom had when I was a kid (in the 1970s) and my wife...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 15, 2011

Want a midlife crisis car? Try a Miata

Dear Tom and Ray: My lovely wife has always said that I could have any car I want to satisfy my midlife crisis. I am turning 50 this year and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 10, 2011 1 Comment

Stinky smell is due to bad battery

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife's car is an '08 Toyota Sienna all-wheel-drive van with almost 70,000 miles on it. In the past few months, the whole garage has been...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 8, 2011

Do all Mini Coopers make this banging noise?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2009 Mini Cooper that has a weird, intermittent problem. When I am idling -- like at a stoplight -- I hear a slight...

July 3, 2011

It's time to say goodbye to the Fiat

Dear Tom and Ray: My mom is great. I love her, and I need to know how to help her. She has a '74 Fiat Spider convertible. It's adorable and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 1, 2011

No need to fix bumper if the damage is purely cosmetic

Dear Tom and Ray: So, I drove my car into my house. That's not the opening line of a joke, I really did do that. I got the house fixed...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 26, 2011 2 Comments

Failed inspection presents what seems like a catch-22

Dear Tom and Ray: Goofy problem here: We were loaned a Jeep Cherokee by our daughter and son-in-law while our vehicle is being repaired. With a catch, of course: It...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 24, 2011 1 Comment

Dad's on the right track with chugging engine

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive a 1995 Buick Regal two-door custom coupe. In the past week or so, I have noticed that while I am accelerating around 55 to...

June 19, 2011

This transmission problem isn't the wife's fault

Dear Tom and Ray: Something my wife does drives me crazy, and I want to get your support before pointing it out to her. Our driveway is approximately 60 feet...

June 17, 2011

Are low profile tires just as safe?

Dear Tom and Ray: When shopping for a new car, we favored the Mazda5, but my wife had one major concern: the low-profile tires. The dealer assured us they were...

June 12, 2011

Overseas reader needs mechanic for her father's final ride

Dear Tom and Ray: My terminally ill father has just given me his 1961 Lincoln Continental. The car is in a storage unit in Michigan, and although it was mostly...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 10, 2011

What's going on with tempermental car?

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive an art car named Ophelia. She is a '91 Honda Accord with 250,000 miles on her. When I bought her, 11 years ago, the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 5, 2011

The sad story of early spark-plug changes in Fords

Dear Tom and Ray: I own a 2005 Ford F-150 truck with 31,000 miles that I purchased new in May 2005. A backyard mechanic told me that I should replace...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 3, 2011 3 Comments

Dad can't hear turn signal clicks

Dear Tom and Ray: My dad is older (87) but is still a good driver. However, his hearing is not very good. When he uses his turn signal for a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 29, 2011

Being polite on the road is not always a good thing

Dear Tom and Ray: I read your column all the time and value your opinion (especially if you side with me!). My husband (whom I call Bubba, if you are...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 27, 2011 1 Comment

Reader with rebuilt transmission has a case

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my vehicle in to a local mechanic shop for a timing-belt replacement. After the repair, I drove approximately 75 miles, and the transmission burned...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 22, 2011

Husband's extreme caution is causing wife to overheat

Dear Tom and Ray: Tom: My husband and I recently purchased a new car. My husband refuses to run the air conditioning in heavy stop-and-go traffic or if we are...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 20, 2011

Proceed with caution when cleaning headliner

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently purchased a '99 Chevy Suburban. It's replacing an '87 Suburban (which I call my "Sanford and Son" truck, and my daughter simply calls "Rusty")....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 15, 2011

Slippery belt is common to van -- but there's a fix

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1998 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan with the six-cylinder engine. Whenever I drive through a puddle, the belt slips off. All of the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 13, 2011 1 Comment

The 'Smoke Test,' demystified

Dear Tom and Ray: I've been driving for more years than I care to say, but this is the first I've heard of something called a "smoke test." Recently I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 8, 2011

Vodka to the rescue -- as a spark plug cleaner!

Dear Tom and Ray: Setting the scene: Six middle-age guys cruising the Caribbean in a 40-foot catamaran, mooring and anchoring at a variety of harbors, bays and coves in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 6, 2011

Which is the best way to approach potholes: fast or slow?

Dear Tom and Ray: Every year we face the pothole issue. However, this year seems to be the worst in recent memory. Potholes are so big this year where I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 1, 2011 1 Comment

Brake-line problems probably not the only problems with their older car

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 1996 Plymouth Voyager with more than 130,000 miles on it that I use to transport our kids everywhere. On four separate occasions, the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 29, 2011

Service goes on, even if car won't

Dear Tom and Ray: I drove a 2010 Mercury Mariner as a rental in Tucson, Ariz., last winter. I'm a snowbird now from the Chicago area and need a car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 24, 2011

The easiest on-stage cars are probably cardboard

Dear Tom and Ray: Here's my challenge, for which I'd welcome help and/or suggestions. Our theater company soon will open its latest production. Almost all of the play takes place...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 22, 2011

Even recirculating setting brings in some outside air

Dear Tom and Ray: Can you please tell us which vehicles recirculate all of their inside air, rather than pulling in outside air? My wife is extremely allergic to smells,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 17, 2011 2 Comments

A burning car is a potential explosive

Dear Tom and Ray: Last week, my fiancee's father was driving his 1987 Buick from the farm into town. A couple hundred yards away from the house (and about 0.1...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 15, 2011

Recommended services are recommended for a reason

Dear Tom and Ray: I own a 2008 Honda Civic with 33,000 miles. I have regularly changed the oil and rotated its tires. I also have replaced the air filter...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 10, 2011

When a passive-aggressive neighbor gives unsolicited advice

Dear Tom and Ray: My neighbor, who does not impress me as having an IQ above that of a Neanderthal, told me the other day that while he didn't want...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 8, 2011 1 Comment

Why is excessive idling considered severe duty?

Dear Tom and Ray: Why in the world is "excessive idling" defined as "severe duty" in all owner's manuals? I read in one column that idling is harder on the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 3, 2011

'Start-stop' feature for non-hybrid cars is on the horizon

Dear Tom and Ray: I wonder if it is possible to take one feature from a hybrid car and use it on a regular car to save gas. When stopped...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 1, 2011 1 Comment

Human error is likely to blame for car wheels that keep falling off

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a '97 Honda CR-V that has a persistent problem: The front wheels keep falling off. First the left front wheel fell off while turning...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 27, 2011 2 Comments

How did chunks of ice get in the tailpipe?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a question about something that happened to one of the vehicles our company uses. We have a 2005 Ford Explorer that is not used...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 25, 2011

What to do when your winter truck hates cold weather

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1993 Dodge Ram Charger that is currently in the shop, where it spends most of its time. Since it's big, has four-wheel drive...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 20, 2011

The ins and outs of low-profile tires

Dear Tom and Ray: I bought a used 2007 Nissan Maxima SE last June. I love my car! The problem is the tires. I knew nothing about "low profile" tires...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 18, 2011 1 Comment

What to do when your car has no tow hook

Dear Tom and Ray: I have an all-wheel-drive 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor, and I was wondering if there is a good place to hook a tow rope so I can help...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 13, 2011 1 Comment

Is it better to read the manual or wing it?

Dear Tom and Ray: OK. I have two sons of opposite disposition, but who are great friends anyway. We do as much work on cars as we can to save...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 11, 2011

Her dog's not a junkie -- he's carsick

Dear Tom and Ray: My dog is addicted to getting his lips on the air ducts on the dash of my car. He licks the vents feverishly, and he drools...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 6, 2011

A little oil in your gas is probably no big deal

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I had to go out of town for work for a few weeks, so we left our 14-year-old daughter with an 18-year-old girlfriend...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 4, 2011

Is parking on dirt bad for new car?

Dear Tom & Ray: At the age of 48, I am buying my first brand-new vehicle. I really would like it to last for a good long while. I've heard...

February 27, 2011

Hitting brake and gas is bad move

Dear Tom & Ray: I can recall quizzing my dad about car stuff and asking a question that has remained unanswered for 35 years now: What happens if you press...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 25, 2011

Do all four car wheels stop at the same time?

Dear Tom and Ray: I was ticketed recently for not stopping at a stop sign. I was sure I stopped. When I questioned the officer, he said all four wheels...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 20, 2011 1 Comment

Tom and Ray warn: Don't take car safety tips from TV commercials

Dear Tom and Ray: Love your show and your column! I'm sure you have seen the Viagra commercial on TV in which the intrepid driver notices that his muscle car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 18, 2011

Pets need seat belts, too -- for their safety and for yours

Dear Tom and Ray: I travel with a guide dog. When we're in our own car (driven by my husband, not by me or the dog), I have a harness...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 13, 2011

Did driving without an oil cap do any damage?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently drove about a thousand miles without my oil cap. It's a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, and I was off-road for about 10 days at the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 11, 2011 1 Comment

Don't skip the antilock brakes for young drivers (or anybody else)

Dear Tom and Ray: My 17-year-old niece is interested in a 2007 Toyota Matrix, but it does not have antilock brakes (ABS). She may be heading to college in a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 6, 2011 1 Comment

Do garages cover 'malpractice'?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently had the timing belt replaced in my son's car (a '97 VW Passat) by a local mechanic in southwest Michigan. The next day, my...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 4, 2011

Do tires need to warm up before driving at highway speed?

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was learning to drive in the '50s, there was a rule to not drive above 40 mph on the highway for 10 minutes in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 30, 2011

Though the timing belt ain't broke (yet), you should still fix it

Dear Tom and Ray: Our 2001 Subaru Forester (93,000 miles, we're the only owner) has been an excellent, essentially maintenance-free vehicle. Recently, when a front axle was replaced for a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 28, 2011

Buying a used car? Always get a second look first

Dear Tom and Ray: I love your show and column, and am a longtime listener and reader. After all these years, I finally have a question for you. I know...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 23, 2011 1 Comment

Is an oil change at 10,000 miles too late?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2009 VW Passat with about 6,500 miles. I called to set up an appointment to get the oil changed, and the dealership said...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 21, 2011 6 Comments

Can malt liquor be used as a coolant in an emergency?

Dear Tom and Ray: Last summer, I was commuting home from work on the highway, and my 1998 Nissan Maxima started to overheat. The temperature outside was 90+. The engine...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 16, 2011 1 Comment

In driving, two feet aren't better than one

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband, a dear, loving Englishman, drives with one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. At a red light, the poor car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 14, 2011 4 Comments

Rear-window glass shattering theory is not all it's cracked up to be

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a great, wonderful, sweet co-worker who may be as wacky as a loon. It was 0 degrees Fahrenheit last week, and she refused to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 9, 2011

Her engine exploded! Is a broken connecting rod to blame?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1999 Camry CE that is maintained on a regular basis. Since I am a senior citizen, the annual mileage is about 3,000 miles...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 7, 2011

Car oil: Change it while it's hot -- but be careful

Dear Tom and Ray: I always change my own oil on my cars. I let the car sit overnight and change the engine oil the next day. My daughter said...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 2, 2011

Is it worth the cost of replacing aging air bags?

Dear Tom and Ray: My third, black Mercury Grand Marquis, "Batmobile," is a 2002 with 80,000 miles on it. Yesterday my dealer told me that the air bags have aged...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 31, 2010 1 Comment

Is it really OK to let your gas tank run down to empty?

Dear Tom and Ray: You recently answered a question about whether it's harmful to let your gas tank run down to empty. You said it's not harmful to the car,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 26, 2010 1 Comment

Take precautions before changing a tire with passengers on board

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a Peace Corps volunteer in eastern Madagascar, and somehow I've been able to download you guys in my small bamboo hut in the middle...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 24, 2010 1 Comment

How to prevent hydroplaning: tips from Tom and Ray

Dear Tom and Ray: We recently bought a 2005 VW Beetle and love it. Our one concern is its tendency to hydroplane in the rain. Is there any way to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 19, 2010 3 Comments

Her car is overheating in the Philippines

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my 2001 Saab 9-5 2.3L Turbo from Minnesota to the PHILIPPINES. This car has always been like a bad boyfriend -- he treats me...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 17, 2010 1 Comment

Does a car radio get better reception?

Dear Tom and Ray: My father is a HUUUGE fan of your NPR radio show. Every Saturday, he is a devoted listener. At their weekend cottage up north, the reception...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 12, 2010

Spinning your wheels in the snow can damage the tires

Dear Tom and Ray: Last week my boyfriend and I went backpacking in Montana and woke up to more than a foot of fresh heavy snow. My 2005 FWD Pontiac...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 10, 2010

Will 'organic' brake pads stop the squeaking?

Dear Tom and Ray: What are organic brake pads? A chain shop recommended them, because my current metallic pads have been de-squeaked twice but are still squeaking badly. I said...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 5, 2010 1 Comment

Did the engine fall out of her car while she was driving?

Dear Tom and Ray: The engine on my '97 Pontiac Bonneville FELL OUT while I was driving 55 miles an hour yesterday! Luckily I am fine. Had it happened mere...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 3, 2010 4 Comments

Her car is 'sneezing.' Tom and Ray's diagnosis: engine misfire

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Subaru WRX that has recently been "sneezing" at irregular intervals. The sneezing sound is accompanied by what feels like a loss of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 28, 2010

Help! Her sunroof is leaking... or is it?

Dear Tom and Ray: A few years ago, our 1998 Camry started to leak water inside. This is a problem in Oregon, so we took it in for repair, and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 26, 2010

Shift lock fix will be worth the cost

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Ford Escort ZX2 with 110,000 miles and an automatic transmission. It starts fine, but I cannot get it out of park unless...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 21, 2010

Removing car seats to increase gas mileage takes frugality too far

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband insists that taking the center seats out of our Toyota Sienna will increase our gas mileage and save us a lot of money over...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 19, 2010 1 Comment

Pay to clean the car your kid threw up in: Etiquette from Tom and Ray

Dear Tom and Ray: I have an etiquette question. Consider the case of three families, all friends. Family A gets a new Escalade with all the bells and whistles. It...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 14, 2010

Should we replace the battery ourselves, or leave it to the pros?

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country van. Is it OK to buy and replace the original battery ourselves? Or is this a job for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 12, 2010 1 Comment

When she cranks the engine, he gets cranky

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband always gets mad because I immediately crank the ignition of our 2005 Honda Element. He tells me that I should wait a few seconds...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 7, 2010

Her car hates her husband. Tom and Ray investigate why.

Dear Tom and Ray: My 2003 VW Jetta hates my husband. Granted, he deserves it. He drove my car over a traffic island and messed up the wheel rims; he...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 5, 2010

Tom and Ray try to speed up geezer car's electric window

Dear Tom and Ray: I've got a Buick -- a geezer car because I'm a geezer. It's wonderful at eliminating road rage, because it is completely incompetent at driving aggressively....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 31, 2010 2 Comments

Shaking steering wheel is serious and must be fixed, pronto

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1999 BMW 323i that I love. My husband wants to trade it in because it has 207,100 miles on it. He's afraid of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 29, 2010

Tom and Ray settle a bet -- but not in the reader's favor

Dear Tom and Ray: Please help me settle a bet with my father-in-law ... the winner will buy the loser his next battery. My father-in-law claims that even though car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 24, 2010 1 Comment

Tom and Ray caution reader against bad advice from her mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Subaru Forrester. Upon my monthly check of fluids, I was shocked to see that there was no cooling fluid in the reservoir....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 22, 2010

Can worn-down tires get you out of a speeding ticket? Tom and Ray do the math

It occurred to me the other day that as a car is driven and the tires wear down, each tire's circumference decreases. How much does tread wear affect the speedometer reading? Is it significant? And can I use this argument to get out of a speeding ticket?

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 17, 2010 1 Comment

Should his transmission fluid need a second flush, or is he flushing money away?

I have a 2006 Toyota RAV4 that was due recently for the 60,000-mile maintenance. Toyota recommends that the transmission fluid be checked, but I told the independent shop that since it had never been changed (I bought it with about 20,000 miles), they should go ahead and change it. They called me later that day and stated that although they had flushed it with 12 quarts of Toyota fluid, it was still coming out brown, and recommended flushing it with another 12 quarts at just over another $100. I said OK, as I hope to keep the vehicle for many more years. I have used this vehicle only as a commuter car, no off-roading. Does it seem reasonable that it would require this second flush?

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 15, 2010

Key fob theft warning is just an urban legend

I got an e-mail this morning from our company's internal security department about locking your car with the remote key fob. It says that car thieves have a device that can capture the frequency of your key fob, and then use it to unlock your car while you're in a store. The woman claims that this was explained to her by the police. Is this true or an urban legend?

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 10, 2010 3 Comments

Noise from ceramic brake pads is not a cause for alarm, just annoyance

Dear Tom and Ray: My son-in-law, whom I love like a son, just replaced the brakes on my '07 Camry. It was fine for a day or so, and then...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 8, 2010 2 Comments

Why would anyone ever turn off traction control?

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in Michigan, where Mother Nature constantly tries to do me in with her lake-effect snow and black ice. I recently purchased a 2010 Jeep,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 3, 2010 7 Comments

Sugar in gas tank is followed by problems that aren't so sweet

Dear Tom and Ray: So ... I'm pretty sure my ex put sugar in my gas tank. I'm positive about the sugar; can't prove that he did it. But he's...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 1, 2010

There's a hole in the exhaust pipe, dear Tom and Ray

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife has a 1994 Toyota Camry with a very loud exhaust. I figured there has to be a hole somewhere causing this. So, when I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 26, 2010

Did Mr. Fix-It break the ABS wheel sensor on his car?

Dear Tom and Ray: In my infinite wisdom, I woke up early one Saturday morning and decided I would do something productive with my weekend. Even though I've never attempted...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 24, 2010 1 Comment

Was the old penny trick with the car battery just a dream?

Dear Tom and Ray: I may be dreaming, hallucinating or even suffering from dementia. I seem to remember something from my childhood that other people my age do not. When...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 19, 2010

A dealership can't take you for a ride if you're an educated consumer

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a mechanics' ethics question for you. I drive a 2009 Nissan Rogue. I love this car. I was getting ready for a road trip,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 17, 2010 2 Comments

Why is his new car battery cost so high?

The BMW dealer told me that it is going to cost $445 to replace the battery on my 2006 330i BMW. Are they ripping me off?

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 12, 2010 1 Comment

How to stop the car if your brakes fail

Dear Tom and Ray: I just saw a few minutes of "Worst Case Scenario: Brakes Fail" on TV, and it seemed like they were suggesting the opposite of what I've...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 10, 2010

The right way to start a tractor... just don't tell the boss

My boss swears that putting the tractor in neutral with your foot OFF the clutch lessens the strain on the starter. I say it's easier to start if you press down on the clutch while starting. Who's right? I think he is wrong, but you can't argue with the man who signs the checks.

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 5, 2010

Is this radiator cap test just a scam for cash?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife went to a quickie oil-change place, and they told her that her radiator cap needed to be replaced because it wasn't holding pressure anymore....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 3, 2010

Sorry, kid, Armenian import car won't pass US road test

Dear Tom and Ray: I just returned from visiting my daughter, who is a Peace Corps volunteer, in Yeghegnadzor, Armenia. Now, my daughter is an adventuresome gal, and she's become...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 29, 2010 3 Comments

Shouldn't his new car battery last more than four days?

Dear Tom and Ray: I purchased a new 2010 VW CC, and the car has 5,000 miles on it. During a long weekend, I left the car unused for four...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 27, 2010

Is driving with the headlights on all the time a bright idea?

Dear Tom and Ray: I enjoy your column every week. In our cars, the headlights turn off automatically when we exit the vehicle, so there's no danger of leaving the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 22, 2010 2 Comments

How do you jump-start a lawn mower with your car? Very carefully.

Dear Tom and Ray: This question isn't about a specific car, but is a general equipment question. Of course, during the winter, my riding lawn mower has gotten no driving...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 20, 2010 1 Comment

Is light-weight motor oil OK to use in summer?

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently was advised to use a much lighter weight of oil than I am used to using. I was told I should use 5-20 weight...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 15, 2010

Is it worth it to make his 1963 dream car a reality today?

Dear Tom and Ray: I graduated from high school in 1963, and my dream car was the 1963 Studebaker Avanti. Well, life got in the way, and I never realized...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 13, 2010 1 Comment

Does driving count as exercise? Tom and Ray weigh in.

Dear Tom and Ray: I wonder if you can settle an ongoing dispute that I have with my wife. She is an avid walker and an exercise freak. She wants...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 8, 2010 2 Comments

Deal with that stuck brake light before making a move

Dear Tom and Ray: I remember listening to your radio show, "Car Talk," with my parents when I was a little kid, and hearing my mom say about a billion...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 6, 2010

What to do when Auntie puts washer fluid in the coolant reservoir

Dear Tom and Ray: My aunt called me the other day and said she had trouble trying to find the place where you put more windshield-washer fluid. She told me...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 1, 2010

Does purchasing a vintage ice-cream truck make her as nutty as a sundae?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am interested in purchasing a vintage/classic ice-cream truck such as the Divco for a new, gourmet-ice-cream truck venture. I have found rusted, inoperable trucks for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 30, 2010

Why are drum brakes less expensive than disc brakes?

Dear Tom and Ray: All of the cheapest cars these days seem to have drum brakes on the rear instead of disc brakes. But drum brakes have more parts than...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 25, 2010

Driving cars hard will wear them out, but let Dad have his outlet

Dear Tom and Ray: Could you please settle an ongoing discussion that my family has had for years? On one side is my mother, my six sisters and me (that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 23, 2010 1 Comment

How bad will it be when the transaxle breaks?

Dear Tom and Ray: The transaxle differential bearing on my '98 Toyota Sienna van is growling like a cat in the vet's office. This has been going on for about...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 18, 2010

Air bag surprise? When the dealer won't help, file a complaint with the Feds

Dear Tom and Ray: I hope you can help me. My rear passenger side air bag deployed, along with the passenger side mid bag and the window shield. There was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 16, 2010 1 Comment

More safety ideas, like apps that freeze the cell phone while your teen drives

Tom: A few weeks ago, we answered a question from Blair, the mother of a 16-year-old girl, who wanted to find a device that would help her keep track of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 11, 2010

Is revving the engine harmful, or just annoying?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I live out in Southern California and have some ... well, to be polite, interesting neighbors in our condo complex. One couple in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 9, 2010

Do I really need a new timing belt? Tom and Ray weigh in.

Dear Tom and Ray: A few months ago, our local Subaru dealership determined that our Impreza needed a new engine, and that it would be covered by the factory warranty....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 4, 2010 3 Comments

All in the family: Buy back Grandma's antique car while you can

Dear Tom and Ray: My grandmother once owned a 1963 Rambler. It was the only car she ever had -- my grandfather bought it for her the year I was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 2, 2010

Safety precaution is a bit unsafe -- never mind that it's driving him crazy

Dear Tom and Ray: With all the news about uncontrolled acceleration, my wife has decided that she wants to be prepared in case it ever happens to her. We know...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 27, 2010

Is a post-repair diagnostics charge fair, or a rip-off?

Dear Tom and Ray: We recently took our 2001 VW Jetta to the dealer because the Check Engine light was on. After guessing at the solution (something about the code...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 25, 2010 2 Comments

Keep the dressing on your salad and off your car's serpentine belt

Dear Tom and Ray: Belt dressings? Yes or no? I heard on your radio show this week not to spray belt dressings on serpentine belts. I recently was told TO...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 20, 2010

Mom seeks advice on car-tracking device for her teenage new driver

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm a concerned mom. Our spirited 16-year-old daughter will soon have her driver's license. We subscribe to the Reaganesque philosophy of "trust but verify" when it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 18, 2010 1 Comment

Is it OK to ditch a broken air dam? Tom and Ray weigh in.

Dear Tom and Ray: So the air dam on my '91 Chevy C1500 has taken a beating and is starting to come off. Rather than try to rig it back...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 13, 2010

Why would her wheel suddenly come flying off?

Dear Tom and Ray: Two weeks ago while traveling down a city street, my car, a Volvo S80, suddenly swerved and almost flew into a lamppost. A man driving behind...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 11, 2010 3 Comments

There's hair in my tailpipe! Tom and Ray explain.

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently while looking in my tailpipe, I noticed a small amount of what appeared to be human hair sticking out. I began to pull on it,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 6, 2010

Solving the case of the stuck distributor

Dear Tom and Ray: It was a rainy afternoon ... I had driven a couple of miles when the car stalled. I opened the hood and stared at the engine....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 4, 2010

Tom and Ray revisit an old physics problem -- and stand by their earlier answer

Dear Tom and Ray: In a recent column, you got the wrong answer to the "hummingbird" problem. Fifty years ago, my boss in an Air Force research laboratory used this...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 30, 2010

He won't press shift-lock button, which pushes her buttons; Tom and Ray intervene

Dear Tom and Ray: We are Americans living in England, and have a 2000 VW Beetle automatic that I named Betty. I hope you can settle a domestic argument for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 28, 2010 1 Comment

How does her car magically know when the spare tire is low? Tom and Ray explain.

Dear Tom and Ray: I have enjoyed your column for years and have always admired your bottomless knowledge and advice for car owners, abusers, know-nothings and BYMs (backyard mechanics). I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 23, 2010 1 Comment

Brake sensation may be normal, but it still calls for a fix

Dear Tom and Ray: Every time I am braking and go over a bump in our 2008 Prius (a frequent occurrence in hilly San Francisco), the anti-lock braking system kicks...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 21, 2010

How does gas burned by a car turn into so much CO2? Tom and Ray explain.

Dear Tom and Ray: I've heard that each gallon of gas burned by a car releases about 20 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. I'm not a chemist, but even...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 16, 2010

Should she buy the neighbor's car that looks great, but doesn't run?

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm 17 years old and trying to buy my first car, without fiscal help from my parents. I have about $4,500 to spend, but I'm trying...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 14, 2010 2 Comments

What's causing poor mileage? Only an emissions test will tell.

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was a kid doing my own tune-ups, I understood that the color of the deposits in the very end of the tailpipe was an...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 9, 2010 1 Comment

Can flushing the engine make up for missed oil changes, or will his luck run out?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am really bad at keeping up with timely oil changes on my 2005 Ford Windstar. When I do change the oil and filter, I write...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 7, 2010

How to fix a punctured gas tank -- without breaking the bank

Dear Tom and Ray: My company has a '93 Ford Club Wagon equipped for wheelchairs, as our company provides services for people with developmental disabilities. Some jerk punctured a hole...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 2, 2010 1 Comment

This teacher's car-cooling theory is all wet

Dear Tom and Ray: There is a teacher in our community who regularly can be found pouring buckets of cool water over his vehicle before starting it on warm days....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 30, 2010

Sputtery when wet: Why did my car lose power after a wash?

Dear Tom and Ray: I bought a '72 Porsche 914 a few weeks ago. It was running great for about 10 days. Then I took it through a carwash. When...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 25, 2010

Can slamming on the brakes freeze my car -- in the middle of the highway?

Dear Tom and Ray: A scary thing happened to me yesterday on the highway. I was driving a 1999 Nissan Altima that I bought last year. It has about 90,000...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 23, 2010 2 Comments

Does charging my phone in my car use "green" energy?

Dear Tom and Ray: Oftentimes, I charge my mobile phone or iPod using the cigarette lighter in my car. Does that do any damage to the battery, like limit its...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 18, 2010 2 Comments

Re-refined oil can be as good as new, as long as it's certified

Dear Tom and Ray: I stopped at a "Quickie Lube"-type joint the other day and asked them what type of oil they use in their least-expensive oil-change service. The answer...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 16, 2010

Do quick stops really make brake pads last longer, or is Grandpa crazy?

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife's grandfather drives like an idiot. Specifically, he never touches the brake pedal until the very last second, at which point he slams on the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 11, 2010

Brave son turns off racing engine in stranger's crashed car -- but could it blow?

Dear Tom and Ray: Yesterday a vehicle crashed into some trees near my house. The driver apparently had passed out while driving and was not conscious, but his foot was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 9, 2010 1 Comment

Should Dad let daughter pick her own car? Tom and Ray say yes.

Dear Tom and Ray: My 24-year-old daughter is moving to Los Angeles from New York City and will need a car. She is in love with the Jaguar XJS Coupe....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 4, 2010

What's shaking, baby? Her Subaru, on left turns. Tom and Ray decode the mystery.

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a manual-transmission 2000 Subaru Forester with 126,000 miles that I've had since it had 12 miles on it. I also have a one-month-old baby....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 2, 2010

Tom and Ray settle family debate: can 'plopping' into car seat really harm shocks?

Dear Tom and Ray: Hello! My older sister has a 1996 Saturn SC2, and she is constantly yelling at my sister, my mom and myself for supposedly "plopping" into the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 28, 2010 1 Comment

Are pricey professional tools worth the splurge? Advice for an automotive student

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a question that doesn't involve a car problem. I am currently going to school to earn an associate of applied science in the automotive...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 26, 2010

What to do when the car battery's dead and jump-starting it sets off the alarm

Dear Tom and Ray: I am trying to jump-start my husband's 2008 Honda Accord. It's been sitting for a few months since he was deployed to Iraq, and I need...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 21, 2010 8 Comments

Something fetid this way comes: How to get a vile substance out of your car door

Dear Tom and Ray: A passenger in my son's Toyota Tacoma truck did not get his head all the way out of the window prior to vomiting. The exterior and...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 19, 2010

Because they store data magnetically, electronic odometers can't easily be reset

Dear Tom and Ray: Everyone knows it is illegal to change an odometer reading, and I wouldn't do it even if I knew how. My 1999 Chevy Malibu (the best...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 14, 2010 3 Comments

Should she let her wannabe boyfriend try to fix her car? Tom and Ray think so

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm a busy, poor veterinary student with an old, 1989 Volvo 240 DL. I have a wannabe boyfriend/mechanic who likes to tear into things and see...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 12, 2010

A blanket won't keep your engine warmer in the wintertime, but a block heater will

Dear Tom and Ray: I need your help! My significant other has been placing a blanket over her engine for years now. During spells of extreme Minnesota winter weather, she'll...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 7, 2010

For a car with larger-than-average wheels, tire-pressure sensors are a necessity

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in Albany, N.Y., and I own a 2009 Dodge Journey, all-wheel drive, with 19-inch wheels and tires. I didn't realize it at the time,...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi March 5, 2010

Despite conventional wisdom, cars don't really move faster in cold weather

Dear Tom and Ray: Was it just me, or did my Jeep really seem faster this morning in the cold, -15 F air? I've always heard that the colder the...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 28, 2010 1 Comment

Could a mishap at the dealer cause hidden damage? A second opinion couldn't hurt

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Toyota Prius, which has gone 67,000 miles. I always take it to the dealer, and recently had it there for its 65,000-mile...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 26, 2010

What's the best midlife-crisis car? The one that turns back the clock just enough

Dear Tom and Ray: Guys -- you probably have been asked this before, but here it goes anyway. I am 46 years old, divorced for two years, recovered financially, and...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 21, 2010 2 Comments

What to do if your gas pedal sticks: Shift into neutral gear and coast to a stop

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently, there was a large recall of Toyotas because the gas pedal could get stuck on the floor mat and cause the car to keep accelerating...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 19, 2010 9 Comments

California may get the lead out (of its wheel weights); Tom and Ray are all for it

Dear Tom and Ray: It turns out that lead wheel weights are the biggest source of lead in California's waterways. There is a bill that would ban them in favor...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 14, 2010 4 Comments

The dealer's diagnosis -- 'unknown foreign object' -- sounds fishy to Tom and Ray

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter bought a 2005 Kia Sorento nine months ago, and was given an extended warranty by the dealership. A week ago, it started running badly,...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 12, 2010

Watching sports on TV and driving don't mix, unless you want to do hard time

Dear Tom and Ray: My problem is my 1995 Chevy High-Top Conversion Van model G20. I am a fanatical sports fan. I never miss a football or baseball game. I...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 7, 2010

Olive oil: excellent for cooking, not so good for keeping snow off the windshield

Dear Tom and Ray: We had a big snowstorm this week. Not wanting to scrape the ice off my windshield, the night before the storm I looked around for something...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi February 5, 2010

In interior Alaska, there's no need to turn the block heater off during the winter

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in interior Alaska, and it gets cold. How cold, you ask? It's been -40 F (that's negative 40) for the past week or so....

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi January 31, 2010

When your hub covers aren't aligned, is Marisa Tomei to blame? Tom and Ray say no

Dear Tom and Ray: I live in New Hampshire, and have a 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero. About 10 weeks ago, after putting on the snow tires, I personally put the...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi January 29, 2010 2 Comments

Warming up your car in winter does no harm -- as long as gas money is no object

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a valet at a local country club in Wisconsin. As you well know, it gets very cold here in the winter months, and that...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 24, 2010 2 Comments

Technical Service Bulletins alert dealerships to mechanical problems

Dear Tom and Ray: I've heard you refer to "bulletins" ("maybe there's a bulletin on it") in addressing repair problems. My question is this: If there is, in fact, a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 22, 2010 1 Comment

The communal car: Shared convenience, but the problems will belong to the owner

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm living with a bunch of poor, just-out-of-college/sometimes-in-grad-school folks who are planning to share my car. I don't want to sell it. I'd like to come...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 17, 2010

A simple seat cushion can interfere with sophisticated air-bag technology

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently purchased a 2009 Chevy Traverse. My wife, who is a vertically challenged 5 feet 1 inch, likes to sit on a cushion to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 15, 2010

Kids can't resist playing with power windows, but will the switches wear out?

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was a kid, my siblings and I loved to play with the power windows -- up a little, down a little, up some more,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 10, 2010

Do you need the higher ground clearance of an SUV to negotiate heavy snowdrifts?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a doctor living in an area that typically can get 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground at some point in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 8, 2010 4 Comments

Apples to oranges: Several factors account for U.S., U.K. fuel-economy differences

Dear Tom and Ray: Can you explain why equivalent cars sold in Europe get much better fuel economy, compared with those sold in the U.S.? As an example, I was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 3, 2010 3 Comments

Do hubcaps serve a functional purpose, or are they simply an aesthetic touch?

Dear Tom and Ray: I am having a philosophical debate with my father that I hope you can offer some closure on. About two years ago, my 2007 Toyota Matrix...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi January 1, 2010 3 Comments

Creativity and lots of experience help Cubans keep their vintage cars maintained

Dear Tom and Ray: I have often wondered, when I see a street scene in Havana, how they've managed to keep those '50s vintage cars operating all these years. Of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 27, 2009

Turn signal is subject of first marital argument

Dear Tom and Ray: I just got married, and last week my new husband and I got into our first disagreement in the car! He doesn't put his blinker on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 25, 2009 1 Comment

Brake light malfunction may be a simple case of the wrong bulb

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1997 Plymouth Breeze with 110,000 miles on it. I changed the brake light bulb in the passenger-side taillight, and now none of the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 20, 2009

Show your gratitude to a great mechanic with loyalty and referrals, not with a tip

Dear Tom and Ray: So, should you tip your mechanic? Would it be insulting? Would it be appreciated? How do you know how much you should tip if, indeed, you...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 18, 2009 2 Comments

You can jump-start a car without cables -- but you'd better know what you're doing

Dear Tom and Ray: We had a dead battery and called for a jump start. The service agent could not jump-start the battery with his cables. He then proceeded to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 13, 2009 5 Comments

Lean condition may have led to backfire that blew out manifold gasket

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter was going to soccer practice in our 2001 Mercury Sable Wagon. When she turned the key, there was an explosion that apparently blew the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 11, 2009 2 Comments

Minister's unconventional tire-deflation ritual is based in faith, not science

Dear Tom and Ray: I once knew a local minister who completely deflated all his tires twice annually, then reinflated them with fresh air. He claimed the procedure prevents bumpiness...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 6, 2009

Rapid depreciation: Accident on the used-car lot gives buyer a sinking feeling

Dear Tom and Ray: Last week I bought a used 2007 Mazda 3 with 43,000 miles for $10,800 at a dealership. I went through the financing process, signed the final...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi December 4, 2009

Accessing overhead console requires elbow grease -- or professional assistance

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife's 90-year-old aunt recently allowed us to take her 1995 Dodge Caravan with 55,000 miles. She said it needed to be driven, as she hadn't...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 29, 2009

Just get rid of locking lug nuts, which cause one problem after another

Dear Tom and Ray: Recently, we had our 2005 Toyota RAV4 taken in for its regularly scheduled maintenance, which included rotating the tires. Each tire has a locking lug nut,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 27, 2009 4 Comments

Oil can make a mess sometimes, but forget bad advice to start car without it

Dear Tom and Ray: Is it ever safe to start a car with no oil in it? I have a 2004 Honda Civic, and when I change the oil filter,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 22, 2009 2 Comments

Riding the clutch is fast track to a chain reaction of premature, pricey repairs

Dear Tom and Ray: A friend of mine at work and I have a disagreement regarding using the clutch on a standard-shift car. He says that keeping the clutch pressed...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 20, 2009

Husband is right: Truck can't handle those rocks

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband inherited a 1974 Ford F-100 from his dad, and I would like to use it to pick up a load of rocks for landscaping....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 15, 2009

Why should I pay a lube shop to recycle my oil filter?

Dear Tom and Ray: I notice that car businesses that lube and change oil for passenger cars are now charging for recycling oil filters. Is this a scam, since I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 13, 2009

Bad battery or ailing alternator? Car is flatlining despite jump-start efforts

Dear Tom and Ray: How does one tell the difference between a bad battery and a bad alternator? My car will not crank, but has some power (the dome lights,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 8, 2009 1 Comment

Tom and Ray put the brakes on husband's habit of using transmission to stop car

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband actually said this: "If you ask Click and Clack, and they say I did something wrong, I'll stop doing it." So here we...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 6, 2009 1 Comment

A sensible, safe, ugly car is a smart choice for your teenage driver

Dear Tom and Ray: About a year and a half ago, my dad bought a white '92 Volvo station wagon off Craigslist for $500. I'm turning 16 next spring, and...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi November 1, 2009 3 Comments

Step up maintenance regimen, and you can keep driving car that's burning oil

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Nissan Altima that for the past six months has been losing oil at the rate of about a quart per month....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 30, 2009 5 Comments

Exfoliate your car to extend the life of its finish? Tom and Ray demystify claying

Dear Tom and Ray: So I'm thinking of getting my car detailed, and an associate gives me a referral. While perusing the service sheet, under "Options" is listed "Claying, add...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 25, 2009 1 Comment

Rattling and rolling Jeep needs a mechanic -- and possibly a new steering damper

Dear Tom and Ray: We have a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Whenever we hit a big bump in the road or a pothole, the Jeep starts shaking uncontrollably, and the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 23, 2009 2 Comments

His Prius keeps on going once gas runs out, but driver shouldn't push his luck

Dear Tom and Ray: I've got a 2009 Toyota Prius and recently managed to run out of gas. In my defense, the gas gauge is pretty finicky. In the past,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 18, 2009

Could stowaway snake in the engine compartment make its way further inside?

Dear Tom and Ray: I really need an answer soon! There is a possibility that I have a 5- to 6-foot, 2-inch-diameter snake living in my engine compartment. It was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 16, 2009

It bears repeating: Antifreeze is dangerous for pets and people alike

Dear Tom and Ray: You mentioned in a recent column that ethylene glycol (antifreeze) is toxic to animals. Is it also toxic to humans? I'm a doctor, and I prescribe...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 11, 2009 3 Comments

If your camper's rocking, try these simple tests to check for worn shocks

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2001 Toyota 4Runner with 160,000 miles. I also have a pop-up camper that I pull on occasion with the 4Runner. I just...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 9, 2009

Buff your way to better mileage? Tom and Ray wax academic on aerodynamics

Dear Tom and Ray: Can you help settle a bet with my dad? He has an SUV, and he frequently goes and gets it buffed and waxed. It runs about...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 4, 2009 1 Comment

Pushing car to breaking point before warranty expires lacks both ethics and sense

Dear Tom and Ray: I know this is ethically questionable, so you guys are the only ones I can ask. My BMW is still under warranty -- barely -- for...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi October 2, 2009 2 Comments

What long-term environmental impact might result from used hybrid batteries?

Dear Tom and Ray: In looking at "green" options for the future, I have a question about the environmental impact of disposing of hybrid car batteries. We live on the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 27, 2009 1 Comment

Upper range of speedometer numbers is a marketing tool -- and one big tease

Dear Tom and Ray: My 9-year-old son asked me why the speedometer on cars indicate speeds much higher than legal driving speeds. If it is illegal to drive 100 mph...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 25, 2009 5 Comments

Junkyards can save you time and money in tracking down a replacement seat

Dear Tom and Ray: I have an old 1995 Toyota Celica with 180,000 miles on it. It's in great shape, but the driver's seat has become worn and broken --...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 20, 2009 4 Comments

The need for speed? Throttle blasts do little more than waste fuel in today's cars

Dear Tom and Ray: I know we are supposed to drive our cars gently ... accelerate gently, brake gently, etc. But is there any benefit from occasional and brief...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 18, 2009 5 Comments

Plastic bumper is major bummer for Dodge Dakota driver, but metal options exist

Dear Tom and Ray: My rotten Dodge Dakota (2007) came with a PLASTIC front bumper. (I knew body panels were being made of that flimsy substance, but was horrified to...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 13, 2009

Move along, nothing to see here: Tom and Ray steer driver away from used cop car

Dear Tom and Ray: I am looking for a used vehicle for less than $10,000, and I was curious about used police cruisers. I have heard that they are built...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 11, 2009 8 Comments

The less you drive a car, the longer it lasts -- but what's fun about that?

Dear Tom and Ray: My sister and I recently had an argument. She drives only short distances, rarely more than five miles. She wants her '98 Buick Regal with 40,000...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 6, 2009 4 Comments

Pry, pry again: Lubricate gasket when changing oil to keep filter from sticking

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2006 4.7-liter V-8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 50,000 miles, and we change our own oil every 3,000 miles. We always have. This last...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi September 4, 2009 8 Comments

Tom and Ray spin tangled web of hypotheses for Fiat Spider's headlight failure

Dear Tom and Ray: I thought I would offer to be the butt of your jokes by asking about my Fiat Spider. I know one of you guys owns one....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 30, 2009

Dealer's high-pressure response to tire blowout may be full of holes

Dear Tom and Ray: My friend has a fancy-shmancy 2007 BMW 3 Series. Recently, one of his tires blew out through the sidewall and left a gaping, scary-looking hole. That...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 28, 2009 3 Comments

Texas tea brewing in the radiator may lead to an oil baron's fortune -- in repairs

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1991 Chevrolet S-10 with the four-cylinder mill. I bought it because I had to park my Ford F-350 Dually when diesel fuel went...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 23, 2009 1 Comment

Slow-moving armadillo didn't make a dent in Hyundai's air-bag system

Dear Tom and Ray: I drive a 2004 Hyundai Elantra that was bought used, and I don't know the history of the vehicle. Last evening, I unavoidably ran over a...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 21, 2009

Couple engages in noisy debate over replacing muffler on superannuated Honda

Dear Tom and Ray: Please help settle a debate between me and my boyfriend. We share a 1994 Honda Accord with 212,000 miles. Last summer while driving it from Iowa...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 16, 2009 2 Comments

Adding organic waste to the gas tank: It's natural, it's chemical -- can we do it?

Dear Tom and Ray: When I was in college during the late 1980s, I remember one of my chemistry professors telling me that he disposed of organic chemical waste...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 14, 2009 2 Comments

Mom needs to shake VW nostalgia bug when considering cars for her teen son

Dear Tom and Ray: We're buying a car for my 17-year-old son. I've found two cars locally that appeal to us -- a classic 1968 VW with a few thousand...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 9, 2009 13 Comments

Submersion in water may have fried air-bag system -- and who knows what else

Dear Tom and Ray: I live here in England (my wife is from New Jersey, and she introduced me to you guys). Recently my wife and I drove our "eBay...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi August 7, 2009

Side-impact air bags can't do their job if they're trapped underneath seat covers

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter has an '07 Honda CR-V with side air bags. I gave her a set of cloth seat covers to protect her seats, and she...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 31, 2009 1 Comment

When careless parkers box you in, a gentle touch can get you out of a tight spot

Dear Tom and Ray: It might have been the Red Sox sticker on my car, but I found myself in a no-win situation in New York City a few weeks...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 30, 2009 5 Comments

Claims of enhanced gasoline aren't untrue, just not particularly useful

Dear Tom and Ray: Is there any merit to the claim that nitrogen in gasoline has any benefit for cleaning the engine? What's the chemistry behind it? Or is this...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 24, 2009 2 Comments

Heroic measures may not be warranted to resuscitate old car's air conditioning

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1995 Volvo 940. Late last summer, my air conditioner seemed to lose some punch. Since summer was ending and the AC was blowing...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 23, 2009

Toyota may still be the leader, but Ford is no laggard when it comes to hybrids

Dear Tom and Ray: Who is the real leader in hybrid technology? The last time I went into a Toyota dealership, the salesman told me that Toyota had just sold...

By Tom & Ray Magliozzi July 17, 2009 18 Comments

Is mechanic dispensing a lot of hot air about leaky hose? Get a second opinion

Dear Tom and Ray: I took my car in because the air conditioner wasn't blowing cold air. I was told there was a leak in the high-pressure hose and it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 16, 2009 2 Comments

A common mistake with the emergency brake probably didn't do any damage

Dear Tom and Ray: Last week, I was cleaning the interior of my '04 Ford Escape. To reach a part of the console between the two front seats, I had...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 10, 2009 2 Comments

Let's twist again: After recalibration, dad's torque wrenches can live on

Dear Tom and Ray: My father taught me a lot about cars by having me do the work while he "supervised." I don't remember how old I was, maybe...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 9, 2009

There's a fine line between early adoption and the wacko fringe

Dear Tom and Ray: I'm tired of waiting for the American auto industry to come up with an affordable all-electric car, so I'm looking seriously into buying a Chinese-made Flybo....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 3, 2009 7 Comments

Hubby's Houdini act of removing gas cap won't conjure extra fuel out of thin air

Dear Tom and Ray: When my husband and I first got married (18 years ago), I noticed that when his car was low on gas, he would remove the gas...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi July 2, 2009

The garage floor isn't to blame when a car battery loses its charge

Dear Tom and Ray: My son, who transports cars for a living, says that we should not put a car battery on the garage floor for more than a few...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 26, 2009 3 Comments

Click and Clack give freshman a class on the art and science of the visual gag

Dear Tom and Ray: My name is Victor, and as an upcoming college freshman, in a fit of my newfound freedom, I want to add a comical touch to my...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 25, 2009 4 Comments

Have mercy on your mechanic and identify oil leaks by steam-cleaning your engine

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1984 Nissan pickup with only 64,000 miles. It runs great, but the engine is so dirty that I am embarrassed to have it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 19, 2009 3 Comments

Bay City Roller: When parking on a hill, take multiple steps to secure your car

Dear Tom and Ray: In January, I visited the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I parked on a slightly sloping street in Golden Gate Park, locked the car...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 18, 2009 2 Comments

Battery charged but engine won't turn over? You might have to break new ground

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1991 Ford F-150. You could use up this entire section of the newspaper on this hunk of junk. But perhaps you can just...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 12, 2009 4 Comments

None-too-slick mechanic may be to blame for expensive oil-pan problem

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2003 Infiniti FX45 that was due for an oil change. I had some time to kill, so I went to a Wal-Mart Tire...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 11, 2009

Visibility outshines energy efficiency when it comes to using the rear defroster

Dear Tom and Ray: On one of the many frigid days this past winter, my husband and I had a discussion about using (versus not using) the rear defrost in...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 5, 2009

Couple's stalling Saturn sedan is plagued by dark nights of the solenoid

Dear Tom and Ray: Our 2000 Saturn sedan has died twice in the same exact spot (stopping at the end of a highway exit ramp). The first time, it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi June 4, 2009 2 Comments

Cupped tires are real -- and a real danger

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with 47,000 miles on it. Recently it developed an unpleasant rumbling noise. After taking it to the service department,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 29, 2009 14 Comments

Too close for comfort: Tailgating husband's theory is thwarted by reality

Dear Tom and Ray: I need help. I am married to a bonehead. My husband insists on pulling practically into the trunk of cars in front of him. Moving,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 28, 2009 2 Comments

Father doesn't always know best when it comes to starting off from a dead stop

Dear Tom and Ray: My wife and I recently bought a 5-speed Saturn VUE. Whenever she comes to a complete stop, she puts the car in second gear and takes...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 22, 2009 2 Comments

Birdies, rest and motion: Tom, Ray and Sir Isaac Newton answer a humdinger

Dear Tom and Ray: Once, on a very long, boring trip, my passenger and I were reduced to asking each other dumb questions. We came upon one question that we...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 21, 2009 2 Comments

Van driver vexed by tires that routinely lose air

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2000 Toyota Sienna van. My van tires lose air on a regular basis. The tire-trouble indicator on the dash is on most of...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 15, 2009

There's something about Marvin: Reader still hung up on his long-lost Cherokee

Dear Tom and Ray: I am having a serious case of separation anxiety from my old car. In truth, I believe I am still in love with it. I thought...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 14, 2009

Teen's venerable ride plagued by mysterious, recurring windshield haze

Dear Tom and Ray: Last year we bought our teenage son a 1989 Acura Legend coupe. It has been a great car, even though it's pushing 140,000 miles now. We've...

May 8, 2009

Kids' clay sculptures delight a grandma but wreck her Prius' multifunction screen

Dear Tom and Ray: I am a proud grandma and a disappointed and angry owner of a 2006 Toyota Prius. The proud grandma part is this: My precious grandchildren made...

May 7, 2009 1 Comment

No wedding ring on hot mechanic: Should she risk losing him by asking him out?

Dear Tom and Ray: If a mechanic is not wearing a wedding ring, is that a true indication of his marital status? I think my mechanic is HOT, but I'm...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi May 1, 2009 4 Comments

Get a second opinion before spending big bucks on a popped plug

Dear Tom and Ray: Last night, my car, a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta, was in perfect working order when I parked it at the movie theater. When I came out two...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 30, 2009 1 Comment

Washing your brakes is harmless -- but probably won't silence the squeaks

Dear Tom and Ray: My daughter-in-law just sent her son out to wash her car's brakes. I told her I had never heard of that before. She said that when...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 24, 2009 3 Comments

Cold-weather grill: Click and Clack settle kaffeeklatsch cardboard debate

Dear Tom and Ray: A group of us get together at a diner for coffee most mornings. Recently I made a critical error and told the guys that I had...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 23, 2009

If you're in the market for a used SUV, you're in the driver's seat

Dear Tom and Ray: With the economy reeling, gas prices recently higher than ever, numerous dealerships in the area going under, talks of big mergers or bailouts or bankruptcies in...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 17, 2009 3 Comments

Antifreeze in the crankcase may not necessarily be the kiss of death for an engine

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a soldier who mistakenly poured a gallon of antifreeze in his crankcase. He then started and ran the car for several minutes before he...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 16, 2009

When a good deed results in scratches, consider learning to live with them

Dear Tom and Ray: My dear, beloved 15-year-old son offered to wash my 2008 Toyota Sequoia (silver). Of course, I jumped at this surprising and welcome offer. After about 30...

Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 10, 2009 2 Comments

Antifreeze down the wrong hatch? Removing it is a low-tech, low-cost job

Dear Tom and Ray: I recently had my 2006 Chevy HHR worked on at the dealership where I purchased it new. Long story short, the mechanic put antifreeze in the...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 9, 2009 1 Comment

Stocking up on cars as a hedge against inflation won't yield many happy returns

Dear Tom and Ray: Would you discuss the ins and outs of "stocking up" on cars as a hedge against future inflation? For instance, I just bought a 2009 Honda...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 2, 2009

Duct tape can't stand up to the heat of pressurized, 800-degree exhaust

Dear Tom and Ray: My son, 16, bought a '77 Pontiac Grand Prix. It's loud, with a big motor (muscle-car-type motor, original everything). Anyway, he sawed off the exhaust pipe...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi April 2, 2009 1 Comment

How long do cars retain odors? The answer is blowin' in the wind

Dear Tom and Ray: My problem began when I was driving down the road in our 2005 Dodge Caravan, packed full of our own kids and kids from the neighborhood....

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 26, 2009 3 Comments

Are new tires best in front or back?

Dear Tom and Ray: The other day, I went to purchase two tires for my Dodge Intrepid. I wanted to replace the front pair and move my old front tires...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 26, 2009 33 Comments

You should really see a professional for that embarrassing honking problem

Dear Tom and Ray: Boy, do we have an embarrassing problem. My husband's 1997 Nissan pickup's horn honks every time the steering wheel is turned. There is no telling how...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 19, 2009 1 Comment

Don't get overheated over cooling system -- and don't give up on a good mechanic

Dear Tom and Ray: Love the column, hate that I now have a reason to write to you myself! I have a 2001 BMW 325xi, which I have serviced regularly...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 19, 2009

Whether rolling along or sitting pretty in the garage, tires do have a shelf life

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1995 Buick Regal that I purchased new before I retired. I drive the car approximately once a month. The car has 55,000 miles...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 12, 2009 1 Comment

High mileage, low coolant: Workhorse Chevy may be nearing the end of the road

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1992 Chevy Lumina with 432,686 miles on it. I'm losing coolant. The "low coolant" light goes on on cold mornings and stays on...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 12, 2009

Valves are running like clockwork: Will routine adjustment open a can of worms?

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Dodge Ram diesel 2500 two-wheel-drive six-speed manual with 130,000 miles. It's primarily used as a commuter truck -- with a little bit...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 8, 2009

Son can tackle routine repairs, but Mom's timing belt should be changed by a pro

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 2002 Hyundai Elantra with 97,000 miles. During the state inspection this week, the mechanic told me that I will soon need to replace...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 5, 2009

Is the dealer spinning me a yarn about spiders in the fuel line?

Dear Tom and Ray: I was driving my 2007 Forester the other day when the check engine light came on (it has about 15,000 miles on it). I brought it...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 5, 2009

Will cheating on the dealer with an independent mechanic void the warranty?

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I have a 2005 Nissan Sentra, and it's time for its scheduled 30,000-mile checkup. Because we still have the warranty, I prefer we...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi March 5, 2009 1 Comment

Driver doesn't know his own strength: Ruptured brake line raises a weighty issue

Dear Tom and Ray: I had a car accident. My vehicle would not stop because a brake line ruptured and the fluid leaked out. My wife says that it was...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 26, 2009

Wild horses couldn't keep wife from pouring money into her old Mustang

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a fairly beat-up 1994 Mustang GT 5.0 convertible that has been sidelined since 2004 when it started becoming unreliable. I bought a Toyota Solara,...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 24, 2009

Truck's incredible shrinking oil supply means it's time for a new engine

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a 1998 Ford Expedition with 150,000 miles. My wife takes the truck in every three months to get the oil changed. During the past...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 19, 2009 1 Comment

It's a long and winding road to becoming a professional stunt driver

Dear Tom and Ray: I want to know how to get a job, a very specific job. It seems like every car commercial now shows the vehicle soaring through sand...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 19, 2009 1 Comment

Owner of of bullet-riddled car may have bigger problems than cosmetics

Dear Tom and Ray: Although I am not currently participating in a witness-protection program, I think it best not to divulge my true name or whereabouts -- you'll understand. I...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 12, 2009

Why don't carmakers offer an oil gauge that works like a gas gauge?

Dear Tom and Ray: I know you don't like old Beetles, but I own one, and I love it! I work for a federal agency where everyone drives brown...

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi February 12, 2009



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