Car Talk

Car Talk Podcast

America's funniest auto mechanics take calls from weary car owners all over the country, and crack wise while they diagnose Dodges and dismiss Diahatsus. You don't have to know anything about cars to love this one hour weekly laugh fest.

#1929: Electric Brakes
This week on The Best of Car Talk, our all-time favorite demonstration of Male Answer Syndrome. The electric brakes on Paul's cattle trailer engage when he uses his turn signal. Will Tom and Ray's ready acknowledgment that they know nothing about electric brakes stop them from offering a diagnosis? Of course not! Is there any chance of it being a correct diagnosis? Of course not! Elsewhere, Alice and her husband are enjoying retirement by arguing over whose route to their daugher's house is better for their...

#1928: I'm Stupid's Brother
Tom and Ray prove they are their brother's keepers, until Ray's explanation for Becky's smelly Toyota goes too far off the deep end. Elsewhere, Arlene bought an old Volvo for her teenage daughter, who promptly drove it off road and tried to fix its overheating by pouring Mountain Dew in the radiator. Does Arlene need to find her daughter a better teacher, or a convent? Also, Kate's mechanic husband can't figure out why her car has touble starting; Warren wants to treat his Olds to a paint job, but his wife ...

#1927: Call Stella
Stella is renting a highway billboard for a personal ad. What size font should she use to attract the right guy, and should she divulge she's a lawyer? Elsewhere, Frank may need to offer a couple of spiral cut hams to find out why his car is squealing; Kelly was told never to change his transmission fluid, but that may not be his concern, since his truck appears to be out of transmission fluid; Chris' brake pedal sank to the floor, but Tom and Ray are more interested in his askew cassette cases; and can Mab...


#1926: MIT Wants Its Diploma Back
Tom and Ray run through the entire table of elements trying to identify the white powder in Ann's Subaru's radiator. If only they could put that much effort into figuring out why the car is blowing through heater cores! Elsewhere, Jamie wants to achieve his modest life ambition of owning a truck with power steering, but doesn't know whether to also go diesel; Dr. Gary is having doubts about his professional services exchange with his mechanic neighbor; Doug needs to decide whether he wants to become the "Ch...

#1925: While Mom's Away
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Sarah left town for a weekend and came home to an array of disasters, including a minivan that smells like urine. Did her kids and husband hold a Physics-defying peeing contest while she was away? Elsewhere, Sissy's husband may blow out the bogosity meter with his argument that she needs to park with the wheels straight to keep her car from going out of alignment; Paul's life turned into a country song when he totaled his car, his wife left him, and his dog died; and servi...

#1924: Belize It or Not
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Nancy is looking for a vehicle she and her family can take to Belize for a year. Other than something big enough to haul back Cuban cigars for Tom and Ray, what should she be looking for? Elsewhere, Diane's husband thinks she's nuts for insisting there's more resistance in her gas pedal when the tank is full; Rebecca's best solution for her Accord's shifting problem may be to return the car to her Dad; Lily hopes her Taurus's intermittent air conditioning can be resolved b...


#1923: Emboldened Electrons
Rob's car has trouble starting unless he holds the key in the start position for several seconds. Does Ray's Emboldened Electrons theory mean Rob's electrical system needs to read Profiles in Courage? Elsewhere, Gary is guilty until proven innocent for his mother-in-law's T-Bird catching fire, and even exculpatory evidence may not get him off the hook. Also, Isla's had to replace her Jeep's brake pads three times in the last year, and Midas says she's run out of free replacements; Carly has been living with...

#1922: If It Blows, It Blows
This week on The Best of Car Talk, climbing Mt. Adams apparently wasn't exciting enough for Glen. When he discovered his truck was leaking gas on the way home, he decided to keep driving. While Glen undoubtedly tops this week's dope slap count, Denise won't be far behind. She celebrated a "significant birthday" by buying a 1961 Volvo online sight unseen. As you might imagine, it arrived with enough problems to keep any mechanic's boat fueled for the entire season. Also, Marc's Corolla's gas mileage began dr...

#1921: No Sleep Till Hunga Dunga
This week on Car Talk, Howard needs to drive a mattress from Boston to "Hunga-Dunga" and wants to know how to get negative lift, and keep it from flying off the roof of his car. Tom and Ray know one method that won't work, as evidenced by an ill-fated attempt to transport 18 sheets of plywood. Elsewhere, Peggy swears she heard the guys recommend mixing kerosene and water to wash a car, but isn't calling to sue for damages. Also, Scott's concerned about his truck not starting, but more worried about his frie...


#1920: Crushed Cans and Loose Lug Nuts
This week on The Best of Car Talk, two matters of life and death. Jose may have done serious damage to a wheel but doesn't want to pay a dealer to find out if it's on the verge of falling off. Elsewhere, Kris may kill her husband if he continues to crush cans for recycling by driving over them. Also, Jason is pouring gas into the carburetor to get his truck to start, but may be better off just pouring gas on to the seats; Rebecca inherited her ex-boyfriend's BMW, complete with annoying rubbing noise; and Jo...

#1919: The Tao of Fred Glass
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Erin's roommate doesn't drive her old car but won't get rid of it, and Erin is tired of having to move it every day. Is Erin's best solution philosophical or conflagratory? Elsewhere, Nathaniel's attempt to show off his Saab to his future in-laws went downhill, literally, when it rolled down their driveway on its own. Also, Dee's truck sounds like singing dogs; Norm wants to know how to get his Stanza running after storing it over the winter, but will first have to incur T...

#1918: The Ungrateful Passenger
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Jere agreed to drive her sister's co-worker's husband to work. Not only is he annoying in the car, when he gets to work he complains about Jere's driving behind her back. Does Jere need to switch to a one-seater? Elsewhere, Mark's Trooper is oozing fluid onto his feet. He thinks the fluid is red, but he might just be wearing red socks. Also, Sharon's trying to live with a stalling truck without killing the starter or clutch; Alicia's Camry has a furball problem; and is Joh...


#1917: Double Fault
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Heidi's husband is a tennis pro, with a limited grasp of English, and an aversion to reading instructions. So he should have no problem changing her Volvo's timing belt, right? Elsewhere, Nathan dinged his girlfriend's Civic while driving it without her permission (or a license). Can Tom and Ray help him cover up his crime, at least until she hears the show? Also, June agreed to teach her friend's teenaged son to drive, but has no idea where to begin; Andrew's Toyota has a...

#1916: Desperate Measures
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Amy's brilliant husband's brain doesn't have room to process a few small details while driving, like keeping the car in his lane. Amy's screams of terror don't seem to be helping him improve, so she may need to figure out a creative (and potentially disgusting) way to convince him she needs to drive. Elsewhere, seminary student Matt's truck is leaking oil onto someone else's driveway and fixing it would cost more than the truck is worth. Also, Tom's daughter is about to ta...

#1915: SUV Absolution
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Carl is about to receive his Master's degree in Coastal Management and is wracked with guilt about owning two gas guzzling SUVs. Will converting emissions systems help him feel better and keep the seas at bay? Elsewhere, Brian's drive to work is quicker and more scenic than his wife's, but on washboard roads, so is he going to spend all that saved time in his mechanic's lobby waiting for a new suspension? Also, Dr. Kenny is so concerned about his Civic's brakes that he's s...


#1914: Random Acts of Stupidity
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Fred saw a truck parked in the rain with its door open, so he did what any good guy would do—he closed the door. 30 minutes later, the truck was on fire, and Fred may have caused it. Good intentions also went awry for Mare's husband, he put air in her Celica's tires, but mistook her car for a bicycle and filled them all the way to 90 psi. The parade of bad ideas continues with Richie who may have cooked his engine by experimenting with a synthetic oil dual filtration syste...

#1913: The Immortal Timing Belt
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Juliette's timing belt has lasted more than 230,000 miles. Should she replace it before she gets stranded on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, or see if it can make it all the way back from the moon? Elsewhere, Joanna is grateful her 16-year-old son doesn't want a Viper for his first car, but she is a little concerned that he has his eyes on a vintage ice cream truck. Also, Sarah keeps spilling water into her Saab's poorly located ignition; Deborah's Corolla is shaking afte...

#1912: Witness Intimidation
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray unveil a new strategy for stubborn callers. If they can't diagnose Laraine's noisy Acura, can they browbeat her into changing the symptoms? Elsewhere, Richard's Land Cruiser is shooting flames out the tailpipe, which could be a cause for concern or a chance to have some fun. Also, Julia is about to own her first car, and wants to know how to take care of it, aside from walking it twice a day; Dorothea's mechanic wants to run a psychedelic blacklight test to fin...


#1911: The California Way
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Penny bought her ex-husband's third wife's old Volvo. If that sounds complicated, wait until you hear everything Penny's done to try to figure out why the car is overheating. Elsewhere, Scott's Festiva died after driving through a deep puddle and Scott's friend is trying to convince him his tailpipe managed to suck water and blow out exhaust at the same time. Also, Chandler is pondering a life without hubcaps after hers were stolen; Mike is looking for the right car to hel...

#1910: Poise, Courage and Idiocy
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Ann discovered her tire was on fire while driving home from a snowboarding trip. Her response demonstrates three of Tom and Ray's most admired qualities. Now, can they convince her to use some common sense? Elsehwere, Dana is concerned her husband has become overly attached to JB Weld; Dennis is being punished for the good deed of washing his wife's car; and Chris and her husband are arguing over whether shoveling snow out of a parking space grants ownership. Also, NASA re...

#1909: He Can Fry the Fish and Watch the Cat
Hey, would you happen to have a PhD in mockingbird poop? If so, Beth could use your help. She has to park her Camry below the home of a mockingbird that enjoys eating berries, and, um, has an active digestive system. Will Tom and Ray have any useful suggestions to help Beth poop-proof her car? Elsewhere, Shlomit's husband drives with two feet. Does the fact that he's a dancer make this any less wacko? Also, Scott keeps losing parking lot traffic cone races to his wife and is looking for ways to help him win...


#1908: Brake and Seek
This week on The Best of Car Talk, every time Michelle's friend steps on the brake, his car radio changes the station. If this only happened during our show, Tom and Ray could just compliment the radio on its good taste and move on, but they'll have to conjure some plausible explanation. Elsewhere, Leslie thinks her Chrysler committed autocide by rolling away while parked at her in-laws. Also, Cindy loves the Olds she inherited from dad, but could live without the cigar smell that came with it; and 3-time m...

#1907: A Plane in Every Garage
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Ed is building an airplane in his garage. It's not a model plane; it's one Ed actually intends to fly in. If you need more evidence that Ed has questionable judgment, he's asking Tom and Ray for advice on choosing an engine. Elsewhere, Cindy suffered CO poisoning, accidentally drove 70 mph in 3rd gear, and killed her engine. Subaru replaced it under warranty, but Cindy is feeling guilty about not giving them full disclosure. Also, Diane needs help convincing her husband to...

#1906: Once Upon a Bird Clock
This week on The Best of Car Talk, is the phrase, "Yes, dear," the key to a happy marriage--even if it's delivered with a smirk? The saga of one of Ray's most annoying purchases helps illustrate. In matters automotive, retired math teacher Angelina can't find a formula to back up her husband's claim that bigger tires will improve their Civic's gas mileage. Also, Tom and Ray are guaranteed to diagnose why Leland's Toyota can't pull a hill, if they can figure out what "pull a hill" means; and Tom seizes on on...


#1905: The Plow Minivan
This week on The Best of Car Talk, can Carl mount a snow plow on the front of his Plymouth Voyager? Sure, if he wants to destroy it. But Carl may have other options, that don't involve moving to Florida. Elsewhere, Elizabeth's truck hasn't started in months. In that time, it briefly caught on fire and was decorated with holiday lights by Elizabeth's neighbors. Can she restore its dingity by getting it running again? Also, Rick's girlfriend's VW spent a weekend at her mechanic's, and came back with 20,000 ne...

#1904: Great Balls of Fire
This week on The Best of Car Talk, was Barry's truck an unwitting arsonist? He was driving home when the lights dimmed and flames began shooting out the back, setting the road on fire. Elsewhere, Danni bought a used Range Rover while in the midst of "Pregnancy Induced Insanity" (her words) and the car is already draining her wallet faster than her kid's college tuition will. Also, Amy's mechanics may have replaced the wrong half of her engine; Charlie has replaced his fuel pump three times in the last year ...

#1903: Dummy Quest
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Carol needs help refereeing a family argument over a car question in the game Brain Quest and charter "Densa" members Tom and Ray show her she came to the exact wrong place. Elsewhere, Dr. Ron is hoping to prove to his wife that he's not the one killing their clutches. Fortunately for him, there may be another suspect available. Also, Bob's Volvo seems to have more power after bending the exhaust during a game of Driveway Tag; a valet used Kenneth's Dodge key to start Kenn...


#1902: The Roat to Boatdom
This week on The Best of Car Talk, is Sarah responsible for her backyard mechanic's professional development? He may have messed up replacing her Accord's clutch. Should Sarah give him another shot, this time on the transmission? Elsewhere, Kathy needs help getting her husband to dump his beloved Corolla before the gas tank falls out and Mary can't decide whether her son should accept his girlfriend's mother's offer of a free Dart. Also, Larry's got a question involving ground straps, lightning, and life in...

#1901: Love and a Charred Mazda
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Brent accidentally set his girlfriend's Mazda on fire while trying to start it and now the car and the girlfriend are both exes. Can Tom and Ray help stop him from torching his next relationship? Elsewhere, Adrienne's ski instructor husband thinks it's okay to treat mountain roads like a downhill course and drive with the cruise control on. Meanwhile, Susan's husband, a theoretical physicist wants to use their car battery to power their house during the next blackout. Also...

#1852: The Perilous Bridge of Intimacy
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Steve is spending a lot of time helping his ex-wife Tammy navigate a trinity of car problems. Is he perhaps too invested, given the "ex" status of their relationship? Elsewhere, high schooler Natalie's Dad was away, so she borrowed his van, and (of course) got it dented. Can she fix it before Dad gets home, or does she need to 'fess up, or blame it on Mom? Also, Toast's battery drains in the rain; Julie has half a key stuck in her driver's door; and Jonathan's Volvo has a ...


#1851: Excellence in Worthlessness
This week on The Best of Car Talk, finally an award Tom and Ray could achieve GOAT status in—wasting time. They'll demonstrate their dominance by ignoring Dodie's perfectly good question about leaving her car in overdrive, and instead relentlessly pry/probe into why only two of Dodie's four sons chipped in to buy her the car. Elsewhere, Bob's Cavalier has no heat, even though he's replaced just about every piece of the system; Patricia's Subaru is having trouble starting, which is making it even more diffic...

#1850: How to Calm an Angry Co-Host
When one host insists that cars are made to be junked while the other won't drive anything not equipped with an AARP card, it's time for an intervention. So this week on The Best of Car Talk, Tom and Ray explore new ways of politely calling each other "jerk." Meanwhile, John needs to weigh his love for the family heirloom Chevelle against the dental bills its sensitive power brakes are causing. Elsewhere, Anwen's mechanic was one fuel pump short of diagnosing her Volvo's noise; Andrew's Corolla howls, but o...

#1849: Rave on, Rachel
Paging Chief Counsel Hugh Louis Dewey! Rachel got into a fender bender because she was distracted by laughing at Car Talk. Are Tom and Ray liable? Elsewhere, Tom got a Caprice Wagon in exchange for a set of teeth he made, but the car's knocking sound is making him wonder if he should have only provided molars. Also, Abbie got some dodgy, and perhaps life-threatening advice on how to check her car's alignment; Dee can't accept a life without heated seats; and Phil is wondering if his wife really would be hap...


#1848: The Rolling Punchline
This week on the Best of Car Talk, Heidi's car is making a scary noise and having trouble steering--and worse, she can't find a mechanic who will take her seriously. Maybe because the car is an '87 Peugeot? Meanwhile, Allen's earning his spot on mechanics' and TV techs' Top 10 Wacko Customer list with a Volvo that's starting itself and a TV that's turning itself on. Also, can Sharon ignore her husband and put a wreath on her Tahoe without voiding the Excess Pine Needle Intake clause of her warranty? And, wi...

#1847: Would You Rather Be Right Or Happy
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Doug's dashboard began billowing smoke the first time he ran his defroster. His wife diagnosed it as roasting bugs, and Doug forgot Tommy's first rule of marital happiness when he told her, "You're nuts." Could she have been right, and can Doug get out of the doghouse? Elsewhere, Alex may need help finding closure over his beloved pickup, while Christine can't decide whether to accept her parents' offer of their Buick station wagon; and Tracy wishes someone would haul away...

#1846: Stop and Smell the Antifreeze
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Alan thinks his Mercedes was born with a 100,000 mile death gene. Ever since the odometer rolled over, the car's been nothing but trouble and now Alan is ready to dump it. Might he be acting a bit prematurely? Elsewhere, Dave's commute may get more complicated this winter, because his Audi's heater only works on right turns; Keri wants to soup up her scooter after it lost a race to a Vespa; and is Michael going to set off his airbag by drumming along with the Who? Also, tw...


#1845: The Miracle Spray
This week on The Best of Car Talk, why do Tom and Ray think Heather is crazy for believing that starter fluid is solving her Subaru's starting problem? Elsewhere, grad student Rebecca is considering driving from Connecticut to Indiana in a car that likely won't make it to the New York border; Frances's love for her Miata is being tested by the chance to inherit her uncle's Porsche; and did Chris's brother find love in a hyperbaric chamber after he and his girlfriend passed out from CO poisoning? All this, a...