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Internet Radio Show: Car Talk

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Tune in Early (Live on 4/29/09 at 4:00PM)

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Car Talk is a radio show on internet radio. Tom and Ray Magliozzi answer listener questions about car problems. Tune in for information or for a laugh - both are offered!


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Internet Radio Show: Car Talk

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Could now be a great time to buy an SUV?
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 Detroit, and the quick death of America's love affair with SUVs, I was wondering what your thoughts are as to how these issues might actually end up benefitting someone with excellent credit who will be in the market for a somewhat-used SUV in the next few months. Are there likely to be better and better deals out there for mid- to large-size used SUVs? Do you think the market may become more flooded with lease buybacks and repossessed SUVs from people who leveraged their homes for the purchase of these vehicles a few years ago? Thanks for your help. -- Joshua
Does antifreeze poured in the crankcase mean it's new engine time?
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 realized what he had done. He is being told that he needs a new engine by one mechanic, and that he doesn't by another. I think he is probably "up the creek" and will have to get a new engine. What is your guidance? By the way, I'm not too proud to say I had to replace someone's brake system because of a similar mistake I made years ago. Antifreeze, no light and unfamiliarity with a vehicle can be a BAD combination. -- Peter
Today: A washing job that did a number on Ian's car.
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 minutes, I went to check on his progress, and the little darling was using a scourer to clean the car! You know, those little kitchen scouring pads that have a sponge on one side and a green scourer on the other. He had used this scourer on the driver's side and the hood. Needless to say, I now have an array of scratches in various patterns. I managed to refrain from ripping his sweet head off of his body, and calmly pointed out the fault. Now, how do I remove these scratches? I have tried Scratch Doctor and Turtle Wax Compound, to no good effect. HELP! -- Ian
Can Megan get the coolant out of her windshield-washer reservoir?
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 windshield-washer reservoir. Of course, the dealer believes his mechanic would never make that kind of mistake, and wanted to charge me a large sum of money to remove and flush the whole system. Is there a way that I can clean it out myself? Getting the majority of the fluid out of the reservoir wouldn't be too hard (it's now half washer fluid and half antifreeze), but how can I get the rest out of the pump and hoses without destroying or replacing everything? It's coming out on my windshield as an oily sort of mix. I have a back window washer that it's not coming out of yet, but it's probably in the hoses already, since I've used it once. I'm on a very tight budget and have to do it myself or just not use the washer fluid. Help! -- Catherine
Will duct tape work on a car's exhaust system?
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 to make it even louder, even though I told him he could get a ticket for this. He proceeded to tell me that this car "deserved" to be loud. Well, he got pulled over by a police officer, who told him he needed to make his car quieter. He tried to put the clamp back on it, but it doesn't hold. This brings me to my question: He asked me if duct tape will be OK to hold the pipe to the rest of the exhaust system, without starting some type of fire. I'm not a car expert, so we agreed to ask you guys. -- Rob
Is a car a good hedge against inflation?
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 Fit that I love and that is basically considered the best car in its class -- with high-quality workmanship, excellent safety features, high miles per gallon and so on. So my question is, Why not go out and buy another one for the relatively low price of $16,000, and simply store it as a hedge against future inflation? Then, after 15 years or so, I could take it out of storage and use it when my current car has worn out. My point is, if one could live with the stylistic and other changes that will have occurred in cars by that time, one would have a "brand-new," high-quality car that represents a huge bargain when compared with the undoubtedly highly inflated prices of those future cars. Do you agree? -- Steve

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