Hello, I’m on Car Talk

December 6, 2009

(To hear my call in its entirety, go to http://ofsevit.dynalias.com:8081/ari/media/cartalk09.mp3)

On December 5—the third call of the show—I was on Car Talk. As previously discussed on this page, the power steering hose on my 1998 Corolla was leaking, causing the fluid to spray and smoke under the hood. I figured Tom and Ray could help. Here’s a short synopsis (minus various laughs and snorts):

“Hello, you’re on Car Talk”

Ari: Here’s my problem (hose, fluid, smoke)
Tom & Ray: Where there’s smoke there’s fire—this stuff can catch fire. Wear sneakers, and run like hell. Perhaps you could wrap it so it doesn’t spray—the hose is two pieces and a swaged fitting is leaking.
Ari: Could I fix the part myself? Otherwise I’m out $200.
T&R: This is a no-lose situation, if you junk it screw it up, you get a new car. How many miles does it have?
Ari: 135k.
T&R: Oh, it’s practically brand new. Don’t screw up. Buy yourself a wrench.
Ari: I have a wrench.
T&R: But you’ll need a flare nut wrench, pretty much anywhere. Unbolt the thing, and put the new one on, and fill it.
Ari: Can I solve this with, say, duct tape?
Ray: Sure, if you wrap it in duct tape, chicken wire and gauze.
Tom: What a bogus answer!
Ray: It’s almost like dressing a wound. Then the spray just drips down.
Ari: But what about the water?
T&R: Oh, yeah, it’s better to blow smoke in the air. How often do you have to refill the fluid?
Ari: Monthly or more often depending on how I am driving [note, it has been less frequent recently]. Or, long enough that I’d have to drive 200k miles to use $200 of fluid.
T&R: It’s not a lot, but it makes a mess. And you’ll clean up the planet, this may be the equivalent of taking a coal power plant off the grid.
Ari: Maybe two of ’em.
T&R: If nothing else, buy the hose before they stop making it. One end connects to the pump, the other to the rack and pinion. Call us next month when you still can’t get it apart.

And that was about it. Now, I need a flared nut wrench, and the time to go and tinker under the hood. Stay tuned.

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