Car Talk’s 10 Best Travel Tips – Farewell Tom Magliozzi
Every weekend, I flip on NPR and listen to Car Talk as I flip pancakes and fry up some bacon. It’s a ritual I look forward to. The heartfelt teasing and banter of “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers” fills my kitchen. Their laughs are contagious and their wit is charming.
Sadly, after 37 years of hosting Car Talk, Tom Magliozzi died Monday November 3rd, 2014. His brother, Ray Magliozzi, confirmed the news and even managed to squeeze in some of their Boston-Italian personal jocularity into the statement.
In honor of the loss of Tom and appreciation of the show, here are Car Talk’s 10 Best Travel Tips…
1. Make sure you have the correct tire pressure in all FIVE tires. Most people tend to forget to check their spare tire before heading out on a long trip.
2. Have an experienced mechanic check the radiator before you head out. A plugged radiator “can be the kiss of death for an engine.” So, make sure you have it flushed before heading out on that hot summer vacation destination.
3. If you are pulling a trailer or other heavier rig, check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil for “severe duty”. Typically, you will use a 5W30 oil year-round, but for pulling that RV to the Grand Canyon, you need to change the oil and use a higher viscosity.
4. The AC in your car can becomes your best sanity-saving friend during hot trips. Make sure you have your mechanic check to ensure it’s fully charged with refrigerant. Also, ask him or her to check for a noisy compressor, which can be a sign of a worn AC clutch.
5. Check your transmission fluid before you head out on any long journey. If it is clean, you’re good to go. If not, have the fluid flushed – not just drained and refilled.
6. If your temperature gauge starts rising, turn the heat on in your car to divert some of the heat away from the engine. It may make the inside of the car hot, but it could save the engine.
7. For road trips or just in case, these are a few things you should store in your trunk for car repair on the road: extra coolant, a quart of oil, duct tape, screwdriver, flares, vise grips and a coat hanger. These can all help you with temporary fixes to get you to a mechanic.
8. Don’t be tempted to use a higher grade of gas. Unless your owner’s manual instructs you to use Premium Unleaded – don’t use it. Why? “It pollutes more, it costs more, and doesn’t give you any benefit in performance or fuel system cleanliness.”
9. Getting into the highest gear you can, at the lowest possible speed, will save you plenty of gas.
10. That myth that it takes more gas to start a car than to run it, so it’s better to leave a car idling? It’s complete B.S. If you’re stationary for more than a couple of minutes, shut it off, and save gas.
You can find when Car Talk on NPR airs via this link along with a plethora of audio goodies.