If he uses egg-in-radiator trick, will he have egg on his face, too? – Orlando Sentinel

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Question: I recently found out that my 1988 Subaru needs a new radiator because there is a place where it is spewing a small amount of water, causing my motor to overheat about every seven miles. I asked my son if it safely could be put off for a while. He said I would have to get a new radiator, but it could be delayed a bit if I put a beaten egg into the radiator and then drive it for a while. He made me promise to have the radiator replaced. My question is this: Should I worry? He is a Black Hawk crew chief in Iraq, on his second tour. Do you think he is fixing helicopters with eggs? Was he just having a laugh on Mom, or is this really an option? Lynne
Tom: Trust me, Lynne. If he ever started putting eggs into Black Hawk helicopters, his platoon mates would get him permanently reassigned to latrine duty.
Ray: This is what’s known as a “repair of last resort.” Or, in layman’s terms, something my brother would do.
Tom: Let’s say you overheat late at night, in the middle of nowhere, and you happen to have a dozen eggs — who knows why? Maybe you’re Martha Stewart, and you’re on your way to make a frittata.
Ray: Anyway, you realize that you’ve got a radiator leak. If the leak is small enough and you drop a raw egg into the radiator, pieces of the egg might “cook” and harden, then clog up the hole that’s letting coolant leak out. Maybe.
Tom: People have written to us and told us this has worked, at least temporarily. And we’ve heard similar stories about large quantities of black pepper. But duct-taping yourself to a tree limb also works if you want to keep from stepping in mud. That doesn’t mean it’s the best solution to the problem.
Ray: If you’re in a position where you can’t afford to replace the radiator now, Lynne, you’d be better off using a commercial additive that works in a similar way. We’ve had some success with something called AlumAseal (although there are lots of similar products). AlumAseal consists of small pieces of aluminum that turn into a muddy blob when tossed into the radiator. Then they follow the flowing current to the hole, and harden once they fill the hole and are exposed to air. That may be a little more long-term than the egg.
Tom: But your best bet is to just get the radiator replaced. Overheating can do permanent and expensive damage to your engine, so you want to overheat the engine as little as possible. And if you’re overheating every seven miles, it’s probably time to skip the temporary solutions and fix it for real, Lynne.
Q: I’ve always owned an “old lady” car (i.e., Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile 88, Buick LeSabre). But I recently bought a 2007 Toyota Highlander. While I love the vehicle, I’m concerned about how easily SUVs “tip” over. I know there’s a higher percentage of these vehicles that end up in the “turtle on its back” position. My husband assures me that my driving skills will not tip it over; it’s just the idiots who think they can do anything because they have an SUV. Am I worrying for nothing, or do I have to learn to drive all over again and not take corners like I did in my old-lady cars? Thanks. Cheryl
Ray: I don’t think you have to worry, Cheryl. But I think Toyota might be concerned that its Highlander is winning the “old lady” market!
Tom: First of all, your Highlander is not a traditional SUV. It’s what is often called a “crossover.” Not to be confused with my brother, who is often called a “cross-dresser.”
Ray: The term “crossover” usually refers to a vehicle that looks like an SUV and has many of the advantages of an SUV, but is actually built on the underpinnings of a car. In the Highlander’s case, it’s based on the chassis of the Toyota Camry.
Tom: That means its center of gravity is lower to the ground, it handles better and it’s less likely to flip over. Think of it as more like a station wagon than a truck. And as an old lady, you certainly remember when station wagons ruled the earth.
Ray: Plus, the Highlander comes with electronic stability control, which is a wonderful safety enhancement that works with the anti-lock braking system to help prevent you from losing control of the vehicle, even if you do something stupid (up to a point), such as turning too sharply.
Tom: Can you flip it over? I’m sure, given enough effort, you could — or given an unfortunate set of gravitational circumstances in just the wrong kind of accident. But that’s true of almost any vehicle.
Ray: But your Highlander is much closer to the old-lady cars than to traditional SUVs. So, drive reasonably — which I’m sure you do, Cheryl — and you’ll be fine.
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