Neigh­bor revved up over Mus­tang owner’s habit

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Classified­s - BY RAY MAGLIOZZI

Dear Car Talk: Is it nec­es­sary to rev your Mus­tang sev­eral times be­fore park­ing it in the garage? My neigh­bor in­sists on do­ing it, es­pe­cially at 10:30 at night! — Dee No, it’s not nec­es­sary, Dee. Have you seen those TV com­mer­cials ask­ing men if they have “Low T?” “Have you been feel­ing fa­tigued lately? No­tice an in­crease in body fat? Rev your en­gine ex­ces­sively?”

That might be what your neigh­bor is suf­fer­ing from, Dee. He’s also suf­fer­ing from NCM; Nos­tal­gic Car­bu­re­tor Mythol­ogy.

In the old days when cars were car­bu­reted — the 1970s and ear­lier — all car­bu­re­tors had some­thing called a float bowl. The float bowl is not to be con­fused with a dessert you’d or­der at Friendly’s. The float bowl is where the gaso­line was stored in­side the car­bu­re­tor while wait­ing to be re­leased into the cylin­ders.

There was a myth (prob­a­bly passed down from your neigh­bor’s grand­fa­ther to his fa­ther to him) that if you revved the en­gine be­fore shut­ting it off at night, you would fill the float bowl with gaso­line and there­fore make the car easier to start the next morn­ing.

But that was hog­wash, even back then. Well, maybe it was true with his great-grand­fa­ther’s Pierce Arrow, but cer­tainly not since.

First of all, the float bowl is al­ready full when you shut off the car. It was de­signed to stay full, and it would cer­tainly be full when you’re idling in your drive­way, not de­mand­ing a lot of fuel.

Se­cond, when you start the car the next morn­ing, the fuel pump starts work­ing the mo­ment you crank the en­gine. So even if your car­bu­re­tor is old and leaky and you lost some gaso­line from your float bowl overnight, the fuel pump would im­me­di­ately top it up and pro­vide fuel for start­ing the car.

If your neigh­bor has a Mus­tang that’s 50 years old, he’s work­ing off a myth that was never true in the first place. And if he has a Mus­tang built in the ’80s or later, then he’s got fuel in­jec­tion, and even the de­bunked myth doesn’t ap­ply to him.

Ei­ther way, there’s ab­so­lutely no me­chan­i­cal rea­son for him to do this, Dee. Leave a copy of this col­umn on his wind­shield and sug­gest he talk to his doc­tor. ***

Dear Car Talk: I have a 2004 Subaru Out­back, 6-cylin­der. It makes a high-pitched hum­ming noise, like mil­lions of crick­ets, after I drive at free­way speed, but only after about 10 min­utes on the road.

It stops when I brake, then re­sumes. Oh, the Out­back does have 272,000 miles on it. — Joy

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Joy. It’s nice to see you mark­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the moon land­ing by driv­ing this car the equiv­a­lent of to the moon and part way back. Un­for­tu­nately, all you’ve got to show for it is a brake pad noise.

It sounds like you have a brake pad that’s stick­ing, caus­ing it to rub against the disc ro­tor. Nor­mally, the brake pads sit right against the disc ro­tors, and even touch a lit­tle bit, but not enough to slow down the car, or make any noise. Then, when you press the brake pedal, the brake caliper causes the pads to squeeze the spin­ning disc ro­tor, which is what stops the car.

Based on your de­scrip­tion, it sounds like one of your calipers is sticky. So when you first start driv­ing the car, every­thing is OK. But after about 10 min­utes (and, more im­por­tantly, sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions of the brakes), the caliper fails to re­tract all the way, and leaves a pad pushed up against the ro­tor.

That’s what’s mak­ing the sound of a mil­lion crick­ets — the pad con­tin­u­ally rub­bing against the disc ro­tor as the wheel turns. When you ac­tu­ally use the brakes, and the pads are pushed tightly against the ro­tors, the noise tem­po­rar­ily goes away.

You should get this fixed, Joy. It’ll even­tu­ally get worse. The dan­ger is that if your brakes are al­ways lightly ap­plied, you can over­heat the brake fluid. And if your brake fluid over­heats and boils, it can’t trans­mit hydraulic pres­sure, and your brakes won’t work.

Ask your me­chanic to check your brakes. In par­tic­u­lar, ask them to check for a sticky caliper. But when you go, bring some smelling salts with you. On a car this age, es­pe­cially if the brakes have been ne­glected for a long time, you could eas­ily end up need­ing $1,000 worth of brake work. You could need pads, ro­tors and a caliper re­build.

But if that’s what it takes to make the car safe, do it, Joy.

Got a ques­tion about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Fea­tures, 628 Vir­ginia Drive, Or­lando, FL 32803, or email by vis­it­ing the Car Talk web­site at

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