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By Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Dear Tom and Ray:

I need your help. My car has an odor that will not go away. My car, now known as “The Farm,” smells like a barn. Basically, my brother’s dog (her name is Drama) squirted her anal gland (yes, it’s disgusting) on my Prius’s fabric back seat. The substance permeated several layers of seat fabric. By the way, this was three years ago. I’ve had the car cleaned many times. They’ve shampooed the seats, done some sort of ozone cleaning, sprayed weird animal-scent removers, etc., and the smell hasn’t gone away. The odor is so horrific that if I roll down the window and stop at a tollbooth or to pay a fast-food worker, the person literally flinches. Have you ever seen that “Seinfeld” episode about the car smell? Well, that’s pretty much the situation I’m in. My mom thinks that if I change out the back seat, it will get rid of the smell. I think it’s too late. Anything that is in the car for more than a few hours takes on that smell. If I’m in the car for several hours, I smell like the car. I think even if the seats are removed, the smell has become part of the interior’s DNA and will never go away. It’s horribly embarrassing! I can’t let anyone get in the car. Do you have any advice? Is there any cleaning substance you can recommend? Or should I cut my losses and trade it in, hoping the dealer has no sense of smell? Please help. – Joan

RAY: Wait until your dealer has a terrible cold, then go and trade it in.

TOM: I’ve had several cars like this, although not with this particular odor. Usually, it was mold. I’d have an old convertible, and the top would either leak or stop going up and down altogether. So I’d leave it down all summer (of course). The car would get wet, mold spores would be fruitful and multiply, and before I knew it, I was driving a biohazard level 3 containment zone.

RAY: Didn’t help him much with dates. Although, on the plus side, he never got asked to drive the carpool.

TOM: If you hadn’t waited three years, I think you’d have a better shot at this. We spoke to our Car Talk veterinary consultant, Dr. Linda Siperstein, and she says that for dog anal gland odor, they use a product called A.O.E., made by Thornell. She says this can even be sprayed right on the dog’s tailpipe if necessary.

RAY: Thornell also makes a similar product for carpets and upholstery called Dog Odor-Off. The company claims that it works even after the offending material has dried, but who knows? Or maybe you’ve tried it already and it didn’t help.

TOM: I’d say you’ve got three choices now. One is to replace the back seat with one from a junkyard, and then do your best to treat the rest of the car with one of these dog-gland-specific industrial-strength odor fighters.

RAY: You’re right that the smell is now in the headliner, the other seats, the carpet and who knows where else? But if that is a secondary odor, you might be able to tamp it down to a merely nauseating level.

TOM: On the other hand, after soaking in this aroma for three years, I’m not optimistic. So the second option is to just trade in the car. Sure, the dealer will notice the smell when he checks it out, but maybe he’ll think he can treat it. Maybe he can. It’s certainly cheaper for him to replace seats, carpets and headliners than it is for you.

RAY: Your third option is a fire. Even that might not get rid of the smell, but it will at least mix it with some more pleasant smells, like burnt rubber and plastic. Good luck, Joan!

Do you really need that truck if you only make one trip to the lumberyard per year? Find out what kind of car NOT to get in Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Should I Buy, Lease, or Steal My Next Car?” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Next Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Get more Click and Clack in their new book, “Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk.” Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or email them by visiting the Car Talk website at

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For Utah Rides

You’d be surprised at what cars can do.

Did I say surprised? I mean shocked. Maybe even mouth-open, flabbergast, foot stomping, stuttering, spittle raining, gob smacked.

It’s a scientific fact that everyone on the planet has a story about how their jalopy once circumnavigated the lower quarter of the US on low gas, no oil and two working brakes. It’s not comfortable, but gall-darnit, it’s possible.

Cars exceed our expectations — even the expectations that we’ve set way before we’ve ever set foot in the car.

How about taking a car — derided for its prissiness — up the tallest road in America? More accurately: How would a 2012 Fiat 500 handle itself at 14,000 feet? Cue “Ride of the Valkyrie” please.

To be fair, Edmund Hillary, we’re not. I doubt he had air conditioning through Antarctica.  We have that, a telescoping steering wheel and a lunch purchased at a nearby bakery that Hillary would have traded three sled dogs to eat.

But the idea is apropos: A 100 horsepower commuter car — at home on city streets, — surely would huff, puff and struggle up a road that saps more power than a cruise liner tied to the rear bumper. At 14,000 feet, engines gasp for nonexistent oxygen, transmissions run hotter than 1,000 suns and twisty roads induce more nausea than romantic comedies.

Gear up, we’re both about to be surprised.

To start, the Fiat 500 certainly doesn’t look the part of mountain explorer. The car looks rugged like a Brooks Brothers catalog, making it a winner among crowds that prefer Louboutin to Land’s End. (My penchant for French press coffee and incompetency with anything mechanical should clue you into the category I fall under.)

Nevertheless, the Fiat 500 is attractive to nearly anyone. The short 90-inch wheelbase and 60-inch height gives the car a small, but tall, compact appearance wherever it roams.

The exterior is also void of acres of black plastic that rear its head on cars of the same price (the Fiat 500 starts at $16,200) with body color panels all the way down from summit to skirts. The front nose is snubbed somewhat and lacks a wide-open mouthed grille, which to me, reads approachable instead of aggressive. Think wide-eyed surprise on a teenager’s face, mouth closed; there you go.

Despite its small stature and tall approach, the features outside are actually quite soft. The roofline descends to the rear hatch thanks to a wide C-pillar that washes all the way to the rear tires. The button-cute rear hatch is easily accessible and efficiently packaged.

Inside, the round features outside make their way inside. The instrument display smartly displays RPM and speed on the same dial, and the center console is similarly compact. Body color materials finish out on the passenger’s side, which is livable but maybe not my first preference to wake up to everyday.

Seating for three is possible, considering the front passenger sits further forward than the driver, but you’d probably want to limit adults in the back to one and behind the passenger. Oy, my knees hurt just thinking about sitting behind someone like me.

So how does the Fiat 500 drive? Back to the mountain.

At 101 horsepower and 98 ft.-lbs. of torque, the Fiat relies heavily on the five-speed manual or six-speed automatic to wring every drop of power out of its mill. The car will go from 0-60 mph in around 11 seconds in both specs — not blinding, but I maintain that it’s more fun to go fast in a slow car than the other way around.

At mile-high altitude, the car juts in an out of traffic with ease and speed, albeit hammer down. Tossing the car around city traffic is fun, even borderline nostalgic for old 500s darting through the streets of Rome. At 5,000 feet, the car is producing around 80 percent of its horsepower capacity — dependent on weather, barometric pressure and other things — but at 14,000 feet that number can drop to about half.

Here’s the surprise: the Fiat does just fine.

A car with 100 horsepower doesn’t blow anyone away, but considering the small compact car weighs almost half of a big three-row SUV, it can get away with such a small figure easily.

I doubt there’s a person alive that would say that the Fiat 500 is overpowered — and I’m certainly not — but often I’m wooed by gaudy horsepower numbers and acres of cylinders. The Fiat 500 is fine with 40 percent of its hands tied behind its back.

Call it cheerleader-cute, but don’t call it cheap.

The Fiat 500 has enough inside and out to surprise just about anyone.

Aaron Cole is a syndicated auto columnist. He knows he’s wrong, but he’d rather hear it from you. Reach him at

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Press Release: Rodfather Tour Comes to Kindig-It Design Friday, September 14th!!!!!!
This Friday, September 14th, 100+, pre 1949 Street and Hot Rodders will be stopping by one of America’s Top Hot Rod and Custom shops in North America, Kindig-It Design. Kindig-It Design has been building incredible vehicles for over 13 years and is located right here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kindig-It Design couldn’t be prouder to be one of the hosts of a history making tour that begins at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and continues across the country, finally ending at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2nd WIX Filters Speed races. Andy “The RodFather” Brizio, and Gary Meadors, founder of the GoodGuys Organization are just two of the famous Hot Rodders that will be making the journey. For Andy Brizio, this will be his last time driving his hot rod across country and is not to be missed.
This will be quite a site to see, and of great interest to all Hot Rod enthusiasts, of which Utah has quite a large population. This would be a GREAT piece for any and all local news stations to cover. Local family makes it big in the Hot Rod industry-and continues to build incredible and innovative vehicles that contribute to this industry.
Kindig-It Design has many accolades, at the top of the list would be winning America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod, 2011, Building the 1964 Cadillac Coupe DeVille Convertible for Olympic Speed Skater, Apolo Anton Ohno, which is still in our showroom-and was unveiled at the SEMA show 2011-and many more.
This open house for the 100+ Hot Rodders, will commence at 10:00 a.m., Friday, September 14th and last for approximately 2-3 hours…… Call sherri at 801-262-3098 for details.
We are definitely hoping for support from our local news stations on this incredible event!!
Kindig-It Design is located at 164 East Hill (4050 south), Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
We do all of our work in house and have a 27,000 square foot facility.

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For Utah Rides

The name “Chevrolet Camaro ZL1” doesn’t do this car justice.

Heck, a name like “Thunder Snow Warhammer” doesn’t even come close. Superlatives like “Great,” “Wow,” “Um,” and “Wha?” couldn’t even sniff its jock.

Camaro ZL1 sounds like an office printer to me.

The only way to get sonically close to what the Camaro brings to the table, we must devolve only into sounds.

Specifically, the low-tone, hypnotic, rumbling of a 6.2-liter, supercharge V8 engine does this car justice.

If you’re looking for me to pick words from the English language that get close, and I suppose I’ll do my best considering my profession as a lousy writer, I can do this: The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a triumph of all that is known and pedestrian in the automotive world. From ballistic performance, to preternatural sounds and stunning looks, the ZL1 could be the first car I’ve ever been in that can transcend language.

I’m fawning, I know. Read more »

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By Andy Stonehouse
For Utah Rides

I spent a gentle, cool weekend in the Colorado mountains fleeing reality and, at the same time, admiring the most compound-modifier-heavy automobile I’ve ever driven, the Everything bagel of vehicular grandiosity.

It turns out that the GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD Crew Cab 4×4 Duramax Diesel, retailing at nearly $63,000, does not even top the food chain of options available in General Motors’ colossal full-size truck range – the trucks get even larger, in 3500 format, and can also be further toughened up with the Z71 offroad package.

As outlandish as that may seem, it’s just part of the ongoing truck arms race, as the one-time Big Three continue to respond to a market that many of us thought might begin to wane with high fuel prices and the general political incorrectness of driving a private vehicle as large as an aircraft carrier. Read more »

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With gas prices on an eternal upswing and the summer driving season in full force, drivers are looking for ways to alleviate the pain at the pump. Some simple steps can make a big difference in your fuel economy so you can save money and get the most out of every gallon.

Start with the type of tire you have, for example. Thanks to a mix of Mother Nature and clever eco-technology, there’s a new tire that uses the oil from orange peels to create a special rubber compound that makes it more fuel efficient and last longer. Read more »

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By Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Dear Tom and Ray:

The tires on my wife’s ’05 Infiniti FX35 are about six months old. We had no problems with them, until three weeks ago. When driving down the highway, the tire-pressure warning light came on. I pulled over to see which one had gone flat, but lo and behold, the right front tire was registering 57 psi! I reduced the pressure to 36, continued my drive home, checked the tires the next morning, found everything OK, figured it was just a fluke and forgot about it. Then, a few days ago, the exact same thing happened again. Same car, same tire, same highway. I’ve taken the car back to the reputable dealer where I purchased the tires. No one has heard of this before, and they can find nothing wrong with the car or the tire. I don’t even think they believe me. What do you think, guys? — Rob Read more »

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For Utah Rides

The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is the kind of car you buy when you’re a 25-year-old who carries more mountain bikes than responsibility, and your idea of a vacation is turning on the air conditioning in your apartment in July. “Adventure” might not be its middle name — it’s “XV,” the letters, not 15 — but the Crosstrek certainly sounds like an running shoe and requires just as much agility to pronounce it.

From here on out, we’ll just call it the Crosstrek and make it easy on ourselves. Read more »

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Sara Lacey
For Utah Rides

The question for people considering fuel-efficient vehicles is no longer whether you want to be fuel efficient, but rather how efficient do you want to be?  With new Prius family offerings from Toyota you have more choice than ever.  I still get questions about how the Prius works, so let me help sort it out and shed some light on which model may be best for you. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.


For car buyers seeking auto loans, happy days are here again.

U.S. banks and auto finance companies are once again welcoming all kinds of customers, even those with less-than-stellar credit. The average credit scores of new and used car buyers, which spiked during the economic downturn, have fallen to nearly the same level as 2008.

Better yet, experts don’t think the credit pipeline will dry up anytime soon. Low interest rates are making it cheaper for banks to get money, which makes them more willing to lend. The federal funds rate — or the rate at which banks lend money to each other — is now near zero percent, down from 2 percent in the summer of 2008. Read more »