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Car Talk

Wants advice on safely pulling a prank

Dear Tom and Ray:

My name is Victor, and as an upcoming college freshman, in a fit of my newfound freedom, I want to add a comical touch to my car (when and if I ever get one). I was thinking about gluing a coffee mug onto the roof of my car right above the driver’s seat, as if I forgot my morning coffee. I think it would be funny to see me driving down the highway, 70 mph, with my forgotten drink clinging to the roof of my car for dear life. I have two questions: (1) What glue do you guys suggest so as not to have the paint eaten off the roof of my car? Or some other form of attachment to keep the mug on the car? (2) Do you guys think this is funny? Because I want my most honorable Car Talk Guys’ stamp of approval of humor before I go ahead with my prank on the world. Thank you very much. — Victor

TOM: I think it’s very clever, Victor. I know there are serious people all over the place who will disagree with me, but I think we all need a few more laughs these days. So I’m for all for it.

RAY: I think the only concerns you need to consider relate to safety. First of all, you don’t want the cup to fly off when you’re going 70 mph and hit some other car in the windshield. Or even just scare another driver if it comes flying at him.

TOM: So, forget about glue. I wouldn’t trust a commercial glue in that situation, at those speeds. What you need are sheet-metal screws!

RAY: Right. We know, since you’re an entering college student, that any car you buy will be old, ugly and crying out to have a few holes drilled in its roof.

TOM: I’d suggest that you use a plastic mug. In fact, we have a nice Car Talk travel mug at the Shameless Commerce division of our Web site, www.cartalk.com. Unfortunately, at $14.95, it might be worth more than your car.

RAY: In any case, take the plastic mug, place it where you want it on the roof, and then drill four screws right through the bottom of the mug. Be careful that the screws aren’t too long, or they’ll stick down into the passenger compartment.

TOM: Right. Then when you go over speed bumps, you’ll bounce up and get four holes in your head. And it’s clear you don’t need any MORE holes in your head, Victor.

RAY: Then, to prevent leaks into the car, cover the tops of the screws with a clear, silicone caulk. And draw a bead around the outside of the cup, too, to prevent water from coming in underneath it.

TOM: I have a few concerns about the distraction it may provide to other drivers. I wouldn’t want anybody getting obsessed about your coffee mug and causing an accident while frantically trying to signal you to pull over. But I think the vast majority of people will just smile and shake their heads.

RAY Right. It’s not like you’re attaching a baby bassinet to the roof with a blanket billowing out of it. Uhoh. I hope we didn’t just give Victor another idea.

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Tom and Ray offer a strategy for everyone who’s shopping for a car. Find yours in their 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.

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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 e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk Web site at www.cartalk.com.

(c) 2009 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features

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