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Desperate times call for desperate fluids

Regarding urine in the radiator: Urine is actually, on average, neutral pH. In a pH balanced body. urine is slightly acid in the morning, (pH = 6.5 - 7.0) generally becoming more alkaline (pH = 7.5 - 8.0) by evening in healthy people primarily because no food or beverages are consumed while sleeping. On a daily average, though, urine is neutral. The slightly higher or lower pH that Andy put into his radiator will not be sufficient to “corrode” the system.

Duly noted…

at least now we know where you go to the toilet. If I was a mechanic, I wouldn’t want to work on your radiator.

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Who is this “Andy” . . . ?!

But I still don’t understand why you’re giving us this information


My best guess is that the OP doesn’t realize that he is reacting to a radio program that could be as much as 20 years old.

Urea in urine, however degrades into ammonia and CO2 in the presence of moisture and the ammonia is responsible for that diaper hamper smell.

NH2-CO-NH2 + H2O → 2(NH3) + CO2

However, the coolant in a car likely gets hot enough to destroy the bacteria that degrade urea to ammonia.

I was responding to this weeks Car Talk episode as heard on the website under “This Week on Car Talk”. Episode #1640: Desperate Times, Desperate Fluids. Origional Air Date 10.01.2016.

I didn’t think I’d have to spell out this information, but it’s the headliner discussion for this week’s Car Talk.

“This week on The Best of Car Talk, Andy’s car overheated in the desert. With no water on hand, his girlfriend convinced him to use the only liquid available. We’re bordering on TMI here, so we’ll just say that Andy is now worried about said liquid’s acid causing corrosion.”

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The caller’s question was never actually answered because Click and Clack didn’t know how acidic urine was. I was adding some clarification…

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Why are you making this personal? I know a little bit about biology and I was helping to clarify the answer to one of this week’s Car Talk discussions. No need to insult me for trying to be helpful…

SireEby , you do realize the show has been in reruns for quite some time now so it would take research to find when it was on the first time.

As for Kurtwm2010’s post-one word- ( Humor ) as in joking .

Except that I found this episode by listening to THIS WEEKS CAST on the main Car Talk website. And I posted under the Car Talk Show heading. I’m commenting on the most recent show as aired on October 1, 2016. No “research” required…

When someone posts something about the show I try to recall the shows discussion. Most regulars here don’t seem to listen weekly so they are not familiar with the topic.

This is how the regulars welcome new members, with rejection.

well, I listened to the show and I appreciated the extra info.

that s what I do on Saturdays…, listen to cartalk and putter around the shed.

putter a little , listen a little…, listen a little, putter a little…

me and click and clack and Maryjane…

life is good…

And another piece of the puzzle falls into place.


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"me and click and clack and Maryjane…
life is good…"

Wes, that goes without saying. I can see that in your portrait that appears with your posts!
… still look’n good after all those years!

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I think the OP’s content was interesting & worth a read. I just listened to that show yesterday and was wondering if the acid/base qualities would be important. I’m guessing this method has been used thousands of times to replace lost radiator fluid when no water source is available. Likewise, beer, soda, wine, whiskey, they’ve all probably been used. You got to do what you got to do sometimes.

I took a class one time in emergency medical situations, and they said when somebody gets a caustic substance in their eye, something that could cause blindness if not corrected immediately, and no water is available, the first thing a helper can do is to spit into their eye. Then to finish the job with Andy’s method.

I should say that when I heard that call, it wasn’t the cooling liquid he used that surprised me, but the method he used to put it into the cooling system! Seems somewhat hazardous … lol … Climb on the bumper & take direct aim? I mean, really, why not use a paper cup to make the transfer ? :wink: