Thoughts on posting to the CarTalk online community


I recently posted a discussion titled “Is engine braking (downshifting) bad for your vehicle?” and I wanted to share my thoughts on posting to the CarTalk online community.

I regularly listen to the CarTalk radio show. It is a great show that offers the people who call useful advice for solving their car questions in a fun (and funny) way. I decided to submit my question to the community on the CarTalk web site because I thought that the spirit of those on the forum would match that of the radio show. I have to admit that after reading many of the posts in response to my question, I’m a little disappointed that this is not the case.

I posted a technical question and was hoping to get technical answers backed up with credible references. Instead, many of the responses were philosophical in nature like “if you leave a vehicle in the garage, it will never wear out”. While statement like that may be indisputably true, they don’t address the question asked nor do they provide information that might help to educate the people reading the forum.

Several of the replies were completely off-topic – people were posting replies talking about airplane engines and their disdain for antilock brakes for crying out loud…

Some people seemed to only be interested in who was right or who said what. All of these posters had one thing in common. They all failed to provide credible references to back up their positions. One thing that people who are truly knowledgeable about a subject have in common is that they can readily point people to credible references supporting their position. Providing credible references to support your position does so much more to enhance your credibility than simply pointing out the flaws – however minor – in someone else’s statements.

Don’t get me wrong – there WERE a few useful and thoughtful posts in response to my question. I pointed those responses out during the course of the discussion and I appreciate that those people took the time to reply.

Unfortunately, based on my experience submitting my first question to the CarTalk online community, I’d have to say that I will definitely think twice before posting here again.

OK, so don’t post anymore. Have a nice day.

The CarTalk show is entertainment. It is loosely based on real life. It is not a car bible based in the only the best and most factual and “supported by references” information. On a regular basis I am cringing at what those two are saying to people about cars and stuff.

Its easy there where there are only two people whose main objective is to get laughs, mostly for themselves. I would take the advice of people here long before I took the advice of the two jokers on the radio.

Welcome to the real world. This is how it works.

If you don’t like it that way then I agree with PvtPublic. See ya.

Your second post is even more inciteful than the first… What you have done prior was to post a rather silly question to a bunch of MECHANICS…who actually know what they are talking about AND REGULARLY help people with REAL problems on this site…

Basically your first post asked a question AKIN to…"If I smash my car into a tree repeatedly…will I hurt it?"
In other words you asked a question so seemingly silly…we answered the only way we know how…

Sorry you feel that way. But I think your expectations were high to begin with. This is an open forum, and anyone registered can post a reply. This may or may not be the answers you’re looking for. This can also go in alternative directions and float off-topic easily. Just like any other open forum.

BTW, open-ended questions like in your first post are flame-bait on a forum like this. Sorry, but that’s the truth. There was no ‘yes-no’ answer but a matter that launched an expected spirited difference of opinions. You should try asking a question on motor oil choices and change intervals if you want to see a post go past 100 replies.

Knuckles is exactly right… I suppose you are still reeling from the silly question you posted to us…we answered honestly and with feeling… That question of yours was certainly inciteful…

Do you realize how many people we actually help on this site? By donating our time and VAST collective experience?

With a group like this, there is really no car question we cannot answer correctly…or at least guide the person to resolution… MOST people with real issues are very grateful for our advice…believe it or not

You got some good responses, but I’m sorry you feel that way. I did read most of the responses in your original thread, and it became clear to me there was a dispute developing (right or wrong doesn’t matter). Skipping over those was really pretty easy (although I read them, they were entertaining). I still feel you got some good advice.

Deciding to toss the site to the winds is probably a bad idea. I came here initially with a question, which was both answered in many different forms, and I was rebuked somewhat, too. Still, I learned (I like to think, anyway). And I’m still here, reading, mostly.

I’ll admit I don’t know all that much compared to some on here, but I try. Failing to see that there’s a crapload of knowledge out here is…well…your problem. I believe they’d still try and help, even after a post like this. But whatever.

Have a nice day.

…Oh, and Happy New Year, too.


Maybe you should TRY to call in to the radio show and see how far that gets you…Then you can post back here and tell us how you feel about THAT experience…

“First, I want to thank everyone for their informative and heartfelt responses. I can tell from the spirited responses that you all know your stuff and really care about cars - that’s why I posted my question here.”

The above quote is YOURS…You seem to have had a change of heart or the term “troll” (not unknown here) comes into play…

I think maybe its time to begin an application process. In order to post on CarTalk you need to submit your resume for review. You need to make sure that your claims on your resume are all backed up with at least three references. Then maybe we can clean this place up and make sure that there are only true experts who only say something with references attached. And as you all know, once you get a band of true experts together all you’ll get is the straight, objective, truth of the matter - all backed up with ample references. Whew! The world’s problems solved - or at least completely inconsequential problems like how people should drive their cars.

Since you continue to post new threads (another in addition to this one and your first), it doesn’t seem that you are that offended, nor are you leaving the community. Perhaps you are still Trolling for a rise…

We may be a motley group of people on here and we can easily get off topic and joke around but I can say for certain that the guys here take their own personal time to honestly HELP people and solve MANY a posters car question.


Dear LackyWannabe-
I will be happy to research your questions and document the results. Please provide me the address to which I should send my consulting agreement, and I will supply a project cost estimate and the required retainer amount.

If we still had stars I’d give texases 5 of them.

I thought you got some good responses to the question and they would be more accurate than what you would get from the alternative you mentioned.

I did not read back through all of those responses but in regards to your comment about airplane engines I believe ring flutter was mentioned. Well, you have an oil consumption complaint and most oil consumption complaints are related to A: oil leaks, or B: a ring problem.

LackeyWannabe…you have to remember that the quality of answers is directly proportional to the quality of the question. You received honest answers to your question even if they did not seem so in your opinion. Your driving style is lacking in several areas and I believe you just wanted justification for your lack of good driving skills.

You will have to go elsewhere to find justification for damaging your vehicles. This is an open forum here but there are a lot of qualified individuals who regularly post here that gave you appropriate answers even though they were not the ones you wanted to hear.

I haven’t gone back to find and reread your particular discussion, but I think you’re expecting too much. Compared to many other message boards I follow, the people here generally keep the discussions on track, stay polite, and give mostly accurate information. I know I’ve learned a lot by hanging out here. If you want references, I think you’ll need to find a service that you actually pay for.

I want to say that I am sorry that you feel that you got a lot of negative responses here. There are people here that genuinely try to help people with their questions and problems. Some of us that are doing our best to provide good answers don’t always agree, but we don’t start insulting each other or calling each other stupid, we just post our opinion.

Unfortunately, we get more than out share of people who come here to play games and stoke their egos. That happened with your post, although I have seen it get worse, much worse. eventually the monitors ask those types to not return to this site.

Sometimes too, a thread will go completely off topic. Thats just some of us having a little fun. Please don’t take that too seriously, we aren’t getting paid for this.

I do hope if you return with another question, that you can just ignore the types that are causing the problems and take the advice of those trying to help.

Welcome to an internet board.

Dear Mr/Ms Wannabe,

This is not the only site where some of the replies to a post are not constructive, ill informed or wander off topic. Also, I believe that there are people who simply post to keep their post count high or may be physically handicapped so that the Internet is their main activity. It’s the way it is on the Internet.

I follow one site where the majority of posters tend to be young, some of who do not hesitate to start and maintain a verbal flaming battle. That, fortunately, does not happen much here. You can be thankful for the interest in your posts and you will simply have to separate out some of the replies.

Alot of time we get questions ad then never see the OP again. Most of the time it’s something like "my CEL came on. whats wrong with my car?"We’ll ask for more info like what kinda car is it, how many miles, go to autozone and tell us what codes are stored in the ECU, etc. But they never reply

I can tell you this…we help FAR more people here than we scare away…and its ALL on OUR OWN PERSONAL TIME…that we donate…simply to help people…