Flat tires are a pain in the rear! They never come at a convienient time. I remember driving down Mckinley in Mishawaka one particularly rainy evening, when my left rear tire decided to become all floppy. I pulled over into a parking lot near a restaurant and got out to investigate. Sure enough, the tire was completely flat. I opened my trunk to get to the spare and found that the spare and the tools had been completely rusted. Evidently the last time I had checked my spare tire and tools was...well...never. I was even working for a repair shop and I knew better. So I bang the rusty jack on the ground a few times to try to get it freed up. It was the style that cranks up by a long, threaded rod. I managed to get it to go up enough to get the tire up off the ground. It required a lot of kicking and banging. At the point I discovered that the lugnut wrench had swelled beyond fitting onto my wheel lugs, I was drenched and fuming. I went into the nearby restaurant to see if I could possibly borrow a lug wrench. Oddly, they quickly produced one from behind the kitchen door. I didn't ask questions. It was a four-way lug wrench and was exactly what I needed. After an hour or so in the rain, and a couple lessons on spare tire preparedness and restaurant security, I finally was able to complete my commute home from work. That was a valuable lesson.
Well it looks like the first big snow of the year has come to town. After a couple trips out into it, I realized that a lot of people could use some tips for better control on the road. There are a few key things that can make all the difference between staying on the road or spinning off.
First, avoid applying brakes in a turn or curve. You should be slowing your vehicle well before you enter any turns. The momentum of the vehicle should stay constant to help maintain directional control. Applying the brakes gives opportunity for traction to break which can send you sliding sideways or in circles.
I know, it sounds like a cheesy title to an old school education film. I promise to do my best to make it a bit more interesting and no black lines from a jacked up film reel.
As the cold weather sets in, the most common thought from people is, "Are my tires okay for snow?". While that is a good question, you should also ask yourself if they are ready for the cold air. Cold temperatures affect tire traction because tires harden up in cold weather. Think, rocks for tires or sticky bubble gum. Both are extremes, but essentially, a happy place in between both is what tire manufacturers go for. A soft tire creates greater traction because it allow for greater friction between surfaces. The downside is, too soft a tire and too much friction means tires wear out fast. So, tire manufacturers have developed ways to help a tire last longer with more traction, but it is still limited.
Erik and Jennifer are the owner/operators of Mobile Service Pros. We enjoy working with our customers and community.