by Pat Goss
We see it all the time, people driving around on temporary spares, going for too many miles, going too fast, and really sometimes creating a lot of problems for their car. Why don’t they read and heed the warnings on the tire itself?
See, these are temporary spares. They’re not designed for long distances or high speeds, and it tells you right on the tire how far you can go, how fast you can go, and it also tells you something else, how much pressure should be in it. You should be checking the tire pressure, because many of these things don’t have nearly enough pressure. But you may need a special tire gauge simply because the pressure that’s required in these temporaries is much higher than it is on a regular tire.
Okay, but why don’t you want to go longer distances or higher speeds? Simply because the temporary tire is smaller, therefore it turns faster than the one on the other side of the car. This can create damage inside the differential or the final drive of the vehicle. Don’t do it.
All right, batteries. A lot of people like to disconnect batteries. You shouldn’t be doing that without reading a service manual first. The reason is very simple. Modern cars have computers. Computers have all of these chips and so on in them. And if you disconnect the battery on some of these vehicles, you’ll wind up with a situation where the computer may lose some of its memory, and then you may have to go through a re-learn procedure, which could be as simple as driving the vehicle, or as complicated as having one start on that and then having to take it to a repair shop to have the computer reset or reprogrammed.
Booster cables. Everybody seems to have a set of booster cables in their trunk. I wouldn’t recommend that you use them. The reason is simple. When you hook up the booster cables and you get the car started, there comes a point where you have to disconnect them. And when you disconnect those booster cables, there’s a, like a bolt of lightening that travels through the electrical systems of both cars. This can cause future damage to the electronics, including the computers. And some of these computers today are over $2,000. What should you do?
Well, there are all kinds of battery booster packs. You might want a commercial one like this [left]. It’s a little big, it’s a little expensive, it does a good job and it’s safe. But then again, you might want something like this Secure Start [right]. It’s inexpensive, it’s small, it’s lightweight. It has a holder that will go on the wall to keep it positioned and keep it fully charged. But it produces up to 900 peak amps to get the car started safely, something that you really ought to consider.