I learned early on that a good cold-process recap truck tire on the drive axles would wear longer than a new tire and was also tougher.
Sharp rocks seemed to puncture new tires with ease but the recaps seldom showed up with a rock-puncture- caused flat. Since the recaps cost about half of new tires, and I ran a lot of back roads infested with sharp rocks, the decision became a no-brainer.
My current personal vehicle is a one-ton Dodge diesel with dual rear tires. It has over 310,000 on it and going strong.
If the Dodge sticks to the Cummins diesel, it should last me another 12 years. It’s on its fourth set of recap tires on the rear.
I don’t run recaps on the steering axle. Just like the big trucks, the recaps cost less than half of what a quality tire costs and last at least twice as long. I have to hunt around for a tire company who will recap a 16-inch tire.
There is a concern about sheet metal damage should the recap fail. In the 50-plus years I have been around trucks, I have only seen one case of the recap separating from the tire.
What is seen when a truck tire blows out on the highway and leaves debris is the remains of a tire casing that has failed. This is generally caused by running the tire grossly overloaded or underinflated. Both of the above cause heat buildup, which will destroy any tire.
Some things do change. Some of the local hay haulers have discovered a new-to-them recap tire. It originated in Canada as a winter snow and ice design.
It is a directional tread with a slight V-shaped tread pattern that has a multitude of deep sipes built into the tread blocks. The rubber compound is soft, so it grabs very well.
Dan told me he is very satisfied with his set. He was told by the hay grower where he loaded to keep his foot on the throttle going up and around a curve on the way home with a load of hay.
“It’s steeper than it looks,” was the added comment. Dan said he charged up the snow-covered road and only let off the throttle when the truck wanted to go straight instead of following the direction the steering tires were pointed.
He said the Canadian snow treads never slipped. The second truck spun out and the third gave up and put chains on at the bottom of the grade. Neither had the Canadian recaps.
This is old knowledge confirmed – the value of siping passenger car tires. The old Lincoln (1996 Town Car) had a set of siped all-season tires on the back and tires on the front more worn down but without sipes.
(This is a rear-wheel-drive car.) As is my nature, turning around in fresh snow about two inches deep, I goosed the throttle to spin the rear of the car around.
The rear of the car did not slide around, but the front tires slid. Two more siped tires were added. Problem solved.
Last week, we made a trip over Snoqualmie Pass. The computer and the AM radio warning en-route both said chains would be required on all vehicles without all-wheel-drive.
By the time we arrived at the summit, the big red sign was only requiring chains on trucks. The old Lincoln with siped all-season tires all the way around never slipped a wheel.
Among the rigs we passed were a Toyota 4x4 pick-up and a Jeep Wrangler. Plus a number of front-wheel drive cars stopped, putting on chains. By the way, I hate studded snow tires.
New material to some may be the weight of oil for the engine in your car. I used to run 15w-40 in everything from the truck to the pickup to the car.
Then the specification for oil in the car changed to 5w-30 from the normal 10w-40. The latest set of wheels calls for 5w-20, which appears to me not much thicker than diesel fuel.
The reason for the change is that the clearances (space between the metal parts that turn) have gotten smaller with improved materials and manufacturing techniques.
A thinner lubricant is needed to get inside these smaller spaces and provide the slippery stuff that keeps metal from grinding on metal, which causes big-dollar repairs. The best oil for the vehicle is what the manufacturer recommends.
Old knowledge to some may be all new material to others. For example, the dipstick under the hood tells you if your engine has enough oil in it.
The oil pressure gauge on the instrument panel tells you if most of it is getting where it needs to be. For an automatic transmission, the fluid level needs to be checked with the engine running.
Too much fluid can cause you as much grief as not enough fluid. Be aware that not all cars take the same type of transmission fluid.
This may be a new one. Your teen-age daughter may bring home a young man who wants to be her boyfriend, knowing full well that you will run him off.
This may be the easiest way she knows to get rid of him – and it makes someone else the “bad guy.”
New to a new driver but old to Dad and Grandpa – running your hand over the tread face of the tires that make the car move will quickly tell if the driver has been spinning the wheels.
Never ask the love of your life if she would like a particular car if you are not in a position to get it for her. Worse yet is to trade off a car she is still in love with. Unless she has found something she would like better.
And finally, don’t complain about the cooking unless you are ready to become the new cook. FG
Top right: I learned early on that a good cold-process recap truck tire on the drive axles would wear longer than a new tire and was also tougher. Photo courtesy of Brad Nelson.