Two Letters Re: G.O.O.D. Vehicle Preparation and Maintenance–Is Your Vehicle Up to the Task?

I am replying to the recent post on G.O.O.D. Vehicle Preparation and Maintenance. It had almost all excellent information, except the part about coolant, the “reddish eco-friendly” is the only long life coolant that causes problems, it is either DEX-COOL, or a licensed replacement that would be the same color. GM has been having legal problems with it for over a decade. As a former dealer tech I saw the damage it caused, and would also never use it in a car. The long life coolants, as well as the universal type with long life attributes are fine to use and will not corrode, or clog a cooling system, even when mixed, I have first hand experience with this. I would highly recommend the premixed ones also, due to their use of de-ionized, purified water. Why add contaminants from your well or city water when you can have it already done for you. BTW the chlorine, or chloramine in city water is not good for your vehicle’s cooling system or your car’s 12 volt DC battery. As a side note: long ago I tried sales to fleet vehicle companies and every make was represented. I learned that all of them sold the vehicles when they hit 300,000 miles. So it is not rocket science to make your vehicles last, it’s simply maintenance, fluids, filters, belts and hoses. Read the most unread book in the world, your owner’s manual, it can save you thousands of dollars. – Wayne in Wyoming (an ASE Master Mechanic)

Regarding the excellent post on G.O.O.D. vehicles, I wholehearted agree. I just want to clarify and add a few points on tires and wheels.

First, in a G.O.O.D. situation you are going to be running heavily loaded and/or towing a loaded trailer. Because of this, you should be running load range E tires on your truck filled to the max, 80psi. Load range E or 10 ply (on the tread) tires are meant to absorb more abuse because of the extra weight. These extra plies add layers of protection. This site has good description of what is on the sidewalls of your tires. If you are planning to take your truck and trailer off paved roads often, then I would recommend looking for tires with an extra ply in the sidewalls. While Barry was correct about getting more traction by lowering the tire pressure, if you are towing a loaded trailer or are heavily loaded, you should NEVER lower the pressure in your tires below 40psi. The lack of air pressure could allow the tire to be pinched between the ground and wheel causing a blowout. It also allows the tire to become to spongy causing excessive roll and increases your chance of blowing the tire bead off of the wheel. That causes an instantaneous flat that may not be field repairable.

Secondly, the larger your tires are, the harder they are to spin balance. Knobbier tread also makes it harder to spin balance, causes an increase in road noise and almost always wears down faster and more unevenly even with good rotation habits.

We often talk about training; when was the last time you practiced changing a tire on your rig? A flat tire is the most likely issue to happen on a well maintained vehicle. Will your stock jack lift your fully loaded vehicle? If you are running larger tires, will your stock jack have the reach to lift the vehicle high enough? Get a good hydraulic bottle jack and a Hi-lift jack. Carry a couple chunks of 4×8 to set your bottle jack on and to chock a wheel with. If your G.O.O.D. is an SUV, is your current packing plan on top of your spare? As a safety note, early cans of Fix-A-Flat are very flammable as they used butane and other fuels for propellant. I use and recommend Slime; they now have an inflating kit, which I have no experience with, called Quick Spair which is non-flammable.

Finally, I never see anyone have an extra, full set of lug nuts on their list. Losing a couple of these could make a 10-20 minute job into a really bad day. Carrying a full set of lug nut spares is small, cheap insurance. – Travis H.