Sunday, November 18, 2007

No more maps- How neat is that?

As I travel around the country, my dash was covered with maps, The Next Exit book and countless guidebooks...... I had my computer in the back seat, ready to put on the pedestal, (it takes up passenger space-duh). I've had Microsoft Streets and Trips, and Delorme Mapping Software.............. NOT ANY MORE!!
I broke down and bought a Personal Travel Assistant-known to some as a GPS, but it's so much more than a GPS, it certainly uses GPS technology. After much research, I went with one of the big names, Garmin, and got the Nuvi 350, looked like the best value for the price and it came with the latest maps.
So you enter an address and follow the voice prompts-easy, even gives street names.

You want to know where the nearest fuel is? Press Menu on the Map screen, and come up with the following screen. Press Where to? and you get to pick Fuel, Lodging (even RV parks), Food, Favorites (custom entries) or have the unit do a search for a name or partial name. Put in GMC and it'll find GMC dealers, showing closest first, how many miles away and direction with arrows, same with Rest Areas, RV dumps, and Walmarts.
You get hungry on the road?, Press Menu, Where to? and Food and choose a food style, from All foods, Barbeque and Chinese to Fast Foods, Italian, Mexican, Seafood, Steaks/Grill and Chicken Fried Steaks.

It'll quickly show the direction and distance to each and then ask if you want to add it to the route. My dash is cleared, I can't believe how useful this PTA is, replacing all the junk.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Safety Alert!! Corporate Liability?? Walmart..........

I got some Michelin 265/75/16 (E) tires at Walmart, after all, they have the best price. After a couple of months, I happened to go to a real tire dealer getting my heavy trailer on new 3750# rims. He took one look at the trucks rear tires and said "you carrying that 16k trailer on those tires?" I said I was going to, and he said well you have low pressure valve stems in the rims, and he had seen the low pressure valve stems blow out under 80 psi and a heavy load. I of course went Whaaaaaaaa.... He showed me the difference between the low pressure and high pressure valve stems. It seems the low pressure stems handle up to 65 psi, and the high pressure stems up to 120 psi.
I went to the Walmart that installed the tires and complained....they had no clue..... they said "thats the only valve stems we stock"(TR413)....I wander around in a daze looking at the stacks of E rated tires with 80psi and 95 psi and just wondering about the liability of it all, (now that I informed them)...

Anyway, I got some high pressure valve stems (TR600HP) on Walmarts' dollar and they mounted and balanced them again for me, putting the HP valve stems in.

Seems like it's happened all over as the following article describes..

Many "calls have come into the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) from commercial light truck owners complaining of a sudden loss of air in their tires, sometimes at high speeds. One major problem we found is that these individuals were using the wrong valve stems."

Above from Tire Review...
Link to Tire Review Article

TR413, all rubber/EDPM stem. Marked on the bottom/inside part of valve stem.

TR600HP, metal tire stem/EDPM base

TR800HP-TR802HP are longer tire stems, or bent longer stems for dually trucks.