16. Noise (Part deux of my Car Series)

Tis the season… to sit in a tire shop waiting to pay some grease monkey (is that okay to say?) to change my tires.

“What?!?!” you ask, “The woman who fixes bolt locks with play dough and dishwashers with elastic bands (long story) doesn’t change her own tires?” Let me explain.

Yes, I do know how to change a tire, but in my zeal for saving the Earth I bought a Prius, and it is as high-tech as cars can get. So, if I were to buy rims for my winter tires, I would also have to buy a pressure sensor for each individual tire. That would amount to $150+, and that’s on top of the treads!

I suppose it would be less expensive in the long run, but this way, a skilled mechanic inspects my tires every season, while I get my knit on. But, Vancouver doesn’t get very cold, so why bother? Because:

  1. Metro Van gets just cold enough to make the perpetually wet asphalt icy, and
  2. Tires that harden in the cold do not grip the road as well, and winter tires are designed to stay soft.

Then there’s the question, “Why not leave your winter tires on all year round?” This is where my enviro tip comes in: Because they are noisy. No, noise is not just a problem for the nature or your own comfort; the promise of quiet inside your vehicle only muffles the problem. Noise is another form of energy that’s moving your ear drums not your car. A few of the sounds I hear while cars drive by:

  • Winter tires rumbling, as each tread grips the pavement
  • Roof racks whistling as they interrupt the streamline of the car
  • Mufflers growling because of damage or wear
  • Money passing from the hands of drivers to the hands of oil and gas executives

Remember in Tip 13 I told you to commune with your furnace because a noisy furnace is an inefficient furnace? Well, your car is no different. Noise holds a lot of information about wasted energy. Every so often, open your window and listen. Then get rid of as many noise-makers as you can.

Weird fact: I never owned winter tires in Ontario. In Ontario, the roads are well-plowed and over-salted. In Vancouver, only people from Ontario bother to “shovel out” because the snow’s gone by mid-morning.

Hot tip! Talk to your local tire experts. Get advice on the tires best suited to your area AND the areas you travel to. Your car will perform better, optimizing its efficiency with your safety. the Toronto Star article: How do winter tires differ from snow tires? provides information about the difference between snow and winter tires.  General preparation for winter driving conditions is well laid out at autos.ca and tips for changing your tires are available at autoguide.com.

Read more tips, that just might work, here.

Live within limits without limiting life

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About ahemmayispeak

Environmentalist Egalitarian Engineer Writer There, I finally said it. View all posts by ahemmayispeak

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