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bits for 26 sep '09

Air

I don't know what the deal is with this, but every year no matter where I am, when the fall season starts I lose air in my tires. When I was living in the north I could understand this because of the temperature shift. But here in Tampa FL it makes no sense because there's isn't any shift. One of my tires was down to 19 psi, which is so low you could physically see the bowing. Maybe a slow leak? No idea. This loss of air seemed to come out of nowhere because I'm ordinarily really good at spotting something like that early.

The door jamb states all the tires should be at 32 psi for my tire size (P235/75/R15.) I run 35 all around and have done so for years because I get the best wear as long as I remember to rotate every 6,000 miles. Running at 35 when the jamb says 32 is the difference between getting 50,000 and 60,000 miles on a set of rubber. And yes it does add that much tread life to the tire.

The only real difference between driving where I am compared to where I was is that there's tons of city driving involved. Lots of stop-and-go traffic, lots of speed bumps, tables, etc. All that stopping, tight turning and bumps slam the rubber every time I drive. Even if you're a slow driver like I am, you can't avoid this stuff. I've modified my routes via GPS to specifically take roads that have less wear on the tires, but even then I still get this low-air crapola. Oh, well.

Because of this I now check the air once a week. Sure enough, one of the tires last night was down to 26 psi. That might have been the same one that was at 19 before but I don't remember. The rest were at 31. So I went to 7-Eleven this morn' and filled them all back up to 35.

Usually I don't have to air up more than once a month, but I'm still going to do my weekly checks. It saves the tire and it's just safer.

GPS signal follies (again)

Earlier this month Uncle Sam shot up a rocket into space. When they did it screwed up the GPS grid temporarily. After a day or so it recovered. But yesterday and on into this morning the signal acquisition was messing up again. I tested this with both my old StreetPilot i3 and the nüvi 255W so I know it wasn't a hardware fault on my end.

Yesterday the 255W showed my location as a full ¼-mile off from where I was supposed to be. Fortunately I knew where I was so it wasn't a big deal, but to date I've never seen it off by that much. I'm just glad I was in an area I was familiar with.

Today I was only able to achieve ½-signal of what I usually get. It was accurate but being I'm such a GPS nut, I notice this stuff more than most people who use the technology. I'm sure that the grid will get repaired/recovered once again.

It's not that I can't drive without GPS. I mean, heck, I got around fine before I started using it in 2005. However without it I'm essentially forced to take interstates and highways because those are the most direct roads to get anywhere. I don't like relying on the highway because everybody uses it. In the Tampa Bay area you are far better off if you know how to get places without using highways and interstates. Said honestly, the best way to do that is with GPS.

Some would say, "You waste gas by not using the highway." That's not the case in Tampa Bay. In other areas this may be true, but not here. The time and gas used is roughly the same at any time during daylight hours due to the fact the traffic is so heavy and the way the roads are laid out.

So anyway, here's crossing fingers the grid gets fixed again. 🙂

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