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Motormouth: Alternative to spare tire?

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Q: Several weeks ago, I wrote you concerning the lack of spare tires in new vans. I purchased a 2019 Pacifica. During the last couple of months, I have visited several auto parts stores looking for “canned flat tire sealer” to carry in the van. Is this a good alternative to have in the van in case of a flat? Would you have any recommendations as to brand or type? Would have any other suggestions for this situation.

E.Z., Chicago

A: Your van comes with a space saver spare tire. If your regular tire has a slow leak, you may not need the spare right away. Aerosol tire sealer/inflator products do work — temporarily. I can’t vouch for a particular brand. Just be sure you choose a product stating that it is safe for tire pressure monitor systems (TPMS).

Q: My daughter’s BSW system in her 2017 Hyundai Tucson stopped working recently for no reason. What would be the best and most economical option to have checked for a solution to have repaired: dealer, independent garage, body shop, other? Love your column, very informative.

P.R., Evergreen Park, Illinois

A: The first option is to use the vehicle’s setup functions found in the touch screen system. There are a number of steps to reach the blind spot warning (BSW) setup, but once there you may toggle the warning system on or off. Although your owner’s manual may have the information, I discovered a couple YouTube videos that may be more helpful. Do a little surfing.

Q: I agree with your sentiment on handicapped parking in this week’s Hartford Courant. Some years ago, I saw a sign below the (ubiquitous) wheelchair sign that read: “If you are not handicapped when you park here, you will be before you leave!” Still cracks me up!


K.D., East Haddam, Connecticut

A: Ouch!

Q: Why do drivers — mostly men who drive pickups and large SUVs — back into the parking space in parking lots? My observation is usually in grocery store, big box or shopping mall parking lots. During this process, they block the entire roadway between the rows of cars while they attempt to maneuver their large vehicle into the parking space. It seems much more efficient and less time consuming to drive your vehicle face forward into the parking space.

L.P., Eden Prairie, Minnesota

A: Hey, Mrs. Motormouth drives our full-size pickup. I had a part-time job driving a truck delivering auto parts and was trained to always back into the parking space. If I didn’t the GPS would rat on me and I’d get scolded. Pulling forward out of a parking space is safer. The driver has a better view than backing out. It’s also easier to slip the truck into the spot because you can cut it sharper. It’s like pushing a shopping cart backward. Test that once you get inside the store.


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