Whatever happened to …

… metal valve stem caps?

It got really cold here this past week. That was before it got really warm again and today it’s back on its way down. It isn’t difficult to get a cold in Essex County.

Anyway, as a result of the weather, the low tire pressure light came on on my wife’s Renegade. It said that the right rear tire was at 2.1 Bar and it should be inflated to 2.4 Bar.

She was on her way home and there was no air pump on the route so we agreed that it didn’t seem like it was down to much so just limp home and we’d get to the gas station tomorrow. Someone should blog about “Whatever happened to … free air”?

In the morning, we went into town for a coffee and some air. The air was almost as expensive as coffee. Think about that for a moment. As we pulled up to the pump, I wasn’t worried about the most serious thing, I was wondering if I could get the valve stem cap off. As a child, I remember a problem with the metal cap fusing to the value stem and I remember having to use a pair of vise grips to remove it.

Anyway, I got to the pump, paid my $1.50 and went to the tire and noted that the cap was, in fact, plastic. It still took a firm twist but off it came and I started to fill the tire. The pump had a gauge on it and that was when I realized what I should have been wondering about all the time – what the heck is a Bar? The gauge measured in PSI. Well, every tire I think I ever owned used 35 PSI so I went for that. After all, the clock was ticking on the air machine. I got the job done, we were back on the road and the display said we were at 2.5, 2.5, 2.4, 2.6. Filling tires isn’t an exact science here. But at least the warning light went off.

After the panic, I looked at the sidewall of the tire and it did recommend 35 PSI. Whew!

Then, I started thinking about that metal cap. In fact, I started to think that maybe the last time I actually had a metal one was with an old bicycle as a kid. Everything had been plastic since then. Maybe it was to overcome this problem that had me worried.

So, for a Sunday morning, what are your thoughts?

  • without running out to your garage, are your caps plastic or metal?
  • why would the industry switch from metal to plastic?
  • my old one had a little notch in it at the top that I used faithfully. What was it for? Why don’t we have to worry about that these days?
  • have you checked your tires for winter air pressure yet? Shouldn’t you?

If you’re interested, you can still buy them and they appeared to be all dressed up to match those metal wheel covers.

As always, I’d be most interested in your thoughts in the comments below.

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Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Your post made me realize that I know absolutely nothing about tires, caps, and air. So thanks for teaching me a lot of new things this Sunday morning. Now maybe I should look to find out where this cap would be (let alone what it’s made of). 🙂 I wonder if I’m alone in this lack of knowledge.



  2. For many people, I suspect, it’s the same. If you have a good service station when you have an oil change, they’ll keep the tires properly inflated. For the most part, that’s the way of the world around here. In this case, I’m guessing the real drop in temperature affected the air in the tire as well so it was a simple $1.50 later to get it inflated properly again.

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